A makeshift three-storey Church collapsed in
Dharan Tuesday night killing at least 23 people and injuring over 63, some of them critically,
shocking the nation. Most of the victims were women and children. The bamboo structure of the Church was unable to withstand the weight of the large
number of people sleeping in the building. About 1,400 Christians had gathered there for a convention. This tragic disaster could have been averted had the organizers been more careful. For their part, the organizers of the convention have admitted that their management was feeble. The country is now grief-stricken especially considering the huge number of casualties. All the countrymen extend their deepest condolences to the near and dear ones of the bereaved and wish the injured speedy recovery. This mishap should make all the concerned alert so that such incidents do not occur in the future. The organizers of the convention now realize the consequences of being negligent. Clearly the bamboo structure of the Church could not have accommodated so many people. The tragedy occurred at midnight when most of the victims were sleeping so they were caught unaware.
Everyone should realize the hazards of building houses and accommodations by not strictly abiding to the building codes. While constructing them, the load that it would have to bear should also be taken into consideration for overloading could cause them to collapse, thereby, crushing their occupants. Even now many houses and buildings are coming up all over the country which are violating the building code as determined by the authorities. These should be dismantled without fail as soon as possible for it could save lives. Meanwhile, to see to it that what happened in Dharan does not happen again anywhere, the organizers of events where a large gathering is expected should make arrangements for safe accommodations. The lives of innocent folks should not be put at peril. The organizers of the convention in Dharan were not prepared, and had apparently only constructed a makeshift accommodation for the gathering.
In the future, when a large number of participants is expected the organizers should make for
timely arrangements and not do everything in
haste like making shoddy accommodation.
Meanwhile, rescue teams should be always on
the standby. In the accident that happened in
Dharan, the rescue activities were hampered due
to the lack of light which could have caused the
number of victims to rise. It is essential to always
be prepared for such similar accidents. One shudders to think about what would happen should a strong tremor strike the country. According to experts, the casualties would be in the thousands. Furthermore, there are hardly any rescue teams to mention. This points out the dire need for disaster preparedness, which would include training rescue teams for such emergencies. The hospitals and health centres should be ready round the clock for such eventualities. Now, it is realized what a lapse can do for the consequences could be as sad as the three-storey Church collapse in Dharan.
The swine flu scare is on with WHO predicting a surge in the winter months. The guards can’t be let down for any season. Nepal is also bracing itself up to face any intimidation by the H1N1 flu strain. It is true that as usual the media hype about the logistics being ready to face any contingency are always there. This does not however mean that the government has not done anything. It is fortunate that very few cases were detected in the country, which did not pose much challenge. But, the threat is still there, and the winter months are considered the time when the various types of flu virus tend to proliferate to create an unmanageable situation.
The fact is clear that the awareness level of the government and the people is not very high. Yet, so far the going has been satisfactory because of the worldwide vigilance. However, complacency can be the touchwood. Hence, the need is to be always on the alert to detect even a single case of suspected viral flu. In this, there’s good news that essential equipment to combat severe cases of pandemic influenza are to be put in place in hospitals soon. It is some initiative. At least, this makes some sense.