Science and Disaster Mitigation

By: Staff Reporter

The Uttarakhand disaster exposed the gap that exists between science and disaster decision making. Scientific alerts had little impact on the governmental mechanisms. On the other hand that very divide, once bridged, led to a successful evacuation operation in the case of cyclone Phailin. It is thus important to study the linkages between science and disaster reduction, analysing the barriers that prevent more effective use of science to suggest how the gap between science and decision making may be narrowed. It is true that decision makers remain largely unaware of scientific analyses. But, with so many overlaps in monsoon and other climate related studies, scientists in India jostle amongst themselves for a place under the sun, making it all the more difficult for the scientifically challenged policy makers to take relevant decisions. Moreover, political decisions, inevitably extends beyond issues of science. As a result, scientific assessments of risk and disasters are often not used. But, if the traditional linear process of interpretation is challenged and the concept of outreach ingrained amongst the scientific community the barrier may be broken. Science can then enter the domain of the decision maker and disaster mitigation can be bettered, based on a feedback matrix of various stakeholders.

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