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Sunday, March 05, 2006


Disaster management and us.

Does anybody even remember that there was supposedly a Bird Flu epidemic threatening the country only a week a go?. The only thing that reminds me of the Flu scare is the missing chicken and omlette at lunch & breakfast from the office canteen, apart from that if you are searching for some news on the flu in the media you are in for a surprise. The media which was covering the event as if all hell has broken loose on the country seems to have too quickly forgotten about it, almost completely. A scare that created chaos throughout the country, resulting in a ban on serving of chicken & poultry products in a host of services, from airlines to railways, military and crushing ban on poultry trade across the states and on Indian poutlry exports seems to have fizzled out without a trace. Sure, many people are still not buying chicken and it is still being sold at Rs 15-20 a KG and there is a certain section which is feasting on it at every meal.
The question is who the hell is responsible for all this mess?. Some stupid officials showcasing there newly acquired imported cartoon like medical kit and a stupid, idiotic, dumb and overzealous media. Which in its attempt to get some more eye balls can go down any levels playing up a small issue into a disaster kind of a situation.
I am no expert on diseases and ilness in animals but sure do know that there is something called 'ranikhet' disease which spreads rapidly across poultry perenially and kills thousands of them on very outbreak and the symptoms are pretty much same to the flu. It could have been simply the case of any other out of host of diseases that occur in poultry. But, the officials jumped the gun and the media quickly picked it up as there was nothing major going on around the time. As the Bush fire ascended on the country, the focus quickly moved on to it and then onwards that was all one could read or see around. Surely, some caution from the media and the state would have surely saved the asses of poor poultry farmers, many of who lost their everything because of this.
All this proves that how pathetic we are at disaster management be it the Mumbai floods, the Tsunami or the Bird flu scare, When it comes to the crunch the Indians are the worst loosers.

---Asif

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