TN tearfully remembers Tsunami victims on 18th anniversary

On the occasion of the 18th anniversary, people of Tamilnadu paid tribute to the victims of the 2004 tsunami that caused massive destruction in the state borderline.

Mourners lit candles and silent processions were taken out on Monday in remembrance of the victims of the 2004 tsunami that caused massive destruction in the coastal parts of Tamil Nadu 18 years ago.

Fishermen kept off the sea as a mark of respect to the departed.

People living along the shoreline from Chennai to Kanyakumari, took out silent processions to the beach and paid tearful homage by pouring milk into the sea and sprinkling flowers.

On the fateful morning of December 26, 2004, an earthquake in the Indian Ocean near the island of Sumatra in Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed thousands of people.

Several fishermen and a large number of civilians who had gone to Velankanni to celebrate Christmas died due to the disaster.

In Nagapattinam district where about 6,065 people died, fisherfolk, accompanied by public, traders and political party members took out a massive procession and paid tribute at Akkaraipettai.

Many children were orphaned and in certain cases, parents had lost their children during the tsunami.

On the occasion of the 18th anniversary, fishermen of Cuddalore, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari too paid tribute by pouring milk into the sea and sprinkling flowers.

At Nagore, tributes were paid at the mass burial site on the land owned by the Dargah. At several places, candles were lit and banners and hoardings containing the photos of the victims were put up, according to president of South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association Ku Bharathi.

“We cannot forget the ghastly tragedy that claimed several hundreds of lives 18 years ago. Today our members decided to keep away from the sea to pay tribute to the victims,” Bharathi said.

DMK Legislator, representing the Mylapore Assembly constituency here, Dha Velu and Principal secretary, Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Department, Dr J Radhakrishnan, joined hundreds of people in a procession at Nochikuppam here, carrying pots of milk in their hands, which they emptied later at the Marina beach.

Radhakrishnan, who was Collector of Nagapattinam district which faced the brunt of the killer waves, had then adopted a 4-year old girl Sowmya who lost her parents due to the calamity. He had fostered her over the years and in February this year, Radhakrishnan solemnised her marriage.

“No one expected the tsunami. The waves struck with such a velocity that the impact could be felt throughout the coastal region of Tamil Nadu,” said Velu.

Prior to arriving to Nochikuppam for the event, Radhakrishnan’s car met with an accident when it collided with a tourist coach. None was injured in the mishap. Though the front portion of car in which he was travelling was damaged, an unruffled Radhakrishnan got down from the car and regulated the traffic that got disrupted because of the accident.

At Kasimedu here, former AIADMK minister D Jayakumar, accompanied by his party members, paid floral tributes and poured milk into the sea. Later, speaking to reporters he said late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, then, took up rehabilitation measures on a war footing and won the appreciation from several quarters.

The fishermen wing of the BJP too paid floral tributes to the tsunami victims.

Nagapattinam Collector Arun Thamburaj and Poompuhar Collector R Lalitha, too, were among the officials who laid wreaths at the tsunami memorial.

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