19th February, 2016 (MAINS)


Q1. There is a disaster prone state having frequent landslides, forest fires, cloudbursts, flash floods and earthquakes, etc. Some of these are seasonal and often unpredictable. The magnitude of the disaster is always unanticipated. During one of the seasons a cloudburst caused a devastating floods and landslides leading to high casualties. There was major damage to infrastructure like roads, bridges and power generating units. This led to more than 100000 pilgrims, tourist and other locals trapped across different routes and locations. The people trapped in your area of responsibility includes senior citizens, patients in hospitals, women and children, hiker, tourist, ruling parties, regional presidents along with his family, additional chief secretary of the neighbouring state and prisoners in jail.

As a civil services officer of the state, what would be the order in which you would rescue these people and why? Give Justifications. [20marks/2015/GS-4] 250 words.

Please write answer in the comments section.

  • Umesh Sachin

    Answer – I will follow the following sequence for rescue operation.
    (i) Patients in Hospitals
    (a) They are highly vulnerable during disasters, because of their inability to take care of themselves. So they
    should be rescued even before women and children.
    (b) Since their number is less and position known, it will be easy to evacuate them with less effort.
    (ii) Senior citizens
    (a) They are valuable members of society, and cannot be left without help for too long. They are also
    vulnerable because of their old age and physical handicap. People have tendency to leave behind the
    old, thus priority shall be given to them.
    (iii) Women and children
    (a) Children are our future generation, and hence they must be rescued first of all.
    (b) Women and Children are highly vulnerable during disasters, not just physically but emotionally as well.
    (iv) Prisoners in jail
    (a) Since they are in jail, so their mobility is highly restricted. This makes them vulnerable in disaster
    (b) Even though they are prisoners, but still they are human beings. So, they must be rescued, considering
    their vulnerability.
    (v) Tourists
    (a) Next I will rescue tourists, because they lack any means to tackle the disaster themselves. Also they
    know very less about the local conditions.
    (b) But, since they are healthy, so they can wait till other more vulnerable people are rescued.
    (vi) Ruling party’s regional president and his family
    (a) Since he has political linkages, he can make temporary arrangements for safety of his family till other
    vulnerable people are rescued.
    (b) Once vulnerable people are rescued, he and his family will be rescued.
    (c) Since he has a family with him, which include women and children, so I will rescue him before the hikers
    and Chief Secretary.
    (vii) Chief Secretary of the other state
    (a) He has been well trained to handle such situations. So he can wait till others are rescued.
    (b) Instead, he can also help, in rescue operation since he has experience in this regard. This is a part of his
    (viii) Hikers
    (a) I will rescue them at last, as they have both the training as well as equipments with them, to deal with
    challenging terrain.
    (b) They can easily wait till others are rescued.
    So, I will conduct the rescue operation according to above mentioned priority list. However, in some cases,
    simultaneous rescue mission can be launched for different categories as they are not mutually exclusive.

  • Ashi Agarwal

    Ans. Natural disasters cannot be prevented, but their impact on people’s lives can be reduced to a considerable extent. Disaster
    management covers all aspects of preventive and protective measures, preparedness, and rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations. The
    orders in which people must be rescued are as women and children, senior citizens and physically disabled, patients in hospital, hikers,
    tourists, president of ruling party and their families and additional chief secretary of the neighbouring state and the persons in the jail.
    Children are the future of the society and women become their primary caretakers so they should be rescued first, the injured and sick, and
    the elderly â substantially increasing their emotional and material work load. Children are a special population when considering emergency
    preparedness and many resources are directly focused on supporting them, as disasters can leave children feeling frightened, confused, and
    Senior citizens, people with disability and patients in hospitals must be addressed thereafter because people with disability are vulnerable in
    the event of an emergency and the chances of their survival are often minimised. Hikers and tourists who are struck have people of all ages
    so they must also be addressed on a priority basis.
    Additional Chief Secretary of neighbouring state and regional President of ruling party and his families must be given assistance. Prisoners
    must be addressed at the last so as to prevent further chaos in the society, as during disasters already such activities are on peak.