\"Less Meeting, More Fighting!\"
\"Less Meeting, More Fighting!\" Lessons learned by grassroots Katrina and tsunami social justice activists\r\n\r\n By Bill Quigley\r\n t r u t h o u t | Report\r\n\r\n Thursday 31 May 2007\r\n\r\n\r\n The tiny old woman with the tanned, deeply lined face stood up and told us what had happened to her coastal village of 130 families in Tamil Nadu, India, along the southeastern coast. Before the tsunami, villagers survived by gathering prawns by hand from shallow waters and by hiring out to work for people who owned fishing boats.\r\n\r\n Without warning, on December 26, 2004 a tsunami sent a thirty-foot wall of water roaring through their coastal village, sweeping aside everything in sight. The elderly woman was knocked down. With her hands, she demonstrated how she was violently tumbled over and over by the powerful following waves. Finally able to wrap her arms high around a coconut tree, she clung to it as her clothes were ripped from her body by the surging waters. When the waters receded, every house in her village was gone. The tiny woman, now quietly crying as she told her story, said she was ashamed as she searched for something to cover her nakedness. She started searching for her missing family and the rest of her village. Many were dead. Some are still missing today. Those who remained were homeless. Today, some families in her village live in new 340-square-foot concrete homes constructed by international relief agencies. Others live in temporary thatched huts perched on top of their neighbors\' new homes. All are trying to rebuild their lives.\r\n\r\n The December 26, 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean, measuring 9.3 in magnitude, sparked off a series of devastating tsunamis that killed over 230,000 people and made millions homeless. Since then, Indian community organizations have struggled in the face of unprecedented problems to try to recover and rebuild.\r\n\r\n A group of grassroots Katrina social justice activists were recruited to visit with our Indian counterparts from the most devastated areas of coastal India to see what we could learn with and from each other.\r\n