Disaster management: India pushes for regional cooperation

flood sceneIndia has pressed for greater regional cooperation among Asian countries to share best experiences in disaster management and underlined its commitment to a UN-mandated framework, which aims at bolstering the  resilience of nations and communities in the face of natural calamities.

Speaking at the sixth Asian Ministerial Conference in Bangkok, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kirren Rijiju said India would like to share its experiences with other countries and learn various approaches from them on disaster risk reduction. The June 22-26 conference has brought together disaster managers and experts from various Asian countries to share their experiences in reducing disaster risk in the region.

The minister said the conference provided a platform for consolidating strategies to move forward after the completion of Hyogo Framework of Action 2014-15, a 10-year UN-mandated global plan that seeks to make the world safer from natural hazards and build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters. Calling it important in the context of third United Nations Conference on disaster risk reduction which is to be held in 2015, he spoke about how India coped with 2013 floods and landslides in Uttarakhand and Cyclone Phaillin that hit the eastern coasts of India in October 2013.

The minister documented a host of steps taken by India to bolster its disaster management infrastructure that includes setting up of the Disaster Management Authorities at national and state level, the issuing of hazard-specific guidelines by National Disaster Management Authority and the creation of the National Disaster Response Force.  Based on the National Disaster Management Plan, a consultation process has been initiated with concerned ministries that includes disaster mitigation, capacity building as well as disaster response.

The setting up of National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is another important step taken by the Indian government to enable close consultations among numerous stakeholders and disaster managers.

“India is highly vulnerable to natural hazards particularly earthquakes, floods, droughts, cyclones and landslides and a number of human-made disasters. Our country has witnessed several disasters in the past, which have caused great misery and sufferings. They have also given us the opportunities to bring institutional improvements. It is a continuous process to keep improving in this regard,” he said.

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