Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fwd: reader response on: Katrina and New Orleans

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rajeev Srinivasan <>
Date: Sep 11, 2005 11:43 AM
Subject: reader response on: Katrina and New Orleans

sept 11

a reader had this to say about my predictions of doom when/if the next major tropical storm hits india's east coast.

i still believe india is not well prepared. a few hundred cyclone shelters? that's it? where's the early warning system? where's the evacuation plan for millions of people?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ravi
Date: Sep 9, 2005 1:13 AM
Subject: Katrina and New Orleans

Dear Mr.Srinivasan,
I have been reading your column in the rediff website over the last few years. Your latest contribution on the subject of the hurricane that had recently affected the state of Louisiana, you have wondered what we in India will do if a cyclone of a similar force were to strike the east coast.
I quote:  "And what might happen if a similar hurricane hits India's east coast? Evacuating, and even more challengingly, caring for, a half million people, is clearly beyond the capabilities of any civic administration: the US National Guard -- perhaps depleted by postings to Iraq -- has failed signally in doing this in Louisiana. What plans does India have in place for such an eventuality?"
Even though your articles reflect a greater than average affinity for India, I was surprised by your observation. You may like to study a portion of the contents of a report "pasted" below and also like to study a complete chapter of a bigger report on a subject, where you apparently have some misgivings. These two pieces give a reasonable idea of where we are headed and what we are capable of.

In May 1990, the latest cyclone which swept several districts had higher wind speeds, reaching 220-250 kmph. Every cyclone takes its toll of human and animal lives and damages private property in the form of houses and household effects, and public property including roads, buildings and irrigation tanks; many acres of crops get damaged and the fields sand-silted. The cyclone of 1977 took such a large toll of human lives (exceeding 10,000) that the Government was moved to take long-term measures. The cyclone shelters, numbering nearly five hundred which have been constructed in all the districts along the coast, came as great saviours of human life and the death toll was contained below 1,000 this time in spite of the higher severity of the cyclone. Unfortunately, cattle could not be protected in the same way.

Extracted from:  The concept of cyclone shelters for livestock by A V S Reddy   National Institute of Rural Development Rajendra-Nagar, HYDERABAD 500030, India
[Visiting Fellow, University of Oxford, International Development Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, St Giles, Oxford ]


The other piece referred to above can be accessed via: 
One can understand the somewhat soft tone of your latest article given the immense damage that has been caused to human society in the state of Louisiana. We Indians, about whom you are rightly proud, have a way of going about things in a sedate manner, without a million lights flashing away. I am sure we will be able to survive and thrive through many more troubles and tribulations destined for us.
Good wishes,
Yours sincerely,