CHENNAI: There's more than one lesson to be learned from the Uttarakhand tragedy. And, educational institutions in and around Chennai are using it as a real-time case study.
Just as the December 2004 tsunami made the term familiar to all in the state, the tragedy in the northern state has offered a live example of floods, rivers during the monsoon, landslides, disaster preparedness and management to middle and high school students of the Shree Niketan Group of Schools in Tiruvallur near Chennai. Ever since news of the floods and stranded pilgrims started flashing on national media, geography teachers have been giving news feeds of the event and the whys and hows of the disaster to the students.
The students have been asked to bring news clippings to school every day, follow the occurrence and rescue operations to get an idea of the terrain, what the monsoon has wreaked on the area and the consequent turn of events. "It helps the students relate to events like landslides that they are unlikely to see in real life here. The management and teachers decided to take it up as a real-time project because there is a much better chance of children recalling these concepts when they relate to an incident of such proportions," said school correspondent P Vishnucharan.
Teachers said that they had also tried to inculcate a sense of social responsibility among the children by telling them about the impact of illegal constructions in Uttarakhand, and about the rescue service provided by the armed forces.
The University of Madras constituent college in Nemmeli will also be using the Uttarakhand tragedy as a case study to explain flash floods and landslides in Himalayan rivers at a week-long awareness workshop on disaster management. "We don't have perennial rivers in Tamil Nadu, so we can't relate to a landslide in Ooty or Kodaikanal. But, it will help us explain the idea of a flash flood to students," said principal RR Krishnamurthy.
He will be preparing the resource material for the workshop with help from non-profit organization SEEDS (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society) India, which is helping with the relief and rehabilitation of families in flood-hit Uttarakhand. The material will be used at the workshop planned from July 22 to 26 in Chennai.