Is The Disaster Management System In India A “Disaster”?

Posted on June 30, 2012 in Specials

By Pallavi Dani:

India has been churning under a series of unfortunate events that have gripped the country recently. The news of baby girl, Mahi, trapped in a borewell 70 feet under the earth for ninety hours, in Haryana, was followed by the breakout of a fire at Mantralaya in Maharashtra. When it looked like things couldn’t get any worse, media sources were filled with the news of a young man who lost his life after falling into an unguarded well in West Bengal. What picture does this paint of the emergency and disaster management in the country?

Few years back, in a similar incident where a young boy named Prince had fallen into a well, the whole nation prayed for his safety, rescue missions were launched with full force and the child was safely brought back home. But the lesson it taught got lost somewhere in the years to come. Repeated incidents, without success this time, throws a light on the sad state of affairs of our contingency system. The unfortunate happening that took the life of an innocent child has put big question marks on the level of preparation of our disaster management bodies. The concerned parties showed a lack of communication and decision making amongst each other, which resulted in avoidable delays in the rescue operation. Though the consistency and hard work of the army, and people involved in this operation, who worked tirelessly for 90 hours straight is appreciable, but it was not enough. Clearly, the disaster management team is unable to meet the needs in case of a disaster and requires an up gradation.

It calls for a close inspection into the strategies chosen by them and the tools employed. They must incorporate the advancements in technology and various bodies should cooperate with each other to reach maximum efficiency. If such is the condition when one life was in danger, imagine a situation where thousands of lives are at stake. India needs to prepare itself to be able to face all possible disaster that can strike us and the role of its citizens here, is no less. This is where our country needs to take steps and raise awareness among the public. The ill-fated events could have been avoided had people been more careful.

I hope that the lives of these victims, lost due to the negligence of others, won’t go waste and the country will strengthen its system against such events in the future. We can’t be waiting for another disaster to remind us that change is required.