Disaster management expert Muralee Thummarukudy has stressed on the need for a mode of development that incorporated ecosystem-based approaches for disaster risk reduction.
Dr. Thummarukudy, the chief of Disaster Risk Reduction at the United Nations Environment Programme, was leading a workshop on ‘Media during the time of disasters,’ organised jointly by the Information and Public Relations Department (I&PRD) and Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) on Monday.
Pointing out that disasters were on the rise mainly owing to man-made causes, Dr. Thummarukudy advocated effective steps to promote a peaceful coexistence with nature. The State must facilitate infrastructural development which took into account the varying topography and climatic conditions.
The region was vulnerable to climate-related calamities, he added.
‘Mark the flood level’
He also held the view that the State government must adopt steps to record the extent of the flood levels in various places so as to facilitate better preparedness in the future. The levels that were recorded must be physically marked on houses, public institutions including schools and government offices, and other structures. Digital elevation models can also be made for the same purpose, provided they were made available in public domain.
“Such information must be preserved for posterity to enable the future generations to adopt adequate precautions. Unfortunately, many people were apprehensive that such practices could bring down land value by creating an impression that the particular areas were flood-prone,” Dr. Thummarukudy lamented.
He also said that the Archaeology and Geology Departments could also take the lead in the endeavour by collecting soil samples and assessing the various soil layers which could be used to date floods, tsunamis and other calamities.
I&PRD director T.V. Subash and KUWJ district president Suresh Vellimangalam also spoke on the occasion.