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					             District Assignment on Disaster Management

( ‘Ogni’ Cyclonic floods occurred in the district in the month of Oct’2006 and
Nov’2007)

Ogni Cyclone in Krishna District:

         During the 30th October to November of 2007 heavy and long lasting rainfall
caused in the district by storms and cyclones. More than 350 mm rainfall within 24 hours
period occurred during this period. The rainfall in short spell i.e., 4 to 5 days is 400-900
mm during this cyclone in various parts of the district.

                 A Cyclonic storm Ogni has formed over south West Bay of Bengal
which lay centered at 08:30 hours on 29th October, 2006 near latitude 14.5 degrees and
longitude 80.5 degrees East about 50 Kms East of South Coastal Andhra Pradesh. The
system moved northward along the coast. It finally crossed the coast between Chirala and
Bapatla. On 31st October, 2006. Under its influence widespread rainfall with heavy falls
occurred in south coastal districts of Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, East Godavari and West
Godavari. The first three of these districts have been devastated with inundation and
several mandals have been marooned. The aftermath of the cyclone has been devastating
as rains continued to pour from 28th Nov’2006 to 4th Nov’2006. Machilipatnam and
Avanigadda areas (in Krishna District) received 99 cm and 103 cm respectively.

          The drainage systems in the district are designed for incidence of 225 mm in 3
consecutive years. Heavy rainfall resulted the failure of the drainage and canal system. It
is more than double the capacity of the drains. During this Ogni floods, most of the canals
and drains breached caused to road network, damage of crops, human life and cattle by
inundating lower reaches of delta.




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 Immediate response of the District Machinery:

   1. Evacuating       people: The immediate response required by the district
       administration during such disaster is quick evacuation from the place of
       incidence. For example Tsunami like havoc took many lives due to its sudden
       attack. In such situations whoever been evacuated or transported quickly will
       escape from the incidence disaster.


            The district Administration reacted quickly in respect of the evacuating the
   people. Due to heavy rains many villages were marooned and inundated and about
   1,77,802 people belonging to 57,070 families were evacuated and kept in about 323
   relief camps.




The above is the photograph of the evacuating people from the Machilipatnam
town



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2. Organising Relief Camps: During any Disaster another important task before the
civic administration is organizing the relief camps. Especially during the disasters like
flash floods, earthquakes, cyclones, etc relief camps shall be organized immediately.
During this flood, in the Krishna district, about 1,77,802 people evacuated belonging to
57,070 families, and were given food, drinking water in the 323 relief camps and
supplied with 19.25 Lakhs food packets and 1.10 Lakh water packets in addition to the
supply of protected drinking water. Milk was supplied to the pregnant women and
children in 15 relief camps and an expenditure of Rs.38, 426 was incurred from the ICDS
funds. For maintaining relief camps the approximate expenditure incurred during the
first six days was Rs.349.00 Lakhs.


Issues in organizing relief camps


    -   First concentration in the relief camps is should be on providing food and
        drinking water. In the later part preference has to be given to Providing medical
        facilities and sanitation in the effected regions.
    -   Every relief shall be kept under in charge of one Govt. official.
    -   Quick initiation to start up a relief camp is most important. The ground level
        Revenue officer shall immediately respond to the local situation. If that doesn’t
        happened in time lot of uproar of the people and press has to be faced by the
        officials.
    -   Closing of the relief camp sometimes becomes as big issue. Because, during the
        Ogni floods in the district, the water from the villages has not been receded for
        about 12-15 days. But, the decision taken by the MROs in some mandals to close
        the relief camps within 7 days has led to the criticism. Such issues are subsided,
        because of effective supervision of entire situation each madal wise, day to day,
        by the District Collector and Joint Collector.
.




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This is the photograph of a family in Machilipatnam town, moving to relief camp




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   2. Organizing Medical Teams: District administration shall be vigilant about the
       eruption of epidemics during the flood times. Immediately after the receipt of
       Cyclone warning on 30-10-2006, four rapid responsible medical teams put in
       force with required medicines and vehicles. Similarly medical teams from the
       adjacent districts of Khammam and Nalgonda were requisitioned and the teams
       were arrived in the district and they are sent to the effected areas.
       No of Medical relief camps organized: 186
       No of Medical teams constituted: 95




    Here the photograph which is presenting the unhealthy situation on streets. So,
   organizing medical teams and spreading bleaching powder is much more important in
   such areas.


4. Appointed Special Officers to the mandals: The important aspect of the Ogni floods is
the appointing special officers Mandal wise to manage the floods. (Twenty effected
mandals provided with twenty Special Officers). The special officers are of the district
officer in rank. The advantage of these appointments is that, these officers can coordinate
and mobilize all available staff at mandal level towards flood relief work effectively.


5. Provision of sanitation and drinking water: It is one of the important factors to be
taken into consideration that, drinking water is to be provided to the disaster affected
victims. Especially, during the flood times, the eruption of epidemics are very high.




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       Here proper sanitation arrangements were tied up in all the effected villages by
the Gram Panchayats and urban areas of Machilipatnam, Pedana and Gudivada by the
Municipalities concerned. Bleaching powder and other disinfectants were procured on a
large scale and were used in all the effected villages and towns. Chlorination is being
taken up in all the drinking water sources in all the effected villages to check
contamination of water.


6. Deputing additional staff members in the effected mandals:            The existing staff
members are insufficient to tackle the disasters. In those circumstances lot of manpower
is required to tackle the situation. For example, other area (non effected area) staff can be
deputed for this purpose. In this district upland mandal officials deputed to help the
officials of flood affected region.


7. Restoration of the Communication network: Another important problem faced by the
district is damages to landline telephone network and electricity lines. Especially land
phones of all the offices are paralyzed. It took several days to restore. Similarly other
residential landline telephones are also paralyzed. So BSNL has provided important
emergency booths to facilitate common people.


8. Providing road connectivity: Breaches to the roads is the biggest problem being
faced during these floods. Breaches to the roads at various places have cut down the main
linkage with the flood affected villages. So, Supply of relief materials to these villages
has become biggest problem.
       For example the breach to the road (Avanigadda to Pamarru) at Kuchipudi village
and damage to the important bridge at Lakshmipuram Village (Which Connects
Machilipatnam and Avanigadda) has delayed relief operations to the interior villages of
Avanigadda, Nagayalanka and Koduru Mandals. But with instructions of the Collector
and Joint Collector, the Road and Building departmental machinery responded
immediately and restored the connectivity.




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This is the Photograph of the people crossing the challapalli-machilipatnam road
through rope at Popugulugandi




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In the above photograph the breached part of road is being observed by Chief
Minister, Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy


9. Irrigation and drainage officials response: Peculiarity of the Krishna District is that
existence of lot of drains and irrigation channels. The reason is that, it is delta area under
Krishna River Since 1850’s. At the time of floods these drains and irrigation channels
overflows at times. To tackle such situations, perfect bunding of the irrigation channels
and drains are required.
   -    The Krishna Delta canal and drainage system is as old as 125-150 years. The
       Krishna Delta canal system serves an ayacut of 13.8 lack acres. The existing
       drainage system will carry discharge assuming a rainfall occurred during recent
       cyclone storm named as Ogni in a short spell of 4 to 5 days is 950 mm in which




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       resulted failure of drainage and canal system totally. This rainfall is almost more
       than double than what is taken for the purpose of designing of drains.
-   The important factor is that damages to the head regulators of the canal branches.
    During this time the irrigation department shall be well prepared to take up any such
    repairs to the head regulators.
-   Sometimes breaches to the drains and canals may happen due to the excessive flow
    of the flood water. In such situations irrigation officials shall be ready to take it up on
    war foot basis.




-


For example the above photograph is breach to the Bantumilli canal at
Chinapandraka and the flood water is flowing into the paddy fields of the farmers.




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The above photograph shows the havoc of Lajjabanda drain


                Lajjabanda drain is the one of the major drain flows through the Guduru,
Pedana     mandals and ultimately joins in to the sea. The above picture shows the
information that; because of this drain, most of the villages surrounded by it are
submerged. Sometimes sea backwater also aggravates the flood situation, because night
time sea doesn’t take much water into it.


10. Role of the wireless sets: Each MRO offices are being equipped with the Wireless
sets. These sets helped a lot in establishing connectivity between officials at various
levels. So, the connectivity up to the Mandal level was achieved without any hindrance to
the communication. And these wireless sets are prime tools for the set-conferences being
conducted by the Collector, Joint Collector, DRO, and other important officials.


         These are the some of the measures taken by the administrative machinery in the
district. Speed and effectiveness depends on the ground level officers. District Collector
and Joint Collector have given relevant instructions from time to time through wireless
sets. Most of the ground level officers reacted and followed to them.


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People Reaction:


    -   At these times, especially during the floods, people don’t want to leave their
        houses. The reason is that, people want to protect their household utensils and
        instruments.




                The traditional mindset of the people still has not been changed. They
    feel their utensils and household instruments are more important than their lives. The
    above photograph clearly says this. The woman in the Subramanyeswara Nagar of
    the Machilipatnam cooking food in the inundated house itself without going to the
    relief camp.


-   People are anxious to get relief material. There are lots of complaints from the people
    that relief material has not so far reached to them. Similarly media is giving reports
    on the malpractices in weighing the relief material, which was being supplied to the
    affected people.
                       This is true to certain extent. The reasons are several. At first
    administrative machinery reacted reluctantly. Later relief work has been speeded up.


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      Shortage of relief material in the Godowns , shortage in availability of lorries, loss of
      road connectivity are some of the reasons for late distribution of the relief material.


-     People sometimes become very panic. For example in the Vekanuru village people
      started cutting the very good R& B ( Roads and Buliding department’s) road, which
      inturn delinked the main mandal (Nagayalanka) from the other mandals . The reason
      to cut this road is flood water from their paddy fields will go into the drain which is
      flowing on other end of the road .similarly at other places like koduru, Nagayalanka ,
      the roads were cut down by the people. I feel that why Irrigation and R& B officials
      could not sit to sort out such problems at the time of laying the roads itself. Because
      in Delta areas , R&B and irrigation works shall be required to take up on coordinated
      basis


-     In these floods, I saw the dependency syndrome of the people. Everybody complains
      officers are not visited them. They are always accusing officials. This, to certain
      extent demoralized the Government officials.


                                    This has happened in my case itself. I have been given in-
      charge of looking after flood relief measures in three Mandals i.e., Avanigadda,
      Nagayalanka and Koduru. People and politicians complained to the relief
      commissiner at Hyderabad stating that food cooked at Avanigadda relief camp is not
      good. All the officials at Avanigadda are working in best possible manner. They are
      working in flood duty, leaving their families who are also suffering from the same
      flood. These things also shall be understood by the people, media persons, and
      politicians before criticizing the officials.


Some of the lacunas:
    Every event management will certainly have some deficiencies.Analysing these
deficiencies will be useful in rectifying further in future.
-     The District is lacking a Disaster Material Store Room. In this Store Room all
      important items shall be placed. For example, small fiber boats will be effectively



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    useful during the flash floods. Especially during the Ogni floods, half of the area of
    the district is inundated in water. The machinery took lot of pains to give water and
    food to the people of Laxmipuram at majeru, because, the entire village up to few
    kilometers surrounded with water. In such situations, quick availability of boats will
    make relief more faster.




                  The above photograph says about situation at RTC bus stand of the
    Machilipatnam. Especially for old aged persons these kinds of boats are very much
    essential during the crisis situation.


-   It is true that in few areas relief camps are not organized immediately. The reason
    may be inaccessibility to reach some of the flood hit areas. People have to wait for 3
    days in the water in some areas. In some areas people complained about the quality of
    food in the relief camps.




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-   Relief material distribution is a biggest problem. Sometimes lack of material, for
    example like kerosene is not available for few days. The reason is that, insufficient in
    providing so many:Lorries and kerosene tankers to flood affected areas.


- Problem of the snakes : Lot of snakes started flowing into the water. Provision of Anti-
snake venom is much more important at this juncture.


-   Sometimes people, at once, raids on the MRO office for food materials. This makes
    confusion to the relief machinery how to act in such situations. This happened in the
    Koduru Mandal. The affected people refused to go to the relief camp stating that they
    won’t leave their houses, as their household utensils will go lost. They are demanding
    for immediate distribution of the relief material. So in such situations,only few relief
    camps were opened and distribution of flood relief material was taken up on priority
    basis.


Problems of the Relief workers/ Relief Machinery:
-   Money : Initially surpanches (elected head of the village panchayath) of the villages
    and Panchayath Secretaries are instructed to bring Gas and Rice items from the
    respective agencies to open relief camps. Similarly they did this immediately. But, to
    get other provisions and vegetables for relief camps, MROs and Panchayhth
    Secretarys have invariably to depend on the borrowings. In some areas lack of money
    and doubts in the officers whether these things would be reimbursed or not has made
    little late in starting the relief camps.


-   Continuous visits of the VIPs: Continuous visits of the VIPs suffers relief operations.




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Below is the photo of the N.Chandrababu Naidu talking with a flood victim at
Gudivada.




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    - Public Representatives pressures during enumeration: Enumeration of the fully,
    partly damaged and marooned houses is the important activity to be taken up in
    parallel to relief operations. At this juncture lot of politicians, public approaching and
    demanding to include their names in the list. In these situations we have to act in a
    transparent and bold manner.


Losses in the district:
-   Damages to the houses : - no of fully damaged houses : 8950
                              - no of Partly damaged houses : 27150
-   Loss to the Agriculture sector:         1.83 lakh hectares of agricultural land was
    inundated.




-   Loss to the Animal Husbandry : 5.23 crores
-   Losses to the fishermen in terms of nets, boats ,etc : 1.41 cr. ( each fisherman lost 15
    days of employment).
-   Losses to the weaving community & Handlooms: Rs 5 cr worth of looms damaged.
    11000 Weavers families affected with loss of 15 days livelihood.




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    It is the Photograph of the weaver in Pedana Mandal removing water from his
    Handloom
    Irrigation damages: 108.27 cr
    Damages to the roads: 51 cr.
    Damages to the Panchayath raj Department : 37.92 cr
Plan of action in such disasters:
                 In tackling any disaster preparedness along with directing lower level
relief machinery chronologically (step by step) is much more important.
-   The first important step is alerting the people about the severity of the cyclone
    through mass and print media. Simultaneously a control room at collectorate has to be
    started up to provide required help or information to the public
-   The next important step in such disaster is evacuating people and opening the relief
    camps with immediate effect.
-   Contingency plan for each mandal shall be prepared. The contents of the contingency
    plan shall consist of the following items:
           o list of Villages and Hamlets likely to be effected by cyclone and tidal
               wave
           o Details of teams entrusted with communication of Cyclone warning.
           o Details showing information relating to the cyclone shelters


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           o Villages (low lying areas) from which cyclone victims have to be
               evacuated to safer places at the time of calamities.
           o Particulars of relief centres
           o Particulars of Medical teams in relief centre to be arranged.
           o Designation of officer incharges of tidal banks/flood banks
           o Round the clock control room in the Mandal Revenue Office during
               cyclone.
           o Officers of the Electricity Board offcials to be contacted and their phone
               numbers.
           o Names and Phone numbers of all the Panchayath Secretaries, Sarpanches
               with their phone numbers
           o Details of the Lorries, Motor launches, Zeeps and Cars available in the
               mandal,etc
                   The contingency plan of the mandal shall contain the above
           information. The district contingency plan shall reflect consolidation of all
           these mandal statistics.


-   Effective utilization of the NGO services and proper coordination with the NGOs is
    very much important. One officer shall be kept in charge to mobilize and liaison with
    the NGO organizations. This will reduce anomalies of certain problems. For example,
    some flood affected families got relief material repeatedly from the NGO
    organizations.


    In Challapalli KCP plant did good work to the effected families. Similarly AMG
    India International, Redcross Society, Sngha Mitra, Lions club , Ramakrishna
    mission, world vision of India did good work. If any officer been put in charge to
    liaison with these NGO organizations, he would have been tapped more relief
    assistance from them. Because most of the MROs and special officers busy with the
    relief work.




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Photograph of Relief material distributed by the RK mission of Vijayawada branch
                          in the flood effected villages.


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If required Army or Navy help shall be taken. In these floods two helicopters and a batch
of deep water divers belonging to Indian Navy have been requisitioned. But, what I heard
that Defence forces comes only at end of the relief work. But, instead of Defence forces,
Para military forces would be sufficient at these disaster times. A wing of ‘Para Military
Force’ to tackle disaster shall be formed and it should be placed at important disaster
prone locations.
-   Training to important civic bodies and all officials in the district in tackling the
    disasters is very much necessary.
-   Village level cyclone committees shall be formed.
-   The district administration shall be ready to suggest alternative agricultural plans,
    rescheduling of loans, meeting with bankers,etc. These proposals required to be
    submitted to government for further approval.
-   Crop Insurance, buying partially spoiled grains, etc issues shall also be taken up.
-   Fodder is the biggest problem at the time of heavy rains. Because most of the local
    fodder was drained in the water. Small dry fodder pack in the villages is being sold at
    the rate of Rs30. So, District machinery shall take up necessary arrangements for it.
-   The district administration with the coordination of other departments like
    Handlooms and Textiles, Fisheries, etc shall have to take up rehabilitation measures
    to particular profession based communities. For example, some of the fisherman
    community lost their livelihood. Some other have lost their nets.
-   NREGP (National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme ) shall be implemented
    in the flood effected areas.


Conclusion: In this district disasters are very common. It has become part of their life.
This district was continuously been affected with cyclones since the years 1977, 1989,
1995, 2005 and 2006. The recent Tsunami also hitted the district badly and 55 human
lives were lost. So, the district machinery is enough experienced to tackle such disasters.
Because of this reason, the district lost only 7 lives out of 35 losses of lives in the other
four districts in the Ogni cyclone. But, still more effective measures needed to tackle such
situation. This cannot be possible only with Government machinery. Civic Societies also




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have to take equal responsibility to tackle such situations. Then only the entire episode
ends peacefully.
Finally -this flood has brought sorrow to entire district, but except one tribe called
Yenadis. They basically live by hunting fishes. Here, we can see the picture of such
activity on road. He is catching fishes with his net on the flooded water, in which fishes
came out due to the breaches to the fish ponds.




                     * *    *    *   *    *




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Some other photographs of the Ogni flood :




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By
M M Nayak
Asst. collector (u/t),
Krishna District,
Andhra Pradesh.




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