Friday, 10 September 2010

Is Delhi a powder keg waiting to go off?

The recent flooding of the Yamuna river in Delhi and the looming threat of a greater disaster are a grim reminder of things to come! Some of the disasters waiting to happen are a mega earth-quake, floods, epidemics like Dengue, and of course subsidence of terra firma. It is a known fact that the depletion of ground water due to excessive extraction of water through submersible pumps may have made the underground soil sub strata  hollow leading to frequent cave ins of the kinds being reported recently. Excessive excavation work may have undermined the integrity of the underground soil structure.

It is a well known fact that a major fault line runs through the Yamuna River in  Delhi . It is only a matter of time when a major Earth-quake strikes Delhi! In view of such dangers, it is important that we prepare ourselves for such a disaster. Preparedness would include, a constitution of a crisis management team for Delhi, stepping up of Disaster Management awareness programmes for the residents of Delhi, and for students of schools of Delhi. An important aspect of Disaster Management includes, training of students office goers and residents in evacuation procedures. A study  of the Uphar Cinema tragedy shows that a large number of people died because of the panic and stampede that resulted from the news of the fire! This is a pointer to the fact that we need to train everyone about the correct procedures of evacuation!

The most vulnerable segment of the society are our students. It is very important that our students should be trained on how to cope with such disasters. A training in evacuation procedures, a training in rescue operations is most essential! I admire the Japanese who have trained their citizens so well in procedures for tackling Earth-Quakes. I wish we could have the same training for our students in Delhi, so that they may set an example for others to follow.

It is also important that the Delhi Administration should pass important specifications for construction of buildings which are easy to evacuate, Earth-Quake resistant, and have sufficient infrastructure for fighting such calamities as fire! Excessive use of glass in building is known to cause fatalities throughout the world!Shattering glass is known to cause a number of fatalities! Similarly, minimum admissible depth of the foundation of buildings should be mentioned in the building by laws! The use of pillars and beams should be specified. It is a known fact that often the lanes of Delhi are so congested that the fire engines find it difficult to reach the place of the fire! I have also noticed the lack of fire hydrants in Delhi. Perhaps the authorities need to look into this Matter? Need I say more about this issue?

Perhaps the most pro-active step to face natural disasters is to to be prepared for them!

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