Thursday, December 30, 2004

Another Loss To The Wave


India's southernmost point, Indira Point was a 100 sq. km. island 51 km from "Point Zero" at Campbell Bay and 140 km from Sumatra. This island has also been known as Parsons Point and Pygmalion Point. It is a favorite nesting site for Olive Ridley turtles, leatherback turtles and other sea fauna. Well, no more. From the Times of India,
Sunday’s tsunami, which altered Asia’s map, nearly changed India’s map too. Indira Point — the country’s southernmost tip — has been washed away.
There is no trace of the half-a-dozen “international scientists” nor the 20-odd inhabitants of this 100 sqkm Indian Ocean island. Just 140 km from Sumatra and 51 km from “point zero” at Campbell Bay, India’s Final Operating Base (FOB) bore the full force of the tsunami...

Nicobar coast guard commander Milind Patil said, “Our vessel Bikaji Kama made it to within 31 km from zero point. They found only four male survivors. Two of them have lost their limbs and the others sustained fractures on the back.” All the four were airlifted to Port Blair. “A Coast Guard helicopter could make just one sortie to Indira Point. It reported the island was below the ocean,” said Patil.

The FOB — with a five-bed hospital, communication equipment, armoury and ship support equipment — is under water.

The Andamans are also of strategic importance - both for India and China, being a series of choke points for access to the Bay of Bengal, Singapore and Sumatra. The islands themselves have little defense against the forces of nature. Good information at Sanctuary Asia on the Islands. No wikipedia entry on Indira Point, though.

Also, somewhat unrelated, Lord Richard Attenborough, producer of the feature film Gandhi has lost three members of his immediate family, including his granddaughter in the tidal wave disaster in Phuket in Thailand, said his family sources.
Lord Attenborough’s family was holidaying in Phuket. His granddaughter Lucy was in the resort with her 17-year-old sister Alice, brother Sam, her mother Jane, father Michael and her mother-in-law Jane Holland, when the tragedy struck.

The Attenboroughs' granddaughter, 14-year-old Lucy, died at the scene. Another granddaughter, Alice, 17, is now being treated in hospital. Their elder daughter, Jane, is missing, as is her mother-in-law, Jane Holland.

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