Natural disasters in India have always posed a challenge for the Government. Decades back it was difficult to predict any natural disaster like earthquake, hurricanes, floods and Tsunamis and therefore making the relief operations even more difficult and complex. Apparently this is not the case today, with the advent of high end research and development in the area of environment and disaster management it is now possible to predict such natural calamities and also mitigate the adverse effects of such calamities.
Relief funds are helpful only when it reaches the actual beneficiaries, but in a country like India where there is no proper mechanism of the funds reaching these beneficiaries ,relief funds only adds to the advantage of the politicians and bureaucrats who get a golden opportunity to siphon away those funds without any accountability. This is one of the reasons why the government should encourage ''Aadhar" cards ,through which the beneficiaries' bank account can be linked and funds would be directly transferred to that account hence eliminating the need of any middlemen ,but as of now this initiative has a long way to go and become a reality. Till then lets focus on what is the other alternative.
As mentioned earlier natural calamities like floods, earthquakes ,hurricanes can be predicted with the use of modern technology ,this further would give enough time to prepare for the relief operations, but harnessing these technologies and making the best use of them depends on how effectively the staffs and officers of various departments related to disaster management and relief ,work and coordinate between each other. There is a noticeable lack of synergy and also there exists a wide communication gap between these departments(IMD, NDRF, Municipalities ,etc) as a result of which crucial information related to such disasters are missed hence preventing and mitigating their adverse effects becomes very difficult. One more factor is readiness. Stating this I would like to quote a phrase "The more you sweat in peace, the lesser you bleed in war". The personnel of these departments should be subjected to continuous training and monitoring in order to ascertain their preparedness for such unforeseen natural disasters. Moreover general public should also be educated on the basics of disaster management. This can be done through informative posters, radio, doordarshan etc.
A good example of proper relief and disaster management was when the cyclone "Hud Hud" had hit the coastal cities of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. No doubt there was a significant economic and financial damage but on the other hand there was a minimal loss of human life. This was possible since there was prior information on the cyclone and hence enough time was there to evacuate the people living near the coastal areas .Many a times such crucial information are missed and the outcome ends up to be disastrous.
Where as in the case of Jammu & Kashmir it was only after the flash flood had occurred and reached to its peak then the relief operations started. There was no prior warning of any such floods nor were the weather department successful in predicting a heavy rainfall .There was no prior preparedness of the authorities in this case. Moreover there was no proper infrastructure in terms of drainage and other facilities. Now the government has released Rs 750 Cr for relief. It is now left to see how effectively these funds are utilised and whether the actual beneficiaries receive their share of money.
With this I would like conclude that proper preparedness of relief operations are more crucial and important than distributing funds after the disaster occurs.
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