Monday, March 27, 2006

My experience on Tsunami

- Arun Oscar -
It’s been almost a year since Tsunami hit and devastated the coastal areas of south India .It is inevitable for any human being in the world.
It was 26th December we had hardly finished the Christmas day celebration. On Christmas day we usually enjoy ourselves by bathing in the sea and boating a bit. I got up at 9.30 on 26th as I heard people screaming and running towards the sea. I also pushed myself off to see what was happening. To my surprise, the sea was coming up slowly as a mountain towards the seashore. But fortunately, the waves did not instigate much disaster to our village. The sea, only kept on coming up and going back.
By 10 ‘o’clock, we received the news that Tsunami (sea erosion was then called) had hit our neighboring villages very badly. The sea emerged at 800km speed and returned killing almost thousands of people there. The fisherman community had never experienced such attacks before.
At 1 ‘o’ clock hired a van and rushed to the villages. As we entered inside the village we hear people screaming and weeping. Tsunami had taken almost one person from a house . We helped in removing the corpses to the proper place . It was a miserable sight to see children , women and old men scattered here and there.
The most pitiful event was a coffin exhumed away from the cemetery forcefully. I was just lacking confidence to see all those incredible events. The raging waves had come more than a kilometer beyond the seashore. People from outside the villages had come to the rescue . But there were even robbers among them who dared to steal things from the ruined houses.
But after all the drama the sea was calm as it was never before. We worked in the affected - places till the dusk and returned home to evacuate our people to safe places. We kept on working and removing dead bodies till the end of the week. But we could not convince and console the people who were weeping and mourning. Though Tsunami hit and ruined other countries like Indonesia,Malasia and Sri Lanka, our concern was our people and our relatives.
We were also involved in the Tsunami relief work under NSS Camp associated by St. Jude’s College. Working under such conditions was miserable, which caused Chicken pox to some of our students. But it was a great experience of self-confidence and complacency.
There has been mourning and grievance around the world for the past few months. A number of countries have met with horrible natural disasters. The most unpredictable danger among them was “Tsunami”, which instigated the loss of thousands of human life and their livelihoods. The natural disasters may have occurred in the form either hurricane or the raging waves. But they have always challenged the people around the coastline. Western countries such as America and Mexico may be familiar with this kind of devastation. But for India Tsunami was as fatal as ever.
The fisher folk in Kanya kumara district have reached to a zenith of resurgence to bounce back to the normal life. There are 42 villages in the coastline in Kanya kumari district, which are being renovated, though 24 of them were completely devastated. Villages such as Colochel, Kottilbadu, Muttom, Kadiappattinam, Azhikal, and Pillaithoppu are severely in need of help and assistance.
A number of organizations have assigned themselves in rebuilding these areas; Caritas India, CRS(Community Rehabilitation Society), SCAD(Social Change And Development), care India, SED(Social Education for Development), full gospel trust of India, CRD(Community Rehabilitation Development),action and code aid and good vision are the leading NGOs involved in the ongoing relief work. Radics and hope for the suffering are other organizations from Germany. Their primary concern is the reconstruction of permanent houses, maintenance of temporary sheds, counseling and animation.
These organizations find out the resources available in a village and function according to develop them: Education, sanitation, occupation, shelter, nutrition, rest, water and drainage and support are the major resources. The other resources are fish market, PCO, self- help group, ration shops, AVM channel, IRE and shops. The NGOs are also training people with tailoring, food mat production, sand load and candle making on account of increasing employment.
The ongoing rehabilitation by the NGOs as well as the Government has re-constructed the villages and developed them better than they were before. The process of fishing has touched a new height by the spirited fishermen as well as their newly provided equipments. One might wonder over the development of the fishermen community in the district. The aspect at present is the relieved and smiling faces of people despite losing most of their relatives. A survey says that the raging waves had wrenched away at least one person each family.
Tsunami might have snatched merely the lives and premises up, but not the spirit, which flows in them. Nothing can replace human lives except consolation and kind support. Right from the time of the destruction the locals have been helped with food, money, and cloths from all over India. This indicates that India is a land of unity in diversity. As rehabilitation is on, the district believes to be renovated and reformed as Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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