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Tracing the journey of Tsunami survivors

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Fisherman from Kovalam who were affected by Tsunami that struck in 2004.
Fisherman from Kovalam who were affected by Tsunami that struck in 2004.

Madhur Tankha

Discovery Channel to air programme on attempts to rebuild their homes and lives

NEW DELHI: Five years after the devastating tsunami, Discovery Channel has revisited India and other affected countries to take a look at the outcome of reconstruction efforts.

“Revealed: Anatomy of a Recovery” that airs this Saturday will try to find out the daunting challenges facing governments as well as humanitarian aid agencies on the long road to recovery.

The 60-minute programme will also focus on the attempts by the survivors of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives to rebuild their homes and their lives. It will also talk about the lessons learnt from the tragedy that may help to prepare for such disasters in future.

According to Discovery Channel, on the dark night of December 26, 2004, an earthquake measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale occurred off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake had one of the worst death tolls from a natural disaster in recorded history. It triggered a deadly wave of tsunamis, resulting in the destruction of homes and entire landscapes across the continent, including India.

The programme will highlight the effectiveness of participatory housing approach in India. This approach has gained popularity among some non-government organisations. The agency and the government keep a leading role in the construction but the community is involved in varying degrees and roles in the process. This is a step forward in empowering house owners and is known as the “owner-driven approach”.

And nothing more illustrates this point than the “World Bank Housing Complex site near Chennai where about 5,000 small flats homes on this site were originally built to re-house the slum dwellers of Chennai, but when the city was hit by the tsunami disaster, some of the families were provided with immediate shelter and allocated homes at this site”.

The programme also highlights the works of organisations like ActionAid and ITWWS -- an organisation working for the tribal community of Irulas in Tamil Nadu.

“Revealed: Anatomy of a Recovery” presents the accounts of different regions which suffered the wrath of the natural calamity -- their chronicle of recuperation, the problems faced and the lessons learnt from them. The programme documents the efforts of the survivors to re-establish themselves and rebuild their lives from the scratch.

This is a story not of disaster but of recovery. It may not be possible to control the forces of nature but it is certainly possible to control the preparedness and can make choices which can serve to protect, and ultimately save mankind.

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