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Kanyakumari Collaborates
Rohit Gupta, 27 Dec 04

kanyakumari2.jpgUPDATE: For more information on the tsunami and recovery efforts, go to the Worldchanging main page

While we face a tough time ahead, I am glad that some WorldChanging stories can be reported, even in the face of the tsunami tragedy.

The picture is taken from the southernmost tip of India, where until today there were hundreds of tourists trapped at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, off the coast of Kanyakumari district. In an amazing display of humanitarian collaboration and bravery, the local fishermen saved roughly 500 of the 600 trapped people, while the role of relief agencies was severely limited by the breakdown of communications and bad weather. Even as I write this, most local media can only offer conflicting figures.

A majority of the deceased from the mainland were local fishermen who had gone out in the sea, to net their nightly catch. Throughout the day and night, and the following day, small boats and catamarans, perhaps too small to brave the violent sea, were plying up and down the strait that divides the island from the Indian mainland.

While the Indian Air Force kept dropping food and medical supplies, it is the fishermen who've kept the Kanyakumari death toll (524) as low as it is. Most of the saved were not locals, but tourists, including a Supreme Court judge.

There were no riots or cases of civic indiscipline reported in that district, nor in any other part of India, during the rescue efforts. Thankfully, the Indian media has taken due note of the effort.

Also, Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, has offered extensive aid to Sri Lanka, and at least four Indian Navy ships have already carried medicines, food and water to Galle, one of the most affected areas in Sri Lanka.

One of my media friends is a TV show host, and is writing live accounts of the frenzy on our community blog while rushing around in search of loved ones.

We are also setting up a database of helplines and donation funds, more on that soon.

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The print media in India particularly the Mumbai based papers like Times of India, Mid-Day and online outfit have been lamenting the lack of preparedness on part of the government or lack of early warning systems, while forgetting the fact that no Pan-Indian ocean tsunami's have ever occured in recorded history and that even organizations like the US govt. site while detecting the earthquake and the potential for tsunami issued no warning for an Indian ocean tsunami (at least not on their website) only an advisory indicating absence of any harm to Hawaii. Rather than organizing relief efforts and raising donations these news organizations are engaged in blaming the authorities for an unforseen natural disaster. I pity really these arm chair critics. This is the time to help and not point fingers.

Posted by: Dr. Subhash Paknikar on 27 Dec 04

Actually, Dr. Paknikar, while they are exceedingly rare, this wasn't the first tsunami in the Indian ocean in recorded history. Two examples:

1762 saw a quake/tsunami which hit the Bay of Bengal.

1945 saw an earthquake in the Arabian Sea which triggered tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, eventually hitting India.

Posted by: Jamais Cascio on 27 Dec 04

While I agree with Mr. Cascio about tsunamis having occured in the past in this region, they have been localized or regional in their affect, no Pan-Indian ocean tsunamis have been recorded so far at least according to the report in WSJ.
Technical facts aside the point made was that there people with the tendency to sit on their haunches or worse still criticize others while themselves not doing enough to help the needy.

Posted by: Dr. Paknikar on 27 Dec 04

Ah, I see what you're saying. And, of course, you are entirely correct: we should not lose sight of the relief needs. As Dina said, "the why's will come later."

Posted by: Jamais Cascio on 27 Dec 04

I am from kanyakumari and had been in the spot of devastation and death caused by the Gory waves.. The Govt. authorities are the one to be held responsible for the casualities. Reports say the Tsunami had hit chennai by 8.30 -9.00 and there was no warning issued at capecomorin..Even to the tourists who were strolling on the beaches.

Even after the worst hit..there was no officials or authorities on the scene. It waas the NGO's and local people who rescued so many lifes and fished out the corpses..Even now we have the rotten smell of corpses all over our area in the adjacent villages.

Where are the Firemen? Police? Military? Paramilitary?.. I was surprised to see the police on each and every meter at nagercoil securing the CM on the next day(27th). Shame it is

Another politician has ordered his party workers to take the statistics(?) of the dead and lost.
This is the same person who had supplied Kanchi(rice mixed in water) to weavers a couple of months ago. And the antiparty has supplied the same people with Egg briyani..

Where are these politicians standing now on this catastrophe? No where.. The flock of vultures are settling in now on the debris scavanging.. The politicians are no better

Posted by: Gunaseelan on 28 Dec 04

Can I ask a question please. Was the village of Kosgoda beach effected?

Thank you
from Tanya

Posted by: Tanya on 30 Dec 04

Perhaps this isn't the place for this but please can anyone help? I am desperately worried for Lucy Cooper, her parents and her boyfriend Justin who were in kanyakumari at the time of the tsunami. If anyone can help please do contact me. I can't comprehend what has happened to you all in South East India - and elsewhere - but please accept both my heartfelt prayers and best wishes as well as material donations. Hare Krishna, Larry

Posted by: Larry McCauley on 30 Dec 04

Can anyone tell me what the situation is in Kanyakumari, near Nagercoil or Colachel or Chemponvilai? We cannot reach our good friends, Samuel and Rejini Thurai and their little boys. Any information, good or bad, would be so much appreciated.

Posted by: Elizabeth Schumaker on 1 Jan 05

I posted a request for information for D. Samuel Thurai and his family. They have been found in Kattathurai, Kanyakumari. There are 200 people dead there and many more homeless and living in churches and schools. But Samuel and his family are all alive. Thank you for your help

Posted by: Elizabeth Schumaker on 3 Jan 05

I posted a request for information for D. Samuel Thurai and his family. They have been found in Kattathurai, Kanyakumari. There are 200 people dead there and many more homeless and living in churches and schools. But Samuel and his family are all alive. Thank you for your help

Posted by: Elizabeth Schumaker on 3 Jan 05

Does anyone have information on the safety of anyone staying at:

Dohnavur Joppa House in Kanyakumari



Posted by: Tim Clement on 4 Jan 05

Can anyone help with the whereabouts of Appesh Mohandas? He is a friend of mine that was in Kanyakumari at the time of the tsunami, and I am looking for any information on his safety and his family's safety.

Posted by: Ryan on 5 Jan 05

whos gunna read all this,i do care alot but its to long i wish me and my skool could do something bye

Posted by: bert on 7 Jan 05



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