Baan Nai Rai, Thailand – While thousands perished in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, a mangrove forest saved the Muslim villagers here from certain death.
Since the massive waves ploughed into Thailand’s southern coast, however, a development company has tried to claim the land, bulldoze the mangrove forest, and build a luxury tourist resort.
In 2006, 100 villagers reached an agreement with the investor to relocate their houses to another area a few kilometres away, but they refused to give up on the mangroves. Nevertheless, in 2013 a court ruled that the private investor had legally acquired the land.
Today, the Muslim community is trying to find additional evidence to again bring the case back to court and save the mangrove forest that saved them.