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Tsunami survivors suffer ‘displacement by tourism’

A wave of tourism development in Tamil Nadu and Kerala threatens to displace communities still struggling to rebuild following the tsunami of Christmas 2004.

Campaign group Tourism Concern reports survivors of the disaster in southern India face removal at the hands of resort developers following “aggressive land acquisitions”.

Tourism Concern says fishing communities are being cut off from the sea by tourism developments, coastal villages relocated and communities pressured into selling their land for a fraction of what it is worth. It argues the Indian government bears responsibility for designating the areas as emerging destinations and lifting restrictions on coastal building.

Tricia Barnett, director of Tourism Concern, said: “This is an example of tourism policy and big business riding roughshod over vulnerable people. That people are still struggling to recover from the tsunami makes it even more reprehensible.”

She suggested: “This might make holidaymakers think twice about visiting Kerala and Tamil Nadu.”

Five thousand survivors of the tsunami in fishing villages in Tamil Nadu are still in need of housing, according to Sumesh Mangalassey of Tourism Concern’s tsunami and displacement project.

Tourism Concern also reports that many members of fishing communities in Sri Lanka are out of work and living on government handouts, having been forced to abandon fishing after relocation inland.

 

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