Friday, February 27, 2009


Rivers occupy an important place in the economy of India. They provide irrigation to parched lands. They are used for navigation. Fishermen catch fish from rivers for a livelihood. Villagers find rivers handy for their day-to-day needs of water. Habitations flourish on the banks of rivers. A number of big cities as Hardwar, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna and Kolkata came up on the banks of rivers.
India is fortunate in having a number of rivers Sutlej,
Beas, Ganges, Yamuna, Narmada, Mahanadi, Brahmaputra. These have water the whole year round. At times, these rivers are in spate owing to excessive rain or melting snow. They overflow their banks causing misery to people. Men and cattle are affected. Standing crops are damaged. Though big dams have been built the problems is solved only to some extent. A flood is a natural calamity. Every year some part of the country or the other is affected.
A few years back the Yamuna in Delhi was in spate. It crossed the danger mark and overflowed its banks causing damage to life, cattle, and property in low-lying areas. Flood or drought here become more or less and annual affair. The Visitation could be to any state.
The Delhi Administration did its duty. It gave advance warning to people living near the banks of the Yamuna. Flood waters entered residential areas. Affected people were shifted to higher ground in relief camps. Some were accommodated in distant school buildings. Mud houses collapsed. The rising Yamuna caused great havoc. Standing crops got flooded. Some villages were completely marooned and help reached them by boat. Some were atop tree for a long time.
After some days, water receded. Water in villages had to be pumped out. There was danger of spread of epidemic. The flood caused loss to life and property. A number of voluntary organizations came forward to lend a helping hand. They distributed clothes and cooked meals to those affected. Some schools and colleges also organized relief work.
Red Cross rendered medical assistance. Funds came from the prime minister's relief fund for rehabilitation of farmers. Floods are natural calamities where movements are swift and damage-capability great. Crisis management plan has to be in place to face such an eventuality that has become almost an annual occurrence.

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