Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Dear all,You are aware of the grave situation which is developing in Bihar. Havingserved in the army corps of engineers for more than three decades and havingtaken part in several relief and rescue operations, I must say that this is anunprecedented situation. I can also say that a massive relief operation shouldbe launched without any further delay. It is already too late. A few oddcolumns soldiers of a few hundred men with boats will not suffice. Just to giveyou the logistic aspect, if one million people have to be provided with foodand water, then the tonnage involved is fifteen hundred tons a day assumingthat a litre of water and half a kilogram of food will suffice. This will haveto be a sustained operation over a period of a few months till water sourcescan be reactivated. Five hundred trucks of three ton capacity will have to beloaded and moved to the affected area each day for which routes will have to becleared using military bridging equipment. The air effort required will have tobe substantially enhanced since a single helicopter sortie can carry aboutthree tons. A minimum of thirty to forty utility helicopters will have to beinducted if any worthwhile relief has to be provided. Camps will have to be setup with medical facilities for the rehabilitation phase.All this will require a massive organisation with trained staff andcommunications. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) should havebeen in a position to provide such an organisation but I am afraid that is notthe case. The website of the NDMA itself is a disaster. Therefore the only wayto go would be for the army to set up a few headquarters with the engineerstaking the operational role. There are several engineer brigades currently inpeace areas. There is no shortage of equipment and trained manpower. There arethree engineer training centers which can be mobilised. When two and a halfmillion citizens of the country are affected then surely the state should useits army for providing immediate and urgent relief. This can be done withoutaffecting the operational efficiency of the army. The Chinese mobilised amillion men for earthquake relief and yet were very happy to accept all the aidwhich was provided by the international community. We must certainly considerthis option. There is a major humanitarian problem and no option should beclosed. I find it ridiculous that the CM of Bihar had to come to Delhi to briefthe PM. The PM should have visited the region several days ago to get a firsthand feel and get things going. Surely this is a national level disaster andmust be declared so. During Katrina the US Army corps of engineers took charge of the repairoperation of the levees. This task should also be given to army engineers. Anydelay will cause further damage. The defence forces of the country cost us overa trillion rupees a year. Their services must be utilised when the need arises.As citizens of India, you all are opinion makers and hence I am writing to youto take up this issue. Please forgive this unsolicited mail but I would befailing in my duty as a concerned citizen if I did not convey what I know to betrue.
AnnexureList of Medicines needed urgently
1.Ciprofloxacin tablets and infusion
2.Levofloxacin tablets
3.Chloromyecetin capsules and injections
4.Ceftriaxone Injections
5.Chloroquine tablets and injections
6.Metronidazole Chloroquine tablets, suspension and infusion
7.Paracetamal tablets and suspension
8.B Complex tablets and syrup
9.Phensedyl DM cough syrup
10.Ranitidine tablets and injection
11.Antacids tablets and suspension
12.Cetrizine tablets and syrup
13.Ibuprofen tablets
14.Dexamethasone injections
15.Hydrocortisone injections
16.Deriphyllin injections
17.Electrol, Glucose and ORS Powder


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