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Exodus from Nagapattinam

By G.Srinivasan



The Thanjavur Collector, J. Radhakrishnan, and the Minister for Forests and Environment, Vaithialingam, discussing a point while an alert was sounded over the possibility of a fresh tsunami attack near Nagapattinam on Thursday . — Photo: R. Shi vaji Rao.

TIRUVARUR, DEC.30 . Today, there was a mass exodus from Nagapattinam to Tiruvarur and other places with confusing news making rounds about fresh tsumani attack at Nagapattinam.

Following the official warning, people in coastal areas of Nagapattinam were asked to go to safer places. Elsewhere in the state, flash news in satellite channels that there might be fresh attacks and that there might not be one confused the people totally. Those in places like Thanjavur took vehicles and rushed to Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam to get their relatives back to safer places like Thanjavur.

Thousands started flooding Tiruvarur today, from where people started moving back to Nagapattinam only yesterday. The Thanjavur Collector, J. Radhakrishnan, who was at Nagapattinam, told The Hindu that nearly 1000 people from Akkaraipettai, the worst affected area and where army was involved in relief operations, were moved to safer places.

Army started clearing the way by breaking open boats that block movement of relief to the other side. "We have moved the people to two to three km away following the warning given about fresh tsumani attack," the Collector said.

The Tiruvarur Collector, P.Ekambaram, said that the 22 centres set up for refugees in Tiruvarur district continued to function.

Following the warning of fresh tsumani attack, the people in coastal areas of Muthupettai in Tiruvarur district, Adhirampattinam, Mallipattinam and Sethubavachathiram in Thanjavur district were moved to safer places and lodged.

According to V. Palaniappan, a HAM radio operator who was coordinating communication about missing people from Nagapattinam to States like Kerala, Karnataka and Andamans, clothes and food were in surplus in Nagapattinam and Vailanakanni.

"One can see heaps of clothes on Tiruvarur-Nagapattinam Road untouched by the people as most of them have not returned. In Vailankanni, food items are wasted. The concentration should be on areas like Nagore, Tharangampadi, Poompuhar and Sirkali where the people are in need of help,'' he said.

"People can adopt villages and reconstruct them after things settle down. That will be the real help to the affected people," he added.

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