New Delhi: India on Wednesday unveiled a blueprint to tackle national disasters through its first ever National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). The plan, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims to make the country disaster resilient and reduce loss of lives and assets during calamities.
The NDMP provides a framework to deal with all phases of disaster management cycle—prevention, mitigation, response and recovery—and lays down duties of various government departments at all levels such as centre, state, district and panchayat.
The plan outlines 15 disasters, and has entrusted various ministries for its management and mitigation.
For instance, in case of tsunami or cyclone, the ministry of earth sciences would be responsible for disaster management and similarly for landslides, it will be the job of the ministry of mines. Health ministry will take care of biological disasters and urban development ministry will deal with urban floods.
It identifies 18 broad activities to be served as a ready reckoner. These include early warning, maps, satellite inputs, information dissemination, evacuation of people and animals, medical care, drinking water and essential supplies like food, communication, power, fuel, transportation, disposal of animal carcasses, relief employment, and data collection and management.
The NDMP also calls for addressing the increased disaster risks from the adverse impacts of climate change.
Lt Gen N.C. Marwah, (retired), member of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and one of the authors of the plan, said, “The plan has been evolved over a period of time so it encompasses all aspects and dimensions of disaster management. The most important part of the plan is the horizontal and vertical matrices that we have worked out which clearly states who has to do what right from panchayat or local body to district, state level and centre.” He added that the real challenge would be to ensure its implementation and monitoring.
With the plan, India has joined the list of nations that follow the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, endorsed by the United Nations in 2015. It was the first major agreement post 2015 development agenda with seven targets and four priorities for action signed by 187 countries, including India.
The plan would also become a key highlight for the Asian ministers meet to be held in Delhi in November where a disaster plan for Asian region would be discussed, said an NDMA official.
The NDMP also identifies short, medium and long term measures to deal with disasters to be completed within five, 10 and 15 years, respectively. Besides humans, it also suggests ways to protect animals. For instance, it stressed that, “agencies specializing in animal care should provide necessary advisory and support for the care and protection of animals”.
“In cold wave conditions, animal and livestock owners must feed adequately with appropriate feed to avoid animal deaths. They must stock suitable feed or forage before cold wave to feed the livestock. They must avoid exposure of animals to extreme cold,” it added.
The plan also focuses on human-induced disasters.
“The human-induced category includes CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) disasters. Besides, with the natural factors discussed earlier, various human induced activities are also responsible for accelerated impact and increase in frequency of disasters in the country. The NDMP covers disaster management cycle for all types of hazards faced in India, both natural and human-induced,” the plan said.