Exercise Jalrahat 2016: A major disaster for the Assam government!


-By Christopher Gatphoh

Exercise Jalrahat 2016,  a joint initiative taken by the Assam government and the Armed Forces in mitigating disasters turned to be an eye wash for the state government.

National Disaster Management Policy – 2016 which stressed on understanding disaster risks, disaster risk reduction and preparedness was nothing much but a show of words. This once again brings to light the apathy to which the government is working into and not understanding the basic aspects of what should be done to cut the risks.

Animal displacements are also a big concern when news flash showed that 50% of the UNESCO World Heritage Site was under flood water and politicians taking a break when the Nagaland political stalemat was on the boil. Man-Animal conflict today, so to speak, is World War 3 if we do not take necessary steps to allow breathing space for other species. Man is a social animal but greed has eaten up the very soul which he breathes in.

Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) reported that around 2.2 lakh people were still under stress in Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Barpeta, Dhubri, Goalpara, Morigaon, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Karimganj and Cachar districts.The total standing number of persons who lost their lives in this year's flood is at 73. It is not a numbers game and the national media has just taken it be so. Most in the mainland are unaware of what the people of states such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and others are going through. Lack of medical supplies, food, basic materials is just a long reach for some.

Coming back to Exercise Jalrahat which meant to give comfort to people is a major failure. Early warning to immediate response to relief and rehabilitation measures were not given due seriousness and it is high time that top agencies National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard units should go back to the drawing board and start analyzing the failures and be prepared for the worst. Climate change is here to stay and maybe it is just the start. Spending money in seminars and talk shows won't be the answer to justify to the flood scenario in the state.

Speaking to Ajit Kumar a resident of Guwahati," Vote banks should not be the prime target of a politician but handling the affairs of the common people in a proper way is far more important."

The state government and the top echelons of the Central as well still have time, Flood management does not require big brains to crack but it is speedy interventions, clogging of drainage systems which need to be cleared and standby measures ready when the going get tough.

Another Exercise Jalrahat won't be a remedy for another impending danger but politicians, with their policy making powers of implementation should be the remedy for the people and their woes.

The writer can be contacted at christopher@thenortheasttoday.in

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