7 FEBRUARY 2010
The Cuddalore Experience
THE CUDDALORE EXPERIENCE
- Anu George
1. Immediately after the tsunami struck Cuddalore, what were some of the first tasks the administration had to do?
Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu, has always been prone to natural disasters of one kind or the other. The shocking, spine jerking, tsunami experience of 26th of December 2004 was like no other. The extent or immensity of loss, the suddenness with which it approached, without prediction and lack of preparedness of people has made an unbelievable amount of destruction. The disaster was much different from any others for the intense havoc it damaged: the spread was small but the damage huge.
The tsunami left 618 dead in Cuddalore, loss of animals was put to 29 lakh. A vast area of 517.7 hectares of land was rendered saline and property worth nearly 300 crore was destroyed. The terrible tragedy scarred the lives of over 97,000 people, and thousands were rendered homeless in a matter of minutes.
Anu George is an IAS officer, incharge of the district of the relief and rehabilitation operations.
Immediate rescue and relief Operations:
The first and foremost task in disaster management in Cuddalore was that of rescue and relief operation. Tragedy had happened in immensely large proportion, the task is very high to accommodate and provide rescue and relief operation. Hospitals had to be made ready to attend to the thousands being brought in, dead or alive. First aid to the injured, care for the seriously affected and consolation to the bereaved had to be given. It was very troublesome and painful task of disposing the dead bodies, mass burial was the only way out and it took a lot of persuasion and effort on the part of our field officials to get the task done by the morning of 27th December. Many people had come to search their lost relatives or friends. All the bodies were photographed individually before the burial for future identification purposes. The burial was...