A wireless operator who saved thousands of lives on December 26 with what he calls his personal early warning system, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands [ Images ] has earned the sobriquet of 'Father Teresa'.
The 39-year-old Razzak Ali, from the southern Andamanese island of Teressa, could make out in advance that the waves were going to strike.
On December 26, this wireless operator at the port control tower of the island saw the sea churn ferociously and recede. He immediately understood what was in store.
"Oh my God! Tsunamis are coming," he shouted from the tower and ran down to warn everybody.
While on his way to the island's interior, he saw a man riding a moped, Mohammed Nazam, and asked him to spread the news.
Ali asked whoever he met to run to higher grounds.
In a little while, the mighty waves started crashing against the port building and the police station.
Ali, who is currently posted in Diglipur in north Andaman after his evacuation from Teressa, 380 km south of Port Blair, said: "I used to see the National Geographic Channel and know what the tsunami is all about. That it would strike Andaman some day was something I never thought."
Teressa's official population is 3,500 and officially only one person died on December 26. Ali and Nazam say at least 50 people were killed.
But for Ali, many more could have died, said Ranjan Majumder, an inhabitant of Teressa, now evacuated to Port Blair.