Fishing communities hurt by tsunamis
Seattle Post Intelligencer – Seattle,WA,USA
NAGAPPATINAM, India — In Nagappatinam harbor, the tsunami tossed fishing trawlers like children’s toys onto seawalls and buildings, destroying not only individual livelihoods but an important part of the region’s economy.
The fishermen of devastated Tamil Nadu state in southern India were among the most prosperous of this region’s inhabitants. Now homeless and jobless, they must find a way to cope, along with the communities that depended on their income.
The 130-foot trawlers were the pride of the southern Indian fishing fleet, sometimes spending three or four days at sea to fill their holds and returning with a profitable catch. One trip could earn $2,300, a fortune in India.
With 2,400 family-owned trawlers, and 17,000 smaller boats, the state’s fisherman were an important part of the economy. Now, most of the families live on the floors of wedding halls, schools or temples, relying on handouts.
Most of the boats were destroyed, and the rest were all damaged.