New Delhi, November 23: Inaugurating the first "South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise"– 2015 on Monday, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju called upon the eight members South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations to accord high priority and develop better concept of Disaster Management.
Rijiju has also called for strengthening institutional systems to strengthen the Disaster Response mechanism amongst the South Asian countries.
Rijiju said India has taken the lead role in the region by hosting the first SAADMEx, primarily because India is the biggest nation in this region and also because a lot has been done by us in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the last 16 months.
Pointing out that South Asia is the most disaster prone region in the world and that we may face disasters more frequently in the days to come, he said that we have to create awareness in the minds of the people and empower them since they would be the ones who are going to face it.
Rijiju said we are taking DRR seriously, but we have much more to do and work out a proper laid down objective for ourselves on how to be better prepared to face disasters.
Rijiju said that any government programme has to incorporate DRR in their framework as a policy matter. He announced that Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by NIDM with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for M. Phil. & PhD. on Disaster Management subject.
O P Singh, Director General, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), welcoming the delegates, said that conducting this kind of Disaster Management Exercise among SAARC nations on annual basis is need of the time to develop better mechanism for tackling disasters and also minimize the impact.
He also added that disaster response simulation exercise is the test of preparedness of response mechanism of the state.
Dr. Ajay M. Gondane, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), also addressed the delegates during inaugural session. Addressing the inaugural session Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Secretary General, SAARC said that formulation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and organizing disaster management exercise were decided during the Jakarta Disaster Management Summit.
Addressing the gathering, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), R.K. Jain said today is beginning of the process of DRR in form of SAADMEx as per the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Representatives from Embassies/High Commission of SAARC Nations in Delhi and Senior level Officials from concerned Ministries attended the inaugural session.
After the inaugural session, a Table Top Exercise was conducted by NDRF. The purpose of the Exercise was to provide participants with an opportunity to review and discuss disaster response plans & capabilities of an affected country by both national authorities and SAARC region countries.