Krishna Pillai Shanmugan stands on the starboard side of his old, damaged ﬁshing boat gazing quietly at a shoreline dotted with dozens of other wrecked vessels and the mangled remains of houses. For ﬁve months he has been trying to gather the pieces of his shattered life after the giant December waves wiped out his entire ﬁshing village, taking with them his wife, two children, his home and boat.
Shanmugan and his older son were among the few survivors in Navaladi, a village located on a sliver of sand between the Indian Ocean and a saltwater lagoon in the eastern district of Batticaloa. The devastating waves claimed two thousand lives in the tiny ﬁshing community and ﬂattened most of the single storey houses. Six months after the disaster, the wreckage remains and few have returned.