Serious Study Report By: Harbans S Nagokay.
It was May 27th 2016; when ‘His Excellency, The Governor of J&K, Mr. N N Vohra had written a letter to CM, for a thoughtful anticipation over disaster & allied preparedness’and informed the Government to be prepare for severe earthquake and other disasters in Jammu and Kashmir. In a point of fact, Oregon State University has suggested that Jammu and Kashmir maywitness an earthquake of 8.0 magnitudes and above that could endanger the lives of a million people.The Himalayan region, including Jammu and Kashmir, is otherwise highly susceptible to natural disasters like flash floods, and unscientific development and climate change could lead to an increase in the occurrence of such hazards, a report submitted in 2013-14; by a panel formed by the Planning Commission had warned about any such misshaping at any point of time.
Yes! Border Tensions and War with Pakistan and forest fires are other risk-menaces, beside fragile mountains, here. And despite various suggestions over taking the cue from nations like Switzerland etc. on building creations of infrastructures, lively hood and human developments etc. But, nothing been done toward following the report and Govt. officials kept sitting and watching incidents of complete destructions like SUKHNOI village in the Kishtwar district, where 80 out of total 84houses completely destroyed.
So far; Bhubaneswar’s SUM hospital, where 21 people died in a blaze on Monday, has been blamed guilty of not following the safety norms, ‘resulted the immediate arrest of its Proprietor with four more officials’including the hospital’s medical superintendent, two electrical engineers and the fire safety officer there-at. Union Health Minister JP Nadda, also told that the culprits, will be punished as the changes asked by 2013 fire audit not implemented; however, hospital denies charges.”There has been a breach of safety measures that should have been taken care of,” the minister said. There are issues that the health department has to look into. Fresh advisory will be issued to states in order to avoid such incident sin the future,” he said.
Now; the question arises, that what for, we are waiting?As of now; nothing serious steps (only huge slogans & commitments) been taken to tackle or handle tough conditions & patient management & deaths happened because of hard-hitting ‘Killings, Blasts, Accidents, Natural or Scientific Disaster, Fire-Incidents, Floods, Land-slides’ etc. And, things are going-on, with threats of tragedies due to ‘Critical Safety Gaps’ else non-functional safety systems.
At the times, when the national human rights commission issued a notice to theOdisa state government, demanding a report within six weeks. Then, question does not arise of any sort of ignorant attitude else big statements by leaders and administrators of other states.
Earlier also, in the wake of the devastating fire in a private multi-speciality hospital in Kolkata, the Jammu and Kashmir government also ordered audit of fire and emergency services in all the government hospitals and private nursing homes in the state. And, in an identical manner a high level meeting by current Health Minister Bali Baghat also conducted and files & papers been asked to maintain once again toward showing active arrangements on the same analogy of
In the past, the administration of all government and associated hospitals and nursing homes has been ordered to equip their health institutions with the required fire fighting equipment to avoid any untoward incident. But unfortunate part is that the last fire safety audit at the hospitals was conducted in 2013 with suggested changes included formulating an evacuation plan and a disaster response system, building a large overhead water tank, a fire escape stairwell outside the building and automatic sprinklers etc.
But at the time, the changes suggested were not implemented till date. And, not even a single liability been fixed on officials / administrators for their lethargic approaches and ignorance etc.
Then again present minister assured of no negligence now onward. Whereby the hospital claims all fire safety mechanisms were audited and the checks been conducted from time to time.
At the end, it is then again to reveal that present prevailing reservations and systems at our hospitals are carrying inadequate or non- compliance of structural elements of hospitals to building codes and other safety norms which result in the failure of hospital structures and their component non-structural elements; Absence of an operational Hospital Disaster Management Plan; Lack of planning and preparedness to respond to disasters; Inadequate or complete lack of internal and external communication; and Lack of networking amongst hospitals. As a result, when hospitals are affected by disasters, the consequences are three dimensional – health, social and economic.
By all said and done, as per the official records from DG fire & emergency services department, J&K has recorded thousands fire incidents in the recent past (12 months) in which properties worth about Rs 2,000 crores were destroyed.
Now, if an amount close to half of above losses be spent on preparedness’ many lives and thousands of crores could be saved.