The December 26, 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami was devastating. Tens-of- thousands died, hundreds-of-thousands were affected.
In India, as elsewhere, it was largely fishermen and their
families living in huts on beaches that were caught by the tsunami. In India:
over 16,000 people, most of them women and children died;
about 400,000 lost their homes;
40,000 fishing craft were destroyed or damaged;
300,000 fishermen lost their livelihoods, and most are still
unable to fish.
The video captures the grief of victims, both adults and
children, who lost all or some of their families, as well as their homes.
Except for some footage and stills from the web, the video was filmed in February, 2005 in Tamil Nadu. Included
are photos by students from Komazawa University, Tokyo.
Despite their grief, the tsunami survivors are trying to
return to a normal life. Most
fishermen wish to return to the sea and there are programs to replace their
lost boats, engines and nets. However,
even before the tsunami the coastal fisheries could support only two-thirds of
the working fishermen. The South
Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFF) is now offering fishermen
and fisherwomen training in carpentry, furniture making, small engine repair and other
Upon our return to Tokyo, the students who accompanied us
to India, along with other members of the Japan Students’ Fund, organized a
benefit concert (featuring Rattlesnake
Annie) to raise funds for:
Self-help groups of women, especially the newly widowed, who are
seeking training, support and micro-loans to establish micro-enterprises.
Young children, many orphaned, who are in need of small
“scholarships” for books, supplies and uniforms so they can return to
The video was made to assist the students in their
fundraising efforts and was shown at the concert.
You might ask why, in view of the millions of dollars
already contributed for tsunami relief, it’s necessary to raise additional
funds? It’s because most
of the funds for tsunami victims were earmarked for short-term emergency
relief. In addition, many of the
NGOs who responded to the emergency are not equipped to deal with the
long-term efforts required to restore livelihoods, homes and
Fortunately, there are long-term recovery programs being
undertaken by established and highly-respected organizations like the South
Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFF) and the MS
Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).
These organizations have agreed to manage the contributions from the
Japan Students’ Fund (JSF) and will ensure that the funds go to programs
designated by JSF.
If you have any questions about JSF, the micro-loan and
education programs supported by JSF or about the video, please let me know.
Send your comments and questions to Dave Bockmann.