Friday, June 21, 2013

Disasters and the department called Central Disaster Management Authority

We are experiencing an unprecedented disaster in Uttarakhand since last one week. Since last seven years or so, central government has set up this department called CENTRAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY [CDMA] directly under the Prime Minister - We don't know what it is doing at the grounds level in Uttarakhand. What we read and see on TV is the involvement of following bodies

3.Air Force
4.State Governments

After one week, reports claim that 50,000 pilgrims are still stranded around four pilgrim  centers [ Yamunotri,Gangotri,Kedarnath and Badrinath] and surrounding areas. Administration  does not have correct casualty figures, estimates of time when all these people will be evacuated to safety, issues related to food ,water and medicines for them etc, when the infrastructure [ roads, telecommunication...] will be restored and so on - Where is this Disaster Management Authority in the entire mayhem?

A country as vast as ours is prone to all kinds of disasters. While it is good to have a centralized agency like this disaster management cell, it should have nation wide presence through networks of NGO's,concerned government departments, army cantonments, corporate bodies, and PSUs and suppliers of critical items equipment for each type of disaster.
Such a cell should be small by nature but it should have on its list all agencies who can mobilize resources and manpower. Nothing wrong for example  in Punjab to have on its list SGPC's network of Gurudwaras or list of RSS functionaries who can quickly mobilise its volunteers in any part of the country at very short notice. How about keeping all large temple complexes, Mosques, Churches, Gurudwaras etc on call?
Now the governments have money but does not have the right type of manpower to reach out to the affected. It is time to develop a model involving people and people's organisations.

Since the writing of this blog, it has come to light that this great CDMA was formed in 2006 but has never held any meeting since then. After this tragedy ,they could hold their meeting yesterday [ 25th June] as reported in media.

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