NEW DELHI: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has started distributing specially procured 'dignity kits', each containing basic toiletries, a pair of clothes and hygiene items for both men and women, to the needy and those displaced by the lockdown enforced in the country to contain the spread of coronavirus.
NDRF Director General (DG) S N Pradhan told PTI the force has distributed over 8,800 such kits through its battalions based in Noida, Gorakhpur and Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh, Gaya in Bihar, Guntur, Nellore and Krishna districts in Andhra Pradesh, and Vadodara and Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
It is for the first time that the disaster response body has distributed such kits.
"These kits were procured by us about six months back. The kit contains basic survival essentials for people who have been displaced or who are not able to purchase these items due to lack of money," the NDRF chief said.
A standard 'dignity kit' for women, packed in a plastic bucket, contains a small toothpaste, brush, bathing and washing soaps, two pairs of undergarments, towel, oil, comb, two pairs of salwar suits in different sizes, a nail cutter, mirror, a packet with 10 sanitary pads, an anti-septic cream and a mug.
The men's kit also contains similar items and has two pairs of 'pyjama-kurta' instead of the women's attire, and a shaving pack instead of feminine hygiene products.
The force has distributed over 8,800 such kits to both males and females till now and has a total reserve of 15,000 'dignity kits' for men and 25,000 for women, the official said.
The kits have been distributed among the 12 NDRF battalions in the country and they are distributing them to the needy as per requirement, Pradhan said.
The federal disaster contingency force had made this first-time procurement of 'dignity kits' under the national disaster response reserve (NDRR) that is meant to provide primary survival kit to victims.
Global disaster response procedures mandate that the victims are provided basic sanitation and surviving items so that they can sustain themselves for some time in the aftermath of a calamity.
A senior official said during the ongoing lockdown many migrant workers and daily wagers started moving from metro cities to their homes in far off states, leading to a situation where they had no means to carry out their daily activities and ablutions in a hygienic manner.
The dignity kits were procured by the NDRF with the sole reason that during disasters like floods, earthquakes and other calamities, the victims are displaced from their homes and their essential items are either damaged or left behind, he said.
NDRF chief Pradhan also said the force has divided the about 13,000 personnel-strong force into 84 small teams across the country and they can be deployed for any contingency in any state in the wake of the COVID-19 spread.
"We have also equipped our teams with personal protective equipments (PPEs). At present 60 per cent of our manpower has them and it will be hundred per cent availability in the coming days," the DG said.
Our teams are on standby and can assist any state or respond to any emergency as and when required, he said.
The force recently helped the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration for contact tracing of Tablighi Jamaat members and about 15 such people were found.
"Our teams are also assisting some other states in the COVID-19 combat," he said.
About 89 NDRF personnel are also assisting the COVID-19 control room response teams in various states and the Union home ministry.
The force has also conducted training programmes for understanding and responding to basic symptoms for the viral infection and about 38,000 front line workers in the security and health services have been trained, the senior official quoted above said.
Those trained include CISF personnel at airports, officials at various land and sea ports and staffers at the Supreme Court and the Parliament.
The NDRF was raised in 2006.