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Success to tackle Cyclone Phailin – Failure to control Uttarakhand floods.

Geographically, India is surrounded by mountains in the northern plains, peninsular India is surrounded by water on both sides. This gives an idea of the disasters that can strike north and south India taking into consideration certain other factors.

In case of Cyclone Phailin, which hit the east coast of India, was considered to be nearly a super cylocne due to high speed winds. It was tackled well on time with less harm to the human life and that was commendable feat.

The Meteorological Department gave prior notice of the approach of the cyclone to the effecting areas which helped the Andhra and Orissa government to take timely action in evacuating people from the vulnerable areas. Accurate communication of the updates through television, radio, newspapers, internet helped the process. The rescue teams supplied food and water to the evacuated people, mitigating their sufferings.

Man cannot stop the fury of nature, but can definitely reduce the intensity with preparedness was the lesson from the cyclone Phailin.

In case Of Uttarakhand, factors accumulating over a period of time contributed to the disaster. It resulted in huge loss of human life and property. Innocent people who went to pilgrimage returned as dead bodies. Huge loss to the infrastructure was a big blow to the state which depends on tourism for its source of revenue.

Sudden turbulence caused by the floods, due to the melting of the glaciers which in turn was caused by global warming, were the natural factors of the Uttarakhand floods.

Allowing mining, hydro electric projects, construction of tunnels and roads in hilly areas, overlooking the environment safety, were the manmade factors of the Uttarakhand disaster.

The furious floods spread through many areas of Uttarakhand which include Kedarath, Haridwar and Rishikesh, left a trail of destruction. Providing timely rescue/relief operation was a challenging task due to the complex road route to reach such place. The Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, NDRF, BSF did a laudable job in rescuing people in spite of difficult terrain and hostile climatic conditions.

We all learn lessons after suffering and pain. The death of around 6000 people in Uttarakhand floods has taught the lesson to be environment consciousness. To quote Gandhiji; 'Earth provides enough to satisfy man's need, but not every man's greed'!

In order to check the greed factor, government should take strict measures in implementing and analyzing the risk factors involved in construction of projects, tunnels, or any other infrastructure projects in the eco-sensitive areas of the Uttarakhand. Licenses should not be granted to the units failing to adhere to the environmental safety criteria. Tourists should adhere to strict environmental friendly practices. What we do to the nature is reflected back on us is the lesson of Uttarakhand tragedy.

So let us all take an oath to preserve the nature, with an aim for sustainable development. It is not just the government that can help in this, but the onus lies on individual awareness and actions as well.

Being prepared and vigilant all time is the key to tackle natural disasters. Wise decisions which are environment friendly and rescue and relief on time are key to handling natural disasters.

The disasters like Phailin and Uttarakhand are a wakeup calls to get alert for facing natural calamities. The intensity of the calamities and the time taken in the preparedness to tackle it, separates the handling of the cyclone Phailin and Uttarakhand floods.

K Divija