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Tsunami Relief Effort by Blue Yamuna Team Members

In the wake of the Tsunami disaster our Blue Yamuna Team members, Mr. Sucharit (Diplu) Dutta, Kolkata, and Ms. Justine Baruch, Denver, CO are going down to Nagapattinam, one of the worst Tsunami impacted area in India. It’s a very small assistance that could be organized by the Yamuna Foundation in a hurry to enable shipment through the kind support of Mr. Nikhil Mallampalli of Maryland, , who traveled to New Delhi on January 8th from Washington DC for a personal visit.

Here are some excerpts of the notes/communication by the Blue Yamuna team members…

From: subijoy

To: nikhil mallampalli

Cc: diplu, hirok, blueyamuna team

Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2005 11:25 AM

Subject: Tsunami Relief Package

I have talked with Mr. D.K. Mital
Mr. Mital said that the Oberoi hotel is very close to his house.  However, please call him when you get to Delhi and provide the package to him. 
Content of the Package:

  1. 9 Double Potable Aqua bottles, and 4 Single Potable Aqua Bottles containing Emergency Drinking water Germicidal Tablets.  50 Tablets in each bottle.

  2. One Check for the Tsunami Relief work to cover transportation/lodging of the Yamuna volunteers reaching the aid.

  3. A few Pens and Yellow stickies (two each)

  4. 10 Toothpicks for inserting/removing the cotton pack from the bottles easily when taking the Tablets out for each use.

I and scores of other people appreciate your assistance in carrying these valuable materials for the Tsunami victims in mainly Nagapattinam area of Tamil Nadu.


January 6, 2005

Brij Khandelwaal (Agra) et al.:

With some effort I have arranged to send a small relief package (below) to Delhi. Mr. Mital will pick that up from Nikhil Mallampalli at the Oberoi hotel on Jan 10 early afternoon and courier it to Diplu at Kolkata. Ms. Justine Baruch from Denver CO (Ken Brakken's daughter's classmate/friend) is flying into Kolkata by Jan 11 to join the Blue Yamuna team and proceed by train to Nagapattinam.  We hope to provide at least 50 families with potable/safe drinking water for 7 days or so.  Partial restoration of their damaged homes and water supply is expected to be in place by that time.

Shravan: Please print this message and provide to Mr. Mital.

Venkatesh: I tried to call you but couldn't get through, please call Mr. Mital and Diplu and render any viable assistance.


Crofton, MD

January 7, 2005

Thanks Subi for your contribution...Although the devastation is massive, small gesture like this does help victims of disaster in a big way....!

Best regards,

Venkatesh Dutta, New Delhi

See the tsunami relief pictures at

Some relevant articles of Tsunami below:

The Physics of Tsunamis

The mechanisms of tsunami generation and propagation

What is a tsunami?

A tsunami (pronounced tsoo-nah-mee) is a wave train, or series of waves, generated in a body of water by an impulsive disturbance that vertically displaces the water column. Earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions, and even the impact of cosmic bodies, such as meteorites, can generate tsunamis. Tsunamis can savagely attack coastlines, causing devastating property damage and loss of life.

What does "tsunami" mean?

Tsunami is a Japanese word with the English translation, "harbor wave." Represented by two characters, the top character, "tsu," means harbor, while the bottom character, "nami," means "wave." In the past, tsunamis were sometimes referred to as "tidal waves" by the general public, and as "seismic sea waves" by the scientific community. The term "tidal wave" is a misnomer; although a tsunami's impact upon a coastline is dependent upon the tidal level at the time a tsunami strikes, tsunamis are unrelated to the tides. Tides result from the imbalanced, extraterrestrial, gravitational influences of the moon, sun, and planets. The term "seismic sea wave" is also misleading. "Seismic" implies an earthquake-related generation mechanism, but a tsunami can also be caused by a nonseismic event, such as a landslide or meteorite impact.

How do tsunamis differ from other water waves?

Tsunamis are unlike wind-generated waves, which many of us may have observed on a local lake or at a coastal beach, in that they are characterized as shallow-water waves, with long periods and wave lengths. The wind-generated swell one sees at a California beach, for example, spawned by a storm out in the Pacific and rhythmically rolling in, one wave after another, might have a period of about 10 seconds and a wave length of 150 m. A tsunami, on the other hand, can have a wavelength in excess of 100 km and period on the order of one hour.
As a result of their long wave lengths, tsunamis behave as shallow-water waves. A wave becomes a shallow-water wave when the ratio between the water depth and its wave length gets very small. Shallow-water waves move at a speed that is equal to the square root of the product of the acceleration of gravity (9.8 m/s/s) and the water depth - let's see what this implies: In the Pacific Ocean, where the typical water depth is about 4000 m, a tsunami travels at about 200 m/s, or over 700 km/hr. Because the rate at which a wave loses its energy is inversely related to its wave length, tsunamis not only propagate at high speeds, they can also travel great, transoceanic distances with limited energy losses.

How do earthquakes generate tsunamis?

Tsunamis can be generated when the sea floor abruptly deforms and vertically displaces the overlying water. Tectonic earthquakes are a particular kind of earthquake that are associated with the earth's crustal deformation; when these earthquakes occur beneath the sea, the water above the deformed area is displaced from its equilibrium position. Waves are formed as the displaced water mass, which acts under the influence of gravity, attempts to regain its equilibrium. When large areas of the sea floor elevate or subside, a tsunami can be created.
Large vertical movements of the earth's crust can occur at plate boundaries. Plates interact along these boundaries called faults. Around the margins of the Pacific Ocean, for example, denser oceanic plates slip under continental plates in a process known as subduction. Subduction earthquakes are particularly effective in generating tsunamis.

Wildlife can sense natural calamity

Wild Life has once again perplexed scientific community by their uncanny ability to SENSE TSUNAMI.  Animal behavior scientists are foxed by the meager loss of animal wealth while huge loss of humans was reported from all islands. Deputy Director of Srilanka Wildlife Department  Ratnayake has said that while the giant waves rushed three kilometers deep which took toll of 24000 people of the Island, Jumbos ran to safety.

Dogs, Elephants,Birds,Snakes and Leopards.  They all have what the man doesn’t.  The inbuilt disaster warning system. Behavior Experts are unable to explain this SIXTH SENSE or Premonition but it happens when ever a calamity occurs. In Lathur in September,1993 pet dogs barked and howled endlessly at day-break before the tremors shook the people awake. It happened in supercyclone of Orissa in October 1999 and again during quake in Bhuj & Kutch of  Gujarat on Republic Day in 2001. Restless behaviour of animals is reported across the world during total solar eclipses too.  African Wildlife expert Clive Walker says that wild animals pickup impending disaster much ahead of time. In the wake of Tsunami, it is time we train humans to understand animals which may be giving feelers about impending calamity.  

Great Tsunamis

1929 Grand Banks, Canada
1946 Aleutian Islands, Alaska
1952 Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
1957 Aleutian Islands, Alaska
1960 Chile
1964 Prince Williams Sound, Alaska
1975 Hawaii

Recent Tsunami events

1994 Mindoro
1994 Kuril
1994 East Java
1993 Hokkaido
1992 Flores
1992 Nicaragua
1996 Peru 
1998 Papua New Guinea:


Some of the Newsclips on Tsunami

Toll in crosses 8,500; many still missing

Tuesday, 28 December , 2004, 15:13 (Source:

Port Blair: Many thousand people were missing on Tuesday and countless numbers homeless in as the death toll crossed 8,500 from a tsunami that slammed into unprotected coasts.

Indian and foreign tourists mobbed the lone airport in the Andaman Islands to catch flights leaving the vacation paradise where huge waves triggered by an earthquake on Sunday killed at least 4,000 people and left many more missing.

The seawater rose suddenly again early on Tuesday in the Andamans triggered by aftershocks from the earthquake, sparking fears of more tidal waves.

Tourists such as 's Lucy Henderson were frantic to leave. "We were here on our first marriage anniversary to see the emerald green ocean. But on that day, it began to swell and turn black and we decided to run," she said.

"And Oh God we never ran like that before. It is a miracle we are alive."

A senior coast guard official reported at least 1,000 more dead on remote Chowra island in the archipelago, bringing the Andaman death toll to 4,000.

"We have only 500 survivors on Chowra, the rest were totally washed away," he said, noting the island had a population of 1,500 before the tsunami hit.

The Andamans lie near the epicentre of the massive underground earthquake off Sumatra in . Witnesses said "waves were taller than buildings".

The coastguard official, on conditions of anonymity, forecast the death toll on Car Nicobar Island south of the Andamans could top 10,000, adding there were "a large number of survivors who are injured."

"Eighty percent of the buildings were flattened on Car Nicobar where about 45,000 people live, the official who had just returned from the island said. "It's flat and people had no place to run. The exact toll cannot be calculated just now but it is very high, much higher than reported," he said.

There was no immediate comment available from government officials. Police had begun listing dozens of islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with populations of 1,500 to 2,00 from where they have no information.

's Home Minister Shivraj Patil said the number of dead was hard to estimate. "If you look at the number of missing people, it's huge," he said.

On the mainland, bodies were rapidly heaped into mass graves as worries grew about outbreaks of disease from piles of decomposing corpses. Hospital staff and visitors wore masks where bodies were being collected.

Vultures and crows gathered where bodies lay in the open.

In Nagapattinam, corpses were washed up by the sea and found wedged among collapsed shacks or floating in large lakes left behind by the invading sea.

There was a stench of death up to a kilometre away from the beaches where rescue workers toiled to retrieve the dead from the sea and beaches.

"There are very serious health concerns. There's an acute shortage of drinking water and medicine," said Salvation Army worker John Raman in Nagapattinam, the worst-hit coastal district in Tamil Nadu. "Human and animal bodies need to be cleared immediately. Chances of an epidemic are high."

Tamil Nadu state recorded the largest loss of life with nearby Pondicherry, accounting for some 4,500 dead. Unofficial estimates were much higher with officials saying many thousands of people were missing.

Survivors were traumatised by losses of family members. One woman in Nagapattinam whose children died could only hold up four fingers, whispering "daughters" when asked what happened on Sunday.

Tens of thousands spent the night huddling in emergency relief camps as the government stepped up relief efforts and the Indian Red Cross appealed for food, clothes and tarpaulins.


PORT BLAIR: Rescuers began reaching Andaman and Nicobar islands on Tuesday to find barely a third of residents on one isle were still alive two days after a devastating tsunami.

Officials fear at least 7,000 people have been killed on this and one other island alone - bringing the estimate for all of India to about 12,500 - with contact still to be made with several more of the island group near Myanmar and Indonesia.

On the second island, only piles of rubble and debris remained of the housing blocks of an air force base, a hundred officers and their families swept out to sea by waves higher than the two-storey buildings in which they had sought shelter.

There has been no contact since Sunday with one of the chain's biggest islands, Grand Nicobar, the closest to the epicentre of the earthquake that caused the tsunami, killing more than 50,000 across Asia.

About 9,000 live on Grand Nicobar.

Andaman and Nicobar administration relief chief Puneel Goel said 6,000 of the 30,000 people living on the island of Car Nicobar, site of the air force base, were feared dead.

"It our estimate that about 20 per cent of the population of Car Nicobar may have perished," he said.

With thousands still missing and rescuers yet to reach or even contact some areas, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said the toll was certain to rise.

On the Andaman and Nicobar island of Chowra on Tuesday, rescuers found only 500 survivors from 1,500 residents, said the territory's deputy police chief, C Vasudeva Rao.

"We thought the entire island was washed away. But we found 500 survivors," he said.

No contact has yet been made with two neighbouring isles, home to a combined population of 7,000.

"We are fearing the worse in these islands. We have heard nothing from them," Rao said. "We have no information."

Television footage showed only concrete floors remaining of some of the officers' houses on the air force base on Car Nicobar. Apartment blocks collapsed and trees were uprooted.

Most of the Andaman and Nicobar islands are uninhabited, but many of the roughly three dozen that are have no high ground to escape a tsunami. They are also several days' sailing from help.

The islands, where visitors are restricted, host a major military presence and some of 's most primitive and isolated tribes. Many of the dead are tribespeople.

At the airport in the capital, Port Blair, survivors from Car Nicobar, including children, begged air force personnel to fly them to safety on the mainland.

Residents slept on the streets on mattresses and chairs, too scared by dozens of strong aftershocks to sleep inside.

“The real worry is if a big quake hits us now, the entire town can be wiped out" said Mustafa, a motor-rickshaw driver.

Port Blair is home to more than a third of the territory's 350,000 people but suffered only 10 casualties on Sunday.

The government has pledged 5 billion rupees ($115 million) for relief and rebuilding around the country. But help has yet to reach many areas and in some cases villagers say aid workers ran away at the sight of so much devastation and death.

"Not one government official, policeman, soldier, no one has come to help us 48 hours after the tragedy took place," said Bhoomi Nathan, a shopkeeper in Tharangampadi, in the badly hit mainland state of Tamil Nadu.

"Some fire service personnel came here yesterday and fled after seeing the destruction. The area's development officer has also run away after seeing the damage."

More than three quarters of the dead are are women and children from poor fishing families.

"I don't think my boy and girl would have made it through this havoc," said shopkeeper Kolanda Velu, fighting back tears.

"But I hope and pray that we can at least find their bodies so we can see them one last time and give them a decent burial."