India Blog: Tsunami Notes

The Deccan Chronicle offers the horrifying report that sarees, the long flowing garments that many Indian women wear, became deathtraps as women were swept up in the current.

Many women, caught in the surging waters, could not escape after their sarees got entangled in sea weeds and bushes washed in by the sea. Even those who ran for their dear life were pulled back after bushes and debris caught hold of their sarees.

Meanwhile, the Times of India notes that the entire tragedy might have been averted (or at least mitigated) if the warnings of an Indo-Canadian had been heeded. An excerpt from the story:

So more than once in recent months, following his retirement into Canadian academia after setting up Canada's tsunami warning center, Dr Murty told former colleagues in India to press the Indian government for something similar. He also wrote papers on tsunamis in the Indian Ocean and the possibility of India facing another tidal onslaught.

"They told me they can't sell the idea to the government," he said in an interview on Monday from his home in Ottawa. "Tsunamis are such a rare phenomenon and the government looks at more urgent issues of the day. Frankly, who can blame them?"

In an anguished conversation, Dr Murty, a recent past president of the Tsunami Society, struggled to reconcile the sheer unexpectedness and scale of the monster strike with the lack of resources, conflicting priorities, and sense of despair in the region. Having made his way up from an underprivileged background to becoming one of the world's foremost experts on tsunamis, he knows what all that means.

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