Preparedness Saves Lives - Eastern Mirror
Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Editorial

Preparedness Saves Lives

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 29, 2024 12:06 am

As the cyclone ‘Remal’ made its landfall in West Bengal on Sunday night, at least 10 people were said to have been killed and nearly 30,000 houses damaged in the coastal areas of the state, as high-speed winds accompanied by heavy rains wreaked havoc, uprooting trees, disrupting train and air services, damaging roads, and causing widespread power cuts. The situation in neighbouring Bangladesh was even more severe, with more human casualties and damage to property. This is despite elaborate precautionary measures undertaken by the authorities to mitigate a possible disaster. In West Bengal alone, more than one lakh people were evacuated from coastal regions to shelter homes ahead of the landfall, while state disaster management and NDRF personnel were deployed for rescue operations in case of emergencies. The state government had ensured the availability of dry rations and other essential commodities for people in distress, while a centralised control unit had been established to monitor the situation and helpline numbers were made available to the citizens. Besides that, the authorities had mobilised resources, including machinery, to address post-cyclone situation. So, the public was aware of the danger and risk that the cyclonic storm would pose and the government was prepared for any eventualities. Basically, all the departments were on alert. In Bangladesh, too, at least 8,00,000 people were said to have fled to safer locations ahead of the landfall. If not for such measures, the human casualties both in India and Bangladesh would be way higher than what has been reported.

The casualties due to cyclonic storms have decreased over the years, even as the frequency of such extreme weather events keeps increasing due to the impact of climate change. This is due to improvements in early warning systems and prediction of extreme weather, preparedness and mitigation measures undertaken by disaster management agencies, and better awareness and positive responses from the public. The fact that more human casualties were reported in states like Telangana, Mizoram, Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya than in areas where Cyclone Remal made its landfall also speaks volumes about the importance of preparedness. It is becoming increasingly important to remain vigilant, especially during the monsoon, as erratic weather conditions and calamities are bound to rise due to global warming. Last week itself, the world witnessed at least three natural disasters – massive landslide in Papua New Guinea, where more than 2000 people were reportedly buried; the tornadoes that ripped through Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas; and the cyclone Remal that hit India and Bangladesh. We should take these warning signs more seriously. While weather agencies have successfully predicted cyclones with great precision over the years, the accuracy can be enhanced even further if countries scale up co-operation and share weather data. This will save lives.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 29, 2024 12:06:55 am
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