Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami and Disater Management

The official Tsunami death toll stands around 68000 according to Reuters, but i feel the actual lives lost would be almost double. We need enoromus effort to clean up all the rotting dead bodies before a huge epidemic hits. It would take the toll even more higher if we are hit with an Epidemic, i only hope that doesn't happen.

We Indians are very bad at disaster management. We should always learn from our past experiences like Bhuj earthquake on how to model our disater management systems. But it looks like we haven't managed to learn any thing from our recent past. I guess we still have a Disaster Management comittee on papers and the need to have one arises only when sometime of this magnitude hits us. It takes a lot of time for us to react to such a natural calamity.

Even the way our media addresses such issues is different. Here is what i saw, i was watching NDTV 24X7 on the day Tsunami hit the Indian east coast along with the rest of South East Asia. The rest of the Indian news channels were doing the same just airing live feeds for those of us who live in cities about the extent of damage Tsunami has caused. Then i swapped to International News channels like CNN and BBC. CNN was majorly reporting on the future after-shocks that may occur and they were also airing the Do's and Dont's during a catastrophe like this. BBC on the other were reporting on how different relief agencies spread across the world is co-ordinating to help the people affected. BBC was trying to understand on how the decisions are made and how exactly the relief agencies work across the boundaries, by speaking to the Head of International Red Cross in Geneva and Director of Save the Children an NGO in South London.

I guess you have found the differences in how the reporting takes place between the Indian media and the Forgien press. We majorly focus on what has already happened and keep airing the images over and over. We never address the people on what needs to be done and how the things are to be handled. Atleast CNN was addressing some the Dont's like not to consume any food which u get around, what needs to be done keep the surroundings clean, etc. I hope our attitudes change at some point of time. Now u might ask me what's the use?, because people will not be watching TV, i know that they won't watching but atleast those who are living around might understand and help to spread the message on the Do's and Dont's.

Well if u think i am an Indian who always speaks against our system and is not able to do anything, i can't help it i am fed with our system and have lost all my hope. I will do my best for this cause by contributing what i can. I don't even know what i give actually reaches to those who are in need of it, due to corruption that exists in our system. Anyways i will do my best and forget.

There was also an headline on Rediff which says 'UN can't go to a country without a request' and even if the aid comes i have absoultely no idea on how it will be utilised. Here is an another interesting article on Rediff 'Who will distribute all the aid pouring in?'.We need to have a Independent organisation like UN which actually handles diaster management and also the allocation of aids. When UN can have peace keeping forces in different nations, i guess we can also have such kind of teams who can do a better role than our corrupt governments.

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