While we have all ears and eyes for reports form the ground regarding immediate relief and rehabilitation work, we should also pay attention to the very good articles and reports that are coming based on information already in our hands such as performance audits on existing programs and institutions.
With public attention turned towards Uttarakhand people are seeing real live impact of poor planning, poor implementation and climate change. As if ready for this moment to reach the public, Down to Earth Magazine has published a wealth of material on geographic and environmental aspects of the flood. Scroll down to see the links I have copied directly from their home page.
As part of Association for India’s Development, we must study these reports. We have a significant role to play in increasing public awareness of these issues. Although the tendency is to jump on eyewitness reports, we should not, to quote an excellent article by Himanshu Upadhyay, ignore the writing on the wall. I was moved by his commitment to understand the role of institutions and implementation in the present disaster:
“Yet, once again, while not rushing to ground zero to file a disaster-related human interest story, I have decided to browse through a source that friends often accuse me of being addicted to: Performance Audits by CAG of India on the working of institutions and implementation of Acts.
– Uttarakhand: Ignoring the writing on the wall
Kedarnath – the cause of the debris flow disaster is now clear
Uttarakhand Landslides June, 2013
What the terrain around Kedarnath looks like, Indian Space Research Organisation
Kumar Sambhav S,
CAG had warned state about lack of disaster preparedness (Down to Earth) Uttarakhand government took no step to address shortcomings in three years.
Himanshu Upadhyay, Uttarakhand: Ignoring the writing on the wall
Watershed Moment, Uttarakhand government ignored advice from CAG. Himanshu Upadhyaya, Times Crest, June 29, 2013
CAG had warned last year about Uttarakhand Crisis in Making Himanshu Upadhyaya, Governance Now, June 27, 2013
South Asia Network of Dams, Rivers and People
Lessons from Uttarakhand disaster for Selection of River Valley Projects Expert Committee (Sandrp)
Uttarakhand Floods disaster: Lessons for Himalayan states (Sandrp)
Even as the Uttarakhand state faced the worst floods in its history, CWC, which has been given the task of forecasting floods across flood prone areas all over India, completely failed in making any forecasts that could have helped the people and administration in Uttarakhand.
Jyotsna Singh, Man-made reasons for Uttarakhand disaster (Down to Earth)
Sunita Narain, Himalayan blunders, Down to Earth
” … stop blaming the people living in the Himalayas for the floods in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Instead, focus on building a management system to live with floods; to harvest the excess water in ponds, tanks and groundwater recharge systems.”
Ammu Joseph, An unequal disaster in the land of Chipko (India Together)
There is now growing international recognition of the fact that women and girls face an increased risk of violence in the chaos and loss of social cohesion that routinely follow disasters in many parts of the world. However, violence and exploitation are not the only hazards women face in the wake of disasters. Even the death toll is sometimes influenced by gender.
Excerpts from Floods, Flood Plains and Environmental Myths, Center for Science and Environment
L.S. Aravinda, Beware of Disaster Profiteering (India Together)
Throughout India farmers and social organizations are fighting an uphill battle to sustain local grains. Yet these are neither included in the public distribution system (PDS) of the government nor distributed through the private suppliers who have the infrastructure to work with large donor agencies
How to contain Himalayan tsunamis (Down to Earth)
The Himalaya is still geologically active and structurally unstable. Scientists speak on what needs to be done to mitigate disaster impacts in the region
CLIMATE JUSTICE STATEMENT ON THE UTTARAKHAND CATASTROPHE ” …similar catastrophes could recur with increasing frequency and intensity anywhere in the country in the coming years.”
” … we cannot ignore Climate Change and its associated challenges…”
PM kick starts 850 MW Ratle Project in J&K without full Impact Assessment: Invitation to another disaster in Chenab basin? (Sandrp)
India should start preparing for a large earthquake in Uttarakhand“…large parts of the Himalayas are overdue a large earthquake. Such an event would be even more destructive over an area hundreds of times as big.”
Development in the Himalayas
The cost of development in Himalaya (Down to Earth)
There is a link between the disaster and the manner in which development has been carried out in this ecologically fragile region.
Himalayas: the agenda for development and environment (Down to Earth)
We need to think about a pan-Himalayan development strategy which is based on the region’s natural resources, culture and traditional knowledge.
Sunita Narain, Himalayas: the agenda for development and environment
Ankur Paliwal, New dams to burden Uttarakhand, heighten disaster risk