The death of 27 persons this monsoon season in Pune city and district has highlighted several lacunae in the system and has also underlined the fact that the disaster management cell should append flood preparedness guidelines. Following the arrival of monsoon in the district, 15 persons were killed in the Kondhwa wall collapse incident and another six were killed in the Ambegaon wall collapse incident.
Later, while the city was recovering from such incidents, the recent floods in Pune and nearby districts took lives of another 27 persons including 6 in Pune district. It must also be noted that at least 150 persons were killed in a landslide in Malin village of Ambegaon in 2014 and the district is yet to recover from the shock. Although, authorities did swung into action and took necessary and required steps to alleviate the tragic situations, the deficiencies in the system were also highlighted by these situations. District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said that the authorities set up high-level inquiry following the wall collapse incident and made sure that people responsible for these tragedies are behind the bars. “We also coordinated with the labour department so that the family members of the deceased get compensation. Following the incident, we also asked all our authorities to check perishable and illegal structures in their area to prevent similar tragedies,” added Ram.
To prevent incidents of wall collapse and landslide, the administration also assured that they are in touch with the authorities at village level to take an update of monsoon situation in their area. Trainings were also imparted at village level to stay alert and respond to such situation.”Though, it is not possible to train each and every individual on monsoon preparedness we have trained our officials who are ready to handle such situations,” added Ram.
While addressing a press meet, on challenges while handling flood situation in Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli, Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said that villages in Kolhapur were totally submerged in 8 to 10 feet of water level which disconnected the road connectivity to these villages, delaying the rescue operation. “Thousands of people were stranded due to the flood and as road connectivity was not possible we had to use boats to rescue people as airlifting so many people is very difficult,” added Mhaisekar who said that such deluge was reported for the first time in Kolhapur.
Sharing the challenges faced while handling the rescue operation, district administration officials stressed on the need of having better preparedness level which will help in preventing loss of life in such situations. Officials said that following such flood situation people are cut off from electric, water, food and necessary supplies, impacting their lives and each passing moment during the rescue operation poses set of challenges for people and the administration. As the rescue operation was beyond the reach of the state authorities, they sought help from defence forces but concurrent flooding in nearby states presented another set of challenges for everyone. In handling flood situations the authorities do have details of frequent flood-prone areas, open places, emergency assembly points, hospitals, food suppliers, fire stations, volunteers, NGOs there is need to add details of vulnerable spots, develop better evacuation strategies, design steps to undertake quick relief, rescue and rehabilitation measures.
Authorities said that taking such steps is need of the hour and message of cooperation should be relayed to each and every individual including all government and non-government organisations.