Home » Once more Cyclone Remal exposes Manipur’s disaster preparedness failures

Once more Cyclone Remal exposes Manipur’s disaster preparedness failures

by Editorial Team
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Once more Cyclone Remal exposes Manipur’s disaster preparedness failures

Cyclone Remal’s devastating impact on Manipur has starkly highlighted the critical need for effective disaster preparedness and coordination. The heavy rains and subsequent floods inundated thousands of homes, submerged marketplaces, and forced shops to shut down, plunging the region into a crisis that could have been mitigated with better planning and response. Assigning blame to rats for the breach of the riverbank instead of focusing on protecting people from flash floods is not only inadequate but also insulting to those affected.
Despite warnings issued two or three days before the cyclone, the government’s preparedness was glaringly insufficient. The lack of coordination and swift action from the authorities resulted in widespread suffering. Many residents found themselves without access to essential items such as food and clean drinking water. This dire situation was compounded by the cruel irony that, despite being surrounded by floodwaters, residents were left thirsty and desperate due to the inaccessibility of potable water.
The relief camps, ostensibly established to provide aid, proved largely ineffective. These camps, run by political workers rather than the government district administration, failed to deliver meaningful assistance, serving more to benefit those operating them than the victims they were meant to help.
The immediate aftermath of the cyclone saw chaotic scenes as people scrambled for supplies. Marketplaces, crucial for daily sustenance, were almost completely submerged, disrupting the availability of goods and causing significant economic damage as businesses were forced to close. The failure to establish emergency supply chains exacerbated the crisis, leaving many residents without basic necessities for an extended period.
This calamity must serve as a wake-up call for the Manipur government and other regions prone to natural disasters. The current state of disaster management is evidently insufficient to protect and support the population in times of crisis. A comprehensive review and overhaul of disaster preparedness and response strategies are urgently needed.
Firstly, a proactive approach to disaster management is essential. This includes setting up efficient early warning systems and ensuring that these warnings are effectively communicated to the public. Regular drills and simulations can help prepare both authorities and citizens, reducing panic and confusion when an actual disaster strikes.
Secondly, infrastructure improvements are crucial. Constructing flood defenses, ensuring that drainage systems can handle heavy rains, and reinforcing buildings to withstand extreme weather conditions are vital steps. Investment in such infrastructure will pay off by minimizing damage and reducing the long-term economic impact of natural disasters.
Moreover, the government must establish reliable supply chains for essential goods that can be activated in times of emergency. This involves stockpiling necessities such as food, water, and medical supplies and creating distribution networks that can operate under adverse conditions. Coordination with local businesses and community organizations can enhance these efforts, ensuring that aid reaches those in need promptly.
Finally, community involvement and education are key. Residents should be informed and trained on how to respond to various types of disasters. Empowering communities with knowledge and resources can significantly improve resilience and self-sufficiency during emergencies.
In conclusion, the tragedy wrought by Cyclone Remal should not be in vain. It is an opportunity for the Manipur government to critically assess and improve its disaster management practices. By addressing the current gaps in preparedness and response, the government can better protect its citizens and prevent future disasters from turning into humanitarian crises. The lessons learned from this event must lead to tangible changes, ensuring that such suffering does not recur.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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