Be more disaster-ready: MHA

Be more disaster-ready: MHA

States told to strengthen teams in wake of calamities

Be more disaster-ready: MHA

With memories of the earthquake still fresh, Union Home Ministry has called for strengthening capacities of both the Central and state rescue teams to tackle large scale calamities effectively.

Speaking at a day-long conference of relief commissioners and UT Secretaries on disaster management, Home Secretary L C Goyel underlined the need to stay alert to handle both natural and man made disasters.

Highlighting the need to build capacities of both National and State Disaster Response Funds (NDRF & SDRF), he noted with concern that eight states are yet to set up state level teams.

With the funds provided to them by the 14th Finance Commission, he hoped the states would build their DRFs and pointed out that the onus for disaster management rests with the state.

He said the Centre has sanctioned two more battalions of the NDRF in addition to the existing ten to supplement the states’ efforts during catastrophes, while also noting that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is helping states with technical support and logistics.

While “capacity, coordination and community participation” remain cornerstones of effective disaster response, Goyal said the civil society’s role has become critical.

Joint effort
“Disaster Management is a joint effort and preparedness becomes critical in hour of crisis to tackle the calamity effectively, he said, calling for stronger partnership between government agencies, civil authorities and NGOs. Every warning from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), big or small, must be taken seriously, Goyal said, adding that the flood situation in Jammu & Kashmir’s Jhelum river and Assam’s Brahmaputra cannot be tackled without periodic dredging.

NDRF Director General O P Singh said the team’s capacity in terms of search and rescue methods and equipments is proven second to none during Nepal earthquake disaster where it worked along side teams from 34 countries. NDMA Member Secretary R K Jain said more focus needs to be given to saving livelihoods such as livestocks during floods, though it has become possible now to save more human lives.