21 January 2010

Will haiti become another latur?

Any region destroyed by natural calamity needs help. Help of every kind, any kind – There is no question and anybody who thinks that too much help is given to Haiti I would say that is because you are not in their shoes. When your basic existence and routine have been devastated and getting food and water have become difficult and lives are shrouded with helplessness, grim, depression, shock and anxiousness of another shock looming around the corner, “too much” help is a misnomer.

When earth quake hit
Latur in 1993 (in the western part of India) and its surroundings, the tremors could be felt in the suburbs of Bombay. At 4:00 am when you are sleeping in your third floor apartment,hearing window panes rattle, your bed shaking and the vessels in the kitchen falling down, a chill passes down your spine. And for the people who experience the earth shatter under their feet,they shudder. Among the many thuds on the ground one hears the shrieks of fear, and cries of people amidst running for one's own safety helplessly.

The state government responded with many kinds of relief in Latur– But the fact is even after 16+ years,the debris has not been removed in latur.Their ancestral homes are a rubble. The people who lived through the earth quake think that they have been cursed and consider their villages as graveyards.Familes have been wiped out.

The living have started a completely new life – Their surroundings and the villages and the ancestral homes for generations that they had to forcefully leave behind and the guilt of themselves having survived gnaw them everyday. The tremors of the earthquake and the cries of people falling under the houses never leave their memory even when time heals wounds. When I visited latur barely 15 days after the earthquake, I was quite taken aback to see tarred roads split among many heart rendering sights.

The impact of earthquakes lives on - Orphaned children, Source of livelihood, Food, Agriculture, Water, Basic Health care, Houses, Homes, Transport, Sanitary facilities, Education for children, breaking of social bonds, psychological trauma, availability of medicenes for those who depend on them daily - the list goes on.

Distribution of resources and logistics are key when it comes to immediate relief. And rehabilitation is the answer to help a town to get back on its feet. short term and long term - Well thought out and planned,not piece meal. We need village and town planners to help the town to get back on its feet. Sketchy rehabilitation in latur has left it limping. The people still live on the outskirts. Especially in a community strongly rooted in culture dictating the social patterns of living,latur still struggles.

The people in Power, and the politicians made some money under the cover of rehabilitation and some contractors and some NGO’s filled their pockets.

Will Haiti become another Latur? But always some rehabiliation is better - that's the optimist in me.


BK Chowla, said...

I see no reason why those in power there will not do what our powerful did in Latur.
It is very rare that any under developed country gets real support in days of natural disaster

indianhomemaker said...

Your description reminded me of Bhuj Earthquake - where I had felt the tremors in Delhi then... tarred roads splitting is terrifying...

It's really horrible that help does not reach those who need it. And need it so badly... I can't imagine how those who make money at such times live without being haunted by guilt. I hope this doesn't happen in Haiti too.

Anonymous said...

Keep on posting such themes. I like to read blogs like this. By the way add some pics :)

Gopinath Mavinkurve said...

Latur may be devastated by the earthquake, but the spirit of the people is greatly appreciated. The teachers there are possessed by a missionary zeal to teach their students to achieve excellence in the field of education! People make all the difference. Anyway, your concern about Haiti remains. Let us hope the people rise from the disaster that nature has struck there with everyone's help.

Anrosh said...

Gopi, what u write sounds good. that is how it should be. like always there are certain sections of people whose spirit will help the others to move forward.

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