The disaster management conundrum


    Leader Writer: Wangkheimayum Bhupendra Singh
    Preparedness should, at all times come before relief and recovery while dealing with any possibilities of calamities or disasters. While it is a given that natural calamities cannot be controlled, a state should be prepared at all times to face any eventualities during and in the aftermath of such calamities. The governments of Manipur and Mizoram had declared holidays for schools beside opening response cells and control rooms as preventive measures against the cyclonic storm Mahasen. Government of other states of the region including Assam were also on alert in case of any eventuality. The cyclonic storm Mahasen, said to have originated from the Bay of Bengal and named after a Sri Lankan king, in its wake had created quite a rage in Bangladesh, reportedly leaving more than a dozen of people dead and fuelling fears in the North Eastern states of India of a similar influence. Fearing the worst, Manipur and its other sister states of the North Eastern region of the country braced themselves with precautionary measures to meet the threat posed by the cyclone. However, much to the delight of the people; the storm seems to have weakened even before reaching the region at all. While the concern of the Manipur state government regarding the welfare of the people of the state was a welcomed demeanour, the measures taken up as efforts to brace the people against any eventuality resulting from the cyclonic storm lack much imagination. A couple of weeks back just as the rains had started in the state, there were reports of a newly built college auditorium collapsing in Jiribam and FCI godown walls and houses being damaged in Churachandpur district. Amidst such a scenario, declaring school holidays would not have been of much help if in case the cyclonic storm had arrived in the state with all its fury.

    Much have been said and written about the sorry state of affairs in the public welfare scheme of things in the state, even as the government continue to pile on assurance after assurance and promises after promises of development. Withstanding all such assurances and promises, much needs to be done and many assurances yet to be turned into actions. Disaster management needs much planning ahead and a few steps taken up a day before the powerful cyclone was to reach the state leaves a lot to be desired. A place where the approach of the seasonal rains open up a crate full of problems, can only hope for a cyclone to weaken before it reaches the state. Every year as the annual downpour starts, people in the state have to face a myriad of problems on a daily basis like clogged drains and flash floods in almost all major roads of the state. The next morning commuters have to face the slush and mud left on the road surface by the flood.

    Assurances and promises should be followed by actions, for the authorities to gain support from the people. The geo-climatic condition of our country is such that it is prone to natural disasters and as such the government need to approach the issue with a little more concern. While Cyclone Mahasen has failed to create much disturbance in the state to the relief of the people, the rains are already here and it will continue for another one or two months. The people have every right to hope for some understanding and action from the government against their woes.


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