Tsunami Help Home   Enquiry   Missing Persons   News Updates   Help Needed   Help Offered  

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

No help for the 'untouchables'?

KEEZHAIVANAGIRI, India -- Muthu Vellaithevan, a farm laborer who is part of India's untouchable caste, lost seven goats and a cow when massive waves lashed at his coastal village on Dec. 26. The water also swept away his thatch-roofed mud hut.

But he said his real problems began after the water receded, when he and his people found themselves the targets of aid discrimination by the fishermen of his village.

"Forty families from my community took shelter in a school building outside the village," recalled Vellaithevan, 35, a father of three. "But in two days, the fishermen's families at the shelter began troubling us. They did not allow us to sleep and eat with them. They did not want to be under the same roof with us. We were forced to leave. Our homes were destroyed and our children were hungry. Where could we go?"