KOCHI: Kerala should set up urgently a Disaster Response Team of at least 100 people with sufficient equipment, including boats, in all constituencies to handle effectively any future disasters and other emergencies, said Better Kochi Response Group (BKRG).
In a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, BKRG said the team should be trained and multi-skilled in handling crisis situations like floods, earthquakes, fire, explosions and mass evacuations.
“Such skill development should also be made a part of the curriculum in every school, college and other professional institutions. The Government should fund these training programmes as is being done in other skill development programmes,” the memorandum said
BKRG, a Kochi-based voluntary initiative of close to 30 very senior accomplished professionals, with architect S Gopakumar as its president and Shirly Chacko as secretary, made other recommendations too.
1. A total recovery operation plan should be developed by the government using specialists and external consultants.
2. Those whose houses have been damaged either beyond repair or require substantial repairs, the needed support has to be provided by the government/NGOs/local committees.
3. For those who have lost their houses totally or are so badly damaged that they cannot be occupied, some kind of temporary housing facilities - like army dormitories/ barracks/container units with partitions to separate families etc - have to be provided till such time their houses are reconstructed.
4. Sufficient care has to be taken to deal with carcasses of animals and dead bodies of humans in and around the houses which could aggravate the situation.
The government should also issue directives to make it mandatory for all affected family members and all rescue workers engaged in the relief operations to go through a comprehensive vaccination programme to prevent the onset of typhoid, cholera & hepatitis
5. The Health Department should be ready to hold medical camps wherever required in association with IMA/other medical associations.
6. Since the tasks involved are huge, it will be necessary to involve corporates/industry and trade bodies/NGO’s and self-help groups in a well coordinated programme of action to achieve the objectives.
7. It is strongly recommended that every house with an approved door number must take a home insurance protecting the owners against natural disasters. This should be made mandatory and the government should facilitate the launch of such a scheme in association with insurance companies.
8. Constant interaction with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) shall be held, complying with the guidelines of NDMA.