Humanitarian Health Action

Tsunami: India situation update

9 January 2005

Key issues

The Tsunami caused extensive damage in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the states of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and UT of Pondicherry on 26 December 2004. It has affected a total of 2260 Kms of the coast line besides the entire Nicobar Islands. The tidal waves of 3-10 m penetrated into the mainland form 300 m to 3 Kms. Also Andaman & Nicobar were affected by the earthquake itself.

The Government of India, in association with the states/UTs, has mounted massive relief and rescue operations in the mainland and Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands. According to the latest estimates, 157 393 dwelling units in 897 villages have been damaged. A total 646 256 persons have been evacuated so far and the affected population is reported to be 24.5 million. 10,260 ha. of cropped areas are damaged. The situation reports from GOI indicate that 612 relief camps have been set up for 377 067 persons.

As per preliminary estimates a total financial loss for the mainland states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerela and Pondicherry is estimated at INR 70 billion (US dollar 1.56 billion). The detailed damage assessment for A&N Islands is being undertaken. The Nicobar Group of Islands will require more or less rebuilding.

Situation update

Access to the affected costal strip on the mainland is not an issue. However, access to the Nicobar group of Islands is understandably more difficult, and is undertaken through the support of Armed Forces.

Out of 30 Number of light houses in A&N Island only 2 are functioning in South Andaman and East Islands. It is estimated that an amount of INR 3.04 billion will be required to restore the damage to the shipping sector in the Islands.

(Situation analysis, including major developments in the past 24hrs)

No. of deaths No. of injured No. of missing No. of displaced No. of districts/islands affected
10 022 3324 in Tamilnadu, N.A. From others 5617 646 256 41

Health status and trend

Communicable diseases

So far, no outbreak of communicable diseases has been reported. No reports of epidemics have been received so far, and the situation is under surveillance by MoH&FW. WHO is supporting GOI and the States in disease surveillance.

Two more sporadic cases of measles reported from the Cuddalore District.

Environmental health (access to safe water and hygiene, sanitation situation)

Water: A joint team of Department of Drinking Water Supply and Ministry of Water Resources is making assessment of damages and chalking out restoration plan for A&N Islands. 90% water supply has been restored in Port Blair, South Andaman Rural, Rangat and 80% in Mayabandar and Wimberlegunj, 60% each at Kadamatal and Degreepur and 50% at Campbell Bay. Restoration work is progress in other Islands except Katchal where assessment is awaited.

871.14 million tonnes of water has been airlifted to A&N Islands so far.

Health System and Infrastructure (functioning health facilities, access etc)

As per the assessment carried out so far by Govt. agencies, the damage to health infrastructure/ facilities is limited.

WHO Actions over the past 24hrs

  • All the affected districts of Tamilnadu except Purdokottai have completed their immunization activity for children 6-59 months. The combined figure of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry is 67 103 children who have received measles vaccination; 66 887 vitamin A; and 66 307 for OPV. District wise performance details (3-7 January 2005) of SIA activities (Measles, Vitamin-A, and OPV) for Tsunami affected districts of Tamilnadu, Pondicherry and Kerala is attached. These are less than the expected target figures but many people have already moved away from the relief camps and into outer villages. Tamilnadu State has expressed its intention to also cover a higher age group and expand the activities to other villages near the Tsunami-affected sites. Andhra Pradesh is planning a small immunization activity on 9-11 January 2005.
  • Three WHO Collaborating Centres have been engaged to provide training and services for Mental Health, Disaster Management in Children and Adolescents, and Disease Surveillance in the affected areas.
  • 24 hours liaison between WRO and the Operation Room of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI.
  • WHO Country Office Operation Room is functional in WR-I Office at Nirman Bhawan.
  • Liaison with UN partners.
  • Technical assistance for strengthening routine immunization. Monitoring and networking with various authorities in communicable disease surveillance is ongoing.
  • Technical assistance for Monitoring for the microbiological contamination of water.
  • Technical assistance for laboratory surveillance for Shigella and Cholera is ongoing.
  • Technical assistance for further strengthening disease surveillance in affected districts by involving three state level medical colleges.

Key Actions by Government / NGOs

  • All the Tusunami affected States/UTs have already started planning to start, as early as possible, the second phase of rehabilitation so that people resume their normal living. The fishermen are braving their grief and started venturing into the sea. Such reports have been received from Kerala, Tamilnadu (Cuddalore and Kanyakumari Districts) and Andhra Pradesh (Gunture, Krishna, West Godawari and East Godawari).
  • In the A&N Islands, 148 health facilities are functional and a total of about 5000 patients have been treated. All children between 6 months to 5 years of age are being vaccinated for measles and being given recommended doses of Vitamin-A supplement. Health Ministry is also arranging 15 fogging machines with operators to address the problems of mosquitoes.

Contact Persons

Dr Paramita Sudharto, PHA
Mr A K Sengupta, NPO-SDE

SIA activities for tsunami affected district of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry