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Ahumad's story: a new nest for tsunami survivors

Ahumad Ali stands in front of his new house© InfoAhumad Ali (49) and his family are among 44 families that moved into their new homes in Fonadhoo in the Maldives in April 2008. He said: “The house is extremely good, much better than my old house before the tsunami. The house is bigger, stronger and comfortable.

"And most importantly, if there is another tsunami I am sure there will not be any damage to the structure.”

On the morning of 26 December 2004, after completing some work at the office, Ahumad came home for breakfast. One of his daughters was at the hospital about to give birth to his grandchild and only his son was at home. He came out of the house after he heard a loud noise to see coconut trees swaying and birds flying. “I thought it was an attack from another country!”


He ran to grab his son before running out of the house. Water was up to his waist at this point and it was getting higher and higher. The wall surrounding his house collapsed. His leg got stuck and by mistake he let go of his son’s hand. Water was up to his nose and he could see his son about 40 feet away, being swept away with the waves.

Ahumad managed to pull his leg out and swam to his son. Although he tried to swim towards his relatives’ house, the current was too strong and they were pushed again towards his house. By then he saw that his house was completely destroyed.

Ahumad had taken a loan of 15,000 Maldives Rufiyaa (about £590) to construct his house and had kept 4,000 MRF (around £160) in his house that was lost with the waves.


After several years of reconstruction, Ahumad was very pleased to move into his new home. He said: “I am very grateful to the British Red Cross. Fonadhoo has seen lots of teams come to do surveys and have heard no more. But the British Red Cross actually did a programme and has given my family a new home.”

As well as constructing houses, the British Red Cross is helping communities rebuild their livelihoods and learn how to be prepared for future disasters.

More stories about building new homes

More about our tsunami recovery work