How to Mitigate a Natural Disaster?

Kamal Kanta Dhungel

There are various sorts of natural forces interacting in nature. These natural forces keep nature in a balanced condition. However, due to known or unknown causes such forces flow excessively at times in an uncontrolled manner. This results in a catastrophic situation. This situation is called a disaster. Such a disaster may be natural or man-made. Whatever the type of the disaster, its aftermath is always awful and destructive and creates substantial loss of life and properties. It imbalances the ecosystem for a long period of time and makes nature ugly.

The disasters such as flood, storm, cyclone, hurricane, tsunami, tornado, tides, volcano, thunder shock and earthquake are listed as natural whereas disasters cause by road accidents, industrial accidents, nuclear explosion/ bomb explosion, wildlife fires etc. are man-made disasters or say anthropogenic disasters. Both of these types of disasters are quite devastating and fatal and cause huge loss of life and properties. Sometimes the natural disasters invite cataclysmic and the consequences of the disasters can be seen over many generations. The prototype are the devastating earthquake 2072 in Nepal, Amazon Rainforest Fire, hurricane Dorian in USA, typhoon Hagibi in Japan, California Forest fire and nuclear blast in Japan during World War II etc.

Dorian and Hagibi were very notorious and destructive disasters. Dorian moved across the various parts of USA engulfing Bahama Island through Carolina, and Hagibi lasted for many days.

We can’t prevent these calamities. However, the victims can be comforted by providing them some relief packages via disaster management programmes. It normally includes four steps: preparedness, response, recover and management. It is very imitating and appreciating that in the USA, the people who could potentially come under the effect of the hurricane Dorian were evacuated before some days of its arrival. Though it could not save all physical infrastructures, it saved the precious life of many people.

This reveals that there are two ways of mitigating with such disasters: prior information and relief distribution in the aftermath. The precise forecasting system and fast relief and rescue operation for the victims helps us minimize the loss of life and property. The rescue and relief program for the victims of Dorians and Hagibi was very swift and prompt. This illustrates that the government relief distribution should run as fast as possible to take the victims back to normalcy, to make them emotionally strong and to make them realize the feeling of safety.

These cases in point often make us ashamed and explain how slow we were when we, in Nepal were struck by a terrible earthquake. Just comparing the steps followed against Dorian in USA and devastating earthquake 2072 of Nepal, we get a crystal-clear picture of our dillydallying in relief distribution.

We are also very much prone to many calamities such as flood, landslide, epidemics, pandemics, and wildfire. However, we bear much more loss of life and property because of lack of fast response relief programmes. In addition, we lack the sophisticated weather forecasting instruments, trained manpower and a farsighted policy.

Calamities are likely at any time, so we should be ready to defend and tackle with it any time. Dillydallying in such relief programmes not only ruins the image of our country in front of the international country but also makes the victims emotionally fragile. We should have crystal clear policy for pre-disaster, between-the-disaster and post-disaster managements.

We have suffered from series of earthquakes and flood cases that cause havoc every year in rainy season but yet we have no any concrete plan to tackle such disasters in the upcoming years. At the time of disasters we cry and raise our voices. Our leaders say a lot of things to calm the victims; however we forget everything after a certain period of time until another havoc occurs.

The main question is what we did and what are we doing to mitigate such havocs in the upcoming future. Suppose a disaster occurs suddenly; what is our response mechanism for such a disaster? We should learn from other countries and act towards mitigating disaster. Their quick response, fast action and disaster preparedness are praiseworthy, aren’t they? For instance during Dorian, people in the US predicted and tracked the movement of this hurricane and evacuated many people before the Dorian arrived. This saved many lives and a lot of property. We should learn their technologies and their policies in mitigating disasters.

There is no any hard and fast rule, theory, weapons or instrument to defend and prevent ourselves from disasters. Though, we can prevent or minimize the loss of life of humans and other animals and properties by making peoples aware of the disaster as soon as or before it happens.

With the help of modern gadgets, modern science and engineering, we can track and handle many disasters precisely. This could help us mitigate and fight the disasters. It is far better than just distributing relief packages and showing sympathy for the victims. It also minimizes the financial burden of the nation. It helps to uplift the prestige of the nation in the international arena and amongst the citizens.