Former Minister and senior Congress leader Raman Bhalla on Friday said that though one cannot avoid natural calamities but a right set of policies and practices can stop those natural calamities from turning into human disaster. The losses of lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure due to the floods after unusual rains reflect lacunas in disaster preparedness, disaster prevention, and disaster mitigation policies. Although the rain is over, but we can see hundreds of villages are still affected by water. They do require food, clean drinking water, medicines to avoid the risk of outbreak of skin diseases, cholera and diarrhoea, feed and veterinary care for remaining livestock, shelter, etc. In the absence of local government there is no room for local people’s say in emergency aid delivery and rehabilitation efforts.
Former Minister on Friday continued visiting rain affected areas to take stock of the damages caused by floods. Today he toured Sanjay Nagar ward -46 sector -2 Prominent among those present on the occasion include HD Sharma, Suram Singh, Romesh Gandhi, Rewail Bhatti, Mohan Lal, Master Bhagwan Dass, Parkash Choudhary. Vikram Singh, Jasbir Singh Jassi and others. Bhalla maintained that Local Self help groups must be strengthened and empowered so that they face less dependency in the event of floods. The loss of livelihood opportunities directly affects the socio-economic access to food. Loss to physical infrastructure, stored food commodities, and livestock affect the physical availability of food. Prevalence of diseases during floods negatively affects food absorption in human body. The real challenge is to develop feasible alternatives to ensure an effective governance system which helps in stopping natural calamities from turning into a human disaster, added Bhalla.
The 24-hour rainfall was enough to bring low-lying areas in Jammu to their knees. People complained that authorities have failed to learn the lessons from the 2014 floods. Residents of many areas said that they have been regularly complaining to the authorities to take measures that could safeguard them from the destruction that is brought by floods, but they never pay any heed.“In Just two days of rain, see their condition. What if it rains harder in the days to come”? Bhalla questioned. People said that more than five year has passed since the floods that claimed lost of huge lives but no lessons seem to have been learnt. “What emerges is a familiar story of agencies failing to communicate, a lack of planning and awareness and the incompetence to tackle such disasters,” said Bhalla.