Saturday 2 July 2016

Focus on Those people who Lost everything | Chamoli and Pithoragarh Cloud Bursts

Written by Anil Singh

It's not always that the rescue efforts in the incidents of Cloud bursts in hilly areas require massive and open hearted monetary help. If the cloud burst results in loss of human lives and property of the residents of Uttarakhand, that too in some remote villages, then timely small rescue efforts with distinct priority can be of exceptional help.

Take for instance, the latest cloud bursts in the villages of Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts of Uttarakhand. The death toll is about 30. The majority of which are from a couple of villages.  The chief Minister has announced the compensation of Rs 2 Lakhs to the family of the person dead.

Now the point is, if you're familiar with the Hills, then you would be aware that in the case of such cloud bursts, it's a rarity that an entire village gets gutted down. Only a couple of houses which fall in the path of rubble, are destroyed. The majority of the dead belong to these houses.

Hence the families of the dead are the ones who suffer the double blow. They not only lose their loved ones, but also lose their shelter along with all the necessities & things within.

Hence the announcement of compensation, which doesn't at all look adequate, can be provided in a month or so. These families have to re-build their lives right from nothing. Right now, the Government must ensure that these victims are provided with food, clothing, shelter.

The act of air-dropping food to all people, without targeting the real victims will not help.

As far as the road connectivity and stalled tourists are concerned then the best way to help them is to collect them where they are, in temporary shelters and provide them food. They can be sent to their homes, the moment the whether improves and connectivity is restored. After all they have a home to go back to.

A clear strategy is necessary here, as air-dropping food and clothes without any plan will be a waste of valuable time and energy. And both are valuable right now.

The air-lifting without any distinction (health) will be wastage of money.

Hope we understand the point here. Tourists would still have a house to return to. If they are provided shelter and food at temporarily created relief centers today, then they will be rescued back to their homes in a week.

At the same time, those villagers in calamity hit villages who are fortunate enough to not get hit by the calamity, can get food once the inclement whether and linkages are restored. Till then, they can survive with the stored rations in their homes.

The biggest losers are the Uttarakhand residents who unfortunately had fallen with their houses in line of the Cloud Burst rubble.

If we have learned something from the 2014 Uttarakhand floods then it's not essential to search for the dead or anyone alive even after a week of the incident. The Hills are not plains. The terrain is not that you can take earth movers and un-turn the rubble. And irrespective of the religiosity of the person or the motive of the journey, pilgrimage, it's totally Unnecessary to search for the dead beyond a certain time limit. Miracles, do happen, but putting all the force and system for one single miracle is  not necessary.

In the political environment of 2014, much time, manpower and money; was spent on searching for alive people, weeks after the calamity. As a result, the lives of Uttarakhand people who lost everything in Uttarakhand floods, were never brought back to normal.

The coming months will test the honesty and integrity of Village pradhans and other revenue officials. Only when they are honest and have integrity, the lives of the villagers massively hit by these cloud bursts will be re-built.


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