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Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 18:19 GMT
Oxfam attacks Indian disaster policy

orissa
The report says government policy is reactive - not preventatived


By Jyotsna Singh in Delhi

A report released in India by Oxfam has attacked Indian policymakers and the media for paying scant attention to natural disasters.

Orissa: After the storm
The report says that Indian government's efforts to tackle natural disasters are more reactive than preventive.

It recommends the construction of earthquake-resistant housing in seismic zones, better construction and layout of roads, more railway lines and improved drainage on flood plains to tackle the problem.

The report says close to 56m Indians are hit by disasters each year.

It says such calamities cost the country nearly $190bn.

Poor co-ordination

The report blames poor co-ordination between government departments and civil society for what it called their ineffective response when disasters strike.

It says many Indian states are prone to natural disasters.

According to the report, floods affect more than 11% of the land, while nearly 28% of land is hit by drought.

More than half of India is reported to have been affected by earthquakes, and nearly 4,700 miles of coastline is whipped by cyclones, especially in the coastal states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

The report also mentions militancy-hit states such as Jammu and Kashmir and the north-eastern states.

It says that conflict in these areas has added to the damage caused by natural disasters.

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See also:
26 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Cyclone toll 'may never be known'
23 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Emergency relief ends in Orissa
12 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Analysis: Orissa's history of neglect
15 Nov 99 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Life and death in Orissa
08 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Cyclone relief stepped up
13 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Cholera epidemic feared in Orissa

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