India committed to strengthen community resilience: Rijuju

India committed to strengthen community resilience: Rijuju

India today emphasised its strong commitment to build and strengthen community resilience at all levels, seeing it as an important tool to deal with disasters like tsunami, cyclones, floods and other calamities.

"We have developed large scale community based programmes for all sectors like education, health, livelihood, housing, employment, food security, agriculture and drinking water to increase the coping capacity of the community in dealing with disasters," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijuju told the 6th Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction here.

He stressed that disaster management capabilities could not be acquired overnight.
"It calls for long years of patient, determined and concerted efforts by multiple organisations."

The main theme of the conference is "promoting investment for resilient nations and communities."

It will be discussed under three sub-themes - enhancing resilience at local levels, increase public investments for disaster and climate risk management to protect development gains and private sector role.

Rijuju said the efforts included channelising of technological developments into community based preparedness and creation of infrastructure like multi-purpose cyclone shelters.

He said it was also important that those assets were utilized by the communities during the 'non-disaster' phase.

"We have made sure that the socially disadvantaged groups, senior citizens, the disabled, women and children receive adequate attention in all the preparedness efforts, mock drills and rehearsals."

India's handling of the 2013 disaster Cyclone Phailin striking Odisha has been hailed by international disaster experts as a copybook example of preparedness and strengthening of community resilience.

"We from India, would like to share our experiences with other countries and in turn, learn the various approaches and good practices elsewhere on Disaster Risk Reduction," Rijuju told delegates from 63 nations in the Asia Pacific region, ministers in charge of disaster management and the UN.

He expressed hope that the sharing of the experiences and learning would help in ensuring the resilience of communities and safety of the people's livelihoods and assets.

"Events like the Tsunami in Japan of 2011, the Cyclone 'Haiyan' in the Philippines of 2013 and the floods and landslides of June 2013 in Uttarakhand and the Cyclone Phaillin of October, 2013 in India have highlighted the need to step up the preparedness efforts," Rijuju noted.

India, the minister said, had established the required institutional framework for disaster management, not only at the National level, but also at the State and District levels.

"We have developed an institutional mechanism to see that all new projects are cleared only after it is ensured that disaster risk reduction concerns have adequately been met."

The minister said India had taken an important step by establishing National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, for intense consultations and sharing of experiences by various stakeholders and disaster managers.

India recently took a giant step forward by earmarking 10 per cent funds in all development schemes to be used for innovation, disaster mitigation and restoration.
In addition, the private sector has also played an important role through corporate social responsibility.

"Our civil defence, home guards, State Disaster Response Force and the civil society organizations including the Indian Red Cross Society provide a well coordinated regime of high state of preparedness," he said.

On scientific and technological advancement for better forecasting capabilities, Rijuju noted that India had come a long way by preparing vulnerability atlas, setting up of Indian national Centre for Ocean information Services.

"We have community hubs of the Indian Space Research Organization for early warning. We have the Central Water Commission to provide flood monitoring nd flood forecast reviews," he added.

He also spoke about the massive efforts undertaken in June 2013 event in Uttarakhand, rescuing 150,000 pilgrims despite a difficult mountainous terrain, adverse weather conditions and severe disruptions in the road connectivity.

During October 2013, over 12 million people were evacuated before cyclone 'Phailin' made the land fall.

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