Showing posts with label Flood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flood. Show all posts

Friday, January 22, 2010

A More Effective Handling Of Post-Disaster Scenario

I was just watching these pictures in the newspaper, that how the hungry people in earthquake-devastated Haiti are fighting with one another for the food items being taken there as part of relief packages. They are also trying to snatch money and other valuables from one another, not always out of criminal psyche or greed, but to overcome the ruinous loss (of money, home, etc.) that they have suffered.

Actually such things happen in every place after it gets affected by a devastating calamity – flood, earthquake, tsunami, etc. I can still remember that few years back there was flood somewhere in India, and I was watching a TV news clipping that Indian Air Force planes were air-dropping food baskets there. I still remember that I was both shocked and moved by the scene of how people were fighting with each other for those food packets, despite the fact that all of them were seemingly from good families.

A thought has been there in my mind for quite some time, and I will love to share it today.

Why do we keep the victims of a calamity in the affected region itself, without evacuating them from the same? (I have noticed that the evacuation usually takes place only if there is any threat of further calamity). Isn’t it better to take them away to a place where they can have a more-or-less normal life, only to bring them back when the restoration process has brought back the affected region into normal condition?

It must be remembered that the survivors of a calamity experience a horrific time in the affected place, surrounded by a mount of dead bodies (and the foul smell emitted by them), shattered houses and buildings (such as in the case of an earthquake), acute lawlessness in the absence of police and other law enforcement agencies, etc. Restoration of normalcy takes time. And till then these survivors go through an ultra-harrowing time, sometimes even falling to death due to factors like hunger, thirst, contagious disease, brawl over relief, etc. And when somebody dies of such factors, it actually adds to the toll caused by the actual devastation.

So I have a humble suggestion for the Government of India. I feel it should identify 3 to 4 spots in India, scattered over various parts of the country and are uninhabited or sparsely inhabited. Now the government should develop those spots into temporary shelters for the survivors of calamities like flood, earthquake etc., the survivors whose city or village has been devastated by the calamity. The government can set up small houses or tents with all the basic arrangements that we need for our daily life, medical centers with doctors and nurses, a community kitchen with cooks, an adequate stock of food grains, etc.

Now, the moment a place in India gets devastated by a calamity, the government should evacuate the survivors from that place, and take them by air (or whatever) to any such “shelter spot” which is nearer to that calamity-affected region. The survivors will have a ready and easy access to a normal life, with food, a roof over head, medical infrastructure, etc. On one hand the government work on restoring normal condition in the affected region. And till that happens, the survivors will enjoy a normal life elsewhere, without suffering from a nightmarish experience that can haunt them for the rest of their lives. In fact, a quick escape from that affected place will help them overcome the trauma more easily, while a stay in that place amidst the destructions caused by the calamity will leave them with a permanent memory that they will fail to shed off in future. The government may be unable to save its citizens from the devastations of a calamity, as it is sometimes difficult to detect its arrival beforehand and evacuate the people from that place. But it can certainly save us from experiencing the post-devastation trauma that inevitably follows every calamity.

Bringing the survivors to a “shelter spot” will also ensure that a seriously injured or otherwise ill person gets a proper medical attention. It is very difficult to offer proper medical treatment to people in the makeshift hospitals in calamity-affected regions. Rather it is significantly easier to look after such people in a proper medical centre in a “shelter spot” that is in perfect condition.

The “shelter spots” should also ideally have psychologists and trauma counselors, who will help the survivors to overcome the terrible shock of losing everything overnight. There should also be some arrangements of entertainment, like music, which will also play some role in helping the hapless people forget or absorb their shock.

It is ridiculous that the people of a calamity-affected region will spend their nights under open sky, with hungry stomachs and among foul smell emitted by dead bodies lying around them. And their fellow citizens from other regions will watch their plight on TV, while having dinner in their cozy and comfortable drawing rooms.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Recent Sugar Price Issue – Some Thoughts

The extreme hike in sugar price (almost Rs. 50 per kg) had become a hot topic of discussion for the Indian mass for the last few days. Everybody was shocked, upset, and (understandably) angry. Thank god that at last the price of this widely consumed food item is showing some downward trend.

I feel instead of focusing on exchange of criticisms and blame game, we should now focus on how we can prevent the emergence of such situations in the future. Taking preventive measures to prevent future crisis is more important than identifying the “culprits” of present crisis and criticizing them for their failure. Right?

So do I have any suggestion? Yes, I do, though I am not sure about its practicability. And I also do not know whether any decision to this effect has already been taken or being considered. All I can say is that I have a suggestion, and I will love to share it with everybody.

Other day in TV I found they were saying that a particular strategy of the Agriculture Ministry has largely contributed to this sugar price crisis. And that strategy is – Export when there is surplus quantity, Import when there is scarcity. (Well, I do not remember the language ad verbatim, but it was something like that).

Now, when there is a surplus quantity of a food item, then exporting a part of it is not a bad idea. After all, it is always a great idea to tap an opportunity to draw foreign exchange.

However, at the same time the Government should remember that there can anytime be an emergency situation in the country, which will result in a sudden and emergency demand for that surplus quantity in India itself. For example, there can be a drought-generated famine in a certain region of India, resulting in an overnight creation of a sea of hungry people in an acute need of food items, including that particular food item. Similarly, there can be flood in one region, with the Government facing the task of sending relief to that place. Needless to say that the relief items must include food items, including that particular food item.

Now my humble suggestion -

Therefore, I feel that whenever there is a surplus production of a particular food item, the Government must store a certain percentage of it as the Buffer Stock. And this must be made a regular practice, irrespective of how strong or faint the possibility of an emergency situation is.

Now, if there is any situation like drought-generated famine, then the Government can use the buffer stock to address the acute need of food items in the affected region.

In case there is a flood in a region, the Government can send adequate food items by using that buffer stock.

And when a food item will suffer from constant price rise due to the scarcity of that item in the market, the Government can check that price rise by reducing that scarcity. Yes, by supplying that food item into the market from its buffer stock.

So, what do you people think of my plan?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Response Net May Be Your Trusted Medium For Helping The Flood Victims of Bihar And Assam

Just in my last posting I had appealed to every reader to do something for our hapless friends of Bihar and Assam, whose lives have been devastated by the recent floods.

However, this thought was very much in my mind that even if a person wants to help the victims, he might be confused about choosing the right partner, i.e. the right place to donate.

Yes, we all know about the relevant government agencies like Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. But there may be some who will like to go for a private organization, provided the latter has suitable credibility.

One of the names that I have gathered so far is that of Response Net. It is an organization that is really working hard for the flood victims. I feel one willing to do something for the flood victims may get in touch with this organization, and see for himself whether the organization is the right partner for the noble cause. I strongly feel he will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let’s Help The Flood Victims Of Bihar And Assam

The recent floods in Bihar and Assam have devastated the lives of a number of our fellow countrymen. I was regularly following all the relevant news and developments, and was feeling disturbed. However, very honestly speaking, the thought of doing something to help them did not strike to my mind.

It was only today that I came across a suggestion made by fellow blogger Mr. Sanjay Jha - from Delhi Bloggers Bloc – that something should be done for our hapless countrymen. Despite being short, Sanjay’s message was so powerful that it immediately touched my heart.

I humbly request to everybody who comes across this blog posting to do something for those star-crossed friends of ours. Little contributions from each of us may collectively turn into something substantial for them.

At the end, lots of thanks to Sanjay for inspiring me to at least think of doing something, instead of just tracking news through media and discuss the same with friends.