Tsunami survivors

Hard to believe, but more than 7,000 of the 12,000 people who were displaced by the Dec. 2004 tsunami in Maldives are still living in relocation camps… almost four years later. The original tents provided by US AID have been replaced by tin shacks.

We visited a family of 13 living in three rooms, sharing a communal bathroom with the rest of the compound. Some of the babies were born since the tsunami, young men have finished their schooling and found jobs. They have made a new life for themselves here on Hulhulmale, the man made island near the capital city. Soon they will be asked to move again to a new “mega-project” on a safe island.

These ladies were preparing a meal in a communal kitchen.

This family is sitting on a traditional island swing.

A 39 year-old grandmother of two and mother of eight told us she would like to stay in a flat on Hulhulmale. Life isn’t easy on this barren, man-made island, where the infrastructure is still under construction. These people have no transportation, and drink rainwater out of a cistern. They pass time by playing video games and watching TV. Everyone was glad to see Shifla, the morning anchor, who reported the story and translated for us.

Laura Toledo, our Hofstra intern, did a standup for her story in English.