It’s Everyone’s Responsibility
While people in North India are reeling under an intense heat wave and the temperature in the national capital is touching 49 degree Celsius, several states, especially the Northeast are badly hit by floods and landslides triggered by days of incessant rains. The pre-monsoon rains wreaking havoc in the Northeast with several flood and landslide-related deaths reported in Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, besides roads and railway lines being cut off. The Assam State Disaster Management Authority has updated that around two lakh people in more than 20 districts of the state have been affected by floods and about 28,000 people evacuated from two stranded trains. The incessant rain has affected other north-eastern states as well. Nagaland, which experienced a drought-like situation in the last couple of years, too has witnessed heavy rainfall, causing water logging and mud sliding. If rain continues for some more days, as forecasted by the India Meteorological Department, the whole region could bear the brunt of nature’s fury again, as inclement weather is likely to trigger landslides and floods. The governments and its agencies as well as the public should be on alert and co-ordinate with each other to reduce loss of human lives and properties in the event of any calamities. No place is safe from natural calamities but the Northeast India region is more vulnerable due to its topography. The region faces threats of unprecedented economic and communication disruptions due to extreme weather patterns caused by climate change. This calls for the need to focus on disaster management: prevention, resilience, preparedness, response and recovery. Safety is everybody’s responsibility. Disaster risk reduction concept should not be undermined while carrying out developmental activities. Considering the fact that the Northeast is a disaster-prone region, it is important to strengthen community resilience to climate change and disaster risk. Early warnings, mass evacuation and rescue operations help reduce loss of life in the event of natural calamities but numerous houses and properties are often damaged, rendering many homeless. Unfortunately, the region doesn’t have adequate resilient infrastructure to counter challenges arising out of a disaster. The central and state governments have no doubt put in more efforts when it comes to spreading awareness on the importance of disaster risk management, reducing loss of life, enhancing forces for disaster response and carrying out rescue operations but much needs to be done on protecting properties and helping the affected people get back on their feet. The participation of non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and individuals is pertinent in building disaster resilience and recovery. It’s a collective responsibility.