mid day editorial: We need an efficient disaster managament system

Jul 05, 2018, 06:01 IST | mid-day correspondent

For discipline, the onus falls on people who have shown big hearts and presence of mind, plus a willingness to help when the city struggles in the throes of a downpour and flooding

mid day editorial: We need an efficient disaster managament system
BMC officials suggested that the railways' load-bearing design for the Gokhale overbridge might be to blame. Pic/Rane Ashish

Mumbai's chaotic Tuesday proves once again that only with discipline and good disaster response, will we be able to combat the worst this season brings upon us.

For discipline, the onus falls on people who have shown big hearts and presence of mind, plus a willingness to help when the city struggles in the throes of a downpour and flooding. Let us desist from fanning the flames, which can turn into an inferno of misinformation thanks to the Internet. Mindless and unchecked forwards creating panic and exacerbating alarm should be avoided.

Pushing and shoving in surging crowds and standing around victims, which results in obstructing quick access to help, is counterproductive. Removing manhole covers in an effort to make water levels recede in case of water logging is criminal. Leave public infra alone.

In case of disaster response, we need more personnel with walkie-talkies or some mode of communication, better preparedness, which means ambulances at railway stations, first aid kits, phones that work, help lines that truly help, and a crack force that moves with smoothness and alacrity cutting down response time and the typical confusion we see when Mumbai faces a day of disasters.

The Railways needs to get its announcement system working very well and the voice should be clear over the system both on the platforms and in the train, as these are major panic situations where sheer numbers and tension is a lethal cocktail.

In an ideal world, it is prevention of disasters that should be the focus. Yet, realistically we have seen this city in dire situations. So while prevention is what should be the aim, authorities need to be very effective when it comes to 'cure', which is emergency and disaster response systems. These need a look and sharpening on all fronts, as monsoon puts Mumbai on standby.

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