On 26th May 2016, the chemical blasts in Dombivli, a suburb of Mumbai, my hometown killed almost 11 people and injured 140. The NDRF – National Disaster Response Force is deployed for last two days to respond and rescue people covered in the debris. Not to forget that our preparedness and emergency capacities for chemical disasters are hardly evaluated and tested.
This brings to mind many policy and organisational concerns, often ignored in mainstream media.
1. The industrial regulations, fire hazards and safety procedures are one of the sub-standard in the country
2. The definition of disaster has to be enhanced in India more from a risk perspective – what we perceive as disaster risks and how we prepare for them in multiplicity.
3.The emergency coordination centre acts like a call centre, with little functional expertise.
4. Coordination between civic authorities, police force, national bodies – NDRF, health management, and media channels seems a dream checklist for the moment.
Hopefully this event will trigger changes within the response mechanisms and officials will take notice of the dearth of updated manuals, effective and modern communication tools and realistic response plans.