The Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group
Year of Publication:
Since Aila or the tropical cyclone with a wind speed of 120 km/hr ravaged Sundarban on 25th May, 209, the the Government of West Bengal, as reported in newspapers, has expressed the opinion that strengthening embankments with concrete material would save people from such disasters in future. This hasty opinion emerged in a complete isolation from an understanding of the holistic eco-hydrology of the Sundarban and was not based on any commitment to either science or society.
A tropical cyclone in the Bay of Bengal is a natural hydro-meteoroloigcal event which causes disaster because of the socio-technical failure to cope with this natural phenomenon. Diasater management in West Bengal is a reactive programme; it starts to operate after the event strikes. There needs to be a paradigm shift from erstwhile relief-centric and post-event response to a pro-active approach encompassing prevention, mitigation and preparedness-driven disaster management – declared by the National Disaster Management Authority in its flood management policiy of 2008. The Government of West Bengal indeed maintains a Disaster Management Disaster Management Departments but it reacts late as usual aster the event when the farthest terrains are difficult to approach and the afflicted community is in deep danger. In view of predictions made in the fourth assessment report of the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change that there will be more extreme hydro-meteorological events affecting live and livelihoods of the people living in Indian subcontinent, we need a pro-active disaster management plan.
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