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Mysuru’s ATI leads in preparing for biological disasters on war-footing

By Dr Ashok Sanganal

Mysuru, April 9:- The Centre for Disaster Management, Administrative Training Institute, Mysuru, in collaboration with Revenue Department (Disaster Management) and Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority has been actively involved in helping the state government and district administrations in the preparation of state and district disaster management plans.

ATI conducted a series of consultative workshops at the district and regional levels inviting officers and experts of different departments, NGOs and scientific organisations to prepare Karnataka State Disaster Management Plan and district DM plans. The Disaster Management Act 2005 marks the institutionalisation of disaster management in India giving emphasis on proactive response vis-à-vis traditionally followed relief-centric approach stressing on pre-disaster activities such as prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

Sections 23 and 31 of the Disaster Management Act 2005 mandate that there shall be a State Disaster Management Plan (SDMP) for every state and disaster management plan for every district. Section 32 further specifies disaster management plans to be prepared by different authorities at the district level.

Planning for biological disasters covering E-bola, Cholera, COVID-19 or any such disasters have been comprehensively taken into account in chapter 7 of the State Disaster Management Plan. Keeping in view the severity and complexity of such biological disasters, the institute has carried out an exercise to identify the responsibility matrix for different agencies and departments both at the state and district levels for effective preparedness for early warnings and forecasting, risk assessment, structural and non-structural mitigation, awareness, training and capacity development of agencies, recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation (building back better) have been clearly identified and defined.

The state DM plan is envisioned with fail-proof communication, authentic and accurate database documented, rehearsed to be activated in the shortest possible time with minimum simple orders and procedures ensuring participation by the administration, communities, industries, private/NGOs, volunteers at all levels, making optimal utilisation of human and material resources with no gaps or no overlaps to prevent/minimise loss to lives and property and faster restoration of normal life in the affected areas.

The effect of the disaster (COVID-19) has been immediate and widespread. The effect may challenge or overwhelm the capacity of a community or society to cope using the available resources. The SDMP is a “dynamic document” in the sense that it will be periodically improvised keeping up with the global best practices and knowledge base in disaster management. It is in accordance with the provisions of the Disaster Management Act 2005, and the established practices.

Relevant agencies – state and district – will carry out disaster management activities in different phases in the disaster affected areas depending on the type and scale of the disaster.

The Centre for Disaster Management, ATI, Mysuru, during the year 2019-20 alone trained about 9000 officials from government departments and local bodies spread across the state on different themes of disaster management. This skilled manpower is available to the district administrations for involving them in management of disasters. During this lockdown period to maintain the social distancing norms and to avoid mass gathering, the centre has planned online training programmes on COVID-19 preparedness for the officials of local bodies in the affected districts.

The State Disaster Management Plans 2019-20 and 2020-21 and district plans will be a guiding tool and give direction to all the departments, district administrations, DDMAs, public and private agencies, industries and community for better preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response and reconstruction activities. These plans will guide all concerned functionaries and agencies to take timely action so that the impact of any disaster is reduced to the minimum. (The writer is Head, Centre for Disaster Management, ATI, Mysuru)


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