dealing with disaster: when shall we start learning from them

Devastating floods in uttrakhand once again draw our attention to the gross negligence we commit towards preparing better to deal with such tragedies. The state administration must be complimented for evacuating more than fifty thousand people already to safer places. They need all the support. But we must also learn from such disasters to prevent or minimise the loss of life and property and of course the environment. What are the immediate lessons: a) when rains started, forewarning to pilgrims at lower elevation not to proceed further was not issued. This led a lot of yatris travellers to move ahead and getting stuck. The local communities helped the stranded people a lot but they have not been trained to do this better. c) the habitations on the river banks without any protection from the fury of floods were completely avoidable. Norms for river bank strengthening must be developed and construction too close to the banks must not be allowed. D) A lot of people are stranded, a lot more have lost all that they had, and many more are buried under debris. Learning from 2001 earthquake, inventory of concrete cutting tools, technologies and lessons are still not pooled at one place. Given the hope of life underneath, one has to avoid gas cutters. Iit Roorkee can help as also cbri and other IITs. A mission must be mounted to deal with such eventualities better in future. E) Lessons from disaster management are seldom pooled and made available in local language for wider reference. This is a long pending issue. F) Climate change, fluctuations and impacts will become more severe in days to Come. How many institutions, communities, public and private bodies have disaster management drills regularly? To what extent the resilience of the society at large increased in the last decade ? Where is the national action plant to do so? G) We need to mobiles all support for affected people and let us contribute generously to such a cause. We will share the contacts of local relief teams soon so that those interested can contact them directly. Pl pray that no affected victim of this fury of nature remains without relief or rehabilitation. see for old effforts in thsi direction

Anil K Gupta


Visiting Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Bombay and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place