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Panic Grips Southern India on False Tsunami Alert - 2004-12-30


Thousands of Indians fled in panic Thursday from coastal areas hit by Sunday's tsunami after authorities issued a new alert for possible high waves.

People rushed for high ground in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and in Port Blair, the capital of the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands.

But hours later, authorities dropped the alert, saying it was based on bad information.

Also Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh toured parts of southern India's stricken regions. Mr. Singh called the disaster a "national calamity," and said the government will do everything humanly possible to help its victims.

Indian troops, ships and aircraft continue to bring aid to the affected regions, and are evacuating survivors from the Andaman islands, where thousands of island inhabitants are missing and feared dead.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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