Experts, academics call for greater awareness to create a disaster-conscious society
Srinagar: Vice-Chancellor of University of Kashmir Prof Talat Ahmad Monday said that creating a disaster-conscious student community can go a long way in promoting disaster prevention consciousness at the grassroots.
He was addressing as chief guest the inaugural session of a three-day workshop on disaster risk reduction, organised by the Department of Geography and Disaster Management (DGDM), for college teachers.
Prof Talat said that academic institutions have to take a lead in spreading the message of disaster management in the society.
“I think students can be the best communicators of this message. J&K UT, which falls in the Himalayan region, is very vulnerable to disasters and everyone has to understand this fact. At the official level, our planning and our development have to be carried out in a manner where it doesn’t disturb nature in any manner,” he said urging the DGDM to hold such capacity-building programmes at the college-level too.
In his keynote address, Dean of Research Prof Shakil A Romshoo said J&K needs to go back to the culture of disaster preparedness that it once propagated and adhered to.
He said nearly 90% buildings in Srinagar, including some public buildings, are unsafe as per the vulnerability assessment.
Cautioning that people can’t outsource their safety to the government agencies alone, Romshoo said “as individuals we will have to be more responsible to ensure safety of our families by adopting old construction practices and abandoning all types of constructions in and along the flood basins.”
KU Registrar Dr Nisar Ahmad Mir, who was a guest of honour, reiterated the university’s commitment to organise such capacity-building programmes at the college and university levels regularly.
“We want our educational institutions to become main centres of development of disaster mitigation strategies as well as main hubs for raising societal awareness about disasters,” he said.