mid-day editorial: Time to heal Dombivli's wounds

Even as the death toll continues to rise, Dombivli will carry the scars of the chemical factory explosion for years. After four blasts from a chemical factory shook the central suburb, the place seems to be unrecognizable and it will take all of Mumbai's famed resilience for it to bounce back to what it was.

Currently, besides grieving families, there is an air of great uncertainty hanging heavy over the area. Its safety has also been compromised because the blast has blown away glass coverings and rendered doors useless. Dombivli needs salve for its raw wounds.

That should come with swift, smooth machinery that needs to be put into action. The first cornerstone of this effort is communication. Officials must clearly communicate with those affected. Will the stranded residents be allowed back into their homes? If so, when and if already allowed what are the precautions they need to take.

How and when would compensation for different kinds of damage be given? Here, it is extremely important that residents are told the time, place and date and their agony is not compounded by those familiar long queues, red tape, general confusion and a sense that nobody quite knows what is going on.

That is about the compensation aspect, but the same stretches to other aspects, too. As residents struggle to get their life in order, we have witnessed chaotic scenes unfold in the past, post a disaster. There are several sharks waiting to take advantage of the despaired people in different ways, through forging documents, hollow claims of help and compensation, and generally putting hurdles in the process of recovery in every way.

Authorities need to understand that these are people numbed by the shock and magnitude of the disaster. This is the first step in a long healing process. We have not even come to the more nuanced stages, like counseling for those in trauma. The machinery must move in a well-oiled, precise manner in the initial stages and set a pattern for the entire operation.

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