Coastal zones: focus of multi-disciplinary studies

The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), at Anna University is developing a huge database to map coastal resources, including offshore wind resources to identify things like sites for offshore wind energy. The scientists are also identifying particularly sensitive coastal ecosystems such as Chilika Lake in Orissa.

Chilika Lake is an important source of biodiversity, but it is affected by problems such as over fishing, excessive nutrient loading from fertiliser runoff, and coastal flooding. The NCSCM has identified desired conditions that should be aspired to, as well as scientific methods for assessing overall ecosystem health.

Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change sanctioned Rs.180 crore to Anna University for setting up the NCSCM and related research into land ocean interactions in the coastal zone (LOICZ). This is part of the Rs.1,055 crore granted to various projects involving coastal zones in India clubbed under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) initiative.

The move gains significance and importance given the fact that coastal zones around the globe are crucial for a number of reasons.

They are places of enormous ecological, cultural, social and economic significance sustaining about 50 per cent of the world’s population. About 46-48 per cent of global economic activity is generated in the coastal zone. The coast contains unique and sensitive eco systems of great natural and economic value and is home to numerous endangered species.

Along much of Earth’s coasts, a warming climate and sea level rise are already negatively affecting natural ecosystems and human communities.

The impacts
The impacts of global change such as these are intensely felt by small island states, along Arctic coasts, at river mouth deltas and in urbanised coastal zones.

Minister inspects Poompuhar fishing harbour work

The fishing harbour under construction at Poompuhar will fetch annual revenue of Rs.150 crore for fishermen of 20 villages in the district, said K.A.Jayapal, Minister for Fisheries, here on Thursday.

After inspecting the harbour under construction, Mr. Jayapal said that retaining walls would be constructed to a cumulative length of 1,490 metre, including 390 metres on the northern side.

The project involved an expenditure of Rs.78.50 crore and it would benefit fishermen of Thoduvai, Tirumullaivayil, Melammovarkarai, Keezgamoovarkarai, Chavadikuppam, Naaickarkuppam, Madathukupam, Thazhampettai, Pudupettai, Perumalpettai, Vellakovil, and Kuttiyandiyur.

Mr.Jayapal said the harbour, once commissioned, would generate direct employment to 12,000 fishermen in the area. T.Munusamy, District Collector, and S.Paunraj, Nagapattinam MLA, accompanied him.

Indian Navy ignored during tsunami for want of media policy (Comment: Special to IANS)

Boxing Day reminded me of Dec 26, 2004, the day the tsunami trampled Aceh in Indonesia, Galle and Trincomalee in Sri Lanka and devastated the east coast of India. An air force plane enabled me to be in Galle that fateful day.
Captain Murlidharan Nair, Captain T. Asokan and a host of other naval officers from Kochi were holidaying on the high seas with their families when news of the tsunami reached them. Families returned home in smaller boats even as reinforcements arrived for the navy to advance with 37 ships to ports in the eye of the tsunami.
Galle's ample harbour was choked with debris, which included giant trees, smashed boats, furniture, doors, household goods and bloated carcasses.
The host country, Sri Lanka were astonished at the efficiency with which Indian officers and men could clear Galle and Trinco harbours. It was a heartwarming Indian show along a vast stretch of the coastline from Indonesia, Sri Lanka to India.
Then something quite extraordinary happened.
A giant US warship docked a few meters at sea, visible from the Galle airport from where I was to be flown to New Delhi. The first passengers to disembark from the warship were two US cameramen. A speed boat brought them ashore where a high platform was in readiness for the cameramen to position themselves.
Then came the marines with gear that would be impressive on film. Americans had arrived on relief duty with great fanfare.
It was dark by the time I reached New Delhi. Next morning's newspapers were a shock. Across six columns of the Times of India was a photograph of the US ship disgorging marines, engineers, grenadiers. The headline in heavy font was: "American ship brings relief." Not a word about the Indians.

India announces US $1 million for UN tsunami fund

Ten years after a massive Tsunami triggered by an earthquake smashed the coastline of around 14 nations, India announced one million US dollar contribution to a UN fund for strengthening early warning systems for natural disasters.

India's Ambassador to Thailand Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday announced the contribution of one million US dollar to the Tsunami Trust Fund of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to further strengthen the process of building resilience to natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a statement of UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan.

The donation will also ensure that vulnerable communities receive the timely warning information that is required to save lives and livelihoods in disasters.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Shamshad Akhtar said that they are extremely pleased to partner with the Government of India to further strengthen regional early warning systems and build resilience to natural disasters.

A 9.3-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia's western point generated a series of massive tsunamis that smashed the coastline of 14 countries, including India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Somalia.

Tamil Nadu pays homage to 2004 tsunami victims

CHENNAI: People along Tamil Nadu's coastal districts affected by the 2004 tsunami paid tearful homage to the thousands who were swallowed by the killer wave on this day 10 years ago.

Over 8,000 people were killed in Tamil Nadu by the giant wave in 2004.

On the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives held silent rallies and special services in the tsunami affected areas like Velankanni, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Chennai and others.

They offered milk and flowers at the sea for the dead.

Fishermen in many villages stayed away from fishing as a mark of respect to the victims.

In many coastal districts, shops were closed as a mark of respect to those who were killed by the giant wave.

"Rallies and prayers were held. Fishermen did not go for fishing in Nagapattinam district," V Kumaravelu, an activist, told IANS from Nagapattinam.

"While people have rebuilt their lives, many did get the central government's relief amount. The tsunami houses are in a bad condition and many do not even have water connection. This is the major problem now for the people," he said.