Science, Tech & Environment

Floods in north India

It's been two weeks now since the floods actually struck now so the stranded people have been living in these conditions, running out of clean drinking water and food, for that much time. They've been living on uncooked rice and there are some reports that people have been living on weeds and twigs. Rescue missions can only reach this area on boat. (Volunteers and NGOs have showed up before the government did. What kind of problems are the Navy and government running in to?) The basic problem was been management on the ground, and that's why this rescue and relief effort has gone so badly for the authorities. All the landmarks are under water which makes location for the government very difficult. There's also been little local guidance and there's criticism that the government is not using help from locals. (What's the situation in relief camps?) Relief camps doesn't describe them well�they're basic shelters, in most cases they have rudimentary tents designed to protect people from the rain and many, many people are streaming in by the hour. There are a lot of young people coming in as well. In the camps themselves, there's little organization which has led to chaos. No one seems to know what to do with aid and distribution has been ineffective. (We think of India as an increasingly modernizing state, so why is the government having such a tough time in relief and response?) this is a question everyone is asking. The response has been haphazard at best and directionless. People are questioning why there is no good warning system and also why the Indian government is unable to send in relief teams with a large army and a well trained navy?

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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