Wednesday, December 29, 2004

More Tsunami videos

More videos, this time they are really graphic, with people running and screaming and getting sucked into the water. I don't recommend watching them.

Some videos in This is streaming video, will open in Windows Media player. You can see the details in this one, the height of the waves, they are really huge.

First set; don't know whether they still work or not. Again the caveat, links good till gone.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Killer Tsunami?

Over 68 000 dead in 9 countries and still counting. 5 500 in mainland India and 7000 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Such senseless and needless loss of precious human lives. The videos of the tsunami and some more of previous tsunamis on the internet show one common thread which killed people in all these - people too close to the shore. In India too, something was common in all the places where death was huge - huts and villages too close to the shore line and many a times on the beaches itself.

While I can't talk about places like Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, I have seen Chennai upclose and can definitely say that the huge loss of lives in Chennai would have been probably avoided if the shanties have been forcibly removed from Marina beach and along Elliots beach by the corporation guys. While I regret the needless death of so many people, they were squatting in a place they shouldn't have been in the first place. Whenever there was a 'drive' to remove 'encroachments', some politician or the other intervenes on behalf of the 'oppressed poor' and try to stop this 'cosmetic' 'beautification plan'. Even social workers protested against this to 'protect the downtrodden' and 'protect their livelihoods'.

The huge beach would've considerably reduced the impact of the waves. If experts are to be believed, the energy of the waves was largely dissipated by the time they crossed the main road. Had those huts been constructed beyond the mainroad leaving the beach clear, they would've probably escaped with loss of just their possessions.

Even in places like Velachery, Kolathur and Ambattur, people fill up the rain catchment areas with dirt from construction going in the city and build dense settlements, sold by a government agency! Whenever the rainfall is heavy, these places are inundated under a few feet of water and they blame the government for everything.

During monsoons, the huts built on the banks of River Cooum and River Adyar are washed away, the people complain and build the huts back after the water drains. When the corporation tries to remove these encroachments, they protest a lot, pelt the police with stones and the party in the opposition comes to their support even if they tried to do the same thing when they were occupying the treasury benches. One year Stalin tries to remove encroachments and Jayalalitha decries the 'high handedness' of Karunanidhi. The next year, the roles are reversed and Karunanidhi talks about the arrogance of 'that lady' Jayalalitha.

I've lived in Mumbai and I've seen 'shanties' constructed along the shore after clearing the mangroves that act as a natural barrier against such incidents. They are stubbornly putting themselves in the path of danger and they are encouraged by those politicians just because they will get a block of votes.

Who are the people affected? Women and children. Entire villages washed away, a whole generation of children lost forever (at least a third of the victims this season were children). Maybe the 'social workers' do have a point, what good does it make when these people are forcibly removed without an alternative site to live in? Even if they move away, a new wave of people move in here! Maybe life is cheap in a populous country like India.

The 'officials' are saying that this is the first Tsunami to hit India, while this is the third time since 1885 (or some closeby year) with the last one being in 1945. After incidents like the Bhuj earthquake and the fire tragedy in Kumbakonam everything is just a knee jerk reaction. Builders are back to pushing the unsafe houses they constructed, crowded classrooms operating in unsafe schoolhouses, while politicians try to build their power base rather than working for the people that elected them - the ruling party punishing constituencies that did not vote for them.

May the souls of the dead rest in peace and let the people and politicians wake up atleast now! The environmentalists and safety-conscious people are not our enemies, they say this for our own good.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Tsunami Videos

I see from the log that many people are searching for the Tsunami videos. You might get them here (subject to availability, or something like that). They are the BBC reports on day 0. If you are looking for more graphic videos, check the next blog. I find these giddy enough.

9 MB Divx Video -

105 MB Divx Video -

4 MB Real Media Video -

A long shot, but if anyone downloading these files know more, please post them in the comments section or email to please.

Photos by someone in (Madras) Chennai and Karaikal, Pondicherry

Thanks to the dude in Chennai who sent these links.

Tsunami in Chennai

I thought yesterday that the tremors in Chennai were just tremors caused by an earthquake somewhere else. I was totally unaware of the extent of the tsunami that followed.

This single photo talks about the enormous power of the tsunami! A big car parked on a bench some 750 meters away from the sea. The people affected mostly seems to be fishermen going on about their business, people taking their morning walk on the beach and poor people living on the beach. A friend says, in Elliots beach down Marina beach, the beach itself saved houses across the road but in Marina beach, people on the beach were swept into the sea. It is a known fact that the politicians want these people to stay there to be their 'vote banks', so anything done by the civic authorities to move these people away are resisted. Now, since this has happened, will people wake up to this risk? Such senseless loss of lives.

This is how the 2 kilometre long, 750 metres wide beach looked like.