Prayers for victims of 2004 tsunami

INDIA STANDS GUARD FOR MANY NATIONS

Sunday, 27 December 2015 | Kumar Chellappan | Chennai |

The tsunami waves which struck the Tamil Nadu coast on December 26, 2004 is believed to have claimed more than 5,000 lives. The giant tidal waves took Indians by surprise and the term itself was strange to people in the country. It is the first time people in India understood the meaning of the word devastation.

Things have changed a lot as the nation, nay the world, observed on Saturday the 11th anniversary of this century’s worst natural disaster which claimed 2.28 lakh lives in 14 countries stretching from Indonesia in the east to Kenya in the African coast. The last decade saw scientists of the Hyderabad based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, a research institute under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, mastering the science and art of tsunami forecast.

Next time the giant tidal waves hit the Indian coast, chances are that it would return empty handed. “We have mastered the science of forecasting whether there is any possibility of any tsunami waves arising out of earthquakes which occur in Bay of Bengal or Indian Ocean. It is possible for us to determine the possibility of tsunami waves at least two hours in advance,” T Srinivasa Kumar, director, National Tsunami Warning System at INCOIS Hyderabad, told The Pioneer.

The major achievement made by the scientists of INCOIS is that they stand guards   for the countries along the Indian Ocean rim. “All these countries are dependent on the National Tsunami Warning Centre at Hyderabad for tsunami alerts. Our monitoring stations have a 24X7 control room which scans all the oceans and seas in the world. We can issue tsunami warnings within ten minutes of any earthquakes happening in any of these oceans,” said Dr Kumar.

The 2004 tsunami waves took Indians by surprise and the term itself was strange to people in the country. Certain areas were left untouched by the powerful tidal waves. Research proved that those regions were saved because of the thick growth of mangroves. Now, one can see scientists from Asian and African countries making a beeline to Cuddalore based Centre for Advanced Studies in Marine Biology to get expertise in rearing mangroves along coass and estuaries.

The year 2015 saw the Government of Tamil Nadu launching a programme to familiarise residents along the coastal belt about tsunami waves. “The Panchayath Union officials are visiting coastal villages and tell us about tsunami waves which may strike at any time. We have been told to get ready for evacuation once the taunami warning is issued by the authorities,” said Vinayakam, a fisherman of Karikattukuppam, who had a miraculous escape from the 2004 tsunami waves.

But Jaya Payalan, a marine engineer-turned-fisherman activist  who is the president of South Indian Fisherman  Federation said a lot has to be done in creating an awareness among the fishermen and community members. “There is no means to call back the fishers out in the deep sea in the event of tsunami waves. The civil administration has to function with military discipline to save lives and properties. The recent flood is proof that the disaster managers are yet to mature to that standard,” said Palayan.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/nation/india-stands-guard-for-many-nations.html

Women offer prayers at a ceremony for the victims of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, at Marina Beach in Chennai. (AFP)

2015 Dec. 26

Women offer prayers at a ceremony for the victims of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, at Marina Beach in Chennai. (AFP)

The fishermen community pay homage at a memorial of tsunami victims in Chennai. (PTI)

The fishermen community pay homage at a memorial of tsunami victims in Chennai. (PTI)

A woman in Chennai cries as she offers prayers to the tsunami victims. (PTI)

A woman in Chennai cries as she offers prayers to the tsunami victims. (PTI)Women leave pots of milk as offerings during a ceremony for the victims of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, at Marina Beach in Chennai. (AFP)Women leave pots of milk as offerings during a ceremony for the victims of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, at Marina Beach in Chennai. (AFP)People pour milk into the sea at an event to mark the 11th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami, in Chennai. (PTI)People pour milk into the sea at an event to mark the 11th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami, in Chennai. (PTI)

Jeevema s’aradah s’atam as the Indian Ocean will reunite the Community. Kalyanaraman

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