Thu, 30 Mar 2023

New Delhi [India], March 18 (ANI): The 38th meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) which was held today under the Chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena took stock of the preparedness and deliberated upon charting and augmenting the way forward, in case of an earthquake in the city, which falls in the 'High Damage Risk Zone IV' on the seismic map of India.

Vice Chairman of DDMA, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Revenue Minister Kailash Gehlot, Chief Secretary, Special Commissioner (Police), Divisional Commissioner, Secretary (Health), VC, DDA, Commissioner MCD and top representatives of Army, NDMA, NIDM, National Institute of Seismology and all District Magistrates were present in the meeting which was held in the wake of the disastrous earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

The prevalent situation of H3N2 Flu, H1N1 Flu and COVID 19 were also discussed in the meeting.

Stressing that disasters did not give prior information before manifesting themselves, the L-G emphasized upon the need to be completely prepared to face eventuality, even if it entailed erring on the side of caution. Recounting his experience of the Gujarat earthquake that had caused widespread destruction, LG Saxena said that Delhi needed to be fully prepared to handle any disaster and preparations to this effect should be put in place from today itself.

In this regard, he outlined the following and asked for works to be started on the same in a time bound manner;Firstly, retrofitting of all schools, Hospitals, police stations, other critical government offices and vulnerable buildings especially in the 'Special Area' and old Delhi localities, according to the Earthquake Resilient Building Code.

Secondly, identifying open spaces across the Capital for rescue operations in the event of an earthquake.

Thirdly, identifying Hospitals at the level of every District and Sub Division for emergency response.

Fourthly, broadening of narrow lanes and by lanes to ensure access for ambulances, fire tenders and rescue teams in event of an emergency.

Fifthly, establishing connectivity with Railway Telephone Network so as to ensure communication in case of other means collapsing.

The Chief Minister on his part stressed upon the need to compile and tabulate all reports/recommendations of different committees constituted from time to time with regards to mitigation of disasters and thereafter affects and also underlined the need to make government offices like the Delhi Secretariat and Police Headquarter, earthquake resistant through retrofitting.

CM Kejriwal underlined that once all reports were collated and compiled along with the actions taken on them so far, the future course of action may be decided.

It was agreed that the Divisional Commissioner, who is also the Nodal Officer and Convenor of DDMA, will undertake this exercise and put it up for consideration and further directions of the DDMA in its next meeting, to be held at the earliest.

It was brought out by the representative of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), that while all other States had put into place their own State Disaster Relief Forces (SDRFs) to work in tandem with the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), Delhi was yet to effectively do so. He urged the DDMA to expeditiously get a Delhi SDRF constituted. It was decided to do the same at the earliest.

The matter of a proper office/building to locate the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), yet not being fully available was also flagged in the meeting and a decision was taken to address the same in a time bound manner.

With regards to addressing the trend of rising H3N2 Flu and COVID cases, it was decided that though not mandatorily, protocols like masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene and sanitation, preparedness of hospitals, etc. needed to be followed to the farthest possible extent.

It was also informed that 'Aapda Mitra' Scheme of enrolling and training Disaster Relief Volunteers had been rolled out in Delhi and 1800 Volunteers had been trained and enrolled till now. It was agreed upon by DDMA to augment the number of volunteers, train them and make information about them readily available on the Websites of DDMA at all levels, for access by people in need of any assistance during a disaster. (ANI)

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