A preparatory mock drill organised on Monday to prepare Delhiites handle any kind of disastrous situation was marred by lack of preparedness as no agency, including the ambulance services, responded on time.
What’s worse, the disaster management helpline number also almost collapsed.
The fire mock drill, conducted by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) at the MCD office in North Delhi’s Civil Lines area to showcase its evacuation and relief plan in case of a fire situation, ended up being a mockery in itself as the fire brigade reached the spot almost 40 minutes after the call was made.
And it wasn’t only the fire brigade which took so much time to reach the mock drill spot. Even the PCR vans, which are supposed to reach the spot immediately, took their own sweet time as the initial calls made to the nearest police station went unheard.
“The mock drill, which was to showcase the preparedness of several agencies, including that of the police, hospitals and the fire services, instead, exposed the failure of the disaster management authority in handling the situation,” said Abhimanyu Dutta, a resident of Mukherjee Nagar who was present at the site of the mock drill.
The Delhi disaster authority’s helpline number — 1077 — also collapsed at the time and no calls made by the participants were answered at the first place.
However, the DDMA officials claimed that the motive behind such mock drills is to make citizens aware about the things that they should do in emergency situations.
“The motive behind such drills is to make people and the resident welfare associations aware of things that should be taken care of in case of any disaster. Through these drills, we also get to know how we can make our emergency response services better,” said Kuldeep Singh Gangar, additional secretary (revenue)/disaster management.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority is organising mega-level mock drills across the Capital on February 15 at 11:30 am. Monday’s drill was a part of it.