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DISASTER MANAGEMENT- A LIVE GRENADE DROPPED ON THE COMMON MAN’S LAP BY CORONA

Disaster Management, Safety and Security and related subjects have acquired newer definitions and meanings in the Covid era. Optimists use the term “Post Covid” to describe the present time, I don’t. A tiredness has set in after half a year and more of virtual house imprisonment for most common folk here in India. I am not roping in the rest of the world right now. But the Corona danger is far from behind us. There are murmurs of newer strains and second waves that we can hardly ignore no matter how tired we are.  

In short,  it is time to educate the common, uninitiated man on the street that if he wants to live a long healthy life he has to learn to protect himself, his family and surrounding right now. Governments, municipalities and safety personnel can only do so much but unless the last man on the street learns the ropes, he is a risk not just to himself but to everyone around him.

Having been engaged somewhat, if not wholly, with the disaster management and exigency (safe exit) industry I can see the change in focus. A famous poetic couplet comes to mind which I would like to quote here to describe the ‘before’ and ‘ongoing’ of the Covid age- Rasm-e-ulfat ko nibhaye to nibhaye kaise, Har taraf aag hai daman ko bachaye kaise, Bojh hota jo ghamo ka to utha bhi lete, zindagi bojh bani ho to uthaye kaise.

The definition of war now has changed, as it has shifted from the frontiers to cities and villages, Senior Superintendent of Police Mathura Gaurav Grover said in his virtual participation. He said every citizen of the country is a "Sepoy" (soldier), who can contribute to the security of the country with his vigil and awareness.  He was speaking in the context of the Mathura refinery but his statement can aptly be superimposed on everything else also.

Wearing masks, using sanitizers and checking temperatures every few hours are becoming habits-which is a good thing- but the beggar on the street, or the unlettered cart puller or even the pompous know-it-all who has his own ideas and thinks that he knows all there is to be known are ticking time bombs all around us. The last are the most dangerous. There is a theory from one such bright spark that’s doing the rounds. It theorizes that the corona virus is much smaller than the pores of cloth masks so why wear a mask if it can get in anyway? Sounds logical. About as logical as saying that if a truck were to run over your head a helmet will not save you so why wear a helmet on a two wheeler?

Then there is doctor who says Corona is a common cold and nothing else, big pharmaceuticals are floating these rumours to sell their products costlier. So all of a sudden people are dying in lakhs and crores due to a rumour or the common cold has purchased stakes in these companies-you take your pick.

All in all, Corona Pandemic is a game changer that has forced mankind to go back into a massive reboot mode.  It has brought heavy penalties to bear on those who do not fall in line and ignorance is certainly no excuse. It’s a grenade dropped right into your lap deal with it.