This refers to the recent floods and an urgent need to be prepared for such emergencies. We need to change our strategies and priorities to cope up with such situation. Experts have already categorized Kashmir as flood prone as well as a seismic zone in Indian sub-continent. Knowing the gravity of the situation, everyone has to ponder about future strategy. The strategy is simple-to develop the capacities to meet these natural emergencies.
Even advanced country like United Kingdom, having highly advanced flood warning system and sophisticated equipments, was unable to deal with the damage caused by heavy floods in the winter of 2014. The point is that even administration and technology is unable to serve in crisis situation. So, it is apparent that newer strategies are put in place as traditional strategies have fetched nothing in recent floods. The important tactics would be to equip or train people for upcoming disasters. Such a strategy need to be started at grassroots level. People in Kashmir should prioritize their necessities. Home owners, especially those living near areas where chances of floods are high, should first of all buy lifesaving jackets, at least one boat and other equipments which are needed for floating in open waters. Even mock training is necessary for house owners to deal with such
situation. It is important to make Mohallah committees and Auqaf committees more vibrant by equipping and training them to deal with such emergencies. Special trainers should be hired by these committees to guide the youth or volunteers. Such type of scheme will be effective as it is a low investment and dividend scheme.
We also need to have Flood Defense System at the basic level. Traditionally, sand bags have been used to protect home and business. Although, sandbags have been proven to be easy solution to a flooding problem, but they also have loopholes as they lack the capability to keep water away from a home. Sandbags are only efficient when used along with plastic covering. Flood boards are now-a-days preferred in developed countries over sand bags. Flood Boards have advantage over sandbags as latter are light weight, moisture resistant and can be reused.
With these measures we can at least reduce the extent of damage.
Dr Ummer Rashid Zargar
Centre of Research for Development (CORD)
University of Kashmir