Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Managing Disasters in India

While conducting a search on disaster management in India, I came across this government site on the subject. It includes a lot of information for architects and the ordinary citizen on how to survive an earthquake but I wonder whether the department in question has done much to publicize its work. They have colouring books for students on how to face disasters, but are they carrying out drills to show students what to do in the event of an earthquake or a fire? I remember, when I was a hostel resident in the UK two years ago, how fire drills and alarms were a regular part of our life. Fire alarms were always checked on Wednesdays, not just in the hostel but also in the university. People knew where to go in case there was a disaster. Are Delhi residents similarly well-informed? What about people in the trans-Yamuna region and Chhatarpur, both of which are high-risk areas in Delhi? The residents of high-rises in Gurgaon should at least be drilled in the procedure to be followed in case of an earthquake--we had high security in my UK hostel, which enabled the university and the hostel managers to drill us in the procedure to be followed in case of fire. Drills are a necessity in India, keeping in mind the fact that we have a tendency to lose our heads in a crisis and blame those in power! In fact, the security people could help the residents to prepare their emergency kits and go-bags in case of earthquakes.

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