The other two major risks include natural disasters, extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem collapse. By 2033, the interconnections between biodiversity loss, pollution, natural resource consumption, climate change and socioeconomic drivers will make for a dangerous mix.
Who suffers the most?
The impact of natural disasters or extreme weather events disproportionately affect the populations and dwellings of low and middle-income countries, including India, other South Asia countries, and developing coastal countries across Latin America, Africa, and East Asia.
India recorded extreme weather events on 291 of the 334 days between January 1 and November 30, 2022 (87 per cent of the time over 11 months).
It is also not a hidden fact that Jammu and Kashmir is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, landslides, and snowstorms. Every year, the J&K faces hundreds of deaths and destruction by the impact of natural disasters or extreme weather conditions.
Are we prepared to face the challenges?
With the changing climate effects, where the globe is warming and seasons are changing, are civilians and authorities prepared to face the changes?
Have we learnt lessons from recent earthquakes, storms, and warnings from credible global platforms?
In most cases or events, we are still determining what we must do in case of an emergency. The local communities and volunteers, who usually are the first to respond to a disaster, need further training to support the sufferer, which includes rescuing and caring for survivors and managing the dead.
Local residential associations, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), or Mohalla Committees must consider making their areas safe and having quick reaction teams in emergencies like fires, earthquakes, floods, or other natural disasters.
Do we have cellars and underground bunkers if peacetime nuclear plants get damaged by earthquakes or floods or if industrial gas leaks
accidentally? Do residential areas or religious places have designated assembly points in case people need to assemble to wade disasters like stampedes, earthquakes, fires, etc.?
While I tried to do quick cursory research through telephone in Srinagar and its surroundings, I found that we are still unprepared to handle the mass casualties and do not have enough hospital storages to keep the dead dignity.
Seven out of ten people don’t know how to react if they witness a road accident or if someone is bleeding. Seven out of ten don’t understand the meaning of “first responder.” Whom should they call for support or help? Is there one telephone number known to the masses, like 100 tel number, that belongs to the police control room?
Seven out of ten have yet to hear of any training or awareness being given to the civilians to face any eventuality by professionals like the State Disaster Management Authority or police, fire services, home guards etc.
No fire extinguisher or survival kits Hardly any home has a fire extinguisher or a survival kit with them in case they get trapped in a major earthquake or landslide.
No one has an idea of a cellar or underground bunker in case of nuclear radiation or chemical leak from a laboratory/factory, not to mention the consequences of a nuclear war or cyber-attack.
Jammu and Kashmir need to take baby-step precautions, and authorities should start awareness programmes in peacetime through volunteers and
NGOs so that people can take immediate steps in an emergency.
To begin with, an earthquake kit is a must for every family, school, hospital, office etc. The minimum should be:
Two/three days of drinking water for each member of your family/office (at least 1 gallon per person, per day)
Three days’ supply of non-perishable food, First aid kits for your home, religious places, schools, offices, and autos.
Extra flashlights with extra batteries Power packs for mobile phones Prescription medications Whistle Small tools like hammer, screwdriver, spade, scissors Copies of your important documents, bank account, certificates Extra pair of reading glasses some Cash and small bills are best.
Also, some drills for residents, school children, staff of the hospitals, stadiums etc., are a must in peace and standard times that the State Disaster
Management Authority, Fire Brigade, and local police department should organise.
A small people-friendly training capsule is required to prepare locals to face an emergency. Authorities must train trainers like Asha workers, religious leaders, volunteers, home guards, NGOs, and Mohalla Committees who can further train residents.
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