The state of Jammu and Kashmir is among the few places which is lcated in a geographically volatile zone. The place not only needs a full-fledged disaster management network but a team of well trained professionals also.
Disasters are mostly caused by the fury of nature. Scientists are focusing their attention on developing a mechanism of foretelling disasters so that their direct impact on human life and property can be averted.
For example, good deal of research is conducted in many developed countries like Japan and China on anticipating storms and hurricanes in the oceans or the tsunamis that have over the past few years emerged as a new phenomenon to tackle.
However, no fool proof theory could be developed so far to anticipate a variety of natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, landslides, avalanches, cloudbursts or other disasters. These natural phenomena have taken heavy toll of life.
In fact human history has often changed and taken a new direction owing to these disasters. Old cities have disappeared and new cities and habitats have come up. Green regions have turned into deserts and great rivers have changed their course.
Our State has had its share of disasters. Our geography and topography have much to do with it. For example J&K is very much shown on the seismographic map of India. Our past history is replete with earthquakes, floods, famines, and landslides, all of which have consumed so many lives.
Even the creation of the region now called Kashmir is the result of a huge natural phenomenon in which the mountains in the northern part of the valley split into two as a result of the huge water glacier that got desiccated and then appeared the dry land over thousands of years.
However, this being the ground situation, modern man is trying to allow minimum damage to life and property on account of these disasters. Given the situation the state needs to prepare well in advance for any such eventuality.
Therefore, the state needs to create an authority which is not concerned only about providing relief to the people affected by a natural calamity but also to take preventive steps in time to warn the people.
In fact the September 2014 deluge has brought many lessons to the administration and the people as well. How we are responsible in helping a calamity happen so rapidly and destroy us in shortest possible time, were the issues which came to the fore.
There has been a lot of criticism of the Government for its non-serious attitude towards disaster managing mechanism and also providing timely relief to the people. People were becoming impatient about Government delaying certain urgent activities that would prevent recurrence of floods, fires and other calamities.
However, finally the first ever Disaster Management Plan was formulated which was entrusted to Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai. The Disaster management Plan (DMP) is scheduled to work to identify and anticipate potential risks and ensure continuity in critical operations post-incident. Two major principles guide the plan. One is to reduce vulnerability to hazards and the second is to enhance human capability to cope with disasters and calamities.
This is possible to be achieved if there is good planning and a mechanism in place. However, one issue that needs to be sorted out is the time factor that is to be taken care of vis-à-vis implementing the DMP.