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Rediff.com  » News » TN: Survivors return home

TN: Survivors return home

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Last updated on: January 01, 2005 21:19 IST

The relief and rehabilitation measures for the thousands of people displaced by Sunday's tsunami in Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar moved into top gear on Saturday.

Authorities in Tamil Nadu, besides providing survivors food, drinking water, medicines and other essentials, are now focusing on preventing any outbreak of epidemic.

Tamil Nadu has reported more than 8,000 deaths, with Nagapattinam accounting for 5,500 and Kanyakumari 810. While 600 people died in Cuddalore, Chennai reported 206 deaths. The other coastal districts accounted for the rest.

In the worst-hit Nagapattinam, the survivors have started leaving relief camps to go back to what were once their homes.

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to adopt all children who lost their parents in the tragedy.

In Andaman and Nicobar islands, the other severely ravaged region, a series of earthquakes measuring up to 6.3 on the Richter scale raised fears among inhabitants and put more pressure on relief teams.

Over 3,000 people have been killed and an equal number are still missing in the group of islands.

Meanwhile, water transport, its lifeline, has been restored with most jetties being put into operation to handle relief cargo and passenger vessels.

Chief Port Administrator Dhileshwar Rao said the total damage incurred by the port management could be about Rs 700 crore. "Now, our priority is to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities and vegetables, 97 per cent of which come from mainland by ship," he said.

The aborigines of Andaman and Nicobar islands were reported to be safe. There were 43 Andamanis, 96 Onges, 240 Jarawas and 39 Sentinelese before the disaster struck. Survey to ascertain the status of the Shompens (398) population is under progress.

A total of 982 million tonnes of relief materials have been mobilised for the Nicobar group of islands, of which 295 tonnes have been delivered. The air force has been requested to step up airlifting and airdropping of relief materials, while the navy is ferrying supplies by boats.

In Kerala, another affected state, the government said temporary houses would be constructed within two months for those who had lost their dwellings.

Meanwhile, the confirmed number of people killed in the massive earthquake and killer waves that hit the Indian Ocean shorelines edged towards 1,26,000.

United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said the number of people killed may be 1.5 lakh. The exact number may never be known, he said.

As per official figures, the death toll in India is 8,995, with over 3.800 people missing, most of them in the Andamans and Nicobar islands.

Indonesia has borne the brunt of the catastrophe. A health ministry official put the country's dead at 79,940, with entire coastal villages disappearing under the wall of water. The figure could go up substantially. The ministry said the toll could be 1,00,000 in Aceh and North Sumatra.

In Sri Lanka 28,475 were confirmed killed by the waves, while 4,872 people were missing, the president's office said. More than 12,000 people were injured.

In Thailand, more than 4,800 people, including 2,407 foreigners, were killed, official data showed. The interior ministry's disaster mitigation department said 6,541 were missing and 10,479 injured.

In Myanmar, at least 90 people were killed, according to the UN. However, the exact toll was expected to be far higher, it said.

At least 75 people were killed and another 42 were confirmed missing in the tourist paradise of the Maldives, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said.

Sixty-six people were dead in Malaysia, most of them in Penang, police said.

In Bangladesh, a father and child were killed after a tourist boat capsized in large waves, officials said.

Fatalities were also reported from the east coast of Africa. While Somalia declared 132 people dead, Tanzania reported 10 deaths and Kenya one.

Meanwhile, the US has raised its aid to the affected countries by ten times to $ 350 million. India has refused any foreign aid.

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