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Killer Tsunami Hits South-Asia: Eye-witness Account From Chennai

Latest updates on top. Scroll down to read earlier updates.
[link]PM seeks contributions for relief work[/link]

Wondering what the Kanchi Mutt would say now. You know what I mean? The Tsunami presents a great opportunity for them to turn this into some 'god is pissed off with the sacrilege' theme.
What is the status of Mahabalipuram? Are the sculptures and temples ok? What about the East-Coast Road? MGM-Dizzee World and all those sea-side restaurants? Can someone tell me what happened to all of them?
Over 3000 dead in Andaman & Nicobar Islands
The toll in the Andaman and Nicobar, hit by a massive Tsunami wave on Sunday morning, has climbed to more than 3000 with worst hit Car Nicobar and the Nancowrie group of islands till inaccessible. ...More
Want to help victims in Chennai?
Shankar[] wrote in:
I am a student at the University of Texas. I came across your blog looking for info on the tsunami. I am wondering if you or any of your fellow bloggers know of a place where I can make donations online. I believe that will be the swiftest way to send money, but the PM's relief fund seems to take DDs and cheques. Can you pass the word
around and send me info? I will pass it on to my friends and family. Could you also post the information on your blog to share this information ( I came to your site through metafilter and I believe many more will do so).
Thanks a lot,

Respond to Shankar at
If you want to help contribute by giving used clothes, please call Kribs at 98415 97744.
If anyone is interested in helping out the affected people near the Neelankarai area, please contact Priya at 25506284. Even if you are not able to help directly, please pass on this information to others who might be willing to give a helping hand.

Toll up. Over 2500 dead in Tamilnadu alone. The overall toll in South-Asia is over 13000 but I think it will only go up. My colleague whose hometown is Pondy told me that Nagapattinam-the worst hit town in TN-is all set to become a ghost town as people are getting out of that town (which alone lost more than 1000 lives) to Thiruvarur. Read the Sun News Report
I was not too surprised about NDTV and its coverage of the catastrophe: they started taking it seriously only by the afternoon (yesterday); they were airing Big Fight about beauty pageants or some nonsense like that. Having said that I have to admit Sanjay Pinto is doing a great job for NDTV on the field. Barka Dutt claimed that she discovered scores of dead bodies that were unattended to. Jenifer, meanwhile, caught hold of a girl that was on the beach last morning with her folks, and asked a billion dollar question: 'how does it feel?' to which the girl replied, 'I think we have a lot of luck.' And Jenifer turns to the camera and said, 'not many families had such luck.' Hey for god'ssake, cut the F***** drama man! It is a national catastrophe and I think as TV channels you focus should only be on keeping people informed.
Sun News did a good job of keeping people informed about what was going on.
Update from Nanda Kishore:
I went to see if there is something that I can do for those people. I went when I got the first message that the Marina water has entered the city and that the water has come out till Mandaveli. I took my camera for any picture possibilities, mobile to keep in touch and some money. I wasn't sure if it was true. So it didn't occur to me that I should also carry something for those people.

But when I reached there, I realized that I couldn't have carried enough for all those people running out of their homes. Some drenched till their hips, some till their chest, some all over and some of them were so drenched that they had already stopped breathing. Men and women, old and young, all were running for lives. It was a horrible site to see. The relief workers could not attend to all the dead and all the alive. The dead were dropped and the half alive were carried to safety. Old women had to be carried in chairs or transported by rickshaws. People scrambled what they could from their homes and could not check if they had carried enough. There is a pic of a couple checking if they have carried enough in the middle of the road. Lucky couple! They could at least do that! Many could not carry anything from home, because they had to run for their lives. And many couldn't run for their lives, because they were already dead. Helicopters were hovering around to try and salvage the alive (if any). It was a sad scene. It is true that we as a nation are ill prepared for such crisis situations. But I couldn't even blame the authorities here. They were just taken aback by the gravity of the situation. It was just too much for them. The Police Station in Foreshore estate was submerged in knee deep water when I had been that side.

It is probably by luck that I got the head of the buffalo in the picture where there is a dead body on the platform. It now seems prophetic, for according to the Hindu mythology, Lord Yama (the god of death) rides on a buffalo.

There were people who wanted the pictures I had taken for publishing. There were people who had just come to see if it was true. There were people laughing as if it was a Jim Carry movie. There were people crying because it was someone close to them who was missing. Reports now say that around 5000 fishermen have been reported missing.
I also do turtle walks and I know a little about their lives. They venture into the sea at 3 or 4 in the morning. God knows when they would come back. Typically each trip would take 2-3 days. Tough life for them. Tough luck for them.

I pray God for those people who lost their lives and for those who lost their kith & kin because of this tragedy.

May their soul rest in peace. AMEN.

26 Dec 2004

Nanda Kishore of reports:
"I wanted to see what was going on and see if I could help. There is no beach on the Marina beach; it is filled with water. Throngs of people are leaving there homes. And, I saw dead bodies floating around. It is sad. Really sad." Nanda also shot pictures of the calamity that befell South-Asia and killed more than 3000 people (as of now, the toll in all probability will be higher). Update:The pictures are back onlinethanks to Imageshack. I have removed the links to the online album as I can't afford the bandwidth. My site went down for a few hours earlier. However, if you want to see the pictures or buy them, mail to nandasethuraman [at] gmail [dot] com.

Chennai experienced mild tremors at about 07:30 hours this morning. And around 08:30 tidal waves from the sea invaded the city's coastal areas, wreaking havoc among people living along the shore. At the time it was reported on TV only 23 people were reported dead. But now, it looks like the toll is well over 150 in Chennai alone.
The killer Tsunami unleashed its fury across the coastline of three states including A.P.; Orissa; and TN. The government is coming to terms with the magnitude of the situation and relief work has started, with the Coast Guard, Para-military forces engaged in evacuation and relief work.
BBC Report
Please share your experiences here. God bless. If you are in Chennai think of contributing to the relief measures.

(All pictures courtesy Nanda Kishore.S nandasethuraman [at] gmail [dot] com)

Write to me: suman 'at' sumankumar 'dot' com


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