BHUBANESWAR: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will host second Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation Disaster Management Exercise (BIMSTEC- DMEx) in the State from Tuesday.
The three-day exercise to be conducted in Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark will discuss standardisation of protocol, formulation of policy and guidelines for protection of heritage sites during disasters and their conservation post-disaster.
Five out of seven BIMSTEC countries -- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal -- will participate in the first-of-its-kind exercise conducted on the theme of ‘protecting a cultural heritage site that suffers severe damage in earthquake, flooding or storm.’
Addressing mediapersons, Director General, NDRF, Satya Narayan Pradhan said “The objective of this exercise is to test the existing emergency procedure for notification, preparedness and response. The exercise will provide an opportunity to the participating countries to enhance coordination and cooperation involving multi-agency operations in an earthquake, flooding and storm surge.”
An exercise village has been set up at Ramchandi beach where simulation on aquatic disaster response with special attention to the damage to heritage structures will take place. “The exercise will be different from the mock drill where our focus will be on making it as real as possible,” he added.
The NDRF DG said after completion of the exercise, draft guidelines will be framed which will be vetted by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for preparation of a policy and guidelines for protection of the heritage structures at the time of diaster and their conservation post disaster. He also said Odisha was selected for the exercise as it has experience in tackling disasters successfully and also has a number of heritage structures.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said the exercise will be helpful for all the stakeholders, especially the NDRF and ODRAF units as ordinary buildings and heritage structures sustaining damage in disaster can not be dealt the same way. Odisha Government may also impart special training to ODRAF teams in this regard, he said.
Officials of ASI, NDMA, IMD, INTACH, Central Water Commission, INCOIS along with international observers from UNDP, International Search and Rescue Advisory Group, International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property will take part.