Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Text book example : How Politics and Politicians impact Management of Disasters.

As I write there is a deep depression brewing up in the Bay of Bengal and in order to ascertain rainfall data associated with the depression (which is likely to be upgraded to a tropical cyclone today), I checked the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) website.
I found the main TRMM website ( unavailable and the TRMM website which was available (see above) had a cautionary note on it which said the "data may not be upto date" due to the US Govt shutdown. In fact, the website had information which was 9 days old and its latest images were of Typhoon USAGI of 30Sep2013.
So vital information on Typhoon FITOW (08Oct2013) was missing on the TRMM site as was information on the depression
in the Bay of Bengal, slowly working its way up from the Andaman islands to mainland India  - thanks to politics and politicians!
In this context, the Darjeeling hills has been embroiled in  grim political turmoil for several years now and management of the very serious landslide problem of this region has been confined to a tiny, dark corner in the minds of politicians involved.

Praful Rao
District Darjeeling

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