Many states, UTs yet to implement key disaster response tool: NDMA
In a letter to the states and UTs , the NDMA also said that several stakeholders, mostly at the grassroots level, are not aware of their duties and responsibilities under IRS
Several states and Union territories (UTs) are yet to implement the Incident Response System (IRS), which is crucial for disaster response, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said.
In a letter to the states and UTs , the NDMA also said that several stakeholders, mostly at the grassroots level, are not aware of their duties and responsibilities under IRS.
Record monsoon rains in various parts of the country claimed hundreds of lives and damaged properties worth crores this year. While the exact amount of loss is yet to be declared by the central government, the State Bank of India, in its ecowrap report on July 17, estimated losses in the range of ₹10,000 crore to ₹15,000 crore.
“Natural disasters in the form of recent floods in Northern India and the Biparjoy cyclone in Gujarat have caused loss of human life and the economic impact is huge. The heavy toll on infrastructure due to these type of natural disasters is a matter of grave concern for the country like India where the locational and geographical features render it vulnerable to a number of natural hazards. While the current status of economic loss due to these floods is yet to be estimated, we believe this in the range of ₹10,000- ₹15,000 crore,” the report said.
The IRS is an effective mechanism for reducing ad-hoc measures in response. It envisages a composite team with various sections to attend to all possible response requirements. The IRS designates officers to perform various duties and get them trained in their respective roles.
“NDMA has been emphasising the importance of IRS notification and adoption by the States/UTs but a large number of states/UTs are yet to notify IRS at state/district level,” the NDMA’s communication said.
“Most stakeholders, especially at the grassroot level, are not aware of their duties and responsibilities under IRS. It has been experienced during conduct of multi-state or state level mock exercises that execution of IRS based coordinated response, including siting and functioning of staging areas, relief camps, command posts and functioning of emergency operation centers (EOCs), is not up to the mark,” it added.
While the communication did not name or provide a count of the states, Union home minister Amit Shah in June said 16 states are yet to implement IRS.
At that time, Shah had also announced three major schemes worth ₹8,000 crore for the disaster management sector. The schemes included ₹5,000 crore for expansion and modernisation of the fire services across the states, ₹2,500 to reduce the risk of urban flooding in the seven metros, including Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune and ₹825 crore worth National Landslide Risk Mitigation Project for landslide mitigation in 17 states and UTs.