Suffering in Nagappattinam

2004-12-31
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The Indian government continued with its policy of politely refusing offers of assistance during times of disaster. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters in New Delhi, "If and when we need their help, we will inform them," said. "I have told them that, as of now, we feel we have adequate resources to meet the challenge." India's refusal does not include U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations already working in the region.

Tibetan reporter Pema Ngodup is filing from Tamil Nadu, India, for RFA's Tibetan language service.

Nagappattinam, Tamil Nadu, India (1400 UT) — ; Tamil Nadu has been hit hardest by the tsunami. Here In this state along the south eastern coast of India, the majority of the population fish for their livelihood. Fishing boats have been completely destroyed by the tsunami. The area looks like a war zone.

Only Local Aid

They are burying about four hundred dead bodies at a time in mass graves.

At the moment no foreign aid organizations have reached the area. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that India has enough relief supplies to help the victims and would not ask for foreign help for now. There are numerous Indian states, other governmental and nongovernmental organizations helping the victims. They are distributing blankets, clothes and food.

The area has not been hit with epidemics as of now. There are makeshift hospitals helping the people and they are sprinkling chemicals to kill flies and prevent diseases.

Lack of Firewood Hinders Cremations

One of the biggest problems is the lack of fire wood to cremate the dead bodies. They are burying about four hundred dead bodies at a time in mass graves. The other big problem is that the houses have been washed away and people do not have shelter.

People are still afraid that there might be more tidal waves coming to the shore. Most of the people are sleeping around train stations and on road sides and in front of stores. Many are running away from the shore to inland areas to be safe.

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