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Tsunami-Hit Coastal Regions Needs More Relief

Now, a young man holds the hand of a little boy, looking at a row of new houses glistening in the morning sun, the area, which was in wreck two years ago, washed away by the devastating tsunami.//

Angalamman Kuppam village is exuding life now. Along the innocent-looking silver beaches about 80 km south of Chennai, India, new casurina saplings are knee high and men are back to weaving nets.

'Udavum Karangal' (Helping Hand), one of Chennai's largest rescue and rehabilitation institutions has built 72 houses in the village, which it has adopted.

"The tsunami relief work is just an extension of what we are doing," says Vidyaakar, the founder of Udavum Karangal.

That comment perhaps typically symbolises all that has happened to the Tamil Nadu coast since the tsunami struck, leaving more than 230,000 people homeless and without livelihood.

SNEHA is another group that has been active in coastal Tamil Nadu, helping in adoption and orphan care after the tsunami. It has also stopped child trafficking.

"As many as 500 NGOs had jumped into tsunami relief in the aftermath, but now only about 50 are left," says Ram Mohan of the NGO Coordination And Resource Centre.

Companies like Wipro, along with the BITStsunami (Birla Institute of Technology) Trust, planted 174,422 saplings (the number of people lost in the December 2004 tsunami worldwide) as bio-shield along the coast in 2005, as did several NGOs.

NGOs reported that around 11,000 died along the 1,000-km coast and nearly 900 are on the missing list. The worst hit was Nagapattinam coast, which is in Tamil Nadu.

Today, Devanapattinam, a fishing hamlet on the Cuddalore coast and also one of the most devastated, is humming with activity. There are new parks, new schools, new bridges and boats.

Nearly 30,000 catamarans and fishing boats in the state have been replaced or repaired by the government and NGOs. At least ha
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