Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Tale of Two Tsunamis

VOL: 35 | ISSUE: 23 | FRIDAY | 6 JANUARY 2012

A Tale of Two Tsunamis

By Basudev Dass

The Giant Tsunami waves are still in the minds of the people of these islands otherwise people have a short lived memory.  When any major event takes place, there is lot of hue and cry.  But, after some time everything is forgotten. People remember it only when they are reminded. This is the time of the year when Administration as well as the media takes a break from its routine affairs and remembers the killer Tsunami that changed the whole scenario in Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the most devastating manner on the black Sunday of 26th December, 2004.

Tsunami the Onge Girl

The waves are reminded but two little Tsunamis are a forgotten lot today. A female child was born to a young couple on 28th December 2004, 48 hours after the striking of Tsunami, at Ramakrishnapur in Little Andaman Island where the Primitive Tribe - Onges were evacuated. Born to the Onge family with Inakwangeilakubegi alias Rajani the mother and Enatei alias Madan, the father, the girl child was named Tsunami.
The situation at that moment of time was approving to none even for the doctor posted there was attempting to attend to his duties under traumatic condition. The ANM Shanti Theressa Lakra did not lose her cool and attended the pre and post delivery stages of the mother and baby which had a premature delivery due to ordeal and suffering. The baby was nursed to the extent possible by Shanti till she was shifted to GB Pant Hospital, Port Blair. Shanti Theressa Lakra an Auxilliary Nurse-cum-Midwife later and rightly been awarded Padmashree for her meritorious services rendered to PTGs. The baby was possibly be rescued and airlifted to Port Blair  and alive today solely because of timely intervention of Govind Ram a local DANICS officer,  Survival of one Soul of the Vulnerable Primitive Tribe was, certainly one of the biggest achievements of the Administration but now who remembers the survivor as well as her rescuers?

Tsunami the Boy

Born on 26th December 2004 on a hill surrounded by forests, amidst screams and shrieks for life by hundreds of people in Hut Bay of Little Andaman, Tsunami Roy is a forgotten child today. A newsmaker for more than a week in National and International print and electronic media is known to none but his  parents only who call him by his nick name 'Saagar' (Ocean).
Tsunami's father Lakshmi Narayan Roy is a private labour on daily basis while his mother Namita, though a house lady has taken up 'cooking' on order against official functions. She has to abandon her activity of cooking mid day meal for schools after a couple of years as the school she has been asked to supply food now is too far from her refuge. "None of our activity is a regular source of income" said Namita but. 'But God is with us and we will succeed', she added.
Padmashree Shanti
Theressa Lakra
Recounting the morning of 26th December 2004 she narrated the harrowing tale how, in her acute labour pain, she was rescued from her house to the hill  by her husband and one of his friend braving tsunami waters, upto their waist and chest level, pushing the floating dirt and logs.  She recited the suffering she underwent while delivering her baby under open air amidst shrieks and screams in the forest. 'No food for 72 hours I could not breastfeed the baby, instead, soaked my dirty saree in rain water and moistened the lips of the baby to keep him alive'. She was amongst others who were the first to be evacuated to Port Blair on 30th December. The cause of the delay was that the capital was unaware of the extent of devastation the Little Andaman Island faced on the morning of 26th December 2004 due to Tsunami waves. Their entire concentration was in Nicobar group of Islands, mainly inhabited by tribes, which were almost washed away by the giant waves of Tsunami.
The indomitable spirited parents are not leaving any stone unturned to survive and give better available education to Tsunami Roy and his elder brother in Little Andaman. This is despite the fact that the family did not get any assistance from any corner. Not even a Tsunami Shelter out of 1966 permanent Shelters in Little Andaman accommodating about 6000 persons.
In fact Roys had committed a blunder of not able to bear the brunt of trauma and fear after the harrowing 72 hours with their weak baby and malnourished mother. Accepting an offer of opportunity from the administration they were also allured to go to mainland to a distant family. Idea was to recover mentally and physically. And when they returned, everything was over. Permanent shelters as well as other facilities were rendered to only those who stayed in temporary shelters. And Roys are not entitled for any assistance including a roof over their heads.

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