UN body likely to appoint state coordinator

By Arun Lakshman| Express News Service | Published: 11th September 2018 01:22 AM

TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is likely to appoint a state coordinator and seven district- level coordinators for post-flood relief and recovery activities, G Padmanabhan, the UN body’s former Emergency Analyst, told Express. The state coordinator will work with senior bureaucrats and the district-level officers will be coordinating with the Collectors concerned and supporting them. The UN body will be locally recruiting people for district coordination as grasp of the local language is crucial to the success of such activities, the expert said. The district-level officers will also be coordinating with the NGOs and other voluntary organisations with experience in rehabilitation and reconstruction projects, the expert said.

A Master’s in Geography and Planning, G Padmanabhan, who was with the UNDP for over 25 years, was here for a lecture in connection with the CaRe Kerala programme.He said the UNDP, UNICEF and WHO will jointly form a Post-Disaster Needs’ Assessment(PDNA) in the state which is the first step towards developing a holistic recovery programme promoting equity and inclusion.

Padmanabhan, who was part of the Odisha Disaster Recovery Project, said the state had put in place an effective contingency plan  when Cyclone Phailin hit the state. While around 10,000 lives were lost in the 1999 cyclone, the toll in Cyclone Phailin stood at 23, most of whom were electrocuted.He said there is need for shelter- related support and in recovery programme this is one of the major areas. He further said there should be temporary shelters and from there people can return home and repair or maintain the houses. He stressed the need to have a people- centric approach during rehabilitation and to maximise the use of  green technology  followed by the UNDP worldwide.

According to Padmanabhan, the Shelter Programmes can also be used for development activity - for instance the mud  deposited during the floods can be used to make mud blocks. Going forward, this can be turned into an enterprise with the affected sections being given entrepreneurship training. The government should unveil a policy on the recovery programmes and an Institutional Structure should be evolved to decide who will drive the programme. The UN expert said there will be an administrative procedure to decide and monitor which department does what in Sector- specific activities.

Besides, the focus should be on Owner Driven Reconstruction(ODR) and not stereotype houses. 
He said  while in Odisha there were stereotype houses, in post- earthquake Gujarat  there were few takers for stereotype houses and Malayalees will be looking for houses based on suggestions and plans from the owners.

G Padmanabhan also made out a case for a Disaster score card which will have Hazard index and Vulnerability index which he said will give a proper perspective of the possibilities of calamity. 
He said this can be implemented at the district-level to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.

Brick by brick
The state coordinator will work with senior bureaucrats, and the district-level officers will be coordinating with the Collectors concerned and supporting them
The district-level officers will be coordinating with the NGOs and other voluntary organisations with experience in rehabilitation

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