A day ahead of the mega disaster management mock drill, the Delhi government on Monday organised a tabletop exercise for citizens and response agencies to gauge their responses during a crisis.
“This is a preparatory exercise for the main mock drill to be held on Tuesday. People from all 11 districts of the city attended the exercise,” said a senior Delhi government official.
The exercise, held at east Delhi’s Yamuna Sports Complex, saw the participation of 600 trained personnel across different agencies such as the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), among others.
“It is the civilians who can offer maximum help first during disaster situations. The response time between the disaster and the arrival of different agencies causes a lot of damage. Training people how to respond to a disaster can help in reducing that damage,” said George Abraham, a NDMA representative.
However, supporting agencies that were conducting the exercise claimed that there was lack of coordination between various response agencies — something that needs to be immediately addressed.
“The coordination was lacking not just between people, but different support agencies too. There needs to be a complete set of rules to establish who does what in case of a crisis,” said Dr Shibu Varghese, a medical expert from the Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) Calicut.
People too claimed that the exercise saw lukewarm participation from civilians. “There is no use if such exercises are held on weekdays when people can’t participate actively. Conducting it in the heart of east Delhi was also very inconvenient,” said Sudesh Joshi, a resident of east Delhi’s Nirman Vihar.