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Monday, August 4, 2014

black Sunday Tsunami 2004 - SYMA's response -moksha deepam

I have recently posted about that dreaded name which became a commoner from out of that black Sunday 26th Dec 2004.  It is ‘tsunami’ (from Japanese – a harbour wave) - a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, generally an ocean or a large lake; the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was among the deadliest natural disasters in human history with at least 290,000 people killed or missing in 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean.  The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.  The sad phenomenon caused havoc killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 ft) high.

In my  earlier post, I had detailed on the earthquake felt in parts of Chennai in the morning around 6.28 am on 26th Dec 2004; that SYMA was engaged in door-to-door collection of used clothes and the way we organized in providing food on that fateful day. 

Even as we collected to do something for the grief-stricken, the enormity of the loss was not fully understood.  Some good humans were seen in the morning with flasks containing boiled sweetened milk, as they set forth to relief centres trying to provide children some quality milk.  Triplicanites spontaneously  came out in larger numbers  providing food to those in relief camps.  Meantime, the Govt. authorities were doing great job. The Corporation Officials and other Govt officials swiftly placed hundreds of people who had moved out from areas close to the sea making  arrangements for them at various Corporation schools and some choultries. 

As it happens with most tragedies, lot of sympathy would be expressed in the initial days which would wean away slowly.  At SYMA We had the burning urge to do something more, had rounds of discussions on possible ways in partaking in the relief operations.

On 1st Jan 2005 when most parts of the World were celebrating, we organized ‘moksha deepam’ lighting of oil lamps – the whole of Kairavini Pushkarini, the sacred lily tank of Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple glittered with lamps lit by hundreds of people, praying for the unfortunate departed souls and families affected by tsunami.

That was the emotional expression of residents of Triplicane and SYMA had a big role in organizing it…… ~ and it naturally did not stop with mere expression of sorrow … more of that in the next post.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

PS : 2nd in the series of posts describing Tsunami 2004 and the response of Social service organizations, especially SYMA.