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Flood-like Situation

May 2, 2024
Kashmir A view of rise in water level in river Jhelum during flood like situation caused due to incessant rains in Srinagar Umar Ganie 1 scaled

Flash-floods and landslides have caused damage to property and livestock in several parts of Kashmir valley. While parts of Jammu division have been hit too, few villages in Ramban and Mandi Poonch of Jammu division have been affected badly. In this regard, Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting with Administrative Secretaries, divisional, district and police administration of J&K to take stock of damages caused and measures taken after the incessant rains and subsequent flood-like situation in the UT. Dulloo has emphasised the need for proactive measures during such emergencies, instructing the administration to prioritize the resolution of public grievances. Restoration of electricity, water supply, and road connectivity was highlighted as a priority, with instructions to expedite the process. Assessment of damages to infrastructure and public installations, as well as provision for their provisional restoration, were also emphasized. While the measures taken by the government are welcome, the authorities in the long run should focus on environmental conservation and disaster preparedness measures to mitigate the risk of future flash-floods and landslides. This may include watershed management initiatives, afforestation programs, and the construction of check dams and retaining walls to prevent soil erosion and mitigate floodwaters. Furthermore, the government should invest more in early warning systems and disaster response infrastructure to enable timely interventions during emergencies. Community engagement and capacity building are essential components of effective disaster management. The government should involve local communities in decision-making processes, raise awareness about disaster preparedness and response strategies, and provide training to community members on emergency evacuation procedures and first aid. Strengthening the capacity of local authorities, community leaders, and volunteers will enhance the resilience of communities in the face of natural disasters. At the same time, the Chief Secretary has underscored the importance of strengthening overall preparedness to effectively deal with natural calamities in the future. He called for mock drills and dry-runs to enhance capacity and efficiency in mitigation efforts. The divisional and district administration also have briefed Dulloo on relief measures being undertaken in their areas, with assurances that the situation is under control. And as far as the recent flash floods and landslides are concerned, the government should provide immediate relief to the affected people. While preliminary assessments of damage to infrastructure and loss of lives or livestock are underway, efforts focused on providing assistance to those directly affected should remain the topmost priority. This may involve repairing damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and buildings, as well as restoring essential services like electricity, water supply, and communication networks. Additionally, the government should provide financial assistance and support to affected households to help them rebuild their homes and livelihoods. This can be done by conducting a comprehensive assessment of damages caused by the flash-floods and landslides. This assessment should include an evaluation of infrastructure damage, loss of livelihoods, impact on agriculture and any environmental degradation. Based on the assessment findings, the government can identify the most urgent needs of affected communities and allocate resources accordingly.

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