Delhi Lieutenant Governor Saxena asks officials to start work on retrofitting of buildings to make them earthquake resistant

The prevalent situation of H3N2 flu, H1N1 flu and COVID-19 were also discussed at the meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.

Published - March 18, 2023 05:00 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. File

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, at a meeting of the DDMA on March 18, asked officials to start work on the retrofitting of all schools, hospitals, police stations and other critical offices and vulnerable buildings in the city to prevent damage in case of earthquakes.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting, chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was held in the wake of recent disastrous earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria, as the national capital falls in the "High Damage Risk Zone IV" on India's seismic map.

The prevalent situation of H3N2 flu, H1N1 flu and COVID-19 were also discussed at the meeting.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) representative said while all other States have put in place their State Disaster Response Forces (SDRFs) to work in tandem with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Delhi is yet to effectively do so.

“He urged the DDMA to expeditiously get a Delhi SDRF constituted. It was decided to do the same at the earliest,” a statement issued by the LG’s office said.

“The fact that a proper building to locate the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) is yet to be available was also flagged at the meeting and a decision taken to address the same in a time-bound manner,” the statement said.

The Chief Minister stressed the need to compile and tabulate all reports and recommendations of different committees formed with regard to mitigation of disasters. He also underlined the need to make government offices, such as the Delhi Secretariat and the police headquarters, earthquake resistant through retrofitting.

Stressing that disasters do not give prior information before manifesting themselves, the LG emphasised the need to be completely prepared to face any eventuality, even if it entails erring on the side of caution.

“Delhi needs to be fully prepared to tackle any disaster and preparations to this effect should be put in place from today itself,” Mr. Saxena said.

He outlined measures, such as retrofitting of buildings, identifying open spaces for rescue operations, earmarking hospitals in districts and sub-divisions for emergency response, widening lanes and bylanes, establishing connectivity with the railway and telephone networks for communication in case of an emergency, and asked the officials to start working on those.

Officials said the "Aapda Mitra" scheme for enrolling and training disaster relief volunteers was rolled out in Delhi and 1,800 volunteers have so far been trained and enrolled. It was agreed upon by the DDMA to augment the number of volunteers, train them and make information about them readily available on its website. The meeting also discussed the trend of a rising number of H3N2 flu and COVID-19 cases.

“It was decided that though not mandatorily, measures such as masking, physical-distancing, hand hygiene and sanitation, preparedness of hospitals etc. need to be followed to the farthest possible extent,” the statement said.

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