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The tragedy of Orissa

Orissa's tragedy has no precedent. A violent cyclone struck this eastern state, 60 per cent of whose 31 million had already been living in poverty.

Photographs from Orissa show a bleak situation. Many survivors have no food to eat, and no place to sleep. Old people and children are waiting for relief on rafts made of banana-tree trunks. Nearly seven lakh people are ill.

The cyclone blew away close to a million homes. Fishermen never returned from the sea, and people who braved the winds and the rain and reached what was once home found their familes washed away. Officials say 8,000 have died, but reporters who visited the region say the number is much higher.

Hope lives on in Orissa Amidst all the gloom we read about selfless individuals and groups trying to help. Reuters put out this touching picture of a music teacher rescuing her harmonium from the waters. When all is lost, music still remains for her.

December brings to an end the most eventful and spectacular century ever. Let's hope all the technological advancement will not blind us to the plight of people who haven't benefited from it.

S Suchitra Lata

The Music Magazine
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