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Coping with Crisis - Newsletter No. 2, 2005

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Helping India’s tsunami affected population

By Dr. Gauthamadas, director, The Academy for Disaster Management, Education Planning and Training

On Sunday 26 December 2004 the Asia-Pacific undersea tectonic plates were jostled around creating the worst tsunamis that mankind had experienced in documented history.

The earliest indication of what was to come was when the sea began to recede soon after the day dawned. Not knowing that this was just a harbinger of disaster (unlike some tribes in the Andaman Islands that retreated into the forest) the coastal populace flocked to the seashore to witness the strange phenomenon.

At Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India, the sea floor was laid bare up to Vivekananda rock, a tourist attraction in the middle of the sea that was heretofore accessible only by boat. Suddenly, the waters began to swell and then in a trice a towering three storey high cliff of sea water smashed its way almost two kilometres inland, flattening everything in its path. To the fishing community it seemed that the Mother, who had been nurturing them through the ages, had turned on them and was on a rampage.