A Hiroshima – Climate Change Annihilation Story

Hiroshima is the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshū, the largest island of Japan. Hiroshima was founded on the river delta coastline of the Seto Inland Sea in 1589 by Mōri Terumoto.

A city destroyed by an Atom Bomb ( at 8:15 -Hiroshima Time) known as “Little Boy”, a gun type fission weapon with 60 Kilograms (130 lb) of Uranium-235, took 57 seconds to fall from the aircraft to the predetermined detonation height of about 600 meters (2000 ft) above the city.

An estimate suggested that 69% of Hiroshima’s buildings were destroyed and 70,000–80,000 people or some 30% of the population of Hiroshima were killed immediately, and another 70,000 injured. Over 90% of the doctors and 93% of the nurses in Hiroshima were killed or injured—most had been in the downtown area which received the greatest damage.  So, how many people was a sacrifice to this bomb? Those who had lived through the catastrophe placed the number of the deaths at least 100,000.

In the Milky Way Galaxy, there lies another destination for people to stay, its called ‘Earth’. Here is a description of what Earth is like: It’s the third planet from the Sun, and the fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest, most massive, and densest of the Solar System’s four terrestrial (or rocky) planets. It is sometimes referred to as the World or the Blue Planet.

It’s the Home to millions of species including humans.

Imagine this Earth being destroyed by a thousand times strong force of Mother Nature engulfing from all sides. Tropical cyclones out at sea causing huge waves, torrential rains, high winds disrupting and destructing everything on the way causing wide spread demolition. Very strong winds stirring up water and destroy buildings, bridges, outside objects, turning loose debris into deadly flying projectiles. Sea level rising and you have no place to go. You see the end of your only living city in the Milky Way; ‘THE EARTH’.  Imagine solar storms bombarding this ‘Earth’ with lots of radiation energy, knocking out power grids and destroying satellites and you go back to the Dark Age suddenly without any warning. Is it just our fantasy or it may happen some day? Only time can answer to these questions.

It was during the 1980s that the possibility of rapid climatic change occurring at the time-scale of human life more or less fully recognized, largely due to the Greenland ice core drilled at Dye 3 in Southern Greenland (Dansgaard et al., 1982, 1989). A possible link between such events and the mode of operation of the ocean was then subsequently suggested (Oeschger et al., 1984; Broecker et al., 1985; see Broecker, 1997, for a recent review).

The Second Assessment Report, IPCC reviewed the evidence of such changes since the peak of the last inter-glacial period about 120 thousands of years before present (BP). It concluded that:

(1) Large and rapid climatic changes occurred during the last Ice Age and during the transition towards the present Holocene;

(2) Temperatures were far less variable during this latter period

(3) Suggestions those rapid changes may have also occurred during the last inter-glacial period, which requires confirmation.

Calculations are not so easy. Researchers need to understand the behavior of the major ice sheets that cover Greenland, Antarctic and Arctic. Any of these collapses and we are in danger. While computer models now yield an increasingly sophisticated understanding of how a warning atmosphere would behave, such models have yet to fully encapsulate the complex processes that regulate ice sheet behavior.

“The question is: Can we predict sea level? We have to watch the oceans to see what happens and we may observe the change much more than we ever predict it.

There’s a continent of topography sitting under Antarctica. Everything there has an impact on how the ice sheet flows, and very little of that has been mapped.

Whatever it is, the world has been getting warmer by 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit every decade, a U.N. panel found this year, in part because of carbon dioxide and other human-generated gases that trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere. By nature’s clock, the warming has come in an instant. The mechanisms that helped animals adapt during previous warming spells — evolution or long-range migration — often aren’t able to keep up. Scientists say that effects are beginning to show from the Arctic to the Appalachian Mountains. One study, which examined 1,598 plant and animal species, found that nearly 60 percent appeared to have changed in some way.

Some of the best-known changes are happening near the poles, where the air and the water are warming especially quickly. As they do, sea ice is receding. For some animals, this has meant literally the loss of the ground beneath their feet.

So, who knows when we lose the ground below our feet? This could be the annihilation story of a city ‘Earth’ in Milky Way, where humans lived.

Disaster Management specialists are always on the move. Making plans and policies far in advance to meet the challenge of climate change. So, no matter if Copenhagen could show us the way or not, we need to be ready personally.  We need to act fast and make a move to know the details of climate change and its solutions.

Any wrong move by the Nations could leave the Aliens (if ever they exist) celebrate ‘Earth Day’ in a far away planet only to tell a tale of another annihilation story.

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Kindly give your feedback.

Please feel free to contact the disaster management consultant, in case your Organization needs any consultancy on Disaster Management.

Thanks and Regards,

Mr. Mainak Majumdar

Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant

Weblink:     http://www.theideas.in/

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Psychological Support In Disaster Management

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Disasters can happen anytime and at anyplace. Natural disasters are so frequent that one generally attributes it to fate. Sometimes the destructive forces of Nature become so strong that all our plans and policies fall like cards. We become helpless infront of the mighty Nature. When everything comes to an end, wherever one looks, the sight of the helpless victims fills our eyes. Children’s become orphans. Husbands lose their wives and vice-versa. The scenes are extremely painful. Lots of money in the form of grants flows for reconstruction. The obvious question that comes to ones mind is:

Is monetary help really meets their needs?

The answer will be in negative. Scenes horrendous in nature, fear, trauma and stress do engulf them. They are living dead.

The only solution to the problem is Psychological Support. In many projects a good psychological support program misses.

We have to explore those and that’s what humanity is all about.

Psychological support has become an important component of the disaster preparation and response repertoire. This occurred in the background of the need to understand mechanisms for the reduction of hazards related to disasters. The United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), 1990-99, was dedicated to promoting solutions to reduce risks from natural hazards (ISDR 2002). But it’s not always Natural Disasters that happens and leaves a scar in the minds of the people. It’s also man-made situations or accidents, which do lead to devastations. Now, it is recognized that riots, industrial accidents, acts of terrorism, internal displacement and insurgency are also roots cause for Psychological Trauma for the people. Though, these types of support are being carried out by different organizations, yet we have to do more. We need an effective trauma management throughout the World. Trauma includes major injury of all types — disasters, auto accidents, falls, industrial accidents, burns, shootings etc. Serious trauma is the leading killer of humans. Millions across the World are disabled and some permanently. If we look through the doors of history, we will find that by middle of 1970s, the growth and development of mental hospitals was the main approach for the provision of mental health services.

In India, several disasters took place. Among them is Bangalore circus tragedy (1981). It was a major disaster and the lessons learned were ‘High Emotional Stress and morbidity by survivors not addressed by health personnel’.

Bhopal Gas Leak disaster: (December 1984) where, physicians and other health personnel’s were not prepared to offer psychological support to the victims. Even till today, the horrible memories haunt them.

Orissa Cyclone was another example. Left over 10,000 dead. Approximately 15 million affected and displaced. Initial and two year surveys show high emotional stress present among survivors.

The Gujarat earthquake was another example. Over 20,000 people dead in acute phase and 100,000 with severe disabilities. Good health care, with no psychological support when many needed emotional care is the root cause of creation of secondary disasters.

Many lessons were learned but still remains a serious issue less addressed. When we talk of improved technologies; use of GIS and Remote Sensing, mitigation policies, construction and renovation, we seldom talk of this soft part of humanity, which makes us a Human. The response to any type of crisis should also include Psychological First Aid, Crisis Intervention, Defusing, Education and solution-focused counseling. Psychological support then must be framed within the existing and accepted methodologies of the continuum of disasters. Different types of trauma may affect the victims. There are different ways in which the response may affect the survivors.

These include:

i) Major elements of loss

ii) Exposure to bodies

iii) Degradation and Humiliation in cases of trauma motivated by racial or religious reasons

iv) Forced separation and relocation.

Depending upon the types of disasters, the survivor may assume different types of emotional roles:

i) The survivor assumes the role of victim and responds as victimized.

ii) The survivor assumes the role of victor and responds to the event in an active way that will foster problem-solving skills and learning and will make the person resilient after the event.

Now if we take the second point and move forward, we could surely able to make experts who have not only faced the crisis but also channel their experience towards better Psychological Support. The Psychological support program does not perceive the survivors as passive actors during an emergency or a disaster, but relies on the resourcefulness of the survivor and the capacity of individuals and communities to become resilient.

So, the ways to move forward are:

i) Pre-disaster Management:

Design and implement psychological first- aid training

ii) During the disaster: People’s response based on previous knowledge and level of coping

iii) Post Disaster: Assessment and treatment of Psychological Symptoms

iv) End Result: Reduce responses of distress and negative behavioral changes McFarlane (1995), who studied the relationship between training and preparation to post-disaster said that education about possible disaster experiences and how to deal with them, training through simulations and awareness of likely psychological reactions in both responders and survivors are very helpful. In general, the professional community would benefit from focusing on psychological support before, during and after a disaster.

Community people react differently before a disaster and after a disaster.

Pre-Disaster :

This is a period, when a community reacts in various ways. Members of the community may be anxious when a disaster is imminent, especially if they have not experienced one before and they may not respond adequately to the event. When a disaster cannot be predicted; let’s take the example of earthquakes or a volcanic eruptions, the community may become anxious and over-respond to the event, which may be detrimental to their well being. The common sources of anxiety include the threat to ones own life and the safety and well being of others, such as partners or children.

During a Disaster:

The impact of a disaster varies according to the type of disaster and the amount of warning that the survivors have had prior to the event. The roles of each variable affecting the survivors will predicate the emotional response. For example, threat, exposure, loss and dislocation will be determinants of a survivor’s patterns of adjustment. A person’s actions are geared to protection of the self and others, especially children, family members and those who are weak and helpless.

Here comes the effects of “altruism”, which is frequent and people will place their lives at risk to help others. Some people experience “shock”, especially when the disaster is unexpected, which adds their feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. Another common response is to be disorganized or stunned and people may not be able to respond appropriately to protect themselves and their families. Such disorganized behavior may extend in the post-disaster phase and so one may find people wandering aimlessly in the devastation. This reaction may reflect distortions in responses to severe disaster stressors and may indicate a level of dissociation. After a disaster, any people face complications.

The most important among them are:

a) Emotional reactions in the form of somatic complaints such as sleep disturbance

b) Indigestion

c) Fatigue

d) Social effects

e) Relationship or work difficulties

So, all these state the importance of psychological care in the case of disaster management. Psychological care is always required in such types of incidents. As (Garmezy, 1983) states that the ‘role of psychological care is to foster individual and community resilience. Individual resilience applies to the capacity to recover from a negative experience with renewed enthusiasm and an increased capacity to respond positively to a subsequent stressful event. The communities should be well trained so that a resilient community takes action to enhance the personal and collective capacity of its citizens and institutions to respond to, and influence the course of social and economic change.

Some factors which can help in positive outcomes are:

a) Recognizing and reinforcing people’s strengths

b) Providing clear and accurate information and education

c) Reinforcing supportive networks

d) Supporting and developing community strengths and process

Apart from these the Psychological Team should be able to give:

• Give practical assistance, information and emotional support.

• Respect traditional beliefs and customs and accommodate the family’s needs as far as possible.

• Provide counseling for the woman/family and allow for reflection on the event.

• Explain the problem to help reduce anxiety and guilt. Many women/families blame themselves for what has happened.

• Listen and express understanding and acceptance of the woman’s feelings. Nonverbal communication may speak louder than words: a squeeze of the hand or a look of concern can say an enormous amount.

• Repeat information several times and give written information, if possible. People experiencing an emergency will not remember much of what is said to them.

• Health care providers may feel anger, guilt, sorrow, pain and frustration in the face of obstetric emergencies that may lead them to avoid the woman/family. Showing emotion is not a weakness.

• Remember to care for staff who themselves may experience guilt, grief, confusion and other emotions.

If these issues are given importance, we can move one step ahead in creation of a Safer, Stronger, Greener and a Disaster Free World for us as well as for our future generations.

Thanks and Regards,

Mr. Mainak Majumdar

Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant

Weblink:     http://www.theideas.in/