India

Indian media: Indian Ocean tsunami anniversary

More than 200,000 people were killed in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Image copyright EPA
Image caption More than 200,000 people were killed in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami

Papers in India are remembering the Indian Ocean tsunami that brought death and destruction to people 10 years ago.

More than 200,000 people were killed when an underwater earthquake set off massive waves across the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004.

"While Indonesia bore the brunt of the waves' whiplash, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand too suffered enormously," the Deccan Herald says.

Papers say that people who lost their loved ones in India's coastal areas are still continuing efforts to rebuild their lives.

"Much of the misery in India befell the coastal fishing hamlets in Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts in Tamil Nadu (southern state). These areas lay centred on the path of the tsunami," the Hindustan Times reports.

While normalcy has been restored, the landscape in these areas "sometimes points to the tragedy's legacy".

"Thatched huts have given way to housing clusters named Tsunami Colony or Tsunami Village, fishing markets have been built further inland and sea walls have turned the once-bustling beaches dreary and barren," the paper says.

The paper reports about a couple in Nagapattinam who lost both their children in the tsunami.

"I had just washed clothes and putting out them out to dry. When I turned around, my home was gone. We never found the bodies," the paper quotes the father as saying.

Alert system

Most papers, meanwhile, feel India was not prepared for a natural disaster of such scale in 2004, but agree that precautionary measures have now improved.

"As it marks the 10th anniversary of the devastating tsunami …India is looking back with satisfaction in having created a tsunami warning system that has practically ruled out any large-scale loss of human lives by any similar event in the future," The Indian Express says.

The paper says India has set up a warning system to detect tsunami.

"This is done by Bottom Pressure Recorders (BPRs) that India has installed in the ocean about 3,500 metres below the surface near the fault-lines where earthquakes are generated. The BPRs record the pressure of water the above them," it explains.

The Deccan Herald agrees that "state-of-the-art" tsunami warning system is in place but warns "serious gaps exist in the last mile - tsunami alerts sent by emails, SMS, etc do not reach coastal populations that do not access such technologies".

Encouraging more frequent mock drills, the paper warns against government's "lax approach to natural disasters".

In some other news, many government officials did not get a holiday on Christmas, which was also marked as a Good Governance Day.

"With many events planned across the nation, it turned out to be a working Christmas for mantris (ministers) and bureaucrats," the NDTV website says.

The BJP-led government announced Good Governance Day to mark Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's 90th birthday.

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