In 2011 the Tsunami hit Japan in one of the worst ever Natural Disasters the world has seen. It turned the lives of the island nation topsy turvy; a number of nuclear reactors have gone down causing another threat of radiation affecting humans as well as plant and animal lives in Japan; for weeks together the area experienced total power cut and where homes and offices and factories once stood, there was nothing but rubble left after the waves went back to where they came from.
Going through something similar the Indian State of Uttarakhand was devastated in the Kedarnath floods in June 2013. Arguably both these incidents are contributed by the callous ways in which Nature is dealt with by human beings and there is a limit to which Mother Nature can put up with the nonsense her children inflicts on her. Then comes the retribution and in most cases this is followed by a learning curve where human beings pause to think what went wrong and why.
This is exactly what happened in Japan; all their nuclear power plants were shut down and members of the Japanese NGOs travelled the world over doing propaganda against Nuclear power plants which, if constructed without adequate precautions, can cause similar disasters. The process of regulatory clearance for restarting 48 reactors is under way in Japan, but is slow and expected to take a few more years. Looking at Uttarakhand, we all now know how unmindful of consequences the exploitation of Nature was in that ecologically sensitive region.
Now something interesting has just happened. A team of 43 young women and 30 young men from the International Volunteer University Students Association in Japan landed in Uttarakhand in February 2014–a mini army throbbing with energy ready to do anything. Their aim was noble- rebuilding at least one of the devastated villages. In just four days the young army reconstructed modest homes and a community centre in one of the hilly regions. They did every smallest detail of the job including carrying sand and boulders some 350 meters up from the nearby Mandakini River and doing the shovel work and constructing the walls, laying stones and putting cement over them. The earth-quake –resistant two bedroom houses for sixty families were completed within no time. And for good measure, before departing they cleaned up the village on the fifth day, removing garbage and filth. Let us hope the Indians who witnessed all these activities could pick up a lesson or two from the whole incident instead of just benefitting the fruits of the foreign students’ labour.