Viviane Dalles

Photo Essay : - Tsunami, Aftermath, India, 2005

Tamil Nadu, February-may 2005 and october 2005


At the beginning of 2005, following the tsunami, I quit my job at the archives of the Magnum agency in Paris and bought a ticket to the Tamil Nadu region in India.


In the aftermath of the Tsunami which devastated south-east Asia, India was the only affected country to refuse International Aid for first aid. At the same time, it was one of the countries which brought aid to other affected countries. As soon as the event occured, 515 Indian NGOs went along the coast to bring support to the victims : more than 12.000 people died, thousands of houses were destroyed and the local fishing industry was devastated. Three months after, a quarter of these NGOs* were still on the field.

The temporary shelters were built with inapropriate material, which makes them vulnerable, especially to heat waves and flooding.
Samanthapettai. Nagapatinam. Fishing community. 04.05.05. MS Santhi, married for 8 years, lost one of her 2 daughters, Sowdarya, during the tsunami. The government gave them 2 lakhs (200.000 roupies). Her husband does not work anymore now ; during the first months the family received the 1000 roupies (17 euros) from the government. On the right Sandhya, their other daughter.
Nambiyanagar. Nagapattinam. Fishing community. 04.18.05. Menaga, 22 years old, lost her husband during the Tsunami. At this time, she was pregnant and too affected to accept her future baby.
Akkarei Pettai, Nagapatinam . April-Oct. 05. Temporary shelter. For five months, Morpthi has progressed with difficulty using a walking frame. He spends his days around the camp entrance. He did not received any help from the NGO's, only the government food rations. He remained psychologically scarred and felt useless, being unable to financially support his family.
Samanthapetai. Nagapattinam. Tamil, Nadu. India. Fishing community. Temporary shelters, after one day of rain.
Akkareipettai, Nagapattinam. Sarasavathi, 22, already had psychological problems before the tsunami. She received treatment in a hospital in Chennai and was much better. Then the tsunami arrived. She was in the house at the time of the catastrophe. The family didn't have the money for further treatment and to stop her from continually running away, saw no other choice than to constrain their daughter to the shelter by chain. Sarasavathi lives with her parents, her 3 brothers and her sister in this shelter. Her father, Subramaniyan, 48, works as a deckhand on a fishing boat, and earns 350rupees (7 euros) each time. Her mother, Deivanai, 40 years, do not work. She helps her shower, and feeds her but barely speaks with her.Sarasavathi sits or lies down behind the door all day . She speaks sometimes but without making any sense. Her chain does not enable her to move around in the shelter but only to go as far as the doorstep. Although her father often checks that the chain isn't harming her, he never removes it from her foot for fear of her running off.
Nambyanagar, Nagapattinam . 10.21.05.The lastest rice ration.
Akkareipettai. Nagapattinam .04.21.05. For this village, more than 900 temporary shelters were built.
Akkaraipettai. Nagapattinam . Fishing community. 04.03.05. 45% of the victims were children, playing on the beach..
Fishing activity in the port of Nagapattinam resumed in July 2005. The boats go to sea for 3 to 4 days with a team of 5 to 7 men. The fish is sold upon return to harbour.
Samanthapettei. the first houses. In 2008, more than 2 years after the tsunami, only about 40% of the houses have been rebuilt.
Akkarapettai. 2005.