Editorial | Disaster preparedness

Tremors cause damage to houses in Rajouri

The helplessness of the human populations in the face of natural disasters was manifestly experienced by the people in Kashmir at two occasions in the recent past. One was the earthquake that hit this region in October 2005, and another was the deluge that drowned Kashmir in September 2014. On both the occasions we could realise that how defenceless we finally are despite the progress made by the human civilisation on the count of science and technology. That is one side of these disasters, and one can only pray to God to save us from such disasters. But there is another side to it. It is how we contribute to such disasters, and how we refuse to learn from such disasters. Another lesson is that governments need to prepare for disasters beforehand, rather than managing the aftermath.

It takes very little investment in terms of money and human effort if we prepare for the disasters, and it brings good results in terms of saving the lives and the property. On the contrary if we don’t prepare for it in advance and only throw ourselves into action once it hits us, we do much and gain too little. The mathematics of all this is too plain to be missed, but even then we violate this basic sense. The purpose to raise this point is to remind the government of its responsibilities on this count. Jut in case we have a prolonged rainfall this season are we prepared to meet the challenge. Also we have experienced some ‘mysterious’ shocks just recently, and we have been told, ever since that 2005 earthquake hit us, that we are living in a high seismic zone. Keeping that in view what are our preparations in case any such shock hits us and the ground beneath shakes up terribly. Beyond the routine administration of affairs, the government must keep an eye on that. That beaten line needs a reminder: a stitch in time saves nine.