Tsunami has brought many issues to fore, which of course could be kept at the backside of mind.
Like now at least people little bit are becoming conscious of the necessity to know the vulnerability of the place where they are settled.
In Andamans people may think that how Islands came into existence and how they can be build stronger to face any new challanges of future. Now people are becoming aware of the coastal are zone and the MANGROVE etc and altogether powers are talking about the Bioshield etc. IT happens with the HUMAN
The day will be memorable in the life. In the morning of the Sunday I heard some sound. I thought I have left the tap open. I approached the bathroom and there I saw water in the bucket was shaking. Whole house was shacking. I could not think anything else. Suddenly I guessed IS IT AN EARTHQUAKE? I screamed and rushed to the bedroom where Archana and Jaivardhan were sleeping. I almost dragged both of them and shouted get out of the house, there is an earthquake. She must have got a shock of life. We ran out of house without shoes etc and as we were since the question was to fight the earthquake and what GOD has written in our destiny. And to my destiny, theirs destiny is also attached. Otherwise they could have gone out of these islands on some pretext. Or will it be my fault to not to try to go out of these islands. Then GOD will question me, why u didn’t try to get out of these islands or at least send both of them out of these islands. I saw water in the drainage shaking. The electric pole was vigorously shaking. There were all the neighbors, some were screaming and clinging to others trying to run to safety, trying to protect them from the shaking ground. Then almost I fainted with terror. After few hours we tried to be in normal state, terrible state inside, both archana and me came inside of our house. I started collecting all essential things in a bag. The Money, certificates, islander’s card, bottle of drinking water and some edibles etc. we kept these in two bags near the gate. Then I thought what GOD is thinking for me or HE just wanted to punish me. I prayed “please forgive my wife archana and my son jaivardhan”- who is just reaching fourth year of his life. He was also looking shaken and he always tried to be in my or his mother’s “GODI” lap. He says he feels frightened. I tried to console him. However, weeping inside, I thought due to me only he is made to see this day in his life.
Then around 8 AM again tremors were felt, we ran outside. this exercise continued till today. On the Sunday night we could not sleep despite of the heaviness in head and eyes.
Neighbors all camped on road braving the cold air from the sea nearby. Actually we were on the high hilly side that’s why we were saved. But we could see the seawater rushing towards the nallah from Carbyne’s cove beach area. The powerfull water surged inside the nalah with lot of sound. We saw few people strangled in the rushing water in the middle of road. We were almost few kilometers away up in the hill we could not do anything for those people. Everything was looking submerged. After sometime water began receding and we could see those people coming out. They were on the top of the autoricksaw. We heard few are missing. In evening at 6pm Earth began shaking again. That time I felt my life squeezed out of me.
In the night, whole family of Rizuanullah (assistant secretary law) was also there on roads. They live on the first floor. They have one son little elder to my jai and one daughter less than two years old. I spontaneously asked him why you are out in cold, if you want you can come in our house, where already four people are sheltered; they live on the second floor. Since the cold was not suitable for children. However they agreed and came in our house. I and Mr Rizuanullah occupied the balcony area (half open). And rest of the people stayed inside of house. I was feeling very cold outside but what to do I could not think anything else. I could not sleep due to unknown fear.
In night around 1.30 again Mr rizuanullah screamed- run out it is there again. We all ran outside. I rushed inside to drag archana and Jai. we again came out on road. After one hour, we decided to move in the house again. Thus few could rest till 5 in morning.
At around 6 or something a tremor again struck, all came out of houses. Now everybody was in fear. Whole day was like that only. At 8.30 and 12.00 somebody screamed and within no time everybody came out. This day (Monday) the fear was there but in less quantity. There was no power supply since Sunday 6.0 AM. However power supply was restored in evening only on Monday. I packed the food in the Tiffin carrier and kept it at the door. Monday evening was colder than Sunday’s. However we tried to be calm. Around 12.45 in night there was a great shock again and then I lost all hope. We ran out of house. Since then we could not sleep fully. That’s why there is headache and archana is vomiting and feeling bad with headache. Jaivardhan is also feeling bad since he is not eating anything properly and he seemed to afraid due to all this running and he is listening to what everybody talking about the earthquake and the news of the death toll in Nicobar area.
I pray to GOD to forgive us.
Today is the fourth day in Andaman, after the quake hit this land. Still we are feeling bad. I feel something going on in my head, some kind of jerks I feel. Only thing I wish is to have rest and lie down. I feel the need to stretch out. But due to continuous fear we are unable to take rest. After every minute I rush out to see- is any thing happened or are there people around? what they are doing?. In absence of radio or local news it is very difficult to know what is happening. Few neighbors have their relatives in and around Port Blair. Sometimes girl upstairs runs out screaming that they have announced red alert and the quake can hit us at 4 or so. Then suddenly we become active. Body starts shaking especially my legs. But anyhow we rush out and gather on road. Then while talking it descends that since that area is a low lying area so there is risk of the tidal waves, hence all people are cautioned against it, and to be alert. All day was like that only. I took a bag and tried to fill few cloths for my son and warm clothing to save us from cold airy night and few dry eatables etc and two bottles of drinking water. Despite of the fact that govt or A & N administration assures everybody that relief measures are being taken up and every thing is OK. And I myself also am a govt servant. So blaming govt alone is not good practice on my part. But being a govt servant what sort of services I can render when my home and family is in continuous danger. No water, no electricity and fear of the worst is always with me. In night, we had to spent time awake and in cold night. And continuously think from where our food & clothing will come in case something happens. Within whatever less time available, we try to cook food and I pack in Tiffin box and rush out on road so as to save ourselves from the “ALMIGTHY”. I try to console everybody of my locality and provide whatever little help possible such as a bucket of drinking water, some edibles, and also shelter in night. Where lot of children sleep under open sky.
At least in my house they are saved from the cold. Two families living on second floor were afraid of sleeping in their houses so our house suitably accommodated them in night. However during night twice we ran outside of house, as one of them shouted that building is shaking. The whole episode was terrible. But still we tried to struggle on our own.
I think that these (Govt machinery, including me) are also human being and must be afraid of earthquake. Every Human must be. We should be alert. For these four days no body from the Govt. came to our colony to assure us. However we did not face grave injuries physically. But the need of a temporary shelter is felt due to the fear of after shocks rocking our houses. On Monday we could see many cracks in the walls. That adds to our fear. everybody of our colony sleeps on roads; no body dares to stay inside. Thus it was a desire that if one big pandal or shamiana could have been erected in our colony in absence of any collective endeavor from residents of our colony. On Tuesday night two families erected small shamiana, I could not ask them to provide shelter to me, out of fear of rejection. However I tried to give all my advice as to how best they can erect it so that it remains erected all night. Jokingly I asked the boy as to how they will provide the space under it whether on first come first serve basis. The lad was clever than me; he replied that on advance booking. That means it is for their and their neighbors only. (This boy is now working in govt)
I thought whether is it possible that we can be evacuated by the IA or jet flights so that we can go to our homelands. I mean those who from the affected areas and have relatives on mainland and wishing to go mainland at this juncture. Like me, I am living in andamans but all my family members are residing in mainland India. I am staying due to job. It is all due to livelihood we came to andamans. GOD knows whether it is possible or not.
At least Govt servants could be given LTC and for which they are entitled to. In this time of need, IA can provide this facility to the families wishing to go out of Port Blair. It will also reduce the load on the relief activities and other needs such as food water etc, which are already scares for victims. Thus few of the population moving out may reduce the load and help in disguise to many.
All my family members said you come here by flight. But where from the money will come I think. And sadness looms over me.
But thing is that since now relief operation is in full swing. All day I hear planes taking off and landing. Since the airport is nearby, on down side of the hill on which our colony is constructed. We cannot reach there in short time, but can hear every sound of the starting and stopping engines.
It is feared that many have died in these tidal waves. The toll may reach thousands.
Whole of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is having population of 356152 as per the census 2001. This is 2004 so the population would have been more than this figure. In Andaman district population 314084 and Nicobar District 42068. Port Blair being the capital area and URBAN centre of this territory has the largest portion of population of about 159845 persons. Nicobar district is reported to be worst hit by this calamity. Carnicobar Tehsil or block has 20292 persons and the Nancowry has the 21776 persons. Carnicobar is a small island and the capital (head quarter) area of the Nicobar District thus has the largest concentration of population. This area comprises of the 17 census habitations. IAF camp is one of the habitation having about 2000 persons. There are more habitations having populations of approx 2000. They are Malacaa with 3000 persons, Lapathi 2691, MUS village has 1800, Sawai has 1300 and Tamaloo village has 1500 people.
However the nacowry tehsil comprises of number of small and large islands with altogether 154 census habitations. Campell bay in great Nicobar, which is a biggest island famous for “INDIRA POINT”, has the population of more than 4000 people.
While Mildera village has 1800 and Kamorta has 1884 persons. These are the largest populated areas of Nacowry tehsil. And others are on smaller islands with population of not more than 800 persons. But yes the destruction is more than the IAF camp as projected in MEDIA. Since these were smaller islands and almost of sea level. MEDIA has project an incomplete picture of destruction. Since MEDIA could not reach these pockets and MEDIA could reach here only due to the destruction met to the IAF camp. MEDIA did not reach other parts of Nancowry since IAF was not there. It was feared that few islands have been completely washed off from the MAP. MEDIA did not or could not do the aerial survey of the islands. Media could not reach Baratang area where the mud is rushing out just like the volcanic activity (or I could not reach media if they have reached here).
In news I read that one of the largest quake hit near Australia in the TASMANIA at 2 AM on 23rd or 24 December of the 8.1 Richter scale under the sea. And all over the many parts the after affects are being reported. HAD the Govt procured the high-speed ships for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Relief could have been done with speed. It was reported in MEDIA that 360 passengers were evacuated in morning and 360 more will be evacuated in evening. But still we saw in TV that around 700 tourists were stranded at airport. Two or three airbuses could have sent them. Reasons may be that these tourists did not have air tickets or the money to purchase it. A scene is recalled where IA or AI has rescued passengers from Arabian countries, I actually don’t know whether AI Or IA charged money for that or not? A point to make here is that Even if I wish to go to mainland to meet my family in this disaster I have to shell out huge amount for three persons myself, my wife and son, each ticket is costing around 8000. In this disaster even IA don’t provide concession.
One thing they can do is to provide LTC tickets to us so that financial burden on us can be reduced at this point of time.
Is it possible to evacuate altogether 2 lakhs of people from Andamans to mainland by deploying the sea ships combined with the air lifting?
I enquired today (30-12-04) from the IA information desk at Port Blair airport and promptly got a reply that there is no concession for passengers wishing to go to mainland.
In wake of news that after shock may strike anytime we are in a bad shape as to what to do. We want to go out of this place to join our family. But being a govt servant we cannot do. And no possible help is coming from any agency to our assurance.
A news item, which seems to be a silly one is that primitive tribes are safe and kept safe.
How bad it is in taste. No body knows the exact number of JARAWA tribals. Not even Anthropological survey of India. This primitive tribe lives in jungle and often come out, and it is only then the administration comes in their contact. It is wrong to say that there are 200 JARAWAS. It is only estimated figure. Same is true for other tribes. Sentinelese and Onges. When the machinery is not sufficient to evacuate or to provide relief to citizens and at that point of time talking of safety of primitive tribes doesn’t make sense. On some other occasion this topic is good. But at this point of time bringing this topic in media is not good. Since the machinery cannot interact with PTGs i.e sentenelise etc then how they think that admn can evacuate whole PTGs out of their habitat to a safer place? Admin. Should not be blamed.
I was in my office at 12.30 noon and a phone rang. I lifted it. It was my father. He said what happened? In the news here they are reporting that quake may hit port Blair again. No body is receiving the phone calls at your home what has happened check it? are all of you safe?. Tell me and if possible come back. I said I don’t know anything. I am in my Office with no link to the outside world. Nor even the local news etc. I rang in my home twice but yes nobody received it. I panicked and rushed out of my office. AT the gate of my office(education dept) few office staff were looking shaken and said that they have announced red alert. Water may fill the port Blair. I thought if my father may not have rang me I could have been washed out being in office. (my staff all were gone out, venkat, Shobhana and all were out, I was on first floor, nobody told me. Since at these times everybody is engulfed with their personal safety first and do not bother for others. Thus all of them were rushing outside of the building and did not tell me. I was in my room doing various things on computer and other office stuff) There was panic on the road. Everybody on their vehicle was rushing opposite to the city(towards dairyfarm) and screaming at everybody that be alert run away water is coming and filled the Aberdeen bazaar area. I thought my god what has happened to my family. My legs and hands did not move. I was feeling as if I will fell down. Then suddenly I began to run towards my home. On the way I saw hundreds of people not one hundred but hundreds of people rushing here and there towards the hill at police line- the hill which oversees the port Blair airport. At the hill I saw auto, scooter trucks and even bus full of load are parked there with many more people coming from every direction. Few are (as I was) moving to their homes I suppose. The whole stretch I walked in the sun and viewing the hordes of people running screaming crying weeping and few fallen due to some reason or the other. Few were consoling each other few old ladies were seemed to be in despair as if they have no wish to live or unable to fight old age as I saw them sitting at few places. In this mad rush they were unable to move safely. But yes inside of me as I was coming towards my house at each step I was more afraid of the unknown. I had never seen people in such a big number. I lost count. whole of the area was filled with human heads. As I reached my colony and as soon as I saw the faces of my wife and son I was relieved of lot of tension. I felt at home. BUT yes I was afraid that GOD what is in store for me. What is going to happen to us? I asked GOD for what you are taking my exam. And what sin I have committed for which YOU are punishing me. All the way I traveled every step I felt that I am about to fell down. Then I thought what would happen to my son. Who will help them?
But unnatural thing happened to me that was- I did not weep, which is against my nature.
Whole body was trembling. I tried to calm myself and tried to indulge in talking with the neighbours who had also gathered for shelter.
And was thinking why we were not being evacuated out of this hell, for all these days we were unable to sleep peacefully from Sunday to Thursday.
On Thursday evening there was news that there is no need to panic and everything is calm. God knows what is in store for us. I packed few old cloths at home and submitted to the dept for distribution among the victims.
I thought whether all the petrol and fuel used in the relief operation combined together with other resources will not be enough to evacuate the 2 lakhs of people out of Andaman at present crores of money is flooding in for the relief. Will that be not enough for evacuating all the people from the andamans. I guess out of the 3.5 lakhs only about 2 lakhs are living. May be GOD knows, as the estimate is about 6 thousands then why not estimate is about 1 lakhs. Since exact extent of the devastation is not yet known.
And how India looks at this calamity is evident from the TV which is splashing the news of cricket matches and bollywood programmes and plans for new year’s celebration etc. Thing is- India is a great country. Sorrow of one part is not sorrow of another part. they are all separate parts of India. BOROLAND or the students/AGP did not say anything for the victims of tsunami. Since these victims are of citizen of India. And the whole ULFA or other factions fighting in Assam are they not from INDIA??. Same is true for Manipur & Naga outfits fighting the govt. Where are the LITTE & Naxalite organizations??. Did SIMI and liberation tigers of Jammu and Kashmir say anything about this calamity? Or they are just waiting for calamity striking the west Asia? Are they not part of India? Or other non-Hindu organizations are planning to send the relief to south East Asia etc. And few Hindu organizations are still making plans as to how help the victims? First state to declare the relief was GUJRAT GOVT. and when the VIPPS visited the affected area states ruled by the ruling party started declaring the relief.
This is India. And I am a proud citizen of INDIA.
Still I am puzzled what to do in the present scenario (uncertain).
Today is 5-1-2005. So many days passed since the killer tsunami episode. First feeling comes to me that why still I am not able to go out of these islands. Answer is within. why I have not tried to do so?. Being a govt servant I heard that we are not allowed to go out on leave. I just heard and not seen any kind of order. So I did not apply for the same. Then how can I blame anybody else for it? There is one relief camp being established at ITF Ground. I am going there often and try to do anything, which I can. One day I distributed the Mosquito nets to infants. I was sad that I could not give nets to the little older children means those who are older than 2 or 3 years. Even then I tried to provide the net to many children saying that try to take care of child while they sleep and told their elders that take care and keep their feet inside the net while sleeping. In the camp the central relief office has provided these nets. Then I thought that what if all the persons can be given mosquito nets. BUT alas how can I decide I am a simple worker not the decision maker.
But then did the community think of the mosquito problem, while providing the relief material.
I am not able to go out of this place but yes to my surprise now days I find many persons from Media, NGOs etc are flooding this place. God knows how they get permission or whether they are paying any charges for their flight tickets or enjoying the free pass under the garb of the PRESS.
I was still thinking that is the money not enough to evacuate all the inhabitants of these islands to mainland India. Especially those who wish to go and join their families at Mainland. Daily relief works is in progress many flights are coming and going out of the Port Blair Airport. Still are they not enough to evacuate 1 lakhs of people. If we see the statistics only the 37000 persons are working in the A & N administration as per the census of govt. employees as on 2001. Even if we keep this figure as 40000 it is ok. And mostly in Port Blair and other parts of islands both the spouses are in govt service I mean the maximum number is of those ones. And remaining are supporting a family of say 3 or 4 dependents. Even then hardly (approximately) 1 lakhs people will be willing to go to mainland. Local as they call themselves are having everything here- landed property etc things. So say about 70000 people would be interested to go out of here. Can anyone evacuate these people with available resources?
Now there is chaos all around with the threats of looming danger of epidemic. Pipelines have been broken and pose a danger of contamination of water. Govt should at least chlorinate the water, which is supplied through pipelines. OR distribute the chlorine tablets in houses with the proper usage instructions. People residing in camps are mingling with the local city population will that also pose any threat for communicable diseases or not? If it is not, then thank to GOD.
Workers/Volunteers at relief camps should be provided with the safeguard items such as masks /gloves etc.
I saw few media persons roaming in the relief camps searching here and there to find out what they can provide. Lot of “creativity” is going on in their brains. Few are capturing things on their lens also.
On roads on buildings everywhere I saw cracks. Huge ones are on the hilly side and on the both side of roads. I don’t know whether any media dignitary has noticed it or not. But yes we are missing some thing. Few days or after few years something similar will be devastating. It will cause a great damage to the Port Blair. Topography may change, Due to the onslaught on the nature. In name of development of the town many avoidable things have already been done. And foremost is the Cutting of the old trees. The trees were there since the very existence of islands. Such as Chakargaon area. In the Holland it is learnt that they have reclaimed the land from the sea. Can it be done in Port Blair?
In Japan there they are working or developing a floating airport. Sounds good but can we do some work like this in India and be original. Why in India we don’t work for development of our country. We are still under the legacy of RAJ, where everybody was working for himself or herself under a disguise. They were working for RAJ just for livelihood not for the nation. Now it should change.