How to minimise the impact?
As Kerala battles its worst floods in over a century, it is time to take stock of just what has caused the havoc in the state, otherwise known as “God’s own country” (“Look: Kerala from space, before and after the floods”, Gulf News, August 28). The state has been devastated by heavy incessant rains that caused unprecedented floods and landslides. It resulted in the loss of human lives and made hundreds of thousands of residents homeless.
Many think that humans are powerless in the face of natural disasters, especially, in the developing world. But seeing Nature as a culprit masks the reality that there is much more we can do to minimise disaster risks. Some environmental scientists believe that ecologically fragile mountain ranges and sensitive zones have to be protected. Mining and quarrying should be minimised to lessen the impact of natural disasters. The government should enforce restrictions on deforestation and unhindered use of land for construction purposes should be limited.
Though some reasons for the deluge are natural and geographical, many other man-made causes like illegal repurposing of forests, high rise building constructions, mining and quarrying have to be minimised. It is a man-made calamity intensified by torrential rains.
It will take long for normalcy to return to the state of Kerala. People are determined and they will be prepared to overcome such a calamity. What happened to Kerala is thus a lesson for the rest of India to not exploit the available resources.
From Ms Jayashree Kulkarni
Flooded with help
The Indian state of Kerala was ravaged with merciless floods (“UAE bank donates Dh5 million for Kerala flood victims”, Gulf News, August 28). The state desperately needs assistance of all types, like food, clothes, housing material, money and more. When there is a crisis in a country and human lives and livelihoods are involved, no money is too much. India must accept foreign aid. There is no embarrassment or shame in accepting relief funds, being offered voluntarily by any country or organisation. Frankly, India is doing well but the cost to cover the disaster was a lot. About 25 per cent of India’s population, lives below the poverty line. So, why the embarrassment in accepting some donations? After all, even when those boys got stuck in a Thai cave, the country gratefully accepted help from everywhere. There is no point in standing on any false pride in an emergency.
From Mr Rajendra Aneja
Humanity is not dead
The year of 1924 is often considered a landmark year in Kerala history. That year, the monsoon rains turned into a disaster of monstrous dimensions. The current state of deluge in Kerala is reminiscent of that monsoon, almost a century back, when the state transformed into a calamity zone. It seemed as if the skies had been ripped apart as the waters burst out endlessly. The present Kerala flood impact is much more compared to those in 1924 floods. Records and reports show that thousands of people have lost their lives, property, important papers and several parts of the state are still submerged in water. On platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and more, many celebrities came together to offer aid to the people suffering. Real heroes turned out to be fishermen and in 72 hours there was no religion, no caste and no barriers. There was just love and support all around. The disparity between rich and poor vanished with the water. The pristine beaches and tea plantations were badly hit by the magnitude of floods, which affected thousands of tourists in Kerala. At one period in time it seemed as though the whole of Kerala would drown in this apocalyptic rain. After a huge loss, Kerala will together rebuild their state again. We are ready to welcome the new Kerala where there is only love compassion and humanity left.
From Ms Sumitra Nair
A great loss
This is in reference to the demise of American Politician John McCain (“‘Miss you’: Arizona remembers John McCain, its ‘most fascinating son’”, Gulf News, August 28). For more than three decades he was the senator and a war hero who was liked by one and all. He was suffering from carcinoma and few days ago, he stopped his medication. This was the cause of his early departure. His death is a great loss for American politics. May his soul rest in peace.
From Mr K. Ragavan
Holidays are welcome
I am happy we got such a long holiday for Eid this summer (“Long bank holidays send wrong signal to businesses”, Gulf News, August 21). People are working long hours and it is stressful. The banking sector is no less.
From Ms Kristina Margit
Drivers who tailgate are the biggest problem on the road (“Negligence, careless driving killed six people in Dubai”, Gulf News, August 28). Not only do you have to concentrate on the road but also worry about the driver behind you and whether they will hit your car or not.
From Mr Bilal Azim
Driving in Dubai is not easy. As a new driver, applying the rules you’ve learnt is hard as so many people don’t follow the same. People speed and tailgate each other because they are in a hurry but they do not realise that this is very unnerving for the person in the other car. You are not only endangering yourself but are also putting someone else at risk. People need to understand that driving a car is as good as having a loaded gun. You need to be careful so that there are no unwanted accidents.
From Ms Farheen Ali
Putting the country first
There exists a certain lack of clarity in framing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign policy, however, the overall vision of putting Pakistan and its reservations first and foremost, dedicates the approach to be followed (“Imran Khan has put his best foot forward – will he bowl over India yet again?”, Gulf News, August 27). This vision certainly appeals to a common citizen, yet it is not entirely so simple and straight forward. Historically, Pakistan’s foreign policies have always been an amalgamation of several factors – ranging from demographic, in the case of Afghanistan and Kashmir, to far reaching economic woes, in the recent case of Chinese economic agreements. These policies have been framed and designed on a multi-dimensional axis, which cater to the needs and necessities of the circumstances prevailing at that instant. The two major foreign policy debacles during the era of Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq and General Parvez Musharraf, were construed with the right intent of putting Pakistan’s interest forward, however the long-term effects were not unanticipated, and this led to devastating repercussions, especially for Pakistan. Though it is much easier and unfair to judge those strategies and policies decades after they were implemented, it must be commended that they were fashioned putting the interest of Pakistan first. There are no right or wrong policies, rather there are successful and unsuccessful policies, which ultimately define the result. There are certainly vast challenges that lie ahead of the current government and framing a robust and strong foreign policy might not be at the top of the list. As promised in their election campaign, PTI’s main focus is the rejuvenation of the social and economic imbalance within the country and uplifting the common man’s aspirations and interests.
From Mr Bilal Farooq
The digital victim
The youth today have become victims to the devices that trap us in their virtual jail (“The art of bullying: Online trolls in India abuse, threaten journalists for doing their jobs”, Gulf News, August 7). These devices hypnotise us and make us use them, thus affecting our work and schedules. In a nutshell, people today live in a world controlled by gadgets, where they have information at their fingertips. As we move into a rapid pace of change in terms of technology, we tend to face backlash as we do not have proper sight of our real enemies. With the rise of fake news present on social media, our opinions and thoughts of fellow commoners go on to create everlasting stereotypes. The impressionable minds of the youth are taken for a ride by the ego and anger of few people. It is important to know that whatever we see or hear defines our motives, intentions and thoughts. When someone plans to express their exasperating farrago of emotions on a digital social platform, it tends to divide people based on nationality, race, creed and many other factors. The issue with these types of elements is that it restricts the involvement and interaction of youngsters across various platforms as they are divided by these fake and ambiguous arguments. Hence the people of today need to be aware and cautious about these factors when interacting with others online.
From Mr Adeep S. L.
A fairer tomorrow
“Let’s scrub out that tan” is a common phrase used in beauty salons in India, where girls grow up with constant reminders that only fair skin is beautiful. From classified advertisements in newspapers, asking for fair skinned brides, to aunties advising young women to apply sandalwood paste to make your skin whiter, the signs are everywhere. An inventive and growing market of creams has cropped up to fill this demand, which now pulls in over $400 (Dh1,472) million annually.
These appealing creams are in fact a dangerous cocktail of various harmful chemicals, leading to chronic diseases such as skin cancer and mercury poisoning. Growing up, I had difficulty in accepting myself. I was brainwashed that fair skin equals beauty. Looking back, I realise that my attitude towards my skin colour limited me during my childhood. It chipped away my confidence, but also practically. Unfortunately, the law can do little to stop the subtler forms of racism present in Indian society. Real change will come when a majority of people let go of their light skin fetish and cherish their own skin colour. This will allow for a complete change in the cultural representations of women across the world, without which, no activism and campaigns can be adequately successful.
From Ms Madhumitha Ganesh
Find a real friend
On Friendship Day I heard and read so many friendship quotes and laudable words such as a friend is so and so, a friend is sacrosanct to a human being’s existence. But honestly, how many true friends can we find around us? I think the definition of a friend has changed with time. Those who care for you, those who extend their concern in your hardships, those who heartily enjoy your happiness and those who keep in touch with you, irrespective of any condition, and more are those who you need in your journey and who will be there for you when you stumble. Many old or new friends don’t fit the description anymore. If we can find a person with the above qualities then he or she is a real friend. A friend can make or break one’s life. Finding a true loyal friend is the need of the time. Some children while growing up listen to what their friends say more than their teachers or parents. You need people who give you the right kind of advice.
From Ms Shemeem. K.
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