Disaster Management at Uttarakhand
The present Uttarakhand flood has again shown the failure of national disaster plan in the country. Tens of thousands of people have disappeared from the area. At the moment, people are only counting loss of tourists, the local inhabitants; nobody knows how many of them have died.
In the last two weeks, I have been approached by several members of NGOs and agencies to donate fund, food and clothes. This happens every time there is a catastrophe. This again indicates Government system failure.
At such a scale, individuals or unorganized sectors cannot help. Disaster management is always a hierarchy-based crisis management with a leader at the apex. For any catastrophe such as this, the leader invariably should be the government, who should direct everybody in the country to pool resources and ensure that they reach the needy people.
Yesterday, a couple of media people asked me why we were not sending a team of medical doctors to Uttarakhand. My answer was very simple. Most of us have already offered and are still offering their services to the government, it is the duty of the government to take help from private sector and assign them work in areas where it is needed the most. Otherwise what will happen is that 90% of the benefits would be given to the people who need it the least because they are at the periphery of the disaster.
The people who are in real need are all either in the centre of the disaster or placed faraway where the help will never reach by non-governmental efforts.
People on the periphery may end up taking the same help again and again from different NGOs and may get food, clothes, some of which they would never be able to consume.
· DGHS should hold a meeting of presidents of all medical associations in the country and work out a strategy.
· Identify an area in Uttarakhand, which is safe and future disaster (flood) free, where base health camps can be created and medical help can be flown there.
· The job of government should be to lift patients to the base camps, where a coordinated team of medical services can look after the victims.