Shinde calls for exchange of information on earthquake response
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday called for an exchange of information on earthquake response.
Shinde, who inaugurated a two-day EAS-India Workshop 2012 on Building Regional Framework for Earthquake Risk Management here today, asked EAS countries attending the two-day workshop to harness the knowledge and experience of earthquake response of the recovery for the purpose of strengthening international coordination and cooperation and also to use this knowledge to reduce number of deaths in earthquakes.
While referring to the devastation faced by India during the Latur earthquake of 1993, Bhuj earthquake of 2001 and Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, Shinde appreciated the generosity shown by international community not only during these calamities but also during the course of long-term rehabilitation efforts.
He stressed the need to have a four pronged strategy to reduce number of deaths in the earthquakes significantly viz. (i) to improve building skills and practices in earthquake - prone areas to prevent their collapse and to improve response by strengthening search and rescue capacity, evacuation practices and emergency medical response in time to make them more effective (ii) to assess earthquake risk with greater precision by having a clear idea about the earthquake prone regions and to adapt building codes and regulations accordingly (iii) lay down a system for effective coordination of International assistance following the earthquakes which include a system to provide visa and airport facilitation to search and rescue teams on immediate basis and to deliver medical assistance, food and clothes to the affected population and (iv) to have an expeditious and equitable recovery programme so as to reach all the people affected by the earthquake especially the weaker and deprived sections of the society.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Vice Chairman Shashidhar Reddy in his keynote address stressed on the need to develop a regional approach towards coordination of logistics for response, rescue, relief and recovery in addition to sharing of best practices in the course of discussions on major earthquakes in the region.
As disasters often transcend national boundaries, he reiterated the need for a coordinated response from national and international agencies for inflow of response material so that in a real-life situation, the pre-decided or agreed protocols can facilitate immediate assistance to save lives.
Union Home Secretary R. K. Singh in his welcome address earlier stated that key motivation for organizing and hosting this workshop arises from the awareness that the earthquakes pose a serious threat to lives and property of this region.
He also mentioned that workshop will deliberate upon different aspects of earthquakes: response, risk assessment, mitigation, and recovery. He stressed the need to have a mechanism to coordinate with international agencies and NGOs to establish the same in advance during normal times with a view to provide the relevant and real time information about the earthquake with a view to ensuring immediate relief.
Singh further stated that India should get international experience and expertise in the area of risk financing and insurance for speedier economic rehabilitation of earthquake victims particularly the poor, to insure their life and property against earthquakes. He hoped that the international workshop would provide a framework and an action plan for strengthening the regional cooperation in the area of risk management.
The workshop is being attended by the officials of the National Disaster Management Authorities of 18 East Asia Summit (EAS) Member countries including India.
Delegates from International organizations and officials and experts from various ministries, states, technical institutions etc. from India are also attending the workshop.