U’khand gears up for implementing hi-tech plan to manage disasters | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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U’khand gears up for implementing hi-tech plan to manage disasters

The Uttarakhand government has drawn up a plan, under which its “entire disaster management system will be revamped” by getting it equipped with state-of-the-art tools and by involving communities in a big way in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 10-point Disaster Risk Reduction agenda

dehradun Updated: Apr 09, 2018 22:15 IST
Deep Joshi
The SDMA is equipping the disaster management system of Uttarakhand with latest equipment, besides training people in search and rescue operations, said an official.
The SDMA is equipping the disaster management system of Uttarakhand with latest equipment, besides training people in search and rescue operations, said an official.(HT File)

The Uttarakhand government has drawn up a plan, under which its “entire disaster management system will be revamped” by getting it equipped with state-of-the-art tools and by involving communities in a big way in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 10-point Disaster Risk Reduction agenda.

“We are equipping our disaster management system with latest equipment besides training people in search and rescue operations, so they can act as first responders during natural calamities like earthquakes and floods,” said executive director, State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), Piyoosh Rautela.

“These measures are being taken in keeping with the Prime Minister’s 10 point agenda on disaster risk reduction under the `Vision 2020’ put forward by him”, he clarified in an interview to HT. The ‘Vision 2020’ is being implemented in the state under the leadership of secretary, disaster management, Amit Negi and additional secretary Savin Bansal.

Leveraging technology to enhance the efficiency of disaster risk management efforts is one of the highlights of the PM’s Vision 2020.

It also focuses on encouraging greater involvement and leadership of women in disaster risk management. “The all-inclusive agenda presents a holistic approach to disaster risk management,” states a short note on the Prime Minister’s ‘Vision 2020.’

“(The vision) addresses a whole range of issues, from community preparedness to use of technology,” it adds.

Rautela said: “The entire disaster management system is being revamped with its emphasis of leveraging technology and by getting communities trained in search and rescue techniques.”

Technology would play “a key role” during search and rescue operations in disaster hit areas. “As it is, most areas in the hill state are remote owing to its tough geographical conditions,” Rautela said.

“So, the latest technologies we are going to employ will come in handy in rescuing people who get stranded in such areas during natural calamities such as flash floods and earthquakes.”

Similarly, emphasis was being laid on training communities in search and rescue operations.

“There is no substitute to communities because they alone can act as first responders during natural calamities owing to the state’s tough terrain,” he said.

On the technology front, one or two high resolution drone cameras each would be provided to authorities in all the 13 districts in the hill state “depending on” the demand from those areas.

SDMA experts said drone cameras would come in handy in locating the people who get stranded in remote hilly areas during natural calamities or man-made disasters like accidents or forest fires.

Besides, some 19 types of crucial equipment needed during search and rescue operations during floods or earthquakes would also be provided to communities.

The crucial equipment are victim location cameras, concrete cutters, lifting bags, stretchers, kit bags, seat harness, chest harness and carabiners among others.

The SDMA officials said lessons learnt during the calamitous floods that struck the state in 2013 leaving thousands dead would also be included in the community based disaster management training programme.

“We have been laying emphasis on training communities in search and rescue operations because in remote mountainous areas they alone can act as first responders in times of disasters,” an expert at SDMA said, adding that the training programme had been going on for some time.

“Most of the individuals selected for training in disaster management are already trained mountaineers who have passed out from a prestigious institute,” the expert said referring to Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), Uttarkashi.

Another SDMA official said: “People selected for training in disaster management are further trained in search and rescue techniques by experts from SDMA and the members of the state disaster response force.”

School safety training programme “is one of the crucial aspects” of the community based disaster management training, the official said.

“We are also focusing on that aspect because school children had been the worst victims of natural disasters in the past,” another official said.