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The coverage of disasters in the media follows a predictable cycle. Commencing with the surge of the disaster, it moves to despair, heroic stories of social resilience, an outpouring of relief and finally, the blame game. The blame game often sets the tone for the “development vs environment” debate. The process of rebuilding the built environment and rehabilitating livelihoods is the most prolonged and resource-intensive phase of a disaster cycle. This is unfortunately beyond the patience of mainstream media coverage, which fails to highlight that a long rehabilitation cycle indicates a critical lapse in disaster preparedness measures. While Kerala takes the spotlight today, losses from recurrent losses from flooding in India call for a fresh perspective on our strategies for disaster risk reduction.
The Kerala floods were a level 3 (severe) calamity, aggravated by the opening of 80 per cent of the state’s dams to release overflowing waters, ca
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