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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Back from Andamans, wreathed in smiles

By B. Madhu Gopal

VISAKHAPATNAM, DEC. 31. The scores of people from the Andamans who arrived by the passenger vessel, MV Akbar, at Visakhapatnam Port on Friday night, heaved a sigh of relief on seeing land. They waited impatiently on the deck and some peeped through their cabin windows .

They underwent a harrowing journey from Wednesday noon with the sight of floating bodies and surging waves still fresh in their minds.

Plans to return

Though Andamans was not affected much, life was thrown out of gear and workers from Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam who had settled there long ago returned with their bag and baggage. The men brought back their families and many intend to go back.

Amuda A. Gomes, a student of the St. Luke's School of Nursing, here, returned with her father, who had settled in the islands 20 years ago and she had gone home for Christmas.

Recounting nightmare

"When the tsunami struck, we were in a church. The church was shaking and we ran out. There is not much damage in Andamans. My mother and brother are still there,'' she said. "Our ship was anchored at Port Blair. We were having tea on the deck when the ship started shuddering. Within minutes the ropes gave way and water entered the jetty. Our captain managed to move the ship to safety," recalled Jahangir, a crewmember of M.V. Akbar.

M. Jagamayya said that 65 out of 100 Telugus in the islands are from Srikakulam.

Lakshmi, a native of S. Kota in Vizianagaram district was all smiles as she alighted with her child . Her father had settled in the islands long ago. She was born in Port Blair. Her husband stayed back in the island and plans to return later.

Soon after the ship was berthed, the Port authorities announced that food and water packets were arranged for the passengers. At this, the workers who stood on the deck clapped in delight as they did not seem to have had enough to eat during the two-and-a-half day voyage.

"In all 1,050 passengers including four sick persons and three foreigners returned by the ship. The workers were mostly labourers from north coastal AP,'' the Assistant Foreman of the ship, N. Eswara Rao said. The RTC arranged special buses for transporting of the passengers to their villages.

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