April 2012

Buzz back in Puducherry tsunami housing colony

 Fear of natural disaster has forced a majority of fishermen of Pillaichavady, Periya Kalapet and Chinna Kalapet to move to the tsunami rehabilitation housing colony from their houses along the coastline in Kalapet.

Following destruction by cyclone ‘Thane' and the tsunami alert issued on Wednesday, many people decided to move from their houses along the coast.

The housing colony which looked deserted six months ago now is now buzzing with activity with four grocery stores, a beauty parlour, dish antennas on terrace of houses, a water agencyand children returning from school.

The housing colony in Kalapet was inaugurated in February 2011 by Union Home Minister P. Chindambaram. In September 2011, The Hindu reported that the houses had not been occupied as fishermen were yet to receive title deeds and houses had not been given power connection.

Govt allocates Rs 23,000 crore for disaster management

 With an aim to effectively manage disasters in the country, the Government has alloted Rs 23,000 crore for developing disaster management infrastructure at state, district and panchayat levels across the country.


 “Addressing disaster risk reduction is therefore inseparable from the broader sustainable development agenda,” Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser told the Assembly, as it held a thematic debate on disaster risk reduction.

He pointed out, for example, that over the past three decades, the risk of economic loss as a result of floods rose by over 160 per cent, while economic loss incurred as a result of cyclones surged by 265 per cent in countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Today’s thematic debate aims to contribute to ongoing discussions on how disaster risk reduction can be best incorporated in the outcome document that will be agreed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June.

“Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities and building a sustainable future is one of the greatest challenges faced by the international community. Rio+20 is an opportunity of a generation,” said Mr. Al-Nasser.

In his message to the debate, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that disasters had the tendency to exacerbate poverty and undermine development planning, particularly poverty reduction strategies.

“When we reduce disaster risk, we increase our chances of achieving the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] and building a truly sustainable world for all,” Mr. Ban said in his <"">message, delivered on his behalf by Susana Malcorra, his Chef de Cabinet.

Fish landing centres to be ready by year-end

 Fisherfolk of Nettukuppam and Thalangkuppam in Ennore are eagerly awaiting the completion of the Rs. 5.44 crore fish landing centre, which is slated to be completed in December this year.

The centre will have a diaphragm wall at a cost of Rs. 2.18 crore, where catamarans and boats can land and bring in their catch, an auction hall worth Rs.12 lakh, a waiting hall for buyers at a cost of Rs.3 lakh and roads, drains and footpaths at a cost of Rs. 30 lakh.

Other infrastructure being created by the Fisheries Department include a net mending shed, a women's self help group building and an electronic weighing machine.

M. Kalaivanan of Nettukuppam said the fish landing centre would help trucks come right up to the boats. “Fishermen usually land their boats and walk quite a bit with the fish to reach the vehicles that take the fish to other markets,” he said.

No mapping of city's vulnerable spots

 The absence of comprehensive disaster vulnerability mapping for the 426 sq km of the city remains a major lacuna, especially for localities vulnerable to disaster.

Even though the tsunami alert on Wednesday facilitated the mobilisation of official machinery in the 29 coastal wards of the Chennai Corporation, councillors and ward-level officials in these areas said that data on reliable escape routes and the number of dilapidated structures prone to disaster had not been supplied to them.

According to disaster management experts such as N. Mathavan, who have worked on preparation of disaster resilience indices for the old city limits, the need for data on the disaster vulnerability of each of the 200 wards in the expanded Corporation limits is high, because around 90 lakh lives in and around the rapidly urbanising area are at stake. “The local community and officials should know the safest escape route in case of a disaster. They should be informed of dilapidated buildings that may collapse and the nearest hospitals for rescue operations. Comprehensive disaster vulnerability mapping will be a tool to help the community cope with disaster,” said Mr. Mathavan.

Nagapattinam coastal areas wear desolate look

 Coastal areas in the district wore a desolate look on Thursday, several hours after the tsunami alert was lifted.

For many habitations here, people had already relocated to the tsunami colonies in upper reaches of the coast and other places after the administration issued a general alert. However, when the administration had its alert lifted at half past seven, most people opted to stay put in their temporary shelters, fearing anything adverse in the night.

At the start of the day, the streets still wore a desolate look and skeletal population trickled in only as the day wore out.

Even as fishing community remained fluid with many returning to their dwelling units overlooking the sea, others living in the vicinity of the sea in the high and middle-end housing areas were yet to return.



The United Nations humanitarian arm today praised the level of preparedness and early warning systems of several Indian Ocean countries following an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, on Wednesday.  


“The fact that most people in the affected areas were promptly alerted to the situation and moved to higher ground is a testament to the effectiveness of the preparedness actions and early warning system,” said the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Indonesia, Ignacio Leon-Garcia.  


At least eight countries issued tsunami alerts following an 8.6-magnitude earthquake that struck 437 kilometres off the coast of Sumatra yesterday at 3:38 p.m. local time.   


Evacuation orders were issued immediately for coastal areas at risk in Indonesia followed by Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Myanmar. Two hours later an 8.2-magnitude aftershock triggered a second wave of tsunami warnings across the region.  


“It is during such moments that the effectiveness of our work on preparedness and early warning can be assessed,” said Mr. Leon-Garcia. “Based on this instance, I think we can be reassured that we are on the right track.”  


Why was the Sumatra quake so large?

 The most puzzling question about today's 8.6 earthquake off the coast of Indonesia is how it got to be so big.

Men who predicted within 6 mintues that Tsunami was no threat

 Their soldiers stand guard along the northern and western borders with fingers well trenched on the triggers of sophisticated rifles. But the Indian scientists ensure the safety of Pakistan from natural disasters like tsunamis and cyclones!

It may sound unbelievable to ordinary mortals but the truth is that the tsunami buoys and bottom pressure recorders developed by the scientists of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS),Hyderabad and the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, protect all countries along the Indian Ocean Rim including Pakistan from the fury of the nature.

Earthquake and tsunami updates

 At 2:17 PM: Indonesia's geophysical agency says earthquake of 8.9 on Richter scale off Aceh, issues tsunami warning. Indian ocean-wide Tsunami watch in effect - Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre

At 2:34: US Geological Survey said the quake was centred 33 kilometres beneath the ocean floor around 495 kilometres from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh.