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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2369

More traumas for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka's South

Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 23 October, (Asiantribune.com): Pandemonium raged in Galle among hundreds of already traumatized tsunami victims following Wednesday's explosions which rocked the community, who although nearly two years after the tsunami catastrophe continue to pick the pieces of their shattered lives.

Magalla is an area in Galle where the tsunami of December 2004 was hit hard. People there are still working to rebuild their lives, to regain what they had before the disaster, and to come to terms with what they lost. The people there have been starting to look towards the future with hope, and feel that better times are to come. With the help of the government and NGOs, they have begun to regain the sense of safety and security that the waves took away from them.

At 7.45 am on Wednesday October 18th, three explosions rocked the community as the nearby naval base came under an LTTE attack. People crouched in their houses in fear as they wondered what could possibly be happening in a town that had always seemed so far from the war.

According to local NGO workers stationed in the area, "we could hear the ominous sound of the ongoing battle as we waited for news on where the pillar of dark smoke in the distance was coming from. Once it was clear that there was an ongoing attack at the Navy base, and that all of our staff and families were safe, we began to think of the effect of such an event on the people of Magalla.

Before long we were talking on the phone to women who were terrified and alone. Military personnel had told them to leave their homes for their own safety and so they had fled to schools and temples inland with what few belongings they could grab. Their children were at school and so they cried for them in fear that they may not see them again. Many of their husbands were out finishing and as the battle raged on, they became more and more worried about them."

"When we asked these distraught women what we can do for them, they replied that they did not need anything except to see their children and husbands, and to know that someone was there to talk to. We continued to talk to them throughout the day," the NGO workers said.

Principals of the local schools would not release the children until their parents arrived, and most parents had no way of going to the schools due to road closures and the curfew. The men would not be back until nightfall, and so these organizations spent the time reassuring the women that everything would be ok. By evening thankfully it was known that no one had been hurt, and all were back at their homes with the army, navy and police standing guard to try and provide them with some sense of security again.

The general ideology among these victims was, 'it was like the tsunami all over again.' The memories of panic brought to their minds pushing them back to that time and a depth of fear they thought they would never feel again. There was no anger against anyone, just tears of shock flowing again in a community that has already suffered enoughfor a lifetime.

- Asian Tribune -

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