Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday highlighted the need for heightened surveillance along the coast to prevent accidents at sea.

Speaking after inaugurating ‘Surakshaayanam - 2012,' a government-sponsored international exhibition and workshop on disaster risk reduction, he said a coordinated approach involving various departments was needed in all sectors to mitigate disasters and prevent accidents. The government, he said, was taking steps to intensify coastal surveillance.

Mr. Chandy said though the Navy and Coast Guard had rendered assistance to the State government in tracing the Italian ship from which marines had gunned down two fishermen and the ship that had collided with a fishing vessel, prevention of accidents and disasters needed coordinated action on the part of several departments.

Efficient crisis management, he pointed out, depended on preparedness.

Mr. Chandy said a safety audit carried out in Kerala in the wake of the fire accident at a hospital in Kolkata had revealed the shocking state of preparedness.

“We found that there is no efficient system to rescue people from high rise buildings. The absence of sky lifts exposed the gravity of the situation.”

The government, he said, had taken steps to equip the rescue machinery with modern equipment.

Presiding over the inaugural function, Speaker G. Karthikeyan underlined the need for planning and tough regulation of the construction sector to prevent accidents. Minister for Disaster Management Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan spoke.

The week-long exhibition features 80 stalls put up by various government departments and agencies.

An Open Forum involving experts in disaster management, quiz for children and photo and video shows of rescue activities are part of the exhibition.

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