ANDHRA PRADESH

Swift action on tsunami alert

KAKINADA, DEC. 30. The tsunami alert sounded on Thursday met with mixed response from the coastal population in East Godavari. Both fear and curiosity were at play as some fishermen families scurried to shelters identified by the district administration and many bravely stayed back home, even sauntering onto the beaches at places like Uppada, Nakka Rameswaram, Odalarevu and Vasalatippa.

In a swift reaction to the alert, the district administration quickly spread the word along the coast about the possible threat from tsunamis and police imposed barricades on the roads leading to the seashore with jeeps blaring warning.

"We have not evacuated people yet but have kept the machinery ready to shift them if necessary. We are issuing continuous alerts," a district official.

Fishermen stay back

Scores of fishermen, after idling since the fateful Sunday, had ventured to fish in the sea by casting huge nets from the shore but had to roll them back and stack their gear away from the water. Said Surada Kondamma from Sugampet, who was helping her men folk in pulling the 1,500 metres long net back onto the shore, "It was only today that we decided to fish. The 25-kg rice given is fine, but we need money for other things."

Another bunch of fishermen near Kakinada coast had spread their net in the sea at 3 a.m. hoping to earn some handy money by evening, but the danger of the return of the tsunami dashed their hopes.

At Uppada, which lies cheek by jowl with the coast and had taken some battering on Sunday, it was, surprisingly life as usual. Barely 30 people from 12,000 population of the village, found it worthwhile to make it to a makeshift shelter identified at a nearby ZP High School premises.

Otherwise, children were play, women were going about their chores and men lounging on the sands here.

The women in the hamlet looked tired about the running around that the tsunami was making them do.

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