THE TSUNAMI WAVES OF XMAS 2004: No-one could have predicted the total devastation caused by the tsunami waves ..... nor the deaths of 300,000 people. Our immediate concern, initially, was for the children of Tamilnadu (featured on the ECRDT Appeal page here). It was to be some long time before we heard from ECRDT; yes, there had been losses of life but not as many as feared, though 677 children (297 boys + 380 girls) in the Tirunelveli district and 1293 children (558 boys + 735 girls) in the Thoothukudi district had lost their school books, uniforms and stationery, and villages in these districts lost their houses as well. Some of the children in Kanyakumari district lost a parent; all have lost their houses, school materials, uniforms, etc. .... we are told the number of children affected in the Kanyakumari district alone was *17298*.
We have been forwarded *many* newspaper cuttings from the Indian press. Apparently the Indian Goverment refused outside help after the Tsunami? so it is not clear how much of the information sent to us has been available outside India.
We have seen reports that if the coastal SAND had not been removed by mineral companies, many lives lost in the Tsunami would have been saved (ECRDT drew attention to the problem of sand being removed, in their page on Child Fish Workers over two *years* ago). Also on that page, they pointed out the need to preserve the CORAL REEFS. During the tsunami, the coral reefs *protected* nearby areas - and apparently the tsunami did not have any major impact on reef areas, or the sea grass beds around the reefs. It is *vital* that these reefs be actively safeguarded as a defence against future tsunamis.
A significant concern also is the NUCLEAR POWER stations on this stretch of coast - not just MAPS reactors but also spent fuel pools, reprocessing plant and waste management facilities. Independent assessment of any breach during the last Tsunami is apparently prevented by the Atomic Energy Act - ?
We are told that a Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) report in November 1986 said that India was not vulnerable to tsunamis. Despite subsequent warnings from seismologists, it would appear that reactors now being built have not been constructed to withstand tsunamis.
We have been informed by another source that the Nuclear Plant at Koodankulam (scheduled to include *two* reactors) is in a tsunami-prone /seismic-prone zone, and that sea water entered the construction area ... and that this has been denied by the Government. These reactors are apparently scheduled to be fully operational by 2007 .... and it is also said that there are two dormant volcanoes in the Gulf of Mannar.
We have also been informed that the Government is proposing a new project called "Sethu Samudram Ship Canal Project" between the waters of Sri Lanka and Tamilnadu which would drastically affect the corals and endangered species, quite aside from the livelihood of the fishermen.
The Gulf of Mannar was designated a National Marine Park or Biosphere Reserve as long ago as 1989. Why is it not being properly protected?
The whole WORLD could be affected if there are more tsunamis in the years ahead, and the nuclear reactors in India are breached.
Help is needed. Firstly with PUBLICITY of these serious problems. Secondly with any funds which can be sent to ECRDT, to help the children and communities they represent. Funds provided by the government for temporary housing are apparently not allowed to be used for semi-permanent structures. ECRDT need help from people in the outside world to recreate homes and communities, and to help the children who have lost so much in the Tsunami.
Funds to help children can be sent to:
Account Name: East Coast Research and Development
Account Number – 19097
Name of Bank: Indian Overseas bank
Bank Address: Tuticorin Main – 100, Victoria Road, Thoothukudi – 628001, Tamilnadu, India.