During January, I wrote an article on the preparedness of our government and agencies in disaster preparedness (Link- http://bit.ly/gkpXvj ) in Himalayan region of Asia. And now we could see the nature’s fury in earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, and how helpless one could become when human being come across such situation. Even, Japan among the technologically advanced, earthquake prepared and sound on various fronts of such earthquake linked disasters, could not survive and lost thousands of lives, what we can expect about the poor infrastructure and preparedness in Himalayan regions of countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
In majority of the growing townships and cities in the Himalayan mountain regions situation is such that haphazard development is on and there are no set norms for construction of earthquake resistance buildings or infrastructure. The urban and rural infrastructure planners are affectionate on developing infrastructure that is no way resilient to earthquake or flash flood like situation, which are frequent in this region.
Despite the fact that the region is residing on geologically unstable tectonic plates, those are in regular movement, might lead to a situation where the buildings or infrastructure e.g. roads, houses, industries, bridges, etc. collapse in seconds. There are no such guidelines in place that could be used for preparedness towards earthquake, floods, landslides, cloudbursts, GLOF, etc. Even in towns where the building should not be construction above two to three stories, we can see high raise buildings haphazardly developed. The situation is 'Who cares'!
The scenario in rural areas is worst, as people are removing the old building with new construction that is simply based on the logic that it competes with a house in the town. One can observe such situation across Himalayan region.
The unfortunate part is that, one can’t see any such institution that is involved in providing training on preparedness issues and situations, and building houses in a manner those are resistant to earthquake and water related hazards. No one is advocating such issue in the region and our rural and urban planners are not at all aware about or have completely ignored this fact. No one is entrusted in to train the communities or planners on various earthquake linked disasters and preparedness, among others. The preparedness is only for aftermath of a disaster.
The scenario is that, the government agencies are busy in updating their data on numbers of meetings and inadequate trainings and major international agencies in publishing voluminous publications. Even our regional centers those are entrusted in to the role of multi-country strategies are unfortunately even not adequately equipped or able to cater the need of single country, contrary to their big hypes about various cooperation projects. In my view people in Himalayan region need to seriously think about such governance system and ineffective agencies, and either push them to work or force them to leave the space for people who really could change the scenario.
This will help the communities in this part of world to become disaster resilient from earthquake and water related disasters.
Else, god only can save them…!