|How you can help
Contribute to the
Indian Red Cross fund for Tsunami victims
|1. Indonesia: 94,081
2. Sri Lanka: 30,229
3. India (inc Andaman and Nicobar Is): 9,682
4. Thailand: 5,246
|5. Somalia: 298
6. Burma: 64
7. Maldives: 82
8. Malaysia: 67
|9. Tanzania: 10
10. Seychelles: 1
11. Bangladesh: 2
12. Kenya: 1
|India's lead role as core rescue partner|
|Adapted from original text by Shobori Ganguli, New Delhi|
India's aggressive tsunami diplomacy has puzzled major world capitals. As India demonstrates that it is capable of handling its own disasters, and competently so, the international media witnesses in disbelief.
India is know to be refusing foreign aid. But can India really afford to snub international assistance when its own disaster management mechanism is so ineffective, so sluggish?
India has shot back, proving that it was perfectly capable not only of addressing the crisis on its own shores but also of lending a helping hand to its tsunami-ravaged neighbours.
At a Press briefing, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said reports in the foreign media of how India had refused aid but was unable to take care of the consequences, are "completely misplaced." India has a full-fledged National Institute of Disaster Management and as of now has the capability and the resources to handle a disaster of this scale.
India's rationale of refusal to accept aid was that
whatever international effort was being launched, of which India itself
is a part, should be directed towards
those affected countries unable to manage the crisis. "Not only
have we had the confidence that we can take care of the disaster that
struck our own shores, we have also been confident of assisting others
affected," Saran said.
India rose above the occasion, rushing aid to Sri Lanka as early as the evening of December 26 even as it was coping with the crisis on its own territory.
Determined not to stand around as a hapless victim, India swiftly became part of the core group of four countries along side big powers like the US, Japan and Australia to coordinate aid efforts in the Sri Lanka, Thailand, Maldives and Indonesia.
By Sue Nelson - BBC Science correspondent
Waves from the worst tsunami in memory sent floodwater surging up to 3.5km (two miles) inland to the island's biggest wildlife reserve. Many tourists drowned but, to the surprise of officials, no dead animals have been found.
It has highlighted claims that animals may possess a sixth sense about danger.
Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is home to elephants, deer, jackals and crocodiles.
Praised for its conservation, the park is also considered one of the best places in the world to observe leopards.
It is now closed after floods damaged buildings and caused the deaths of tourists and employees of the park and lodge.
Yet, surprisingly, none of the park's varied wildlife is reported to have perished.
Debbie Marter, who works on a wild tiger conservation programme on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, one of the worst-hit areas in Sunday's disaster, said she was not surprised to hear there were no dead animals.
"Wild animals in particular are extremely sensitive," she said.
"They've got extremely good hearing and they will probably have heard this flood coming into the distance.
"There would have been vibration and there may also have been changes in the air pressure which will have alerted animals and made them move to wherever they felt safer."
There are many eyewitness accounts of birds and animals migrating before earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The scientific evidence for a sixth sense is lacking, but if the reports are confirmed, they could add to the understanding of animal behaviour and possibly even be used in the future as an early warning system for humans.
The India-Australia and Eurasia plates that hold the Earth's
surface are lodged on top of each other deep under the ocean near the
Indonesian island. "As the India-Australia plate was digging under
deeper and deeper and causing too much strain, the plates slipped - on
a large scale," said Yoshinobu Tsuji, assistant professor at the
Earthquake Research Institute of the state-run Tokyo University.
The result on Sunday was an earthquake – one of the most powerful in history.
The deep-sea destruction throws a huge amount of water to the surface. The waves at first can appear minor, but build up a deadly velocity as they race hundreds of kilometres across the ocean.
When the tsunami waves finally reach land, the shallow water causes their speed to slow -- but their size to grow gigantic.More than 16,000 people have been confirmed dead as the tsunamis swept away everything in their path in eight countries, many full of beach resorts packed with tourists.
Thousands have died after a violent earthquake under the sea near northern Indonesia sent huge waves crashing into coastal resorts across south and east Asia.
The quake occurred close to the island of Sumatra.
Two tectonic plates, the Australian and Eurasian plates, meet just off Sumatra's south-west coast, grinding together and sending periodic seismic tremors through the region.
All along the rupture the seafloor was shunted vertically by about 10 metres.
This movement displaced hundreds of cubic kilometres of the overlaying water, generating a massive tsunami, or sea surge.
The wave then fanned out across the Indian Ocean at
The 9 magnitude quake, which was the strongest in the world for at least 40 years, wreaked havoc across the whole region.
Walls of water, tens of metres high, slammed into coastal resorts thousands of miles apart.
Surging seas and floods were reported as far away as east
Thousands (~23000) are reported to have been killed, but there has been little news from the worst-hit areas where all transport and communication links were destroyed.
Hundreds are still thought to be missing from coastal
regions and, in Sri Lanka alone, officials say more than a million
people have been forced from their homes.
Facts about Tsunamis:
Tsunamis can travel up rivers and streams that lead to the ocean.
Tsu-namis like those that wreaked havoc on Sunday, are massive waves usually caused by earthquakes deep under the ocean floor and can travel vast distances. Born of strong seismic shocks, tsunamis can reach huge heights and speeds, picking up strength as they cross the ocean — often with disastrous results thousands of kilometre from their origin.
Despite their strength, they can be barely noticeable out at sea. “If you are on a boat, you might not even feel a tsunami,” said Wong Wing-tak, senior scientific officer at the Hong Kong Obser-vatory. “It becomes powerful only when it is near the shore and reaches shallow water, which then can push waves over 10 times higher than the sea level.” While they can also be caused by landslides, volcanic eruptions, the most common cause is an undersea earthquake, especially in areas such as the Pacific where there is significant movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates. “Tidal waves are not a common phenomenon as usually only an earthquake that’s over 7.7 on the Richter scale is capable of causing tidal waves,” Wong said.
“Tsunamis travel outward in all directions from the epicentre of an earthquake and can savagely attack coastlines,” he said. “It can easily roll people out to the sea, it causes flooding, devastates property damage.” “The speed of tsunami is linked to the depth of the water. It can travel at several hundred kilometre per hour,” he said. In 1960, a huge tidal wave travelling at 750 kmph smashed into Japan, having been caused by a series of quakes in Chile on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds were left dead.
|What you can do if a Tsunami strikes|
|Sify News Desk|
|Monday, 27 December , 2004, 11:43|
|Tsunamis are most always caused
by earthquakes. In coastal areas their
height can be as great as 30 feet or more (100 feet in extreme cases),
and they can move inland several hundred feet.
If a tsunami occurs, this is what you should do . . .
If you are on land:
Offshore reefs and shallow areas may help break the force of tsunami waves, but large and dangerous wave can still be a threat to coastal residents in these areas.
Staying away from all low-lying areas is the safest advice when there is a tsunami warning.
If you are on a boat:
Most large harbours and ports are under the control of a harbor authority and/or a vessel traffic system. These authorities direct operations during periods of increased readiness (should a tsunami be expected), including the forced movement of vessels if deemed necessary. Keep in contact with the authorities should a forced movement of vessel be directed.
Damaging wave activity and unpredictable currents can effect harbors for a period of time following the initial tsunami impact on the coast. Contact the harbor authority before returning to port.