Robust Disaster Management?

February 25, 2017 0 Comments EDITORIAL 397 Views
Robust Disaster Management?

Jammu and Kashmir had its brush with nature’s fury many a times in the past. Earthquakes, floods and avalanches have resulted in loss of life and property. However, we seem to have forgotten the lessons as is evident from the deaths caused due to avalanches and landslides every year, especially winters. Complacency has been the hallmark of administrative policy vis-a-vis disaster management. Every year snow reveals the helplessness of people and the weakness of the administration to tackle the crisis. Instead of taking advantage of early weather warnings, the state machinery just stands there waiting for the disaster to strike. There are no efforts to evacuate people from avalanche prone areas. The state has some of the most rugged terrains in the world with important road links traversing through. Every year hundreds of passengers are caught between the tough terrain and hostile weather. They are left unattended for many days before being airlifted. In the first place, it makes no sense to allow traffic through such dangerous routes once the weather conditions are predicted to be unfriendly. Every year many people are killed in avalanches and landslides. There is no way that the state administration can claim ignorance about the possible avalanches and landslides in the areas following the downpour that precedes these incidents. Hundreds of passengers are left stranded on Srinagar-Jammu highway following heavy snowfall and the callousness of the administration of often goes unnoticed.
We often get to hear about disaster management meetings being held and attended by officers from Army, Beacon, police and civil administration. We also hear about control rooms being set up. However, at the time of the disasters, the coordination between these agencies goes missing and the control rooms fail to serve the purpose. Natural disasters can strike anytime, but laced with modern technology we are fortunate enough to predict most of them beforehand. The need is to remain prepared to face any eventuality taking advantage of early warning systems.

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