Friday, Sep 17, 2021
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An Island Of Hope

In a sea of troubles, a group of tribals tided over the storm

An Island Of Hope
An Island Of Hope
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

THESE are the ones who got away. While Cyclone Kakinada 0.7b delivered a knockout blow to the ricebowl of Andhra Pradesh, residents—all 312 of them—of a tiny island in the Bay of Bengal ducked just in time. And survived to tell the tale.

This is Hope Island, 5 km off India’s east coast and just 2m above sea level. For 100 years, members of the Jalari tribe, who inhabit it, have tided over gales, storms, cyclones and hurricanes. And November 6, 1996, was no different.

With the lone cyclone shelter having been turned into a school, the machikaras (fisherfolk) and their family members clung to each other arm in arm, and lay on the ground face down as one more crisis whizzed above, and past, them. "It’s nothing short of a miracle," exults A. Dakshinamurthy, a Kakinada bank officer, who was part of a team that did a socio-economic survey of the 16 km long, 1 km wide island last year. "Nothing else can explain how more secure people on shore perished, and how these survived." Luck, it seems, was also on...

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