Roy Mathew

The selected panchayats have formed task force

They are equipped with essential equipment

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: About 100 panchayats will be ready to handle emergencies and disasters during this monsoon. However, the district-level disaster management plans are not yet ready.

Each of the 100 selected panchayats has formed disaster management task force to act on call in the event of a disaster. The task forces have members from local voluntary agencies, Nehru Yuvak Kendra, Kudumbasree and similar agencies.

They are equipped with essential equipment for rescue and relief operations. The Revenue Department has plans to equip 100 more panchayats shortly. These panchayats are spread from coastal to hilly areas.

India adopted the Disaster Management Act in 2005 to institutionalise mechanisms at the national, State and district levels to ensure a swift response, including medical response to both natural calamities and manmade disasters and accidents.

The State government has brought rules under the Act and formed the Disaster Management Authority headed by the Chief Minister.

Though a disaster management policy was drafted last year, it is yet to be finalised. After public debates on the policy, the executive committee of the authority headed by the Chief Secretary is to approve the policy.

The district disaster management plans are also through the drafting stage only. Though a few districts such as Ernakulam and Alappuzha had plans, they are considered inadequate. Crisis management plans are required for each type of calamity such as earthquakes, landslips and flooding. Crisis management is to follow standard operational procedures.

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