Tsunami warning revive Boxing day memories in Andaman

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Port Blair, Sep 14 (UNI) Panic still prevails in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands despite the two tsunami alerts, issued for the islands on Wednesday and Thusday, were withdrawn within hours.

The warning was issued by the Centre following a high intensity earthquake south of Sumatra.

Though the warnings were withdrawn, the people were still panicked as it revived the horrifying memories of the disastrous tsunami of December 26, 2004.

''It seems we are living under some curse, every other day there is a quake or tsunami alert,'' Anwar Hussain, a resident of Car Nicobar, the worst hit area of the devastating Tsunami, told UNI today over phone.

Meanwhile, a meeting on disaster preparedness was called here yesterday by the local administration to review the measures taken in this regard and urge all the departments concerned to gear up for any eventuality.

Sources said Lt Governor Lt Gen (retd) Bhopinder Singh directed the disaster Management Cell to immediately set up a central control station, from where any disaser situation could be handled by coordianting between the civil and defence authorities.

Besides the central control station, all the inhabited Islands would have control centres for timely passage of information and prompt action for disaster management and relief.

However, people have alleged that the cell during the last two tsunami alerts had not undertaken any preparedness drill.

''People were confused after tsunami alert. No body knew what to do, even government machinrely was puzzled,'' Shubhasis Ray, the general secretary of HELP, an NGO told UNI.

He said conducting mock drills on disaster preparedness is the key for survial during any disaster.

However, the Lt Governor had clarified that the disaster preparedness plans must be practically tested by way of conducting regular disaster rehearsals.

''We hope this time the administration will seriously conduct mock drills,'' Ray added.

The killer tsunami on the Boxing Day of 2004 claimed the lives of nearly 3800 people and left nearly 42,000 people homeless in this chain of islands.

UNI

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