tsunami warnings revive Boxing day memories in Andaman

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

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

Though the warnings were withdrawn, the people were still in panic as it revived among them the horrifying memmories of the disastrous tsunami on December 26, 2004.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 worst tsunami hit Car Nicobar, told UNI today over phone.

Meanwhile, pinned by repeated quake alerts, a meeting on disaster preparedness was held here yesterday by the local administration to .

to review the plans taken in this regard and ask all the concerned departments to gear up for eventualities.

Sources said Lt Governor had review all functions of the Disaster Management Cell and directed them to immediately set up a central control station, from where disaster related directions could be given to both civil and defence authorities.

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

However, the people have alleged that the cell during last two tsunami alert was inefficient and had not undergone any preparedness drill.

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

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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