Preparing for tsunamis in future

IT is time we learnt lessons from the tsunami havoc. Let us analyse some of the remedial measures. One, India should join the Pacific Tsunami Warning System only after proper groundwork. Our scientists must interact with countries affected by tsunamis. We should gain from the knowledge of world experts who can provide useful information. Danger spots in our zone must be identified first.

Two, there is need for a truly integrated national disaster management system. As over half of India lies on the seismic zone, the Centre must put in place such a system which is both active and well equipped. This must be rehearsed at regular intervals.

Three, a well coordinated action plan is needed to use the warning for prompt evacuation. Plans must be made and rehearsed so that all agencies act quickly after an alert is issued. Community education is vital. Japan has built sea walls along its coastline to buffer the impact. India has much to do. Four, the Centre, state governments and other agencies should get their act together. Lack of organisation has plagued our system. The armed  forces are doing a commendable job.



Five, we must have extensive communication networks. Even 48 hours after the tsunami hit, no information was available from many affected areas and hence, relief didn’t reach. There was a major earthquake off Antarctica about a week before the tsunami. This might have contributed to the build up of seismic stress in the Sumatra region, but our meteorologists were not even aware of this threat. Hence, we must interlink within the country well.

Six, we should preserve mangroves and fight nature with nature itself. Mangroves acted as a first line defence against the tsunami. They saved the coastal communities living behind them in the Chennai region. We must preserve, regenerate and use them as effective sea walls. And finally, we must enforce codes of quake-resistant buildings and develop an infrastructure that protects life and property from damage by both natural and man-made disasters. Building construction should strictly follow the code of quake-resistant buildings, especially in the extra-sensitive seismic zone.

ANUSHA SINGH, Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi


The NASA scientists have discovered “the most powerful eruption of energy yet observed in the universe which has been going on for 100 million years and has been devouring...the equivalent of 300 million suns” (Jan 8). Mind-blowing, indeed! Even as we spend huge amounts of money on exploring space and life on other planets, and claim to be so enlightened about the goings-on in the whole wide universe around us, we know and bother so little about the fellow human beings and earth, our  common abode.

Otherwise, how do we explain the lack of adequate information regarding catastrophes like tsunami, and dissemination of timely warnings about their occurrence that could have saved colossal loss of life and property? Isn’t it ironic, even shameful? 

Wg-Cmdr S.C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida


Apropos of the editorial “Tsunami’s terror” (Dec 28), tsunami wreaked unimaginable havoc. The lines “When nature unsheathes its frightening weaponry with full fury, there is pretty little that mankind can do” speaks volumes about the nature’s omnipotence vis-à-vis the human helplessness as do the following lines of that immortal bard of Stratford-on-Avon written four centuries ago:

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;

They kill us for their sport.

Indeed, man is helpless before the tandava of nature, his rhetoric of scientific and technological advancement notwithstanding.

Let us then face this disaster by donating generously to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to rehabilitate those rendered homeless, destitutes and hapless orphans. This alone will be a befitting tribute to those who left us for their heavenly abode.

Dr C.S. MAAN, Lecturer, Sauwal (Una)

A step in the right direction

Apropos of the editorial “Cleansing politics” (Jan 14), I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to debar convicted criminals from contesting elections. It is indeed a step in the right direction, though, I do not believe this alone would help cleanse the Indian political system of inept, incompetent and corrupt politicians.

Most people holding public offices like Governors, Chief Ministers and their truck loads of ministers all over India are either corrupt, inept or incompetent. I do not know any state in India which is free from deep-rooted corruption, unemployment, nepotism, poverty, pollution, poor sanitation, filthy roads, power and water shortage and so on. A dishonest and corrupt leader is as bad as a convicted criminal. When it comes to public service, to be a nice and honest guy is not enough either. It is likely that those debarred from contesting the elections will try to pull the strings by having their henchmen run for the offices. This is already happening in Bihar.

Nonetheless, it is a great start and the Supreme Court must continue working on tightening the noose around people of dubious character trying to enter our political system. I suggest that anyone wishing to be a MLA or MP should also be a first class Bachelor’s degree holder from a recognised institution.



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