In connection with the 6th anniversary of the September 2014 floods, a webinar on 2014 Kashmir Flood Recovery: Experiences and Initiatives was jointly organized by National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) & The Institution of Engineers, India (IEI), Jammu & Kashmir State Centre, in collaboration with the Divisional Administration, Kashmir.
The webinar was attended online by senior Government Officers from various departments and more than 200 participants from the general public from the community, including experts, professionals, etc. The aim of the webinar was to bring together all the stakeholders on the same platform to analyze and reflect the lessons learnt so far and integrate knowledge to understand the different aspects of pre and post-flood scenarios of 2014, sustainable development of infrastructure, etc. The webinar lasted for over 3 hours.
Major General Manoj Kumar Bindal, (VSM) Executive Director, NIDM inaugurated the programme. He highlighted his experience of 2014 Kashmir floods and said that the issue of flooding has become a concern for most of the towns and cities due to heavy rains. He also appreciated the state administration for developing infrastructure and robust mechanism of issuing alerts in case of any emergencies.
Er. Aamir Ali, Chairman IEI J&K State Centre welcomed the participants and appreciated the individuals, community members, organisations or departments for their role in 2014 flood recovery and appreciated those unsung brave heroes from the community, who took upon themselves the responsibility to save people and evacuate them, as a result of which the number of deaths in 2014 were minimal. He said that despite 6 years having passed, the nightmare of 2014 still haunts the public, especially with every rainfall and brings back the trauma. Even Saturday people start shifting their belongings from ground floor to safer locations, as the gauge rises at Sangam and RM Bagh.
The panellists included Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control, Iftikhar A. Kakroo, Director IMD Sonam Lotus, Dean Research University of Kashmir Dr Shakil A Romshoo, Director Planning JTFRP, Iftikhar Hakim. The presentations of the panellists were appreciated by the participants.
Er. IftikharKakroo stressed upon the causes that lead to the 2014 devastating floods in Kashmir. He highlighted the major infrastructure transformation like the construction of bridges, flood spill channel, etc post floods. Dr G N Qasba also shared his experience as Commissioner SMC at the time of floods. He highlighted the tasks done by the SMC team under his guidance, how the city was brought back in pre-flood condition. Sanitation and hygiene were maintained in order to prevent the spread of Post Disaster diseases. He informed how SMC team managed the carcasses and other decayed matter. The main part of the webinar was presented by Professor ShakilRomshoo. He technically evaluated the main reasons for flooding by his presentation. He talked about the loss of wetlands, urbanization of flood plains, damage assessment and ownership of the stakeholders as responsible citizens to prevent any sort of activity that could lead to Disasters. Sonam Lotus also highlighted the transformation of the early warning system and immediate dissemination of information among the stakeholders to take preventive measures in order to combat any eventuality. He also said that people Saturday are more conscious and more aware and make it a part of their decision making in their day to day lives.
The webinar was moderated by Dr Amir Ali Khan Faculty from NIDM. He said that a standardized planning process and strict regulations are the keys to safer cities. The webinar generated a healthy discussion and debate on the lessons learnt, experiences gained and also highlighted the initiatives taken by the Government. Live viewing facility of the webinar was made available at the IEI Auditorium at Church Lane Sonwarbagh Srinagar.