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Delhi on path to better disaster preparedness: NDMA Vice Chairman

New Delhi , Fri, 17 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb 17 (ANI): The Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Shashidhar Reddy, has said that Delhi is on path to better disaster preparedness.


"A Mega Mock Drill on Earthquake Preparedness was conducted by Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in close collaboration and guidance of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in all the nine districts of Delhi on the 15th of this month is the biggest such effort ever in India," he said.


Delhi, which lies in seismic zone IV and being the National Capital, such vulnerability, has been a matter of great concern.


While the country in general is well prepared to deal with disasters which come with some early warning, quick onset disasters without any early warning like earthquakes is a challenge not only for us in the country but elsewhere in the world as well.


The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, chaired a special meeting of the NDMA on June 1, 2010 to review country's preparedness in the wake of the triple disasters in Japan last March and directed the NDMA to strive for world class preparedness.


Subsequent to this, NDMA started making efforts for reviewing preparedness in Delhi and take steps to improve it.


Reddy said that the mega mock drill is the culmination of these efforts and has been a grand finale for the disaster preparedness campaign which the NDMA has been conducting over the last three months in Delhi.


"There were various activities conducted both at the local and the state level covering Schools, Colleges, RWAs, metros stations, malls, cinema halls and petrol stations etc. Besides, for the first time, a 'Sensitization and Orientation Workshop' was conducted for the members of the Delhi assembly in Dec 2011," said Reddy.


"A similar workshop was also organized for the Judges of the Delhi High Court in February 2012. These efforts were highly appreciated by everybody concerned," he added.


Reddy said that there were two main objectives of this mega drill.


"Firstly, to generate greater public awareness about the vulnerability of Delhi to disasters with specific emphasis on earthquakes and steps to be taken by people to save themselves, their family and the community in the event of an earthquake. And also raise awareness that it is not earthquake that kills but it is the buildings that collapse and result in injury and death and therefore, the importance of constructing safe buildings, which comply with earthquake resistant norms," said Reddy.


"The second objective was to test the response capabilities of various agencies at the state and district levels and identify gaps," he added.


He further said that the real success of this drill has been the identification of the gaps in the response preparedness and actions and this will lay a strong foundation for enhanced preparedness efforts to be carried out in a sustained manner.


Some of the important lessons that were learnt during the mock drill are the establishment of 'Delhi Disaster Response Force', the need for state-of-the art emergency operation centres at the state and district level with redundancy, common communication system for all the stakeholders, state-of-the-art equipment and systematic inventory of resources, the need for adequate number of ambulances and greater public awareness and sensitization of people for enhanced preparedness.


The NDMA in close collaboration with the DDMA is now planning for Delhi Emergency Exercise (DEMEX) to primarily focus on all aspects of medical preparedness. This five-day event is being planned to be held in April 2012. (ANI)


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