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News & Events
Neglected communities
May 2005
The tremendous losses suffered by the fishing communities affected the entire local economy because the industry directly and indirectly supported the lives of thousands of other people. For instance, traders, ice plant owners, fishnet menders, boat menders, cleaners, shopkeepers, and others who supported the fishing industry have no source of income until the fishermen return to their trade.

After the tsunami, a group of women from near Prathaparamapuram village in Tamil Nadu wrote a petition to the government requesting relief. One of the women, called Mallika, told Human Rights Watch that her family was near starvation, succinctly capturing the problem faced by thousands of people in India who previously earned a living supporting the fishing industry:

My husband is a carpenter and he mends boats. Since the tsunami, he has had no work. We have finished all the food we had in the house.[84]

Because the impact of the tsunami on these groups was not as direct or easily visible, their needs were initially forgotten or ignored by those providing aid.[85] Considered only partially affected, they were inadequately assisted in the first weeks after the tsunami until the authorities realized that they too had lost their livelihood and were in danger of starvation.[86]

Indian governmental and nongovernmental agencies have done a good job of providing emergency rations to the tsunami

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