Rattled by Monday’s earthquake that shook the capital, some resident welfare associations have written to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asking for an immediate disaster management action plan.
Many feel that the Capital with haphazard urbanisation is sitting on a time bomb. Even the Delhi government’s draft disaster management plan warns that should a powerful earthquake strike the national capital, it would cause more devastation than a nuclear bomb explosion.
The residents say they have no idea of what to do, whom to call and do not even have the basic knowledge about to save lives if a disaster strikes.
According to BS Vohra, president of East Delhi RWAs Joint Front - Federation, who wrote the letter to Kejriwal and deputy CM Manish Sisodia, proper training must be given to the RWA members, who work on the ground, and necessary equipment must also be provided to facilitate relief and rescue operations.
“Over the last few years we are regularly raising the issue, that the RWAs of NCR, which are registered bodies, must be connected with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority so that in case of any earthquake of larger magnitude, we could come forward and save precious lives. RWAs are the people of Delhi working for them and with them. If we are involved, the preparations will be foolproof,” Vohra said.
Pawan Arora of the Lajpat Nagar RWA says the way the corporation effectively takes the help of the associations in spreading awareness about dengue and malaria is the perfect model available. “The RWAs somehow do not get involved at all. Be it the Delhi government or the disaster management authority, no one approaches us. No workshops are conducted, no drills take place and thereby no awareness. We don’t have the basic knowledge of what to do if such a disaster hits us,” Arora said.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority, however, claims to be getting all stakeholders, including RWAs, involved in disaster management drills.
“We are now even eyeing community disaster management through which we will develop a network of volunteers across localities. These people will be identified and then will receive training. After the Nepal earthquake, the Delhi government along with us had taken up the task of updating the disaster management plan, which has been done three months back and it has this new provision,” a senior DDMA official said.
The government agencies have carried out 80 earthquake mock drills since the Nepal earthquake took place.
A number of a agencies, including Delhi Police, Delhi Fire Services and health department are invloved in carrying out these drills.