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Disaster management needed most in Nagapattinam, says expert

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PREVENTION IS BETTER: Suresh Mariaselvam, disaster risk management consultant, speaking at a seminar in Nagapattinam Collectorate on Friday
PREVENTION IS BETTER: Suresh Mariaselvam, disaster risk management consultant, speaking at a seminar in Nagapattinam Collectorate on Friday

P.V. Srividya

NAGAPATTINAM: Decades of development is devastated in a minute-long disaster. This was reiterated at the District Risk Management Programme organised by the State Government and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the Collectorate here on Friday.

The objective of the programme is to facilitate formation of the District Disaster Management Authority as mandated by the National Disaster Management Authority Act, 2005 and orient on the roles and responsibilities of the members. Conducting the orientation programme through an interactive power-point presentation, disaster risk management consultant Suresh Mariaselvam said that disaster management did not exclude development. According to him, steps towards disaster management were effective development initiatives.

“Disaster management cycle involves risk management and crisis management and both are crucial to development. Hundred years of development is lost within ten minutes,” he said.

Bottom-up approach

The theme that ran through the orientation was creation of a bottom-up approach. The creation of District Disaster Management Authority would be followed by the formation of Disaster Management Authorities at block and panchayat levels. This would facilitate inputs from below with focus on prevention and community participation. “If Government is the sole participant, it will become a ritual and community participation alone will turn it into a cry. Our aim is to coordinate between the NDMA, State District Management Authority, District Disaster Management Authority, the block and the vulnerable people,” Mr. Mariaselvam said. According to him, this is the first time Nagapattinam is witnessing an orientation on disaster management at this scale.

Collector C. Munianathan in his inaugural address stated that the need for disaster management could not be felt more anywhere than in Nagapattinam district that was severely hit by the tsunami.

This programme has been initiated in 13 coastal districts in the State. The focus of the seminar was on definition of concepts and basics of disaster management to first-level officers, selected Panchayat officers and selected NGOs. The orientation is a part of the Disaster Mitigation Programme of the State Government.

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