October 13 National Disaster Day

‘Disaster mgmt set-up should be strengthened’

‘Disaster mgmt set-up should be strengthened’

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 14

Science City organised a webinar on ‘Disaster Risk Governance’ to celebrate National Disaster Day.

Resource person Ravi Kumar Pandita, Commandant, 7th Battalion National Disaster Response Force, Bathinda, said: “India is a hazard-prone country where floods, droughts, landslides, snowstorms, hurricanes and cyclones occur regularly. Among these earthquakes, floods and drought risk are extremely high. These hazards threaten millions of lives and cause large-scale financial, infrastructure, agriculture and productivity losses that seriously hinder India’s overall development. In the last two decades, 95 per cent of the 1.3 million people have been killed and the 4.4 billion have been affected by disasters in developing countries. However, fewer than 2 per cent of global deaths from cyclones have occurred in countries with high levels of development.”

He said poor socio-economic conditions combined with these calamities make things worse in India, where 80 per cent of the geographical area was vulnerable to cyclones, floods, tsunamis, droughts, landslides or earthquakes. “Integrated Disaster Management Organisation should be established at national and state levels, which can reach out to people in villages and cities immediately at any time of disaster. Punjab and Haryana have just taken the first step in this direction by setting up a Disaster Management Cell,” he said.

Dr Neelima Jerath, director general, Pushpa Gujral Science City, said disasters disrupt the progress and destroy hard-earned development efforts, often pushing nations, in quest for progress, back by several decades.

“Whatever type of a disaster it may be, whether natural or man-made, it is the community itself that is the first to cope with it. It is what people should know, so that they are able to lead the first line of action in the prevention of a disaster or in reducing its impact. Indigenous knowledge and risk management strategies are valuable and must be integrated into disaster preparedness and response programmes,” she said.

Director Science City Dr Rajesh Grover said disaster management should be made a part of our educational curriculum at all levels in some way or the other. By conducting frequent talks, seminars and training programmes, we should involve our children and youth to combat disasters, he said.

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