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New Delhi, August 10, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting today through video conference with the Chief Ministers of six States -- Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala -- to review their preparedness to deal with the south-west monsoon and the current flood situation in the country.
Among others, the meeting was also attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, both the Ministers of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and senior officers of the concerned central Ministries and organizations.
Modi stressed the need for better coordination between all central and state agencies to have a permanent system for forecasting of floods and extensive use of innovative technologies for improving forecast and warning system.
He said that, in the past few years, the country's forecasting agencies like India Meteorological Department and Central Water Commission have been making concerted efforts to make better and more usable flood forecasts.
"They are trying to provide not only rainfall and river level forecast but also location specific forecast of inundation. There are pilot efforts underway to also use innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to improve locations specific forecast, for which States should provide necessary information to these agencies and timely disseminate the warnings to local communities," he said.
The Prime Minister mentioned that investment should be increased in localised early warning systems so that people in a particular area can be provided with timely warning in case of any threatening situation such as breach of river embankment, inundation level, lightning, and so on.
He also emphasized that, in view of the COVID situation, while undertaking rescue efforts, States must ensure that people follow all health precautions such as wearing of face mask, hand sanitization and maintain adequate physical distance and relief materials must include provision for hand washing/ sanitizing and face masks for the affected people. In this regard, special provisions should be made for elderly people, pregnant women and people with co-morbidity, he said.
Modi also said that States should ensure that all development and infrastructure projects must be built with resilience to withstand local disasters and to help in reducing consequential losses.
The Chief Ministers provided updates on the flood situation in their respective states and the rescue efforts being made.
They complimented the efforts of central agencies including NDRF teams in timely deployment and rescuing people. They also gave some suggestions for short-term and long-term measures for mitigating the effects of floods.
Modi directed the officers of concerned Ministries and organisations to take action on the suggestions given by the States and said that the Centre will continue to provide its support to the States and Union Territories in order to strengthen their capabilities for dealing with disasters.