Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Killer Tsunami – the lost connection with nature and gender inequity

THE LOST MANGROVE : As we commemorate the killer tsunami that hit south Asia 10 years ago, I remember a monument proposal I submitted 5 years ago — The Lost Mangrove”, its title …. commenting on the dire consequences of clearing one’s guardian angels, mangroves and corals, to make ways for tourist, shrimp/prawn farms and other facilities in the name of economy..

The proposal also meant to commemorate that there were 3 times as many women died as men when the tsunami struck.

In Cuddalor, India: 391 female deaths, compared with 146 men. In Pachaankuppam village, the only people to die were women. In Sri Lanka too, partial information such as camp surveys and press reports suggest a serious imbalance in the number of men and women who survived.

Some of the causes of these patterns are similar across the region: many women died because they stayed behind to look for their children and other relatives;

The other hard to look at fact was: too many women just couldn’t swim even they grew up by the sea, sadly….

so when we remember the great lost and the power of nature, we shall also remember to reflect on how these tragedies were made and who contributed to them.

In association with the lost of the mangrove forests together with the vital knowledge related to it, another piece of important knowledge lost was the survival knowledge in the face of tsunami. This is one of the quotes from an Indonesian community recorded by Canadian Broadcast Corp : “When the ocean roars like thunder and the water suddenly retreats, it is the land and the sea redrawing their boundaries. Run away from the sea and to the mountains, until a new division is drawn.

So while many lives were lost, 80,500 Simeulue people who were located close to the epicenter fled the shore for nearby hills on that fateful Sunday morning in December.