Realising that community is the first to respond in the event of any disaster, the State government has proposed community-led disaster management at panchayat levels.

The proposal submitted for the approval of the Union government has sought assistance worth Rs. 25 crore for disaster management measures in 100 panchayats in the State.

The idea is to chart out disaster management plan at the grass root level in order to lessen the impact of disasters and to cultivate a culture of disaster mitigation, preparation, and quick responsiveness among members of the community.

The proposal calls for a slew of measures including the setting up of disaster management committees and task forces at panchayat level, preparation and execution of panchayat disaster management plans, and conduct of regular trainings and mock drills.

Besides enhancing capacity building of the community, it will also reduce the degree of risks associated with disaster and reduces the dependency on external agencies.

Saving time

District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) at Ernakulam said that community-based disaster management is long overdue as it helps save time, which often proves vital in saving lives when a disaster strikes.

As of now, response to a disaster is centralized and needs coordination by DDMA located at the district collectorate even though village and taluk level officials are part of the district level authority.

However, the only thing village officers and tahsildars have in their possession to kick off their response to a disaster is a detail resource inventory, which delineates detailed information on the availability of various resources like ambulances, NGOs, excavators etc at the village level.

For everything else, the victims of disasters and village-level authorities will have to wait for the help to arrive.

For instance, when a series of tremors shook various parts of the district last Wednesday, even the most basic response in such a situation like making announcements asking people to get out of high rise buildings had to be issued by the DDMA.

DDMA sources said that response to a disaster of more serious nature could not have afforded to wait for such directions.

It's in such scenarios that community-based disaster management plans prove critical.

Rs. 25 crore aid has been sought for disaster management measures in 100 panchayats in the State.

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