IntroductionWhat to do when you are isolated in a small village in hilly area which is cut off from outside due to landslide and there is no hope of relief before 10-15 days.
In hilly areas there are a number of villages scattered across the valleys and other favorable terrains preferably near springs or small rivers. Sometimes in rainy season due to land slide it may so happen that a village may practically cut off from the town and it takes to clear the land slide 10-15 days time as the busy road maintenance teams elsewhere have to reach the spot after traveling a bit from their earlier working place. As these villages have a small quantity of farm produce and vegetables, they are practically dependent on outside supplies for their day to day usage. Other than that the medicines and medical help is also very important at such time. This is the tough time and the villagers have to manage their selves everything.
Taking stock of situationThe first and foremost thing in such situation is to take the stock of situation. It means we have to find out what are the things expected to be required during this period and what are the things we have. In such time all the villagers have to cooperate and share their possessions specially medicines etc. If you are trapped in this situation in that village then you have to approach the village president or panchayat head and ask him to take a lead and you can offer him your advice time to time. The things you have to visualize is the requirement during that period. The following are the expected requirements and events which may crop up time to time -
You have to discuss with village president and you will find lot of information for going ahead and deal with the problems. Generally other villages will be nearby in 10-15 Km range and some of them may be connected to same arterial road and others may be privileged to have another route to the town. Whatever it may be we have to note down all the nearby villages and their position in respect to this landslide. Those which are not affected can be helpful as some people from our village will be going there on feet and collecting medicines etc from the town and again bringing to our village by traveling on feet. In case of a sudden death we have to find an alternative arrangement for last rites in some nearby locale near a rivulet or stream after taking the consent of the villagers .The village president can ask all the villagers to see what vegetable is possible to have from their gardens so that it can be distributed to other persons. Some people may like to start a community kitchen for those who have problem of LPG cylinder or other fuels like kerosene etc. The provisions are to be managed from the nearby villages which are connected to town through other route. Though it has to be brought here from that village on feet only.
Schooling of children may be a difficult thing as those who have to go a large distance using buses will have to curtail their classes while the village school can function normally.The biggest problem will be the availability of a doctor and for this either the patient has to be shifted to town through the nearby villages by carrying the patient manually in a stature by 2-3 persons on feet. If it is not serious patient can be managed with pain relievers and other OTC medicines for a few days.
Unity is strengthYou have to motivate the village president and the other villagers to understand that in times of such adversity it is the unity which matters and a lot of problems can be solved with a combined effort. If the villagers cooperate this adverse time can be handled successfully. In such times there is no need to worry regarding food as everyone will get the shared food under the same canvass.
ConclusionIn spite of difficult time in a remote hill village totally cut off from the towns during landslide it is the collective efforts and mutual cooperation which has helped people to face that adverse time. Any one who faces such a calamity can apply these common sense methods to come out of the situation without any difficulty.
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In a hilly area it is really very difficult if you are isolated there due to land slide. I have an experience when we were traveling to a hilly place as my father got his posting there and we were stuck on the road near a small village due to a landslide ahead and it took about two days to get it cleared by the special labor forces.
Though we got food etc from village shops but for those two days we could not bath and clean ourselves properly and it was a very fearful experience. Today road conditions are far better still such incidents do happen.
True summary and tips about an unfortunate event.
If caught in an unfortunate situation like this, the sooner people realize the reality, the better it is.
1.Among the stranded group, 1-2 members should quickly assume leadership to get things going. One elder or respected member put forth as leader would be accepted by others sooner.
2. The leaders then pick up a group of able men and women who can be volunteers.
3. Ensure women and children are safe and are put in houses that are secured.
4. Elders and bedridden people should be sheltered nearby.
5. Pool in resources- water, food, medicines, home remedies and firewood. Think about rationing precious water and food, avoid wasting firewood or fuels.
6. Ensure clothes for the vulnerable to safeguard against cold and wet weather.
7. Organise patrols within common area and the perimeter areas so that people do not panic and have trust and hope that they can tide over the crisis.
8. Every village will have a handful of responsible people, these individuals can get together and plan for sanitation and waste disposal (this would be important to prevent spread of diseases if help would take 10 days to come by).
9. Ensure safety at night times using spare volunteers as appropriate.
10. Once the situation is assessed then 1 or 2 expert fit young people who are familiar with the terrain and have survival skills can be prepared to find a way to the next nearest village and alert the others so that an SOS can be sent out for help and vital resources or medicines can be brought back.
In remote parts, people have to rely on fellow humans to help in such times of calamity and cordial neighborhood relations are very important. They can have a set agreed code of emergency signals. Ancient Indians used fire, drums and smoke to communicate between remote hamlets, maybe we can learn from them also.