Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dec 29, 2004; a post on; revisiting Dec. 2004

Dec 29, 2004
Posted by Pankaj Sekhsaria
Unprecedented Earthquake And Tidal Waves Hit Andamans And Nicobars (The official website of the A&N administration)

A severe earthquake was felt in Andaman and Nicobar Islands having epicentre at 3.7N and 95E off the island of Sumatra between 0630 to 0635 hrs in the morning on 26th December, 2004. The quake was followed by a few tremors subsequently also. Due to the high level of awareness amongst public, most of the people took precautions like coming out of the building and going to safe places immediately.
The severe earthquake was followed by high tidal waves which caused extensive damages in Port Blair harbour; Jetties at Aberdeen, Phoenix Bay, Junglighat and Haddo were flooded by tidal waters. Two boats sunk at the jetty before any measures could be taken. The employees of the Port Management Board, Directorate of Shipping Services, Andaman Harbour Works etc. swung into action immediately and evacuated the ships berthed at the jetties to anchorage to prevent damage. Nevertheless the Marine Dockyards were extensively damaged and four ships which were under servicing tilted and damaged extensively. Four persons were dead in Port Blair and its surroundings. About 100 people who were injured have been treated in the hospital.
Soon after the incident in the morning, Lt. Governor, Member of Parliament, Chairpersons of Zilla Parishad and Port Blair Municipal Council and senior officers of the Administration went around Port Blair to assess the damage. A crisis management meeting was held at 1130 hours at Raj Niwas and action points were drawn up to deal with the emergency on war-footing.
Lt. Governor, Member of Parliament, Commander-in-Chief of A&N Command visited Car Nicobar by Coast Guard aircraft in the afternoon and returned by 7.00 PM. 28 dead bodies were found around the Airport at Car Nicobar during their visit. The extent of damage, loss of life and property in Car Nicobar was unprecedented. Shri SA Awaradi, Director (TW) has been stationed at Car Nicobar to assist the Deputy Commissioner in organizing the relief work.
So far 73 people have died due to the quake. 65 lost their lives at Car Nicobar, 4 at Port Blair and 4 at Campbell Bay. The Control Room and telephone numbers at the Secretariat, Deputy Commissioner's Office, Police Department and Fire Brigade are as follows:
1.    Secretariat 233110/234087
2.    Deputy Commissioner's Office 231945/233089
3.    Inspector General of Police 100/232100/239693 FAX
4.    Fire Brigade No. 101

Public may contact for giving message or reports about enquiries and the help required.
Airport facilities and the runway were inspected in detail and cleared for operation of the Airport in the afternoon and Indian Airlines and Jet Airways flight operated between Kolkata/Chennai and Port Blair.
Shri Anshu Prakash, Development Commissioner attended the meeting of the Disaster Management Group of the Govt of India at New Delhi on the afternoon. Ministry of Home Affairs, Prime Minister's Office and the President of India's Office were informed. Cabinet Secretary Shri BK Chaturvedi spoke to the Chief Secretary and apprised himself about the unusual developments and assured about the support of the Union Government to the UT Administration in dealing with the situation.
Port Blair Municipal Council organized a large number of shelters to the people who were staying outside the houses. They were provided with food and water, etc. wherever possible. Non-Governmental organizations and public spirited citizens came forward and lent a helping hand in dealing with the crisis at different places in the temporary shelters.
The Disaster Management Centre of National Remote Sensing Agency in Hyderabad has been approached to give technical in puts and advice in the matter. The Administration has expressed its gratitude to the citizens who have courageously faced the situation and cooperated to deal with the crisis.
Information counters have been set up in the Directorate of Information, Publicity and Tourism to assist and give appropriate information to the tourists and the public.
The tidal waves receded and normalcy came to Port Blair sea in the afternoon. The ship MV 'Nancowry' will proceed to Chennai at 1200 hours from Chatham Wharf instead of 1600 hrs. as scheduled earlier.
MV 'Ramanujam', MV Rangat, MV Chouldhari, MV Jolly Buoy, which had been in the sea for inter-island trips were brought back with passengers safely to the Port Blair Harbour(Chatham wharf), which has been restored to operations.
Teams have been constituted comprising of senior officers of the Administration and doctors to go to Hut Bay, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay to provide relief and undertake rescue operations. Arrangements have been made to provide grains, food, water, clothes, tents, fuel and medical relief. The teams will leave by helicopter immediately. Moreover separate ships are being sent to Campbell Bay, Hut Bay and Car Nicobar to transport additional relief material and medicines.
The Member of Parliament has assured to donate Rs. 20 lakhs for the Lt. Governor's relief fund. Similarly Zilla Parishad is donating Rs 20 lakhs, Port Blair Municipal Corporation Rs. 5 lakhs, ANIIDCO Rs. 10 lakhs and the A & N Police Rs. 3 lakhs to the Lt. Governor's relief fund. The Administration also appeals to voluntary organisation, organisation from commerce and trade and non-government sector to donate funds to the LG relief fund. The donations can be made only to the LG's relief fund. No other private organisation is authorised to receive donations.
The Indian Airlines has decided to operate 3 flights from Kolkata and 2 flights from Chennai tomorrow for transportation of tourists from Port Blair. The President of India spoke to the Lt. Governor in the evening and assured all help required by the Islands.

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