Reporters on the Job

Blue Plastic Tents: Correspondent Janaki Kremmer drove down the coast from the Indian city of Chennai (also known as Madras) Wednesday to report on the tsunami relief efforts in the area (page 1). "What struck me as we drove was really how pretty and calm everything looked - especially the sea - bright bougainvilleas, swaying palms, and balmy weather. But then the reality of the tragedy became visible: blue plastic sheet tents stretched all along the beach toward the road. People had moved away from the sea with whatever they had left," says Janaki.

"The other thing that struck me was the fact that unlike the north of India, where there would be complete mayhem if this had happened, there seemed to be a reasoned calm among the fishermen about their situation," she says. "Many had taken great pains to find clean sheets of paper to write, in great detail, petitions for assistance to the government."

In Chennai itself, she says, there is hardly anything that tells you of the tragedy unfolding on its beaches. "The life - and tragedy - of the fishermen is separated from the city people nearby," says Janaki. It's also a reflection, she says, of how common natural disasters are in India.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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