Tsunami, Tamil Nadu, India

More than 6,056 people died in the 2004 tsunami along a short 10-kilometre stretch of coast in Nagapattinam. This small fishing region in India’s Tamil Nadu district accounted for nearly half of the death toll in India. 75 percent of the fatalities were women and children who couldn’t escape the onrushing walls of water. Another 200,000 people were affected in the district.

The first wave struck Nagapattinam unexpectedly on 26th December at 9.12am. As people were coming to terms with the initial devastation, the second wave hit 45 minutes later destroying lives, boats, houses and belongings. Entire villages were demolished, a thriving fishing industry wiped out and thousands of children lost one or both parents. Unimaginable loss and suffering plagued survivors, many faced rampant unemployment and temporary accommodation in tin shelters unsuitable for the heat of India’s climate.