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Lessons Learned: Jammu And Kashmir Floods Aftermath

By Kashoo Tawseef

02 February, 2015

The recent floods in the state of Jammu and Kashmir surprised everyone as these were such a disastrous jiffy in almost a century. Death and destruction was at large scale and it left many homeless. The local administration failed completely to deal with the situation instead the local volunteers in their respective areas did a commendable job and some lost their lives while saving others. In the words of Daryn Kagan, ‘Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing some extraordinary things’.

Usually there is a disaster management department who make sure that the area of their jurisdiction has both the infrastructure and manpower in place to deal with any natural or manmade calamity and its aftermath. Not only such departments as in other parts of the world also make sure that general and public properties in particular like offices, schools etc take health and safety into consideration both while construction and even after construction to make sure those human lives can be saved. For example, by making fire drills or earthquake drills and even flood drills so that in case of fire or earthquake or floods people know what to do and where to go. Such departments also make sure that there are emergency exits in all general and public properties in particular and early warning system in place to minimize the damage and human loss.

Same way such departments study the landscape under their jurisdiction and the challenges to deal with in case of natural disasters like floods. Also advice the local administration if there is any violation while construction that can disturb the local eco-system, which in turn can result in the calamity in future. Many experts gave their reasoning for such floods and what lead to the huge devastation afterwards and mostly the opinion was that there is a huge disturbance to the ecological system like construction at wrong places, erosion of local water bodies, no proper drainage system, no water management at all like dams etc, choking of water flow of the existing water bodies etc.

As horrific images were emerging from the Jammu and Kashmir during floods and it was getting worse like everyone concerned, I too got worried and out of that uncertainty wrote a letter an international organization for their assistance to the local administration (which was invisible at the time of need) in whatever capacity they could to minimize the destruction and save the human loses. To my surprise, the response received detailed that they haven’t been approached neither by India nor by Pakistan to offer their assistance. In the said response, they mentioned the various projects on different level that are undergoing in India but unfortunately none of such projects in Jammu and Kashmir as if such problems do not exists in the state, as if the sate of Jammu and Kashmir is perfectly functional as some try to portray to rest of the world on twitter by putting fancy status.

It is still not late, that the best brains in the higher echelons of the state approach some professional international organizations and get their assistance to at least establish a disaster management team and how to recover the state from the destruction and at least common people will have some better life. With the failure of both the state and New Delhi in dealing with the devastation of the floods and with the all political uncertainty before and after elections, it seems people will have to suffer as they have been suffering from decades. Let the people in administration both in India and Pakistan make their respective governments understand and allow the international team to at least do some survey of the area and come up with a report of devastation so that it will give everyone a chance to know the state of affairs that the people are going through and will bring some tears in the eyes of those who have sense of humanity. Let me conclude with the words of Martin Luther King (Jr.), ‘An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity’.

Kashoo Tawseef : Born in conflict area, Kashoo Tawseef is a student of Media Studies and political science. His articles and essays have appeared in the Greater Kashmir, Kashmir Times, Rising Kashmir, Etalaat and in other media journals. His paper about the resolution of a Conflicts and a way forward won a journalism and research award in the United Kingdom. You can record your viewpoint at k dot tawseef at the rate gmail.com






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