Hud Hud: Could We Have Been Better Prepared?
I know that most of the answers would say YES! Maybe because there could have been. In a country like India where resources are limited and the need is high, it is very possible that there would be a lot to be done in that format.
The news are blaring saying that the worst of Hud Hud – The cyclonic storm is over. To recapitulate the worst of hud hud, wins of almost 200kmph was recorded and the rains were pouring and lakhs of people evacuated and unfortunate lives were lost. But my question still remains large – What could have been done better, maybe by the govt, maybe by the organizations and maybe by the individuals alone
IMD – Indian Meteorological Dept has done a great job at predicting the cyclone and predicting the damage it can create as well. Of late I have an increased respect for Indian scientific accomplishments and IMD sure does deserve its due credit. The question now is, did we have enough time to prepare for this?
By now we know that the occurrence of cyclones is a regular feature in the coast of Bay of Bengal, Odisha, Andhra have faced these issues from time immemorial and the question is what we have done about it? How prepared are we to tackle a situation like Hud Hud when it happens again? Would it be an ad hoc solution with everyone running around to make things happen in the last minute or would the solution be more systemic – to take care that such a thing does not happen again?
I agree that there is no perfect preparation for a natural calamity. It is a huge disaster and we cannot prevent it, technology is not so advanced that we are in a place to prevent a calamity from happening. And I don’t know how close we are to getting there cos nature sure is the superior power. But we sure can be prepared better, mitigate the damage caused, learn to handle the situation better. It is not that something happens and we run out to solve the problem. It has proved ineffective in the past and it will continue being that. We need to be a little ahead, we need to prepare better – Create evacuation centres much in advance, create a temporary stay for the affected people where they can be housed and rested, maybe design a parameter upto which a calamity can extend and design homes or shelters for people in case a calamity strikes. Perhaps we do not have enough manpower to help these people during such a scenario, but can we look deeper and hire the locals instead to stand for help in such a situation, give them basic training and make it a self sustaining project instead of looking at the govt to solve the problem magically.
What do the evacuated people do? Reading about the aftermath of Hud Hud, the ships are destroyed, so are the homes, the shelters, the sources of livelihood. What about these people? How do they get back on their feet? Sure money is a good start but does it end our responsibility there? We all can make a donation and the govt can allot money for each of these individuals like it has always been done. But does it solve the problem? Does it rehabilitate these people? How do you educate the judicious use of money? How long does it take the money to reach these people who have been hurt by the cyclone? Does the entire amount reach these people?
Money is a temporary solution, but we need to look at something more permanent, something more practical. Maybe the govt can take a step up and allot jobs of clearing the mess created by the cyclone and pay these people for that. That way you are not doling out the money, you are achieving two of your purposes – rebuilding and judicious use of money. Wouldn’t these people be better off when you provide them a more permanent and a long term source than doling out some money and forgetting them? Isn’t it better to lead from the front?
I know that a natural calamity cannot be completely prevented but there can be alternate measures. How many lives could have been saved if there was an underground shelter? How about mandating in the house plan that each house should have an underground basement? Wouldn’t that solve the problem of evacuation? Wouldn’t that help save some lives? Can each person not have some supplies in his basement that can come in handy for a cyclone which can stay for a week or so? Cyclones are a common occurrence in the coast. Why not mandate a simple rule like this and think a little ahead? Why wait for the cyclone to happen and then cry foul and make an issue out of it? Why not prepare in the longer run?
I guess it is very easy to give some money and look the other way. I am afraid that is not the responsibility. The responsibility is in solving the problem, not just shutting it away temporarily.
These are our two cents on what we could do better to solve an issue like this. Please do add your thoughts below, the more solutions we have, the better placed we are to tackle a calamity!
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