VISAKHAPATNAM: A permanent facility of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) would be set up in Visakhapatnam soon, HRD minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao said here at ‘Prakampana’-the first Joint Disaster Management Exercise aiming at synchronising the resources and efforts of all agencies involved in such exercises-which was launched here on Tuesday.
Listing out the government’s priorities to deal with natural disasters in the state, the minister said that land was being allocated to set up a facility for the permanent national disaster response force in the Port City.
“The government has decided to strengthen the disaster management wing for meeting any challenge in future. Already, a State Disaster Response Force has been set up with 600 trained personnel,” he said. Given the vulnerability of Vizag to cyclones and considering the trails of destruction Hudhud had left in the city, a blue book would be prepared in which the suggestions and guidelines of the ‘Prakampana’ would be included, the minister said.
The three-day exercise is being conducted by the Eastern Naval Command (ENC), in liaison with the concerned Centre and state authorities.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief of ENC Vice-Admiral HCS Bisht said that the exercise was undertaken to enhance the preparedness level of the north coastal Andhra Pradesh to deal with the natural disasters like Hudhud.
Referring to the relief and rescue operations undertaken during the recent Chennai floods, Bisht said Prakampana would review the swiftness of the past rescue operations during the disasters. “The exercise would culminate with a debrief at the Navy’s Maritime Warfare Centre which would help identify the lessons learnt, shortfalls, areas of improvements and recommendations for future exercises,” said Vice Admiral Bisht.
Addressing the inaugural session, chief secretary SP Tucker said that based on the past experiences and adopted practices, a document should be prepared as a reference resource for disaster management in the state.
Citing the example of Krishna Pushkarams, he said that the drinking water supply and sanitation works were reviewed with the help of 40 drones during the fete, and corrective measures were taken immediately wherever needed.
All stakeholders were tasked to formulate a comprehensive disaster management plan to cater to the pre-event and post-disaster action plan. The TTX enabled better understanding of each other’s specialities so as to bring all agencies for better co-ordination in planning the relief operations.