Capacity-building taken up in ‘ferry villages'

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has drawn up plans to educate schoolchildren about disaster preparedness and mitigation soon. Commandant Prasanth Dhar has written to schools in Guntur and Krishna districts seeking their cooperation in creating the much-needed awareness among children and the response is encouraging.

In addition to the school outreach programme, the NDRF is adopting ‘ferry villages’ that are prone to cyclones and flooding.

The objective of this campaign is to build capacities. People will be shown how to save lives and make low cost life-saving equipment like boats made with materials available locally.

Ramachandrapuram village near Suryalanka has been chosen as the first such ferry village in Guntur district.

The NDRF has come up with these two programmes to get large-scale participation in the complex task of disaster management , Mr. Prasanth Dhar said in a press conference at the NDRF’s 10th battalion office on Acharya Nagarjuna University premises on Thursday.

Training was given at Police Training College, Anantapur, to NCC cadets at Jadhav Nagar in Belgaum district of Karnataka and personnel of the Combat Team for Resolute Action (CoBRA) at the same place.

NDRF has rescued 3,008 people during the recent cyclone ‘Neelam’ in Andhra Pradesh.

West Godavari district had the highest number of people saved at 2,161 followed by East Godavari 615, Guntur 220 and Krishna district 12.

Speaking to The Hindu later, Mr. Prasanth Dhar said the Director General of Police of Andhra Pradesh was asked to send a team of policemen for training in disaster management activities by the NDRF. This proposal was formally cleared.

As regards the NDRF’s permanent establishment, Mr. Dhar said soil testing for constructing buildings and creating other infrastructure at the TB sanatorium where some NDRF personnel are currently stationed, will be done soon.

The construction is likely to begin by June/July this year. NDRF 10th Battalion Second-in-Command Sanjay Kumar was present.