The Second India Disaster Management Congress concluded here today. Former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam presided over the valedictory session. In his speech, Dr. Kalam said that integrated disaster management and national development have to be seen together. He outlined four major components of disaster management viz. accurate forecasting; right technology deployment at the right time and at the right situation; fast response mechanism and capacity building. Dr. Kalam said that development programmes of the States have to be linked to the predictable disasters to prevent/mitigate the effects of such disaster. He also stressed the need for generating public awareness about the disaster management, more so in the students at all levels. He felt that de-silting of water bodies on a regular basis and inter-linking of water bodies can be a simple and effective method in containing disasters created due to floods and heavy rains. He suggested the creation of a Disaster Code of Standards and need for systemic collection of data at the district level, on previous disasters, so as to create a database for learning the patterns of the past disasters and devising strategies for future preparedness.
Dr. Mohan Kanda, Member NDMA, in his presentation gave a detailed overview of the methodology to mitigate the effects of disasters. He also informed that National Disaster Policy has since been approved. Two additional National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalions have also been approved, he said.
Mr. B.K. Bhandari presented a summary of the deliberations/recommendations of the Congress on geological disaster. The main recommendations/suggestions on this aspect of disaster management are:
• Speedy implementation of the National Guidelines on Earthquakes released by the NDMA in 2007.
• Implementation of earthquake safe new construction through zero tolerance for non-compliance of the earthquake resistant designed and construction codes and practices is attainable. Earthquake unsafe existing housing stock requires strengthening and in view of huge investment required for this, it needs careful privatization.
• There is a need to create our own inspiring example of cost effective restoring of buildings.
• Independently, validated and certified user-friendly seismic sessions maps should be made available to the planners, architects, engineers, builders and disaster manages for whom they are intended.
• Development of attenuation relationship for different regions, community based of our own data and these should be tested at every field opportunity.
Dr. D.R. Sikka presented a summary of the recommendations on the hydro-metrological disaster and climate change. The major recommendations are:-
• Flood control should be considered in overall perspective and for this purpose the existing bilateral arrangements, mechanisms and treaties signed between India and the neighbouring countries need to give a boosted momentum to achieve identified goals.
• Effective regional cooperation needs to be ensured for a proper strategy for flood disaster risk reduction.
• Enhancement of observations over data and sparse oceanic regions as well as establishing of meso-network observations of vulnerable regions.
• Better assimilation technique utilizing all available data including land sensing, remote sensing data etc. for initialization of meso-scale models.
• Extensive use of coupled meso-scale atmosphere ocean wave model for better and intensity prediction of tropical cyclones.
Professor Santosh Kumar gave a summary of the recommendations on man-made disaster. The key learning points and recommendations on these segments are as under:-
• Disaster response plan should go for a paradigm shift from top down to bottom up approach.
• Disaster risk response should be designed in the context of changing environment such as increasing population pressure, climate change, role of NGOs and civil society etc.
• Disaster response should be designed in an integrated manner with community, civil society, local govt., district, State and national response mechanism.
• Capacity for early detection, in case of leakage and information dissemination mechanism should be put in place.
• Land use and lack of planning is the first level risk reduction in industrial disaster management and has to be highlighted in the regional developmental planning focused on industrial disaster at the nodal disaster management institutions like NIDM and disaster management centres in States is very weak due to the giving stress on which worst case scenario. This needs to be strengthened and reinforced.
The Congress, organized by NIDM, got underway on November 4 and was attended by over 1200 delegates from India and abroad.