Islamabad, Oct 15 — India has learnt its lesson and improved its disaster management capabilities unlike Pakistan, where the situation has seen little improvement, a leading Pakistani daily has said in an editorial.
In its editorial published Tuesday, the News International said: “The damage and death caused by cyclone Phailin in the Indian state of Odisha is a tragedy but it could so easily have been an unmitigated disaster. The last time a cyclone of such ferocity struck India in 1999, the death toll was 10,000 and the damage ran into billions of rupees.”
“Since then India has learnt its lesson and improved its disaster management capabilities. It managed to shepherd most people to safety this time around. The boom in construction means that safe concrete homes were available to those who had to flee their mud homes,” it said.
The editorial said the Indian state of Odisha efficiently evacuated hundreds of thousands of people to safe places before the cyclone made landfall.
“The Indian state carried out an efficient mass evacuation of 800,000 people, shepherding them to safety. The Indian government still faces a massive rebuilding challenge but there will be a lot more confidence in its ability to pull it off after its pre-cyclone performance,” it said.
It said Pakistan, unfortunately, has done little to improve its capabilities in dealing with natural disasters.
“Unfortunately, here in Pakistan, things have seen little improvement. Every monsoon season we know that massive flooding is about to hit but we never take sufficient action in advance. Instead, we are almost always reactive, waiting till most of the damage is done.”
“And now, with the fallout of the earthquake in Balochistan, we are seeing just how difficult relief work can be when communications infrastructure is missing,” the daily said.
The editorial added that Pakistan needed to invest time and money to ensure such development took place before tragedy struck.
“Just as it took India so long to develop its infrastructure to an extent where it can deal better with natural disasters, we need to invest time and money to ensure such development takes place before tragedy strikes.”
“The process will inevitably take years – perhaps even decades – but the problem is that we haven’t even started yet. Pressure on the government is almost entirely absent till it is too late and our memories are so short that there is never any sustained effort to convince the government that it needs to undertake these efforts on an emergency basis,” it lamented