Poor handling of Assam floods, Manipur landslide shows BJP leaders are just good at event management
Millions of people in Assam suffer from adversities due to seasonal rainfall every year. What stops the incumbent BJP govt from putting in place an effective disaster management plan to help them?
The recently-elected Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, is presently facing a great deal of public anger and jokes about him abound on Twitter. Apparently, he is not in the country just as Sydney is witnessing severe flash floods and inundation. The situation in the entire province of New South Wales (NSW) is, in fact, alarming, with more than 50,000 people asked to evacuate to safer areas. Incessant downpour and strong winds have left thousands of homes without electricity and highways are submerged under water.
“If I’m Prime Minister, I won’t go missing when the going gets tough – or pose for the photos and then disappear when there’s a job to be done,” Albanese had once said during an election campaign, and Australians have dug it up, asking if he can make the same statement again.
A Twitter user said: “Albo splashing $100m on another country while Australians are struggling to buy food, homeless, NSW floods. The previous flood victims are still struggling,” using the hashtag #NotMyPM.
BBC’s Sydney correspondent Shaimaa Khalil says, “I’ve spent the day in south #Windsor - where residents have been told to evacuate - some were packing to leave, others are stuck, some are watching and waiting … everyone is exhausted …”
In India, the famous Amarnath Yatra was halted on July 5 due to heavy rains in Pahalgam and along the Yatra track. The overnight spell of rain in many parts of the Kashmir valley also left the Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri road blocked due to a landslide.
Meanwhile, in the Manipur landslide tragedy, the death toll has increased to 48. Debris from landslides has blocked Ijei river, causing the water to rise on one side and creating dam-like storage of water. With the ongoing rains, this can well cause further devastation if the blockage is breached.
Among those dead, at least 27 are personnel of the Territorial Army that was providing security to a railway line being built from Jiribum to Imphal. The exact spot of the landslide is in the Tupul area of Manipur’s Noney district.
It’s believed that there were 79 people trapped in the debris of which 43 personnel were from the Territorial Army and at least 3 from the Railways.
The death toll due to the floods in Assam has increased to 180, as widely reported. Over 2 million people are directly affected by the floods and people are facing an extreme shortage of food, clean drinking water and medicines.
In a bizarre twist to the tragedy, some media reports say that Assam police have arrested two persons – Mithu Hussain Laskar and Kabul Khan – for allegedly damaging the embankment of the Barak river that caused massive floods in Silchar. People on social media are now trying to establish a jihadi angle to the devastating situation.
Dealing with a natural calamity is not easy. Removing the debris at the site of a landslide like the one at Tupul may in the present weather conditions take several days even with the best logistical support. Floods of the proportion that Assam has seen are even bigger challenges. Even for the NDRF or armed forces, these situations are hard to bring under control.
Meanwhile, the flood situation in Bangladesh too is pretty bad. At least 64 districts are severely affected by the floods and over 100 people have died, while millions are stranded.
In times like this, when people are surrounded by dirty water and all modes of communication have snapped, survival itself is a big challenge. Disaster management teams with outside support can do better but need to establish quick coordination with the local administration and officials.
That’s where the leadership that the Australian people are demanding comes into the picture. The Australian Prime Minister has made three overseas trips since he came to power six weeks ago. The first foreign trip to Tokyo for the Quad Security Meeting came within hours of his swearing-in.
While most Indian leaders are great event managers, not all of them are good at disaster management. This is fairly evident from the adverse situation affecting the Amarnath Yatra, the Assam floods and the Manipur landslide incident.
Views are personal
Published: 05 Jul 2022, 9:00 PM