It is anchored on the banks of Brahmaputra in Guwahati

The country's first floating disaster response base of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), anchored on the banks of the Brahmaputra, was inaugurated by the NDRF Director-General Rajeev here on Monday.

The base of the NDRF's 1st Battalion has 45 trained personnel, including three deep divers, a fleet of 12 Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) speedboats, four rubberised speedboats and equipment such as earthquake collapse structure search and rescue equipment and life detecting equipment.

Mr. Rajeev told journalists that the base, set up in coordination with State Disaster Management Authority and Inland Water Transport Authority, would help reduce the response time for any rescue mission from the existing one-and-half hours to less than five minutes. Till now, the response teams were required to move from their headquarters at Patgaon on the outskirts of the city.

Such a base was a long felt need as there were a lot of drowning incidents along the Brahmaputra. In the past nearly two years, as many as 34 incidents of drowning in the river in and around the city bank line were reported. The 1{+s}{+t} Battalion NDRF has so far rescued 10,786 persons in operations in the northeast and Bihar, he said.

Battalion Commandant C.P. Saxena said that from the disaster point of view the Brahmaputra had to be watched round-the-clock. The battalion was chalking out a coordination plan with all the stakeholders such as the Inland Water Transport, River Police, 108 emergency ambulance service district administration and the police to rush victims to hospital in time.Mr. Rajeev said that of the eight battalions of the force, four were trained and equipped with equipment to detect hazardous Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) material and the other four battalions, including the 1{+s}{+t} Battalion NDRF, which has operational jurisdiction in the northeast, would also be gradually trained and equipped to handle CBRN emergencies.

Altogether 1,260 NDRF personnel were deployed in all the venues of the just concluded Commonwealth Games, he noted.