Central, state officials urged to be better prepared to minimize losses due to natural disasters

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, May 19, 2018

Officials of Central and State governments should be better prepared to minimize losses due to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and earthquakes, according to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba. 
In his inaugural address at the annual conference of relief commissioners/secretaries here yesterday, Mr Gauba said, “We have to build our capacities through better weather forecast, conducting mock drills and improved resource management. 
Citing figures, he said on an average during the decade from 2005 -14, India suffered economic losses of approximately Rs 60,000 crore per annum due to different kinds of natural disasters of which the maximum damage was caused by floods.
Mr Gauba said India is flood prone as the bulk of precipitation takes place in a short time but the losses could be reduced through better preparation. Though continued efforts over the last several years have managed to reduce the impact of natural disasters, there is room for improvement, he added.  
He expressed the hope that the deliberations at the conference would help in sharing experiences and improving the coordination. He also urged the States to build their own capacities and gradually reduce their dependence on the Centre. He also emphasised the importance of building capacities at the city and district levels and involving communities.
In his address, Mr RK Jain, Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said the Centre and the States should continue their coordinated efforts to minimise losses due to floods and cyclones.  Deaths due to heat waves which were about 2200 in the year 2015 scaled down to about 220 in 2017 primarily due to the groundwork done on dissemination of information, better awareness etc.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General Sanjay Kumar said, last year, more than 35 NDRF teams were airlifted for rescue operations in flood-hit areas. They rescued more than 3,000 people and evacuated more than 100,000.  NDRF has stationed 12 battalions all over the country for quick deployment in times of emergency.
The one-day conference was attended by relief commissioners of State governments and Union Territories and officials of  IMD, Geological Survey of India, Defence Ministry and Central Water Commission.
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