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A boy named tsunami
Updated: 2005-01-03 09:58

Six-day-old Tsunami Roy doesn't know what all the fuss about him is, as he hungrily suckles at his mother's breast before dropping off for a contented nap.

Sitting in a classroom in the capital of India's tsunami-ravaged Andaman and Nicobar islands, his 34-year-old father, Lakshmi Narain Roy, recounted Saturday the dramatic events leading to Tsunami's birth, three weeks ahead of time.

Tsunami, a 6-day-old baby boy, rests in his mother's, Lakshmi Narayan Roy, lap in a refugee camp in Port Blair, in India's southeastern Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Saturday, Jan.1, 2005. [AP]

"It was early morning Sunday, when I made my pregnant wife a cup of tea and woke her up. She was just about to take a sip when we felt the first jolt of the quake. She immediately screamed for me to pick up our sleeping son and rush out."

Roy grabbed his 6-year-old older son and ran out of their home near the coastal settlement of Hut Bay on the Little Andaman island before turning back to see if his wife was following.

"She had fallen down and briefly lost consciousness. But then she heard people screaming 'the water is coming' and managed to crawl out to the street and asked me to put our son on my cycle-rickshaw."

After hoisting his injured wife and son on to the rickshaw Roy pedaled and pushed the rickshaw as fast as he could up and away from the shore toward a nearby rocky slope. There he half-carried and half-pushed his pregnant wife up the last 150 feet or so to a wooded area where many others had fled.

The Roys are among the fortunate few who survived Sunday's devastating tsunami that has killed more than 126,000 people in Asia, including more than 8,900 in India.

They spent the next few hours watching the angry water foam over their submerged homes and waiting for a mahout to come and lead away a restless elephant, that was used for logging work and had been tethered to a nearby tree.

"Soon she was complaining of pain in her abdomen and at first I told her it must be due to the fall as the baby was not due till January 15. But as the pain got worse by nightfall, I became frantic and started looking for help, and luckily found a nurse."


The nurse, with the help of other women who had fled the waves, rigged up a makeshift curtain, laid the 26-year-old Namita down on a bed of dried leaves and grass and ordered the men to get some clean cloth, thread and a bowl of hot water.

Tsunami, a 6-day-old baby boy, rests in his mother, Namita Roy's lap in a refugee camp in Port Blair, in India's southeastern Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Saturday, Jan.1, 2005. [AP]

"A few hours later the child was born. But the nurse had no instruments, she was unable to remove the placenta from inside my wife's womb and within hours she was again in pain."

Unable to find any help locally, Roy trekked nearly a mile down to the police outpost at Hut Bay Tuesday and located a doctor, who examined his wife and advised that she be taken to hospital as soon as possible.

"On Wednesday, we learned a Navy ship had come into the bay but the jetty was damaged and so with help from other locals I carried her and the baby on to a dinghy and took her out to the big ship at sea."

Reaching Port Blair after a 7-hour journey Roy's wife was rushed to the local hospital where doctors immediately cleaned up her uterus and gave her some medicines.

"It was the doctors who suggested we name the boy Tsunami and we also liked the name and decided to call him that. After all it is a name everyone will instantly notice and remember."

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