KOCHI: The people of the state may have stood united to overcome the hardships caused by the devastating deluge, still it spoke about the need to improve the competence of Kerala’s disaster management system. Yet, many officials who were handling such a situation for the first time believe the experience they gained would help them devise a better plan in handling emergency situations in the future.
“We are now aware of the challenges that the floods pose. We have experienced it. With monsoon expected to hit Kerala anytime from now, there are chances of an increase in the water level of various water bodies. Hence, the District Disaster Management Authority has come up with a detailed plan to tackle the tough situations like a flood,” said PD Sheela Devi, Deputy Collector (District Disaster Management Authority).
She said a meeting of various stakeholders, including local bodies, KSEB, KWA, Irrigation Department and people’s representatives, was convened to draw out a blueprint.“The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines stating the permission from the District Collector should be sought 36 hours before the opening of dams.
“Moreover, while evacuating people, priority will be given to people residing on purambokke land near the canals and rivers, colonies, people living in areas vulnerable to landslide, those living near paddy fields and other marshy lands. A priority map will be prepared and rescue operations will be carried out on the basis of the map,” said Devi.
‘Top priority for safety, health’
Ernakulam District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla said safety and health are the two areas the district administration is giving top priority during the monsoon. “Preparations are on to tackle the situation if the monsoon intensifies. The guidelines issued by the Disaster Management Authority were circulated among various stakeholders. We have also identified locations for setting up relief camps to relocate and rehabilitate people in case of an emergency situation,” he said.
“We are also conducting inspections in various places, including migrant camps, and monitoring the health condition of the dwellers there. This is to prevent the outbreak of contagious diseases during monsoon,” said the district collector.