NDMA to train 1L in disaster management by March-end

NDMA to train one lakh volunteers in disaster management by March-end

The NDMA had initiated the pilot project of 'Aapda Mitra' (friends in times of disaster) in 30 project districts in 25 states by training 200 volunteers

Residents wade through a waterlogged alley after heavy rainfall in Hyderabad, the capital of the southern state of Telangana, India, October 14, 2020. Credit: Reuters Photo

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is planning to train one lakh volunteers in 350 districts prone to natural disasters by this March by extending the Aapda Mitra scheme, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home.

This is aimed at having a pool of volunteers who can respond to their community's immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster thereby enabling them to undertake basic relief and rescue tasks during emergencies like floods, flash-floods and urban flooding among other disasters.

The NDMA had initiated the pilot project of 'Aapda Mitra' (friends in times of disaster) in 30 project districts in 25 states by training 200 volunteers. Volunteers were selected from the community, including students residing in flood-prone districts. Preference is given to ex-servicemen, Civil Defence and Home Guards among others.

So far, 5116 volunteers have been trained. Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tripura, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are also using their services in Covid-19 response.

"It is also informed that based on the recommendations of states/UTs to upscale it in multi-hazard districts and to train more volunteers, the NDMA is planning to upscale it in 350 districts prone to landslide, earthquake, cyclone and floods to train one lakh volunteers in India in the current financial year," the panel's Action Taken Report said quoting the MHA.

Besides, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is also conducting Community Awareness Programmes (CAP), School Safety Programmes (SSP), mock exercises as part of capacity building programmes and community is being sensitised about disaster management during the non-operation season. Training in disaster management to the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) volunteers is also being conducted, the MHA said.

The panel recommended that the 'Aapda Mitra' pilot scheme may be implemented pan India and cover all the districts of the country if the result of the pilot scheme is found successful.

It also reiterated its recommendation that a Disaster Management Training Corps (DMTC) on the lines of NCC can be initiated in schools and colleges not only to play the role of a strong civilian corps to support the disaster management teams but also to disseminate the practices in disaster management at the community level.