U'khand tragedy: Top 'must-do' agendas for Govt

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Bangalore, June 26: With rescue works still going on, both the centre and the state have to brace themselves up with greater impediments in the near future.

Epidemic being one with news of rotting bodies flashing on TV on the 10th day of the rescue operations. With death toll reaching 800 or more, it does not need any imagination to understand the extent of damage-control to be done. It goes without saying that the most affected would be the villages, cut-off from the towns due to landslides.

In the past three days, remote villages of Sitapur, Sonprayag and Rampur have sick reports with similar symptoms of diarrhoea and dysentry. "There are no doctors in the vicinity and the people would not be able to travel to the town. Therefore, the risk of the epidemic looming large is not unusual," said Dr Hitender Negi.

However, the good news is that the disease has been successfully checked as the central health ministry is procuring chlorine tablets so that food, water and air borne diseases are curbed. The Union Health Ministry has also deputed a team to review the state's public health measures.

More, however, needs to be done since chlorine tablets cannot serve as a long-term solution for the problem. "We are working on the possibilities to curb the impending outbreak of diseases. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult as there are a number of buried dead bodies in the catchment area. Unless they are removed, the problem of flies would persist," Negi further added.

Uttarakhand

While the above-mentioned is a long-term problem that the Centre must cater too, there are innumerable short-term issues that need immediate attention. These include:

  • Evacuation of all the stranded pilgrims and search the affected areas for missing
  • Constructing warehouses for storing the relief material and creating an efficient distribution system
  • Cater to the medical and the basic needs of the locals until the roads to the city are restored
  • Restore phone power and waterline
  • Rebuild the roads cut off due to landslides
  • Transporting the rescued to their respective states

Equally important is the long to medium term SOP that the government has to follow. While reconstructing and resurrecting the Chaar Dham should be at the top of the agenda, there are others too that can revive the tourism industry of the state in the future. Some of them include:

  • Regulating pilgrims to the Char Dham Yatra like the Amarnath yatra and creating logs of tourists who are venturing to disaster-prone areas
  • Identifying the natural drainage channels and declogging them for an effective drainage system
  • Framing building guidelines depending on the terrains they are located in so that lesser damage to loss of life and property if disaster strikes
  • Train school teachers and locals for disaster preparedness and harness local manpower for disaster management in the first 48 hours.
  • Make environmental assessment together with the state GDP stats to measure growths

The above-mentioned are seemingly hypothetical in the present situation as the sheer magnificence of the disaster is yet to bring up more relevations and hurdles. The centre and the state need to brace themselves for more unseen and unthought of challenges in the next few months.

In a recent turn of events, a rescue chopper crashed on site at Gaurikund soon after it took off with 5 crew members and 15 others on board. All are reportedly dead. However, the rescue operations have not stopped.

In Gaurikund

An aerial view of Gauri Kund on Tuesday.

In Gauchar

Rescued pilgrims wait for helicopter in Gauchar on Tuesday.

In Gauchar

Army soldiers carry an injured rescued pilgrim on a stretcher in Gauchar on Tuesday.

In Gauchar

IAF official and army personnel using a map to search location of an IAF helicopter MI-17 which crashed near Gauri Kund, in Gauchar on Tuesday.

In Uttarakhand

A view of damaged houses after rains and flood in Srinagar, Uttrakhand on Tuesday.

In Jodhpur

Rescued pilgrims from Uttarakhand arrive in Jodhpur on Tuesday.

In Surat

Rescued pilgrims from Uttarakhand being welcomed by relatives as they arrive in Surat on Monday night.

In Jodhpur

Rescued pilgrims from Uttarakhand arrive in Jodhpur on Tuesday.

In Lambagar

ITBP personnel rescuing flood victims with the help of a rope bridge over Alaknanda River in Lambagar on Tuesday.

In Kedarnath

An IAF helicopter dropping wood for creamation near Kedarnath Temple on Tuesday.

In Uttarkashi

ITBP personnel rescuing flood victims with the help of rope and ladder in Uttarkashi on Tuesday.

In Lambagar

ITBP personnel rescuing flood victims with the help of a rope bridge over Alaknanda River in Lambagar on Tuesday.

ITBP cares for a pilgrim

TBP jawans offering food to seriously ill pilgrim in Lambagar on Tuesday.

In Gauchar

Locals unload woods from a truck to be loaded on to an Indian Air force helicopter in Gauchar for rescue works in Uttarakhand on Tuesday.

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