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    Quake triggers tsunami on Indonesia's Java, at least 5 killed

    A powerful earthquake sent a two-meter (yard) high tsunami crashing
    into a beach resort on Indonesia's Java island Monday, killing at least
    five people and damaging hotels and houses. Indonesian President Susilo
    Bambang Yudhoyono confirmed the casualties in a radio broadcast. [Link]


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    This one is for Arivu and Jaya

    Jaya offering prayers to her lost child�We are offering prayers and gifts to our baby. We lost her to the Tsunami.� Arivu said. I had a lump in my throat. I wanted to ask so many things but I could not. �Where is your home?� Nanda asked. Arivu is the black shirt guyArivu flashed a wry smile and said, �We are standing on it.� [Read more]

    I hope Arivu and Jaya have built a new home. I hope they have a baby now. I hope they have hope now.


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    Riding a great wave

    Jai Arjun Singh writes about the Mumbai Tsunami Bloggers in his piece titled Riding a great wave.
    FYI Arjun, there were bloggers from other cities too that chipped in during the tragedy. You should have googled for it; it appears that you did not.


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    World Bank discussion on private sector and tsunami recovery

    I received a mail from the World Bank, seeking my contribution to the discussion on 'World Bank discussion on private sector and tsunami recovery'. I am copy/pasting the mail as is. Read it and please contribute. Also, forward this message to friends who might be interested in contributing. Communists please excuse. ;-)
    Dear Colleagues:
    The World Bank would like to invite the authors and readers of the Tsunami Help India blog to participate in our current discussion on the private sector's role in the recovery from the Indian Ocean tsunami and other natural disasters. We hope you will take a moment to join us and share your thoughts and experiences. Please feel free to share this invitation with friends and colleagues who might also be interested. We look forward to your participation! The full announcement is below.

    The Private Sector's Role in Disaster Recovery and Risk Mitigation

    More than US$9 billion in public and private funds has been pledged to help countries devastated by last year's Indian Ocean tsunami. As the relief effort now moves from immediate humanitarian assistance to long-term reconstruction and recovery, the private sector must play a key role in restoring growth and guarding against future risk. By increasing investment, the private sector can develop alternate safety nets and create a diverse and resilient economy better suited to weather future disasters. Governments and donors can help by increasing access to finance, promoting technology transfer, and reducing regulatory barriers to business. What lessons can be learned from other experiences with private sector involvement in natural disaster recovery efforts? What private sector activities will have the greatest impact on recovery and growth? What can governments and donors do to maximize the impact of private investment?

    This online discussion is moderated by Margaret Arnold, senior program officer in the Urban Unit's Hazard Management team at the World Bank, and Saroj K. Jha, senior infrastructure specialist with the Transport and Urban Development Department of the World Bank. The discussion, which will run through August 8, 2005, is supported by the following background readings:

    Regional Economic Cooperation in Trade and Investment for the Rehabilitation of Tsunami-Affected Countries
    Suthad Setboonsarng, Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Review 1 (1): pp. 133-148, April, 2005

    Global and Regional Mechanisms for Promoting Trade and Investment in Tsunami-Affected Countries
    Marc Proksch, Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Review 1 (1): pp. 113-132, April, 2005

    The World Bank's Tsunami Recovery Web site World Bank, 2005

    Surviving Disaster and Supporting Recovery: A Guidebook for Microfinance Institutions
    Eileen Miamidian et al., World Bank and United Nations Capital Development Fund, February 2005

    World Economic Forum?s Disaster Resource Network World Economic Forum, 2005

    Is there a Hot Topic Discussion that you would be interested in participating in or moderating? If so, contact us with your ideas:
    If you have not subscribed to Rapid Response's e-newsletter and would like to do so, please visit and give us your contact details.

    If you would like to unsubscribe, simply visit, key in your e-mail address and uncheck the subscription box.

    Rapid Response Unit
    Office of the World Bank-IFC Vice President for Private Sector Development and Office of the Chief Economist, IFC
    Tel: (202) 458-7777; Fax: (202) 522-3480
    Email: rru[at]worldbank[dot]org


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    The Tsunami Conspiracy Theory

    I am not sure about this conspiracy theory. In fact, right after the tsunami struck, I was debating with one of my friends about the possibility of blowing up a nuclear device in the ocean-bed to create such a devastating tsunami. It was trashed. However, Cathy Johnson points us to this article here, which suggests that USA was planning to do just that in 1945. I don't know how authentic the document is, but what the hell, it is one hell of a theory. I do not second this theory for the simple reason that the evidence is just not enough to base such an accusation.
    Read on:

    The CIA's OSS forerunner proposed using a nuclear bomb on a fault line to cause Japanese tsunamis and earthquakes!
    The astonishing 1945 wartime document below, now declassified, outlines an astounding scenario.
    Written as a secret operational proposal by the OSS, the forerunner of today's CIA, it was not put into efect - then, at least.
    The chilling suggestion: "If we could could get (an atom) bomb within a mile of a point on a fault line destined to break within 90 years we might set it off ..."
    It might well raise some suspicions in your mind regarding the recent and horrific Asian tsunami, which - amazingly for an 'earthquake'--caused event - registered no aftershocks whatsoever.
    We present it here and leave you to form your own conclusions. Read more on


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    Tsunami Song: Racist Hot 97 Skit Mocking Tsunami Victims

    "..All at once you could hear the screaming ch*nks and no one was safe from the wave there were africans drowning, little chinamen swept away you could hear god laughing, 'swim you b*tches swim' So now you're screwed, it's the Tsunami you better run or kiss your ass away, go find your mommy I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head and now the children will be sold to child slavery..."

    Now, if some one wrote something like that (all at once you hear the screaming Marines and no one was safe from the Fidayeen; you could hear Osama laughing, 'Die ladies die' etc) about the Marines in Iraq, and aired it on some Arab radio station... I can imagine how CNN would have made it a big ****ing deal. They'd have probably bombed the radio station. Hmmm we, poor Asians, have to settle for ranting on our blogs.


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    Conversion attempts in the time of grief

    This article: is about conversion attempts by some missionaries of the villagers suffering the aftermath of the Tsunami.
    I have heard in my marketing classes that nothing sells as good as sex and religion. And here we have some people trying to sell religion! I am only tempted to believe this story considering that it comes from Shoba Warrier - a journalist of repute. Your views?


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    Chidambaram Trip for Relief - My views

    Tsunami Help India: "There are certain points about this trip, which I would have to reiterate. There are certain issues, which I have to highlight. There are my own views, which would be a part of this report. So if there are any repetitions of what Suman / Anita have mentioned in their report, I would request you to just read on and get your own holistic view of the situation. Read the full report here"


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    MGR Thitu: Sorrow Redefined

    We (Kribs, Anita, Arun, Joshi, Chitra, and Nanda) reached the temple town of Chidambaram in the wee hours of 16th January. A couple of guys we had met on our way (during one of our tea breaks) had told us to check-in at the S.K. Guest House. After about three hours of rest, at around eight in the morning, we set off to MGR Thitu, a fishing hamlet, fifteen or so KM from Chidambaram.

    Pictures of the trip are available from Nanda and Anita. Kribs promised that he will soon post his pics.

    We reached Killai, where the road splits to Pichavaram and MGR Thitu. We had to take a small road off the main road to reach MGR Thitu. We decided to stop our cars and walk it up. We noticed a relief Ambulance and hitched a ride in it. All through the road we saw boats tossed about. �Were these�?� and even before we finished the question, one of the relief workers riding with us nodded in affirmative. �That�s a good couple of KM away from the sea.� He added for good measure. We also noticed that most of the trees were dead; the paddy fields were inundated. The media is not talking much about the damage that the farmers had to suffer because of the Tsunami, I wonder why.
    The doctor on the Ambulance told us that we had to take a boat from Puzhudikuppam to reach MGR Thitu. The hamlet is sandwiched between the sea and the backwaters. There a small Catamaran and there were about six people sitting in it already. �Don�t worry, it can take twenty�, said Anbhazhagan, the elderly boatman. Arivu and his wife Jayasudha, of MGR Thitu, were visiting the village to perform a puja for their lost daughter.

    For us, the city-folk, the Catamaran appeared to be a perilous proposition. If one moved a bit, the boat shook precariously close to the surface of the water. A few meters into the water, Nanda started talking to the boatman, Anbu. Anbu looked about sixty but I am sure the Tsunami aged him by at least ten years in a couple of days. He wore a yellow t-shirt that read �This t-shirt is all I have. The rest is hers.� The �her� now stood for the sea I thought.
    �I lost my sister-in-law and my wife. Arivu and I are going back to salvage whatever we can.� He said.

    Arivu said, �No one lives in MGR Thitu any more. People are scared.� The Catamaran lurched and my elbow hit the water. We were at a complete loss of words. As has been said before, you have to be there and look in the eye of these people to understand how devastated they are. The island-hamlet was closer now; the Palm trees head-banged to the devilish wind that whistled eerily, as if enjoying the specter of devastation and damage, doing a Nero. The sea on the other side of the hamlet frothed at its mouth like a hungry, rabid, wolf. �The tide is high today�, said Arivu. �On �that� day, the waves dwarfed the Palm trees. In the 40-year history of MGR Thitu, we have never seen something like that. Even the worst of the storms pale in comparison to what happened here a few days back�, he added.
    The Catamaran lurched to a halt and we waded through the water and got to the shore. While Anita, Kribs, Arun, and Joshi wandered off towards the east of the village, Chitra, Nanda and I headed towards the west. We had to make our way through the thorn bushes and we found human hair and pieces of clothing entangled in the thorn bushes. We discovered later that people trying to flee to the mainland were stuck in the bushes and died as the bushes ate up valuable time. A hut greeted us at the edge of the village. It was blown away, as if a giant wolf gnawed at it and tore it off. Quite a few boats lay around along with mangled (and thus useless) fishing nets. We reached the middle of the village, which was hardly 500 m away from the sea. The Palms saved us from the merciless sun. We spotted Arivu and his wife Jayasudha walking towards us. Jaya got on a slab of concrete and placed a brass vessel, biscuit packets, sweets and some savories on the slab. Arivu looked lost. The shadow of grief made his face pale. Jaya, though she appeared to be a resolute woman, was moist in her eyes. �What�s happening?� Nanda enquired Arivu.
    �We are offering prayers and gifts to our baby. We lost her to the Tsunami.� Arivu said. I had a lump in my throat. I wanted to ask so many things but I could not. �Where is your home?� Nanda asked. Arivu flashed a wry smile and said, �We are standing on it.�

    Jaya told us that that killer wave hit her and tossed her on to the roof of the neighboring house. �I don�t know what happened. When I woke up, I was on the roof and my baby was missing. We found her body later.�

    After a lot of hesitation, we asked how they plan to move on. �We want land. The collector says we cannot stay in MGR Thitu any more. The government says it will build a home provided we get our own land.� Jaya said. Arivu showed us his boat that the waves had tossed away. �It is useless now. It may appear fine from outside, but I know that it requires a lot of repair that may run into thousands. As you can see, we lost everything; everything that we depended on for our daily bread� he said.

    We reassured them that the government is doing everything to help them. We told them that rehabilitation will take time and that they ought to believe. But it was easy for us to say. I am sure so many like us would have told them the same thing. They echoed my thought, �lot of private organizations visited us and said that they would relocate us to a different location. We have yet to hear from them. Even if we are relocated, we will not be able to fish like we used to earlier. We used to catch fish for lunch and dinner. We know that a big catch awaits us by the way the water behaves. It is easy to spot fish from here. If we relocate our home, we cannot do all that. It is tough to move a ton of fish from the shore to where we live, you know?� Arivu said. �We need our nets, boats, and our home. That�s all we need to restart our lives�, Jaya added.

    �We will get back in half hour, take a look around and return. Do not stray too much�, Arivu told us and left with Jaya. We went around the village. We found a TV set that was broken. A computer keyboard, a photo album, a cot� these were signs that told about the prosperity of the people of MGR Thitu, but now each family from here is at the mercy of aid and relief; they find it impossible to swallow their pride and accept packets of food or sleep on bare mats, without pillows, in the relief camps.

    The primary school by the MGR statue (with a broken arm) was in complete disarray. Someone had scribbled a message about the Tsunami and its trail of destruction on the blackboard. The more we saw the more the words failed us.

    We decided to leave. We found the rest of the gang on the beach. They had spoken to some other couple. The story remained the same though. I spotted a herd of cows on the beach. They appeared poignant. According to Anita, these cows come and congregate on the beach everyday, swimming about half a kilometer from the mainland. Half of the cattle had perished and the ones that survived, come back everyday, because they were raised on the island, the village folk told us. Many of them have lost their owners. I am sure there are many domestic animals that need help. If you are an Animal Relief organization, please make a note of it.

    We headed back to mainland on a mechanized boat. Arivu was the wheel (a rudder actually). None of use spoke a word. It was too much for a city dweller to digest I guess. We stopped by a village by the shore (of the backwaters) and distributed crayons and papers (courtesy Nanda) to the kids, got them all together, and encouraged to draw. We had a good response and I am sure the kids enjoyed it too.

    Later in the day, we went to Amritham Fishing Nets and donated nets fishermen from Pillu Medu, another hamlet that the Tsunami had destroyed. We were able to do it thanks to the money that Anita, Arun, and Joshi from Bangalore had collected. Hats-off you guys, and thanks for letting me be a part of it. I want to make a special mention on Mr. Sathyamurthy, who owns Amritham Nets, for his help. If you want to help fishermen by buying them nets talk to Sathyamurthy in Chidambaram. The fisherfolk look up to him and respect him.
    I want to leave you with this thought: people of MGR Thitu say they need fishing nets for 50 boats. That comes to around 1750 Kg of nets (the bare minimum they require to get back to fishing).
    Each Kilogram of nets cost around 300 Indian Rupees (roughly $6.6 USD).
    Each boat requires 35 Kg � roughly 10500 Indian Rupees (roughly $233.5 USD).
    If you want to adopt MGR Thitu, or donate nets, do let us know. If you are an NGO or a Relief Organization, write in. There is a village and it needs help in rebuilding their lives. I am sure there are more, but this is what we saw and we know they need us.

    Anita runs a blog called Just a little something
    Kribs is the old man of blogging in India. Kribs, I forgot your cousin�s name but please pat him on his back. And get a real car dude :D
    Nanda despite his incessant chatter is a nice guy from the Marketing fraternity.
    Arun runs Surplus musings.
    Joshi blogs but refused to give us his URL (I can google it and find out but I respect your privacy Joshi).
    Dr.Chitra is yours truly�s better-half.

    Pictures of the trip are available from Nanda and Anita. Kribs promised that he will soon post his pics.
    Note: This is just my take on the trip. We are working on a formal report that we intend to share with relief agencies.
    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com

    Labels: ,

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    Field Report from AID India

    I got this report from AID India, which has been doing phenomenal work in the unreacheable areas of Tamil Nadu where Tsunami hit the coast. I promise that the perspectives we hold about a lot of things will change if you read this report. Salutations to all the selfless volunteers who hae been doing tremendous work in these villages. The list starts from people who left their jobs (daily wage volunteers) to some software professionals from Bangalore and Chennai who rolled up their sleeves to render service to the affected. The report also gives the current requirements and the modus operandi of the organisation. I just have to add one more line to all those volunteers - "TAKE A BOW, I salute you all."


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    How Will The Tsunami Affect Chennai's IT Prospects?

    The recent Tsunami tragedy is bound to raise questions about Chennai as a location for software and hardware organizations. Bangalore is already over-worked on that front and more companies were opting Chennai. But, I doubt that Chennai still enjoys that 'automatic choice' status. This augurs well for lesser known towns (as spots for IT investment that is) like Coimbatore, Trichy, Vellore, and Madurai. The TN government should probably modify its pitch to accommodate a wider choice in terms of locations. To do this, the TN government has to ensure that the other towns match Chennai in terms of infrastructure and facilities.

    How Bangalore can exploit this situation
    Bangalore is out until its infrastructure (especially roads and mass-transport) improves. Maybe the Karnataka government should start pitching Mysore, and simultaneously connect Mysore and Bangalore a la Mumbai and Pune. Bangalore's chaotic traffic, bad roads, and the lack of well-connected mass transport facility is bound to have a direct impact on the IT companies that operate in the city: factors like road-rage, fatigue, and longer commuting time affect an employee's productivity. Another idea is to build satellite towns (like New Mumbai) around Bangalore.

    What do you think?

    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com


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    Three year old girl awaits her parents at Nagapattinam - Coastal Calamity: "Tsunami tragedy: Three-year-old awaits her parents". Unfortunately this article is available only on this site and I haven't seen this news anywhere else. Spread the word around about this 3 year old looking for her parents. She is from Bangalore and is now in Nagapattinam


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    This is ugly: Caste raises its ugly hood in relief camps

    NewIndPress Story
    The Tsunami did not discern upper caste or lower caste. Disgusting!
    (Thanks Shankar for the link)
    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com


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    Text messages aid disaster recovery

    BBC NEWS | Technology | Text messages aid disaster recovery:Text messaging technology was a valuable communication tool in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in Asia.

    Here's my take:
    1) SMS-to-blog: I think this would have saved a lot of trouble in disseminating information from the ground. None of the popular blogging services offer it; obviously because it involves inter-operability with service providers across the world.
    2) Remember MTNSMS? The South-African telecom service provider had a website that allowed people to send (and receive) text messages to cell phones worldwide. They shut down the free service later on. Maybe we could revive it to use it for disaster alerts.
    3) Even now it is possible to blog via SMS. But it is a work-around. It involves syntax that a lay person might find difficult to use. I am for a service similar to Blogger's e-mail-to-blog: you choose a secret e-mail id, and publish posts by sending mails to that id.
    4) Mobile phone service providers may want to offer a service helping bloggers. I read somewhere that blog readership has gone up by more than 50%. So, this could be a great value-add to service providers.
    5) Maybe we should look at toll-free text messaging. No charges when you send a message to a particular number (the message is published on an alert website or an e-mail group).

    The flip-side though is the possible misuse of such services. I keep getting junk mail on sumank.tsunami[at]blogger[dot]com (a mail to this id is published on Some moron was sending stupid messages to it. But I don't think a few morons should deter us from lending a helping hand to the millions.


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    Aceh rebels 'impede tsunami aid'

    BBC NEWS | South Asia | Aceh rebels 'impede tsunami aid': Indonesian soldiers in tsunami-stricken Aceh province say their relief work is being hampered by attacks from separatist guerrillas.

    Great timing is all I can say. What kind of revolutionaries are these?


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    Media and the disaster

    Rajeev gets hammered on Rediff boards;
    However, not every one was against Rajeev's view ('wrath of god/sage'):

    It is common human proclivity to brush off something which goes against the normal grain. It has been proven time and again that ideas; trivial as they might look to begin with, have been proven prophetic in the long run. Great scientists such as Newton, Archimedes, et al, had suffered huge humiliation for making hypotheses which went totally against the common beliefs prevalent at those time.However, in the long run, they turned out to be the winners. I, for one, is willing to give some benefit of doubt to Rajiv, at least this time! Deductive Logic also says that when everybody goes against a 'somebody', that 'somebody' invariably is right! -- Tony Screwalla

    Deductive Logic! Where is logic in the assertion that god or some sage unleashed this disaster? As my man Madman would have put it: Correlation is not causation.

    Looks like the TV channels and the sites are bored with the Tsunami disaster:
    NDTV has shifted focus from the disaster (to the MAMC rape case and UP minister being denied a Haj clearance etc). Last night I waited for about an hour for them to give me some update on the disaster but all I got was 'A debate on the CrossWord book awards'; they spent a good 20 minutes talking about it! And I wonder what the cameraman of that program smokes. AND NDTV's site crashed as I was typing this. Touche.
    BBC, CNN and Hindu however are still reporting on the Tsunami disaster (thankfully).

    Rediff probably needs a real head for its design department; when you open the site, a flash ad appears ALL OVER the headlines.

    Indiatimes... ah! They redefine the word focus. The site's headlines are : Zaheer Khan admits he 'knows' Rakshanda (a model); Sachin not to bat (when did he, in the recent past?); Amisha's statement that she wont ruin her co-star's life; Sperm sorting machine for infertile men!; Cool movie names!! At the bottom they have a link for Tsunami Relief. But there are no news items on the latest on Tsunami.

    So, it is up to us bloggers to carry on. By the way, please nominate Tsunami Help - SEA-EAT Blog for the 2005 Bloggies. They deserve it more than anyone else on the web. By the way, guys@SEA-EAT, mentions your site. Way to go guys.


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    The Diplomad

    The Diplomad is a blog maintained by US Foreign Service Officers. And, these guys write predominantly about the inefficiency of the UN.
    Aussies and Yanks continue to carry the overwhelming bulk of the burden, but some other fine folks also have jumped in: e.g., the New Zealanders have provided C-130 lift and an excellent and much-needed potable water distribution system; the Singaporeans have provided great helo support; the Indians have a hospital ship taking position off Sumatra. Spain and Netherlands have sent aircraft with supplies.
    The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats. Just today the city's Embassies got a letter from the local UN representative requesting a meeting for "Ms. Margareeta Wahlstrom, United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance in Tsunami-afected countries." Wow! Put that on a business card! And she must be really, really special because she has the word "coordinator" twice in her title!

    Check it out:


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    Dr.Shilpa Govardhan Reports From Nagapattinam

    Tsunami Help India: Dr.Shilpa Govardhan Reports From Nagapattinam:
    The only thing that they really want is their boats back. To go back to the sea which caused all their sorrow, and collect from her again what they have all their lives.(Their own words by the way- they have a very strong poetic streak in them.)
    This is not a simple task, as it seems to be on the surface. Each catamaran (which is their simplest kind of boat) itself costs about 60,000, to say nothing of the larger ones which cost anywhere from 2, 00,000 to 10, 00,000 Indian Rupees. To add to this, the builders of the catamaran are a dying race, and they might possibly not be anyone left who could carry on the job. And each boat that was lost had about 3 to 4 nets in it which again costs about 30 to 40,000 Indian Rupees each. >> Read more on Tsunami Help India.


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    India Uncut

    India Uncut by Amit Varma offers insightful accounts from the Tsunami affected areas in TN.
    Excerpt from India Uncut: "They took all the veg biryani that had been prepared for the wedding feast, and went and fed it to the affacted people. From that day until the day we met them, a week after the tsunami, they fed breakfast and lunch to the affected people, making either lemon rice or veg biryani. They mobilised their funds superbly, and were well networked through mobile phones. If any village ran short of food, one phone call was all it would take to bring a volunteer rushing over with more food."

    Great work Amit.


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    Rehabilitation measures. Help required

    Tsunami Help India: "As mentioned in my previous post, the villagers are now looking at rehabilitating their lives and leave the scar created by the black Sunday behind.

    They are looking at nets for Shrimp / Prawn farming. Their nets and boats were completely damaged and they are starting afresh. It feels like they are coins in a game of Snakes & Ladders and they just caught the biggest snake to reach the starting point. " Read ahead


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    Dell Pledges $US3 Million Aid

    THE chairman of the world's largest computer maker, Dell, has pledged $US3 million ($3.8 million) to help victims of the tsunami.
    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com


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    Marina Yesterday: A Photo Essay

    I have been to the Marina quite often. Today's visit was a lot different though. A week after the tragic Tsunami waves, walking by the side of the Bay of Bengal actually gave me the chills. The place brought scary memories and it will take a long time for these memories to fade. It is not the same place anymore. As Suman said in one of his posts, the place is witness to cricket matches, flourishing business, many romances, healthy morning walks and Tsunami Waves? Public memory is short. Will it be short enough for people to get back here? It might just take a very long time -- Nanda Kishore
    Marina on 1st Jan Morning. Day 7 from the day of the tragedy.
    Marina on a Saturday morning is certainly not like this. I have always seen it as a place with a lot of people buzzing around for whatever reasons. Marina on a Saturday morning is certainly not like this. I have always seen it as a place with a lot of people buzzing around for whatever reasons.

    The fishing boat The fishing boat has no business so far away from the sea. Probably it is of no value now. Probably the fisherman who owned it is not alive anymore. Probably he is alive and doesn't have his nets. Probably he doesn't have the money to take it back to the sea. Probably he is just afraid of the sea now! It is now anybody's guess.

    Business as usualThis was the only business establishment I saw on Saturday morning. This is not the Marina beach that I have grown up with!

    CRPF Guarding the beachCRPF Jawans guarding the beach. From what? Can they?

    Fishing nets Unclaimed, unusable nets. Costly equipment generally used with utmost care by the fishermen! They just couldn't do anything about their belongings!

    Deserted MarinaMarina has never been so deserted! Literally not a single soul!

    Lonely Fisherman Lonely FishermanPerhaps the only human being other than me, by the beach on 1st Jan morning! He dared & he won! Got his prize catch of a few fishes, which would probably help him with a meal!

    CRPF drive us out Well, we were not the only humans on the beach. These two CRPF jawans rushed to drive us out of the beach! They have orders to do so.

    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com


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    Relief vans at Cudalore & Kaanathur villages (beyond Kalpakkam)

    Tsunami Help India: "Two van loads of relief materials were distributed in fishing villages beyond Kalpakkam. (Pictures are yet to be uploaded. Will be done by tomorrow)

    The relief material in the van included:
    Provisions (Rice, Dal, Wheat)
    Stoves (160 nos)
    Bedsheets (250 nos)
    Towels (250 nos)
    Mats (150 nos)
    150 Plates & Tumblers (Glasses) - Provided by Gayathri Vinay of Philadelphia based on updates at
    Used Clothes (segregated as men & women's wear)
    and assorted stuff (Includes contribution from many citizens of the world after going through our website)". Read More


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    Sorry Folks

    Sorry people, my site was down last night as I (yet) again exhausted my bandwidth quota (in 3 days I consumed 4 months of my bandwidth quota). I don't have a huge quota; this is only a personal blog. And I am try and get it up as soon as I can. We regret the inconvenience. However, if it is the Tsunami relief related information that you want to access visit created it as I'd anticipated the bandwidth problem on my domain.
    If you want to publish information related to Tsunami send a mail from a web-based e-mail like Yahoo to sumank.tsunami[at]blogger[dot]com

    Thanks Jeremy, my web host, I appreciate your support.
    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com


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    Yesterday's Pictures

    Nanda Kishore and friends took a couple of vanloads of supplies to affected areas near Chennai, but could not deliver or distribute aid because of the Tsunami warning. Nanda took some pictures. Here they are.
    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com


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    Great Resouce For Pics And Videos

    Geoffrey's contains probably the most comprehensive collection of multimedia content on the Tsunami catastrophe. Brilliant work Geoff. So, if you are looking for pictures or videos, rush to his site.
    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com


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    Tsunami Death Toll May Reach 100000: Red Cross

    The total number of people dead because of the Tsunami disaster has reached mammoth proportions: 80000 people officially dead. However, Red Cross fears that the number could reach 100,000.
    It is believed that one-third of the dead could be children.
    We will be bringing you fresh updates and if possible latest pictures from Chennai very soon.
    SeeRecent Posts on your left for moreWrite to me: suman[at]sumankumar[dot]com


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    Relief Efforts Hampered Due To Tsunami Warning

    Nanda Kishore Reports:
    Two truck loads of materials (bedsheets, clothes, provisions, vessels, stoves etc.) which were collected by us (including some materials given by people through this blog) could not be distributed today because of fresh Tsunami warnings...(Read more)
    Write to me: suman 'at' sumankumar 'dot' com


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    High Alert in TN, Andamans, and Kerala Coasts on Possible Tsunami Reccurence

    The Met department sounded off a warning on a possible Tsunami attack on the coastal TN and Kerala. It triggered a wave of panic among people in Nagapattinam, the worst hit area in TN. Nanda Kishore, my friend, in Chennai, was in Kovalam with two vanloads of relief supplies but had to post-pone distributing aid to tomorrow because of the Tsunami warning. Nanda told me on phone that choppers announced on PA systems about the possible Tsunami. Authorities are evacuating people from Kovalam. The sea, according to Nanda, appears calm now. 'I guess no one wants to take a chance, over and out!' said Nanda. But Sun TV News says the possibility of another Tsunami hitting the TN coast does not exist.
    Elsewhere, Rajiv Sreenivasan offers a mystical perspective that's so NOT needed at this hour. He writes,
    The devastation by the tsunami in Tamil Nadu, could it be a caveat from Up There about the atrocities being visited on the Kanchi Acharya? About adharma gaining ground?
    There are mysterious forces out there that are not fully understood by our oh-so-rational selves. I am reminded of the strange signs and omens that historians recorded before calamities: for instance the rain of frogs in Vietnam preceding the cataclysmic war. Or the odd celestial signs that preceded the death of Julius Caesar.
    It is said that the very elements can be affected by the mystical powers of sages who have acquired superhuman powers through meditation and sadhana. I think we should all tread carefully, for now we are treading on things we do not know. Link on Rediff

    Rajiv, do you seriously believe all that? If god or any other power had indeed punished these thousands of innocent people because your fav saint was arrested, and atrocities were visited on him, then all I have to tell YOUR god is this: F*** you god.
    Write to me: suman 'at' sumankumar 'dot' com


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    Tsunami Videos


    Death Toll over 60000

    Picture from The Hindu website hindu.comThe Hindu says that the toll has gone up to 60000 people. Tsunami Death Toll So Far 60000. Also see The Hindu Image Gallery: Trail Of Destruction.
    "Her father had been washed away by the tsunami and she too was believed to be dead. Then came the miracle. She was washed back on shore from the sea where she had been floating since Sunday on a ripped of door of her home." Link to article on Hindu

    NDTV Says death toll has reached 65000.
    "For three days no one bothered to come here. Not even the collector or any government officials. How can we manage on our own?" said a resident of the area. Read more on NDTV about the Forgotten Villages.


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    Folks, due to the tremendous traffic this site is attracting, I have made some changes to ensure that my site does not consume all my bandwidth quota.
    1) I have cut-down the number of posts appearing on the homepage. Earlier posts appear under 'Recent Posts'.
    2) I have started a new blog called will be posting all related information there, and the good news is even you can post information to this site! If you have any information on relief, victims, or news,
    just e-mail (from a web-based e-mail service) to sumank.tsunami[at]blogger[dot]com. It will automatically be published on the Tsunami Help India blog.
    God bless!
    Write to me: suman 'at' sumankumar 'dot' com


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    Updates On Relief Efforts

  • The Aussies donated the Prize Money from the 2nd test against Pakistan to the Tsunami relief fund. Take the cue Men in Blue.

  • In Chennai, there seems to be a problem for officials in co-ordinating the relief supplies. Due to lack of proper guidance individuals and NGOs ended up sending food and supplies to areas that had already received such aid. So, if you are planning to send supplies make sure that you are not duplicating effort. There are scores of remote villages in Tamilnadu that need relief.

  • Clean drinking water is the needed in most villages devastated by the Tsunami.

  • People are mass cremating the dead in Tamilnadu. This may result in families not being able to avail of the 1 lakh relief that the governemt announced.

  • Thieves are having a field day in Kerala, thanks to the visiting politicians. Cops were busy taking care of the VIPs, while thieves stole money and gold from victims' homes. What a shame!

  • Government may start a vaccination program for the victims, to arrest the onslaught of communicable diseases like Cholera and Typhoid.
  • Nanda, my friend, has a request to the doctors going to Chennai from Bangalore. He asked me to request the doctors to bring the following:
    List of medicine
    a. Doxycycline
    b. ORS packets
    c. Paracetamol
    d. Septron
    e. Gloves
    f. Masks

  • More information on Tsunami Help India
    Write to me: suman 'at' sumankumar 'dot' com


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    Tsunami Help India

    I have created a new blog for victims, relief agenices, volunteers, people searching for their loved ones, and information on the disaster
    Tsunami Help India: "Send an e-mail (from a web-based mail service. Outlook and other e-mail clients mess the text up) to
    sumank.tsunami[at]blogger[dot]com to post information on lost people, request for contributions, relief requirements, volunteer request, or just about anything that's related to the Tsunami disaster. "


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    Phuket Pictures

    Phuket Tsunami and Phuket after the Tsunami.
    Write to me: suman 'at' sumankumar 'dot' com


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    Death Toll Crosses 40000 Across Asia

    Shankar from USA has this information on relief centers:
    "...I also got an email from Raj at the Chennai Art of Living group :

    We need relief following material for working out the rehab of the people from Srinivasapuram:
    • Old clothes, blankets, sheets etc.

    • Usable but old material such as utensils, buckets that one may want to discard.

    • Medicinces - mostly antibiotics such as Metrogyl, Novaclox, Cifran etc, pain killers - Brufen etc.

    • Non-perishable food items such as rice, dal etc.

    Collections centres for the relief material are operating from the following addresses:

    C/o Dr. T. Srinivasan
    56, Poes Garden, Opp. Jaya TV
    Phone: 24662486

    Annanagar Centre
    Sonex Towers - 5th floor
    2nd Ave, Annanagar."

    Nanda Kishore (nandasethuraman[at]gmail[dot]com) sent me more pictures. Check them out. And thanks to Madman of Shiok Food, I discovered Imageshack - a free image hosting service that allows me to host my images on their server. How does this help you may wonder. I save a lot on bandwidth. Images consume a lot of my bandwidth and yesterday I exhausted my month's quota, in a single day! Because I posted the entire album on my own site. It is another story that it was Madman that posted my site on metaphilter, and it was linked by NY Times... Phew!
    Anyway, more updates:
    The death toll has crossed 40000. I hate this. With one swift, devastating blow nature has erased these lives, crippled economies, and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Is it a rude reminder from above on the subject of who is the boss around here? Here goes the country-wide toll:
    Sri Lanka 18,700
    Indonesia 15,000
    India 7,000
    Thailand 1,500
    Somalia 100
    Malaysia 50
    Maldives 50
    Myanmar 30 Source:

    Despite the obvious attempt at dramatizing the disaster and the loss of life, NDTV's correspondents did a good job. Barka and her crew, hats-off. I eat my words back.

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


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    More Blogs on Tsunami Disaster

    TsunamiHelp is a collaborative blog for News and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts.

    More information, first-hand accounts on


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    Tsunami: Chennai Updates

    Sorry people. I know the site was down as I had exhausted my bandwidth quota for the month thanks to the NY Times article (needs free registration) that featured my site.
    Now, Nanda Kishore, the guy behind the pics, has come up with an idea. He plans to sell the photographs and forward the entire money to the relief of the Tsunami victims. So, if you are interested in buying pictures, contact Nanda through e-mail at nandasethuraman[at]gmail[dot]com.
    Thanks Jeremy (of for getting the site back online; I am really grateful. Thanks Shalin!


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    Contribute to Tsunami Victims Online

    The following sites accept donations online. Indians abroad can donate using their Credit Cards.

    • The Hindu - The Hindu Relief Fund


      If you are India and wish to donate to AID-India in INR, please make your check payable to "AID-India" and mail it to
      Old No 132, New No 242, Avvai Shanmugam Road
      Gopalapuram, Chennai - 600 086
      Ph: 044- 28350403, 28115058
      Donations are 50% deductible under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.

    Nanda Kishore.S, my friend, is distributing blankets and clothes to victims. If you want to donate a blanket write to nandasethuraman[at]gmail[dot]com.

    Thanks Shankar!


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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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