HYDERABAD: Quick and timely response to a disaster, especially in a city like Hyderabad, is quite important. From flash floods to falling trees, every second count. But the question remains: How do responders reach a place that is hard to reach even under normal conditions?
In an attempt at solving this possible problem, the Enforcement, Vigilance and Disaster Management (EVDM) wing of the GHMC is planning to induct the Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle, known for its all-terrain adaptability, into the Disaster Response Force.
“We are planning to induct five Himalayan bikes because of their ability to traverse any terrain in the city. They would help reach small and narrow roads, that are inaccessible to four-wheelers,” said Viswajit Kampati, Director, EVDM.
GHMC had earlier inducted into its fleet 4x4 multi-wheel Isuzu trucks for disaster response. However, the sheer size of the vehicle has made it difficult for respondent teams to reach narrow by-lanes.
“It will also be easy to move in traffic if we use motorcycles. The vehicle will have the capability to move in water, uneven road or even climb up a divider,” Kampati said. The bikes will be equipped with tree cutters, crowbars and other things that can be carried in a rucksack. Both, a driver and pillion can ride the vehicle in times of emergencies.
It may be mentioned that the state fire services department has a fleet of Royal Enfield Bullet (350 cc) models to respond to fire accidents the city in places that are inaccessible to fire trucks. Even the State medical department has mooted the idea of using Bajaj Avenger (150 cc) motorcycles.
The EVDM also plans to procure international-standard portable radio systems for clear communication.
‘Disaster management preparedness poor’
When it comes to preparedness to handle events such as hail storms, heat waves and thunderstorms, the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has done a quite a poor job, say scientists and experts.
Mahendra Rajan, a disaster risk reduction officer at UNICEF, speaking at a seminar in the city. “Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have a good system in place that allows district-level administrators and respective agriculture department officials to stay aware of conditions such as thunderstorms. While Telangana does have such a system, it needs to be strengthened,” said
Explaining how warnings of a thunderstorm are given in Andhra Pradesh, Indian meteorological department (IMD) Director YK Reddy said: “Luminous clouds can be traced on the weather radar 40 minutes before thunderstorms. An alert is given to district officials and agricultural officers who then inform people working in the plains, susceptible to thunderstorms.”
The reason for a weak disaster management system in the state is attributed to the less vulnerability of cyclones or earthquakes.