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Tsunami: US using spy satellites
Washington, December 31:
US defence agency is using its spy satellites to measure the scope of
the devastating tsunami in Asia and help workers manage their relief
efforts. The National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a defence department component,
normally gathers intelligence to support US security. The agency said on Wednesday
that it is using its satellite imagery to funnel information, including
damage assessments of roads, bridges, ports and airfields, to the US
agencies handling disaster relief. Those updates are being used
to guide where workers and life-support supplies are sent first.
Exits locked in Argentina nightclub fire
Argentina, Dec 31 - Emergency exits at a nightclub packed with teenagers
were padlocked or wired shut when a flare ignited the foam ceiling,
sparking a blaze that killed 175 people and injured more than 700 in
one of Argentina's worst disasters, survivors and officials said
fans at a Thursday night concert by the band Los Callejeros fought to
reach the exits as burning debris fell on them. But they found at
least four escape routes locked in an apparent effort to prevent
people from entering the club without paying, Buenos Aires Mayor
Anibal Ibarra said.
been open, we surely would have avoided a lot of deaths," Ibarra said,
calling the locked doors at the Republica de la Cromagnon disco an
"irresponsible act." The club's name means Cromagnon Republic.
to question the club's owner, who vanished during the inferno. The
concert crowd was nearly three times the venue's capacity of 1,500
people, Argentine media reported. (Agencies)
'I ate leaves, licked bark'
|NEW DELHI, Dec 31: Brendina, a 28-year-old Jarawa tribal from
Car Nicobar archipelago, survived the tsunami's fury by hanging from a
tree for three days. "One by one, my uncles, aunts, all the children
went past me. I was hanging from one branch, like a bat, and the tree
was rocking. They all looked at me and I kept screaming, 'hold the
tree, hold my hand', but they just went away," recounts Brendina. She
was in excruciating pain due to multiple fractures on her legs, but
found the will to literally hang on.
"I ate leaves, .just bit and swallowed. The water was so salty that
when I took a sip it burnt my throat, so I let it remain in the bark
for sometime and then licked the wet bark." Her ordeal finally ended
when a navy team rescued her on Wednesday.
Another resident of Car Nicobar, 13-year-old Meghna Rajshekhar, was
found alive after floating on a door for two days. Meghna, the
daughter of an IAF officer, was found walking along a beach in a daze
after being washed back ashore. Her parents, however, were not spared
by the 10-metre wave which destroyed the air base. She has now been
sent to Hyderabad to stay with an uncle, her closest living relative.
In Tamil Nadu, a two-year-old child was found alive beside the body of
her dead mother in a graveyard near Periyavila village, three days
after the tsunami struck. The girl's family had thought that she had
been swallowed by the devastating waves, but a group of people found
her when they came to the graveyard to bury the dead.
Two Indian boys also miraculously survived in Yala, the largest
wildlife reserve in Sri Lanka, even as a large number of tourists
Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Nirupama Rao said the story of
nine-year-old Farsan, a Parsi boy from Mumbai, was unbelievable.
Farsan was found clinging on to a tree and apart from a fracture in
the leg and some bruises he was fine. The boy still does not know that
his father Kesri Faujdar and mother Mehr perished in the deluge and
his brother is among some 40 Indian nationals reported missing.
The other boy who survived is seven-year-old Arvind Sitaraman, who
lost his parents and brother. His relatives had arrived from Chennai
to take him back home, Rao said.
Swedish nationals were among the worst-hit tourists in Phuket. But a
2-year-old boy, later identified by his uncle as Hannes Bergstroem,
was found dazed and alone on a road in Phang Nga province near the
beach resort of Khao Lak, about 60 miles from Phuket. The blond-haired
boy was reunited with his uncle, who spotted his picture on the
Internet. His mother and grandmother are reportedly missing, but his
father and grandfather are believed to be in a Thai hospital, though
their location and condition is not known.
The Swedish Gulbstrand family found 7-year-old Karl Nilsson —
nicknamed Kalle — sitting alone in a Buddhist temple on Phuket. His
parents and two brothers were lost. Marie Gulbstrand, a doctor, said
her family was sheltering in the temple when she heard cries. Her son
ran to her and said he had found a little Swedish boy.
Kalle was in a hotel room on Sunday morning with his brothers, Olof,
5, and Vilgot, 3. His parents, Thomas and Asa, of Lulea, Sweden, were
outside, when suddenly water gushed into the room.
He told Marie he was "under the water but somehow I could breathe. I
was just closing my eyes and moving with the waves. Then, suddenly the
flood ended and I was in another city". He was still in the same
place, only disoriented and battered by the tsunami. Like many other
children of the storm, life will never be the same again for him. But
at least he has the chance to begin afresh. (Courtesy: Times Of India)
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