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08-July-2024-Editorial

July 8 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

STAMPEDE 

A stampede is a sudden and uncontrollable mass movement of people, usually triggered by fear, panic, or excitement.  

It often results in injuries and fatalities due to crushing and trampling. India has seen several tragic stampedes, especially during religious gatherings and festivals, highlighting the need for better crowd management and safety measures. 

What is a Stampede? 

  • Definition: An impulsive mass movement of a crowd resulting in injuries and deaths. 
  • Causes: Triggered by perceived danger, loss of physical space, and a collective will to attain something gratifying. 

Types of Stampedes 

  1. Unidirectional Stampedes: 
  • Crowd moves in the same direction. 
  • Triggered by sudden stops or broken barriers. 
  1. Turbulent Stampedes: 
  • Uncontrolled crowd movements. 
  • Induced by panic or merging crowds from multiple directions. 

Fatalities in Stampedes 

  • Traumatic Asphyxia: Most common cause, due to external compression of the thorax or upper abdomen. 
  • Other Causes: 
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack) 
  • Direct crushing injuries to internal organs 
  • Head injuries 
  • Neck compression 

Factors Contributing to Stampedes 

Psychological Factors 

  • Panic: Primary trigger or amplifier. 
  • Loss of Cooperative Behaviour: In emergencies, cooperation is initially beneficial. Once disturbed, individual survival instincts take over, leading to stampedes. 

Environmental and Design Elements 

  • Lack of Proper Lighting: Increases risk of accidents. 
  • Poor Crowd Flow Management: Failure to divide crowd flow for different groups. 
  • Collapse of Barriers or Buildings: Causes sudden panic. 
  • Blocked Exits or Evacuation Routes: Traps people, leading to panic. 
  • Fire Hazards: Exacerbates the situation. 
  • High Crowd Density: When density approaches 3-4 persons per square meter, evacuation time increases dramatically, raising panic and stampede risk. 

Impact of Stampedes 

Psychological Trauma 

  • Survivors and witnesses may experience long-term psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Economic Consequences 

  • Primary Victims: Economically disadvantaged individuals. 
  • Financial Impact: Loss of primary earners, medical expenses, compensation, legal costs, and loss of productivity due to injuries. 

Social Impact 

  • Loss of Trust: In event organizers and authorities. 
  • Social Unrest: Blame and negative impact on community morale and cohesion. 
  • Infrastructure Damage: Costs associated with repairs and upgrades to physical infrastructure like barriers and buildings. 

Initiatives of India to Control Stampedes 

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Guidelines 

  • Traffic and Crowd Management: Regulating traffic, displaying route maps, and using barricades to control pedestrian flow. 
  • Security Measures: Emphasizing CCTV surveillance and increased police presence. 
  • Medical Preparedness: Ambulances on standby, medical staff ready, clear signage to hospitals. 
  • Crowd Safety Tips: Educating attendees on exit routes and calm behaviour. 
  • Fire Safety: Safe electrical wiring, monitoring LPG usage, and caution with fireworks. 
  • Disaster Risk Reduction: Supporting government initiatives and conferences like the Asian Ministerial Conference in collaboration with UNISDR. 

NDMA’s Role 

  • Leadership: Led by the Prime Minister of India. 
  • Establishment: As per the Disaster Management Act, 2005. 
  • Responsibilities: Setting policies, plans, and guidelines for Disaster Management focusing on prevention, mitigation, preparedness, and response. 
  • Objective: Creating a safer and disaster-resilient India through proactive and sustainable development strategies. 

What Can Be Done Better to Prevent Stampedes? 

Real-time Density Monitoring 

  • Sensors: Deploy thermal, LiDAR sensors to monitor crowd density in real-time. 
  • AI Models: Use data to predict crowd surges and trigger early warnings. 

RFID Tags 

  • Tracking: Use in tickets or wristbands for real-time tracking of crowd movement. 
  • Communication: Enable targeted communication via displays. 

Drones 

  • Surveillance: Equipped with high-resolution cameras and thermal imaging for real-time crowd monitoring. 
  • Communication: Project calming messages or announcements on large screens. 

Intelligent Lighting Systems 

  • Responsive Lighting: Adjust brightness and colour based on crowd density to guide movement or calm situations. 
  • Bioluminescent Pathways: Pathways and walkways that glow brighter in emergencies to guide movement and reduce panic. 

Interactive Communication Displays 

  • Real-time Information: Show wait times, evacuation routes, and essential information in multiple languages. 

Public Awareness Campaigns 

  • Education: Educate people on crowd safety protocols and proper behaviour during large gatherings. 

Conclusion 

Stampedes remain a significant risk during large gatherings in India. By understanding the causes, impacts, and preventive measures, authorities and event organizers can work towards ensuring safer environments.  

Implementing advanced technologies, improving infrastructure, and enhancing public awareness are crucial steps in preventing such tragedies in the future. 

Details

Date:
July 8
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category:
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