Addressing the ninth formation day function of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) here, Dr. Singh said: "Our forecasting and early warning capabilities need to be strengthened and upgraded. Our communication systems need to be improved to ensure that disaster alerts and warnings reach the last person in the village without delay."
"The capacities of our communication Panchayati Raj institutions and local communities, who are the first responders in any disaster situation, need to be enhanced further. In fact, disaster risk reduction strategies should be made an integral part of our development processes. This aspect has been recognized and particularly emphasized in the 12th Plan document," he added.
The Prime Minister said disaster management was a complex exercise, involving the active and coordinated participation of a large number of stakeholders.
"These stakeholders include the central and state governments, panchayati raj institutions, civil society organisations, local communities and citizens. I would particularly urge the state governments to urgently strengthen their state and district disaster management authorities and ensure that effective state disaster management plans and standard operating procedures for responding to specific vulnerabilities are not only put in place but also regularly updated and tested," Dr. Singh said.
"The Central Government will, of course, provide all possible support in these onerous tasks. The NDMA will continue its efforts for strengthening community preparedness for disaster events and engaging in activities related to disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Efforts will also be made to develop policies and programs to ensure that our governance structures and communities are better prepared to deal with both natural and man-made hazards," he added.
Dr Singh further said the NDMA's efforts to increase awareness and strengthen disaster preparedness in the country are particularly significant.
"For example, it conducted an earthquake preparedness exercise in Delhi in 2011-12, followed by a multi-state campaign for North-western States in 2012-13. A similar exercise will be conducted in the current fiscal year for North-eastern States of the Union. These exercises not only test the level of our preparedness but also help in identifying gaps in our response mechanisms," he added.
Dr. Singh said the post-disaster phase of immediate rescue and relief in Uttarakhand had been largely completed. But the task of reconstruction, rehabilitation and restoration of livelihoods is far from being over.
"The Central Government is committed to fully assist the Uttarakhand Government in this task. A Cabinet Committee has been constituted solely to provide broad guidance and support to reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Uttarakhand. The Planning Commission is working to put together an Uttarakhand package in consultation with various Central Ministries," he said.
--ANI (Posted on 04-10-2013)