Tsunami Help Home   Enquiry   Missing Persons   News Updates   Help Needed   Help Offered  

Wednesday 29 December 2004

Field Report for Andaman, India

The SEEDS field team is now camping in Port Blair in the Andaman Islands. This is the summary of their update:

1. There is no NGO doing relief work in Andaman and Nicobar so far. Only the administration and some small local groups are operating.

2. Nicobar area is worst hit. The people were washed out, and these being islands in the middle of the ocean, many bodies did not wash back ashore. From back calculations (by counting heads and assuming missing persons as dead), the rough estimates of casualties are about 15,000.

3. Nicobar area needs all basic relief support, including food, clothing and temporary shelter.

4. There is no major damage in Port Blair. In fact, the administration is evacuating people from vulnerable areas and bringing them to Port Blair under fear of another tsunami. This is because this region is continuing to have reasonably large quakes, the latest being one of magnitude 6.2 on the Richter scale at about 7 this morning.

5. Four relief camps are being operated in Port Blair by the administration. The administration is acutely understaffed and under-resourced to operate the camps. The Red Cross is trying to move relief material through a chartered flight from Delhi to Port Blair. They too have no advance teams in place, and are unsure of the capacity of the local groups to manage relief distribution.

6. Taking relief from the mainland involves clearances from the central government, and is a cumbersome process. Moving to remote islands also requires government permissions and no NGO can operate in those areas independently.

7. The Administration has requested us to take charge of two relief camps in the vicinity of Port Blair. We will start operating one relief camp with about 2000 persons from the morning of 29 December, and another camp in a day or two. We are rushing backup manpower to the Andamans from our field office in Gujarat. 8. The Administration is talking about long term needs of reconstruction. We will study this need and work on a plan for this after dealing with the immediate priority of life-saving relief.

Source: IndiaSeeds (Warning: PDF Link)