Govt frames rules for dealing with disasters

Govt frames rules for dealing with disasters
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Key deptts told to devise their own DM plans concerning to their domain

Ishtyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, Jul 23: The Jammu and Kashmir government has framed new rules concerning disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.
One of the top officials of the government said that the effort is aimed to reduce the vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters and natural calamities.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed some major natural disasters in the past ranging from high magnitude earthquakes to devastating floods, series of avalanches and landslides.
Nearly one thousand people had died in devastating earthquake of October, 2005 in J&K alone. The Kulgam snowstorm had consumed about 175 lives besides perishing hundreds of livestock. Ladakh and Doda cloudbursts were followed by flash floods, Uri earthquake, Srinagar floods and incessant rains that washed away entire sleeping Sadal village in Udhampur are some of the examples that not only shake everyone but reiterate warning signals asking humans to not to interfere with nature.
It was only last year that Governor N N Vohra had batted strongly for raising of more State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) battalions for deployment in Jammu, Srinagar and Ladakh regions.
As per the government report, at least 13 districts out of 100 districts in India have been identified as ‘multi hazard districts’.
According to the Indian Meteorological department, most parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar, come under the Seismic Zone V, which are highly prone to earthquakes.
Official figures from the Meteorological Department reveal that 140 earthquakes have hit the region since 2009.
The new rules outline the roles to be played by various departments at preparation stage and rescue, relief and rehabilitation stage.
At the preparation stage, the implementation of Disaster Management plan has to be reviewed and every year in April and necessary changes modifications have to be incorporated in the plan.
In order to make Disaster Management activities more effective, the key departments would be asked to devise their own Disaster Management plans concerning to their domain.
At the response and relief stage while the Executive Engineer will supervise flood protection and undertake measures like laying of sand filled E.C bags, temporary diversions. While, the administrative wing and zonal Committees will help in motivating people in taking flood prevention/protection and relief and rescue measures.
On the other hand, the key tasks of Identification and establishment of Community Centres (Pacca buildings) to be used as relief /shelter camps done would be by Tehsildar concerned.
Their duty extends to distribution of relief in the form of rations, bedding, utensils etc to the affected people.
The rules stress that “immediate attendance of the staff deployed for flood duty would be ensured”.
At the recovery stage, the authorities have to strengthen the weak spots and embankments and ensure proper assessment of flood damage by communicating it to higher authorities.
For instance Chief Medical Officer would come up with disaster management plan to deal with health related emergencies in the health sector. Likewise separate water and sanitation response plan, relief and rescue operations plan, flood management plan, public distribution system during emergencies have to be formulated at the district level by the concerned departments. This shall create synergy effect and benefit the district in having a comprehensive disaster management strategy.
As per the new rules, “The first flood alert will be sounded by Central Flood Committee Srinagar through its Member Secretary Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control as soon as the Sangam Gauge touches 18ft.” (KNS)