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Tsunami victims remembered
December 26, 2005 12:16 IST
Residents of Nagapattinam, the worst tsunami-affected district in Tamil Nadu paid homage to the 6,065 people who had lost their lives in the tragedy, on the 1st anniversary of the disaster on Monday.
A memorial park was opened at the Collectorate by District Collector J Radhakrishnan, where children orphaned by the tsunami placed wreaths at a pillar followed by offering of floral tributes. A minute of silence was also observed in memory of the victims of the tsunami.
People took a pledge on the occassion that they would be fully aware of the disaster and create awareness about it in society.
Three books on tsunami relief - Lest we forget, Road to Recovery and Task Force Plan for Prevention and Mitigation of Disaster were also released on the occassion.
"Our heads bow before the tsunami victims and we pledge to overcome the tragedy and emerge stronger," Radhakrishnan said.
The memorial pillar consists of a globe placed over a wave at its mantle, besides a clock recovered from the naval offic, which shows 9:17 am, the very time the tsunami struck this coastal district.
The park also has 6,065 decorated plants symbolising the number of people who perished in the disaster.
Meanwhile, as the clock struck 6:29 am on Monday, an eerie silence prevailed at the Airforce base at Car Nicobar, reminding everyone of the devastating tsunami and sea quake, while Nicobarese tribals in interior hamlets lit candles to commemorate the first anniversary of the disaster.
Through the meandering roads of Kakana and Malacca, in the vicinity of the Airforce base, families of many victims of the tsunami held a silent prayer, moving from village to village to remember their kin lost to the waves.
The chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force converged at the Air Force base in Car Nicobar, as a tsunami memorial was dedicated to the nation in memory of the dead and departed.
In the Jayanti village, another memorial by the Nicobar district administration was unveiled.
In Port Blair an all-religion prayer was held at the water sports complex adjoining the coast, followed by a two-minute silence from 6:30 am to 6:32 am in memory of those who perished in the tsunami. Minister of State for Home Affairs S Raghupati was present on the occasion.
A rally of students from various schools in Port Blair began walking from the Cellular Jail and went through the town, which wore a deserted look as shops downed shutters in the first half of the day to remember last year's devastation.
A photo exhibition comprising pictures of tsunami victims and the vignettes of the devastation wreaked by killer waves was unveiled at Port Blair's Netaji Stadium.
Of the several memorials built to pay homage to the missing and dead, the most striking and symbolically important is the one built at Car Nicobar by the Andaman and Nicobar Command and dedicated to the nation.
The memorial is exactly 21 feet tall, the very height to which the wave wall rose, swallowing everything in its way as it roared towards the shore shortly after daybreak on Decembar 26, 2004.
On top of the memorial, unveiled on Monday, is the Air Force mascot - the eagle - looking seawards, as if boasting of its preparedness to face umpteen more calamities.
Paying tribute to the memory of 121 people killed in Car Nicobar, 11 of them from the forces, one of the four faces of the memorial says Inki Atma Amar Rahe (may their souls rest in peace). The names of the deceased have been engraved on the rest of the faces of the memorial.
The Port Blair memorial has been constructed facing an already existing Martyrs' Memorial arch and matches its architectural grandeur brick by brick.
Apart from these memorials in Car Nicobar, capital Port Blair and Car Nicobar's Jayanti village, there are 14 more in as many habitable islands across the emerald green archipelago.
Each of these memorials have been built at a cost of over Rs 5 lakh on an average at sites decided by the Tribal Council.
All these memorials will have small beautification projects in the vicinity.
Tsunami Strikes: The Complete Coverage