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Valleys in despair: Beyond the reopening of Kedarnath Yatra

By Sunandita Mehrotra

Kedarnath YatraThough the Kedarnath route has been reopened, major issues of rehabilitation and basic survival are being neglected: thousands of families still have no clue how to manage basic livelihoods in the region

After the Himalayan Tsunami crushed major river valleys in Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said it would take at least three years to reopen the Kedarnath Yatra. Managing it in just over three months – the Yatra resumed on October 5 – seems to be a grand achievement.

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Changemakers

Kolkata slumdwellers break down the walls that divide

By Rajashri Dasgupta

AMRI Hospital disaster

The very residents of the Panchanantala slum in Kolkata who are considered a nuisance by the occupants of the high-rises that surround them, who are periodically threatened with eviction and turned away even in emergencies by the specialty AMRI Hospital next door to them, risked their lives to rescue patients from the burning hospital.

It was business as usual in Panchanantala slum in South Kolkata that afternoon. Men were at work, some hawking fruit or sawing pieces of wood, others grabbing a siesta before returning to work.

 

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Reports

Nothing natural about these disasters': UNDP report

The UNDP's 'Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development' cautions that natural disasters put an enormous strain on development and are a serious threat to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015

A team led by the UNDP has brought out a report on global trends in exposure, risk and vulnerability to natural disasters. The report titled 'Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development' analyses global data from the past two decades and concludes that a lot of the death and destruction brought on by natural disasters in poor countries can be averted by better planning and systematic risk analysis.

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News Scan

Rain wreaks havoc in northern India

Heavy monsoon rains and landslides swept the hilly areas and Gangetic belt of northern India over the weekend, killing at least 100 people

The annual monsoon season from June to October brings rains that are vital to agriculture in India. However, the monsoon also takes a heavy human toll every year.

Northern India is experiencing heavy rainfall this season, after a drought last year.

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Analysis

'With the Kosi embankments we have tied a snake around our necks'

By Rashme Sehgal

Kosi has always flooded

The Kosi has always flooded, says water and disaster management expert Dinesh Kumar Mishra, but it has never caused such devastation. In this interview he explains why structural measures will never provide a foolproof solution against floods and why we should go back to traditional wisdom and allow people to live with the floods



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Stories of Change

Preparing children for disaster in Andhra Pradesh

Twenty NGOs involved in disaster management in Andhra Pradesh train children to recognise cyclone warnings and act on them, build floating devices, rescue and treat the injured and get people safely into cyclone shelters. For the children it's fun and games, but with a very serious undertone

"Willing to stay back after school?" "Yes," says Satish shyly, a glint in his big eyes. His friends explain: "We have lots of games to play and get chocolates and biscuits!"

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Backgrounders

Disasters : Background & Perspective

By Vinod C Menon and Shirish Kavad

India is the worst-affected theatre of disaster in the South Asian region. Drought, floods, earthquakes and cyclones devastate the country with grim regularity. More than 11,000 lives were lost in the December 2004 tsunami, 10,000 were killed in the Orissa supercyclone of 1999, and 16,000 died in the earthquake that hit Kutch in January 2001. Are these natural disasters caused by nature's fury? Or are they man-made in large measure? Is the country equipped to manage the disasters that affect 25 million people every year?

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