rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Tsunami and Hurricane Sandy -- lest we forget

Tsunami and Hurricane Sandy -- lest we forget

Last updated on: October 30, 2012 12:43 IST

Tsunami and Hurricane Sandy -- lest we forget

     Next

Next
B Raman

As Hurricane Sandy wreaks havoc in the US, it's high time we revisit our disaster preparedness post the 2004 tsunami, notes B Raman.

Our prayers are with the people of America's eastern coast who have been living through a nightmare thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

It has brought life almost to a standstill, but fortunately there has been no humanitarian disaster of the kind that the tsunami of December 2004 inflicted on the people of Chennai, coastal Tamil Nadu, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Southern Thailand and some of the islands of Indonesia.

Barring Indonesia, the rest of the areas were hit by a tsunami for the first time in their history. Many of us did not even know what had hit us when we suddenly found huge waves taking away thousands of people who were near the seashore.

As I keep reading the tweets of Barkha Dutt, group editor of NDTV, who is presently in Brown University on Rhode Island, regarding the progress of the hurricane and its feared aftermath and watching the brave coverage of Sarah Jacob of NDTV from the streets and restaurants of New York, my mind goes back to the hours after the tsunami struck us.

Some brave young journalists and officials were the first to reach the affected areas to assist the disaster-struck people and keep the world informed of the magnitude of the disaster.

Please click NEXT to read further...


Image: A storm-swept coast in Southampton, New York, on Monday following Hurricane Sandy
Photographs: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

     Next

Tsunami and Hurricane Sandy -- lest we forget

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Sheela Bhatt of Rediff.com and Suhasini Haidar, then working for CNN, New Delhi, rushed to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were practically cut off from the rest of India.

Barkha Dutt rushed to coastal Tamil Nadu where many villages were swept away by the waves and thousands of poor fishermen were killed by the marauding waves. Lyse Doucet of BBC co-ordinated the coverage from all the affected areas -- initially from Tamil Nadu and subsequently from Indonesia.

Many young officers of the governments of Tamil Nadu and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands rose to the occasion in a brilliant manner despite the fact that our governments had never prepared a crisis management drill for dealing with tsunamis since we had never experienced a tsunami before. There was global recognition of the remarkable work done by them.

The Indian and US navies together mounted a massive humanitarian relief operation in south India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia.

When memories of the disaster were still fresh, governmental and non-governmental organisations in the US undertook a systematic documentation of the tsunami experience so that a database of knowledge and experience was available for the future.

Please click NEXT to read further...


Image: Flowers are laid on a beach during a memorial ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami
Photographs: Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters

Prev     Next

Tsunami and Hurricane Sandy -- lest we forget

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

One would have expected a similar exercise to document our tsunami experience. Unfortunately, we never did it. In 2005, I was associated as distinguished fellow with the Observer Research Foundation of New Delhi. I proposed to the late RK Mishra, the then head of ORF, that we undertake such an exercise. He reacted positively, but I found within six months of the tsunami disaster a total lack of interest and co-operation for the project, which failed to take off.

I do not know whether the National Maritime Foundation of the Indian Navy has undertaken such an exercise for documentation. If not, it is time for it to do so.

 


Image: A scene of devastation in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, after the tsunami
Photographs: Arko Dutta/Reuters

Prev     Next

TOP photo features of the week

Prev     More

Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTO features...



Tags: PHOTO , MORE , TOP

Prev     More