Former President stresses prediction of disasters
Former President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam has called for “advance prediction” of natural disasters like earthquakes to minimise loss of life and damage to property.
He also wanted networking of national and international resources for effective management of such calamities.
“If we can predict the occurrence of a disaster well in advance, we can make significant reduction in the loss of life and damage to property”, he said while inaugurating the four-day First World Congress on Disaster Management here on Tuesday. He told the delegates to take up inter disciplinary research on forecasting earthquakes, monsoon and drought conditions.
He said the sharing of knowledge on disaster management between national and international agencies would be useful and enable evolution of better management techniques in disaster mitigation, preparedness, relief rehabilitation and reconstruction. Referring to the large network of CSIR laboratories, public sector units, defence establishments, medical institutions and the presence of lakhs of scouts and guides, NCC and NSS personnel, Dr. Kalam said that an integrated system was required to train them and design a communication system to access their services for disaster mitigation and relief at short notice.
Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, said government trying to improve the preparedness in tackling disasters.
‘Adopt Swiss model to tackle disasters’
Former President A P J Abdul Kalam has suggested the Swiss rescue model (short modules to locate and rescue victims) to tackle disasters.
Speaking at the inaugural of the First World Congress on Disaster Management here on Tuesday, he said networking, both of national and international resources, was the key to tackle disasters. “Mapping relief measures should be stressed so that resources can be earmarked and utilised properly. As lakhs of Scouts and Guides, NSS volunteers, NCC cadets are available, we need to integrate them into a system to access resources and limit suffering,” the former President, who was the chief guest at the four-day congress being held at the National Academy of Construction (NAC), Madhapur, said.
Delivering the key-note address, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) vice-chairman Gen (retd) N C Vij said, “Five mitigation projects—Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (Rs 1,600 crore), Earthquake Risk Mitigation Project (Rs 560 crore), Dedicated Disaster Communication Network (Rs 500 crore), National Reserve for 4,00,000 people and a pilot school safety programme—are on the anvil.”
“Under the Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project, Andhra Pradesh will be a major beneficiary,” Vij said.
He further said the NDMA had projected that the country would require four additional National Disaster Reserve Force (NDRF) battalions and one will be placed at Hyderabad. As of now, seven battalions have been operationalised and the eighth one was in the process of getting ready. “By March, the additional four battalions would start functioning,” he added.
The NDMA conducted 13 of the 35 mock exercises planned to cover 21 states for the current year to see effectiveness of the disaster management plans.
Releasing the inaugural proceedings of the Congress in the form of a CD, chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy said, “Drought does not get that much importance, but the amount of debility and unemployment is more than a cyclone. Extremism and terrorism also need to be dealt with utmost care.”
The Disaster Management Award was conferred on Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI). This award would be given out annually.
Lt Gen (retd) J R Bhardwaj, member of NDMA, and chairman of steering committee, Prahlada, also spoke.
Mock drill at GH
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will conduct a mock drill on medical preparedness and mass casualty management in Hyderabad to test preparedness of different agencies. As a prelude to this, a table top exercise will be conducted at Gandhi Hospital on Wednesday at 2 pm.
“NDMA has been conducting mock drills on different disasters and themes all over the country. Mock drill on cyclone, floods and chemical industrial disasters were conducted in the coastal districts of Nellore, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam,” NDMA member and Sanatnagar MLA M Shashidhar Reddy said in a release issued here on Tuesday.
After the Mecca Masjid blast and the twin blasts, it was clear that medical preparedness was lacking in Hyderabad, he said. Gandhi Hospital has been designated as the nodal hospital. Along with Shashidhar, NDMA member Lt Gen (Retd) J R Bhardwaj, commissioner, disaster management, secretary, health, the Hyderabad collector and representatives of various hospitals would also attend.
Congress manages with power ‘disaster’
National Academy of Construction (NAC), Gachibowli, which is the venue of the 1st World Congress on Disaster Management, suffered an eight-minute power failure during the inaugural of the Congress just after chief guests A P J Abdul Kalam, chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and other dignitaries reached the venue on Tuesday. As convener of the event S Ananda Babu was lauding the schemes and measures, especially stressing on the free power sop for farmers, the power shutdown happened bringing smirks on the faces of the delegates. Though the power cut was for a few minutes, the air conditioning system did not work all through the day and there were no fans in the hall as well. The delegates started fanning themselves with whatever they could lay their hands on. Later in the day, NAC in a press release said, “During the inaugural function, there was power failure for about eight minutes. The power failure was due to an internal problem and not due to fault of any external agency. An enquiry has been ordered and severe disciplinary action will be initiated against the officers concerned.” In the meanwhile, the AP Central Power Distribution Company Limited (CPDCL) claimed it was providing uninterrupted power supply for the event. “NAC maintenance staff switched off the auditorium main switch instead of the one giving incoming supply to an air conditioner, as it was giving trouble,” the release said.