A survivor's diary: 'It is the constant fear that has affected people most'

What is life like for the survivors? We asked a 22-year-old lecturer, Hasini Nuwansi, to write weekly about the struggle in Sri Lanka to return to normal. This is her first dispatch
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The Independent Online

It is four weeks since the tsunami came. My town, Dickwella,in the south of the island, was one of the places hardest hit. Five people were killed near my home. The houses at the end of my road were completely destroyed. My family was fortunate because we only lost our possessions.

It is four weeks since the tsunami came. My town, Dickwella,in the south of the island, was one of the places hardest hit. Five people were killed near my home. The houses at the end of my road were completely destroyed. My family was fortunate because we only lost our possessions.

I have just returned to my house. I have been living with relatives inland and we still go there at night. Much of the community is doing the same. There is nothing left in our house and the doors don't lock. We are still scared to stay in the house at night in case of another tsunami.

When I came back the house was full of mud and huge rocks which were swept in. It was very strange seeing the place I have lived in for 14 years look like that.

Two girls I know died in the tsunami. One of them was a doctor and died while expecting a child. They were very kind people. Their mother has still not come to terms with their death. I am very worried about her. The only thing keeping her going is looking after her grandson.

The destruction still shocks me. People in the town are scared because they think another wave could come at any time. Now all the houses on the beach are gone, there is no protection and the damage would be worse.

People are gossiping about more waves. Today a friend told me they were expecting another one in Galle - and they ran away from the beach. It is the constant fear which has affected people the most.

The people living in tents near the beach are so desperate; it is going to be months before they can begin to rebuild their life. We don't know where their new houses will be built. I heard that our friends won't be able to stay where their old houses were because the government won't let them build new houses within 100 metres of the sea.

We are still not getting enough aid. The government hasn't provided us with much although we can get some supplies - pillows, mats, cooking pots - from the co-operative shop.

Now the domestic non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have left. We still haven't seen any of the international NGOs deliver things here. Some shops have just reopened but many are still shut because all their goods were damaged.

People are slowly coming out of the shock of what happened and becoming more active in the town. We now want to start trying to recover what we lost.

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