Home » Subject » Essay » Natural Disasters , the govt. should be ready with the relief operations rather than declaring relief funds - Discuss?

The beauty and bestiality of nature lies in its diversity. Our country possesses a highly diverse physiography across the length and breadth. The north consists of series of mountain ranges, with beautiful valleys and deep grooves which are enormous reserves of water for various rivers flowing throughout northern plains of our country. The second major portion of our Indian territory is coastal plains. Two major islands of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep also contribute significantly for including islands in our diverse physiography.

All major natural disasters like cyclone, landslide, floods, Tsunami and earthquake form a close nexus with these diverse physical features. Since northern plains are in the immediate vicinity of the mountain ranges so they are more vulnerable to disasters arising of these mountain ranges like floods, landslide etc. The costal planes will be subjected to cyclonic disasters like Tsunami, Nelofar, Priya, high tides etc. For natural disasters like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes the potential areas are already identified and marked as high danger zone, medium danger zone etc.

Considering above facts Government can fairly predict the vulnerability of areas and prepare itself for the subjected type disaster. The problem area while fighting against any natural disaster lies in its magnitude of damage and surprise. We must understand that science is just a hypothesis which may prove correct, if assumptions were right and it may prove wrong also. Even with all modern techniques, we are still unable to predict the nature of these disasters with desired accuracy as proved in the case of J&K flood, Bhuj earthquake, Tsunami and Nelofar. The variables that should be kept in mind while combating against any natural disaster are; predictability, Magnitude of damage and physical terrain.

During the situation of Hud-Hud and Nelofar we had prior intimation so the relief operations were planned well in advance and executed in an absolute professional way which resulted in restoration of basic services like electricity and water supply etc within 96 hrs. The credit of minimal causalities goes to our government for such a planning and execution. Only relief operations could not suffice the requirement of inundated people affected by Hud –Hud, so the relief fund was also declared by central govt after detailed analysis without any hurry by considering damage and various other factors in mind.

The land slide of Uttrakhand was full of surprise both in terms of occurrence and magnitude of damage. To start any relief operations in such a hilly terrain any organisation will need to access the situation for various factors like weather, height, temp, communication etc. This phase is called preparatory phase and it is bound to happen in such situations. We must understand that rescue mission carried out by our defence forces and NDRF teams is not a just like a magic stick which can turn things around in no time. Rescue missions have their own constraints in terms of availability of logistic support like fuel, food, water, aircrafts, communication, boats etc. In such situation the evacuation will certainly take days; weeks or even months. People stuck there need moral support, confidence and assurance that there govt is taking necessary steps to evacuate all of them safely. So that they are convinced to wait for their turn and survive there in a civilised way. If such declarations, promise and essential commodities are not made available in time it may lead the fight of "Survival For The Fittest" which will prove catastrophic for human civilisation and social fabric of our country. History provides enough examples of cannibalism by human beings for their own survival in various parts of world.

By declaring relief fund govt is not only winning the confidence of people but simultaneously providing basic amenities for their survival to keep the ray of hope alive. Relief operations in Uttrakhand went for nearly one month. One can imagine the situation of hardship and mental agony the people stuck there had undergone.

Relief fund is also utilised after the relief operations are over so as to bring life back to normal. Decision of providing the required stuff required instead of money is highly plausible and it should be continued in the same fashion .There are the great chances of black marketing and hoarding of essential commodities may start by some antisocial elements to make more money. It may further deteriorate the situation by diverting the effort and resources of government to curb such practices.

We must understand that natural disaster is beyond human reach and control. Every disaster will certainly bring new situation and challenges along with them. We must create a database of failure, success and pattern of such events so as to predict to such events fairly accurate. It is absolutely true that we should be better prepared to challenge such natural disasters but we must also understand that better preparation is not possible in every case as on date because of various constraints but certainly it will improve with time. Government has to put their best foot forward by providing all possible support and resources to overcome such situations. Relief operations and relief fund both are indispensible from each other and both are necessary to overcome such disaster efficiently and quickly.

Manoj Yadav