Amritsar, March 22
Yesterday’s high-intensity earthquake showed the ground and buildings shaking because of tremors in the city. It naturally threw up a vital question, “Are we prepared to tackle natural calamities?”
Officials stated that they are ready to tackle any natural calamity but a lot needs to be done to carry out rescue operations. There is need for proper preparations and the city needs to wake up to the threat as the city falls in seismic zone.
Experts say in the event of a calamity of this magnitude, hardly anything can be done to prevent the tragedy. Disaster management is the only way to mitigate the losses.
Fast-paced urbanisation has put the holy city on the path of becoming a mega city. Undoubtedly, it is considered a densely populated city which in disaster management’s parlance is held as vulnerable. They opine that a major earthquake in an urban area can be one of the worst natural disasters in the present era that can undo development achieved during centuries.
Experts say the residents of each area must prepare a plan to handle the situation emerging out of such crisis, identify the safest space in their areas, keep emergency telephone numbers of hospitals, ambulances, police and others at hand, stay away from windows and those objects which could fall down, avoid elevators and lifts, and avoid standing close to high-rise buildings and poles on roads.
After an earthquake, avoid using electricity-run gadgets, before using piped gas supply for cooking. Also, check their durability.
As per norms, every hospital, hotel, commercial and government establishment must conduct mock drills from time to time to prepare their employees for such situations.
With the disaster management wing of the government lying dormant for a long time and earlier too with its activity limited to conducting lectures for the students, the larger populace is mostly unaware about the basic safety techniques.
There is a need to train volunteers for managing disasters, identify vulnerable buildings, monuments and introduce earthquake resistant norms. With only four fire stations, the Fire Department is ill-equipped.
Ram Krishan, District Revenue Officer, who also heads the district disaster management, said all men and material of the entire government departments were part of it. From time to time, they conduct mock drills and meetings.
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