Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fact and fiction



and Fiction
(extract from "the Hindu", Thurs, 08Nov2007)

Call for national strategies to deal with disasters
Vinay Kumar
Disasters know no political boundaries: Manmohan

FOR PROACTIVE POLICIES: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday called upon modern societies to come together to deal with manmade disasters – be they industrial or those caused by terror attacks.

“The threat of terrorism looms large in our region and could trigger disasters across borders,” he said inaugurating the second Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction here.

Noting that earthquakes, cyclones, floods and tsunami caused havoc across Asia in the recent past, Dr. Singh said the important aspect was to have “coherent national strategies and national capabilities to handle disasters.”

“Disasters know no political boundaries and we are all equally vulnerable to them.” It was one area where nations must cooperate to find collective solutions to the challenges. “It is in difficult times that we need the best of relations. As the old wise saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

Citing the example of regional cooperation in creating a Tsunami Early Warning System in the wake of the December 2004 havoc, the Prime Minister stressed the need for more bilateral and regional cooperation to make effective use of capabilities. India adopted a forward-looking approach to disaster management and mitigation. National and State-level disaster management authorities had been constituted. “The paradigm shift that they have advocated is based on moving away from a relief-centric, post-event approach to a holistic, integrated and preventive approach. The focus will be on disaster prevention, preparedness and mitigation.”

In her keynote address, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi advocated “pro-active” policies as part of long-term measures to anticipate and minimise the destructive power of disasters.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil suggested intensive research and development to manage disasters, and said contingency plans to help people should be kept ready.


Comment by praful rao

Despite, the Disaster Management Act 2005, despite the Prime Minister's words, despite hundreds of letters and signatures sent to VIPs, politicians and media personnel, at the district level today disaster management remains totally "relief centric" with disaster prevention consisting only of praying to the almighty that our lives may be spared another day....
What a pity!

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