Kedarnath Disaster-‘A Scientific & Administrative Failure’

In various reports on the Kedarnath disaster, it is stated that unplanned development in Kedarnath city led to a huge death toll. However, none of the scientific reports, such as those from WIHG (Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, based in Dehradun, India), said that it was also a scientific failure, as they could not inform about the slow and abrupt disintegration of the glacial mass, the increased and uneven temperature patterns during June 2013, and the huge downpour starting from 14 June in the region, despite the fact that Wadia Institute has an observatory at Kedarnath.

Similarly, institutions like ICIMOD, based in Nepal, which is responsible for eight regional countries including India, claim about their four hugely funded programmes in the last 30 years, such as SERVIR-Himalaya, a USAID-funded programme with NASA, HKH-HYCOS, a real-time data sharing programme, Kailash Sacred initiative, and HICAP for information sharing. However, nothing has come to fruition in the affected region yet.

Ultimately, the administrative failure that led to thousands of deaths post-disaster is known to us.

I wonder what makes our governments and donors sustain or fund such agencies that are not really capable of helping our communities through the right kind of science and information sharing mechanism.

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