The Bold Voice of J&K

Countering calamities

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Countering natural calamities in advance is what the crisis management is all about but the unprecedented floods and landslides which hit Jammu and Kashmir in September speaks about government lethargy and its handling. The State disaster management agencies were nowhere to be seen during the early periods of calamity. And when situation became tolerable they joined in rescue operations. The locals where far ahead working with armed forces to carry out the relief operations in the Valley.
On Sunday the eastern coast of India was hit by cyclone Hudhud which is the second major cyclone after Phailin, which hit in October last year. While Phailin, which was also a “very severe cyclonic storm,” saw winds gusting up to 210-220 kmph, Hudhud may not be as severe as Phailin.  The states which were affected from “heavy rainfall” to “very heavy rainfall” were able to evacuate over 2 lakh people from Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam Districts of North coastal Andhra and Ganjam, Puri and Khurda Districts of Odisha. Cyclone prompted India’s biggest evacuation in 23 years with more than 5,50,000 people moved up from the coastline in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to safer places. Unlike last year when cyclone Phailin had struck the east coast with Odisha as the worst hit, this time it will be Andhra Pradesh, especially, the coast near Visakhapatnam.  Fortunately, the topography of the area, where the landfall took place was hilly which helped reduce the intensity of Hudhud. Cyclone Phailin struck Odisha last year, causing damage to houses and property but timely evacuation by the government minimised the loss of lives. While 9,885 people had died in the super cyclone that hit Odisha’s coast in 1999, 21 people lost their lives in cyclone-related incidents last year. Almost a lakh people evacuated before Phailin made landfall were sheltered in 500 specially-built cyclone camps in Andhra and Odisha. The massive evacuation carried out should act as an eye opener for other states in disaster management.

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