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Thank God, cyclone did not engulf Ahmedabad Monday, May 28, 2001
By Jaimini Devta
Ahmedabad, May 27: Even though the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation officials claim to be fully-equipped to face the cyclone, which might hit the coast of Gujarat, the reality is otherwise.
Quake-affected buildings succumbing to the cyclone, road-blockades due to uprooting of trees and water logging in the low-lying areas are some of the serious issues that the AMC is yet to ponder over.
For a city with population of more than 40 lakhs, the AMC has just one set of hydraulic tool, which would undoubtedly be overburdened to handle rescue operations. “For a city as big as Ahmedabad, minimum six hydraulic sets are necessary to efficiently carry out rescue work at different places, informed a senior AMC official on condition of anonymity.
“If weak buildings collapse due to the cyclone, hydraulic tools like lifting bags of different capacity are required. Mechanical and hydraulic jacks of different capacities, hydraulic cutters and spreaders, crowbars and shovels are the basic requirement, in absence of which the workforce of relief operations will be hard pressed,” he said.
The high velocity wind accompanying cyclones are known to uproot trees and cause menace on the roads. “Last year, a sizeable number of roads got blocked after uprooted trees fell on them. We do not even have sufficient tree-lifting woodcutter machines to help clear the block roads, and the AMC needs at least 10 such petrol woodcutters,” said another official.
Cyclone accompanied by high velocity wind and heavy rains has been causing waterlogging in several low-lying areas of the city. To deal with this situation, the AMC should have pumps of various capacities to drain out the rainwater. “Each monsoon we witness heavy water logging, yet we do not have sufficient equipments to deal with the situation.
It is ironical that we have to rely on the state government during such crisis,” he said.
“In eastern side of the city, even five inches of rain causes water logging in the entire area. Life jackets and lifeboat is required to rescue people.
It was very difficult for us to rescue people in the waterlogged areas near Kharicut canal in 1998. We had only one eight-seater lifeboat to rescue more than 40,000 people. We then borrowed boats from Kankaria lake and fisheries department that did not really help.
For rescue operations we require machine boats,” said a fire official. “ In such situation the most important equipment is snorkel. Our department has only one 86 model snorkel made by British Leyland Company, which has closed hence many spare-parts which needs replacement cannot be replaced.
During emergency, the snorkel would not be of much use” the fire official said. Another officer said “ During earthquake if our department would have been well-equipped the rescue operations would have been ten times faster and we could have saved many more lives.”
When contacted, deputy municipal commissioner A R Bhatt told The Asian Age that the corporation is ready with all the equipment to face the calamity. Mr Bhatt, however, said, “There are only three fire tenders with all the required tools, which are not sufficient to handle a crisis of greater magnitude.
On asking about the purchase of equipments, he said, “Immediately after the earthquake, we pressed demand for those equipments. But, since these rescue tools are foreign-made and hence expensive, we have to wait before the government sanctions the demands.”
News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]