Disaster management training | NERIST to have incubation & innovation centre: Prof Yadav

By Pradeep Kumar

NIRJULI, Feb 27: The North Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology (NERIST) has inked a MoU with the GoI to set up an incubation & innovation centre (IIC) soon in tune with its desire that common masses should avail fruits of scientific development, said its director Prof H S Yadav.

He was address the inaugural session of two-day disaster management training, a collaborative initiative of NERIST, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM),   which begun here on Thursday and lauded 12th Bn NDRF commandant U K Thapliyal for this historic event.

The IIC to be set up at a cost of Rs 10 crore would involve various stake holders as a R&D platform to serve as a boon for students, particularly of disaster prone NE region, he said with conviction. Though common sense helps tackle disaster, but knew information on disaster to be generated by the IIC would percolate down across the globe as knowledge has no boundary, he said.

NIDM head (hydrometeorological hazard division) under Union MoHA, Prof Surya Prakash would enlighten all participants – NERIST faculty members, research scholars, students including of the RGU & GoAP officials besides interact with them during the valedictory function on Friday, Prof Yadav added.

“I am not a disaster expert but only disaster management manager”, said Thapliyal, adding any tragedy which cannot be contained with available human resources is called a disaster. But ego is the greatest hindrance in tackling disasters due to hesitation in sharing available data bank. Changing such attitude and sharing resources would help contain disasters, he said with certainty.

Disaster disrupts communication system first for which steps should be taken to protect them in disaster-prone zones. Informing that the NDRF has highly expensive 302 equipments, he cited the example of drivers of Navy, Army and his battalion which had recovered bodies of five members of a family who had died in Sivsagar after a Swift Dzire car carrying them had plunged into Dikow River in September 2018.

A high powered magnet of 16.5-kg, made in Tinsukia with the concept of removing metal particles during  tea processing and capable of zeroing down to metal object and pulling up 100-kg load, had detected the car but the bodies were located later from foul smells only, he said while demonstrating the magnet.

Recalling the global disaster exercise by a seven-nation team including himself in Odisha with Konark as the centre in November 2019, he pointed out that 1999 mega cyclone in Odisha had claimed about 10,000 lives but the death toll had come down to only 89 by Fenny in May 2019, despite being the strongest tropical (category 4 hurricane) to strike Odisha since 1999. Proactive role of Odisha State Disaster Management Authority deserves credit for this, he said.

(It would be worth mentioning there that this daily had covered the Fenny tragedy, particularly highlighting all electric poles erected by the railways along railway line were intact while those erected by state’s power department were totally uprooted).

He clarified that the design of poles of railway was a learning lesson for R&D wing of NIDM. But citing an incident when Fenny approached Kolkata and he was there in a new building with his families, he said that all four of them had prepared after experiencing its impacts.  However, his youngest daughter, a class-V student of NERIST KV, had kept packed food items, torch and water bottle in her school bag without any formal lesson as she has been hearing about disaster preparedness during his interaction with visitors to his house.  Her preparation was the best, he said.

Though the NDRF has been conducting school safety programme to bring awareness among students, he urged NERIST to set up a disaster cell and the students to contribute to disaster concept for others to benefit.

Highlighting about as pre- and post-disasters, Prof S K Singh earlier, said that earthquakes, accidents, floods and man-made landslides are pre-disasters while reducing impacts and helping suffererers to recover from such tragedies are post-disasters activities.

Indian subcontinent, vulnerable to earthquakes (almost 54% area), has been divided into four seismic 2, 3, 4 & 5 zones unlike earlier six zones with Zone 5 falling in highest seismicity area and Zone 2 in the lowest, he informed.

Pointing out that any event which cases massive damages to life and properties beyond human control is called disaster; training coordinator-cum-civil engineering HoD Prof S Mitra said that India has been divided into earthquake prone zones depending on seismicity.

Informing that BSNL with its tele communication network has a pivotal role, he said that DGM Aungung Siram would address the participants.

“We should be ready to face disaster depending upon human activities”, he said and termed NDRF as most important institution in India to tackle disasters.  Though the training was planned for 100 participants but the number rose to 143 and more are expected, he added.

The NIDM has been promoting awareness on disaster management and enhance capabilities of stakeholders to face any disaster its expert Anik Khathait said, adding this is the first collaborative training with the NERIST.

The NIDM is known globally for disaster mitigation, the last being 2015 Nepal or Gorkha earthquake that had killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000, he added.

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