Andhra Pradesh

Saving themselves and others during disasters and distress

Rural women undergoing training in disaster response and management in Srikakulam district.

Rural women undergoing training in disaster response and management in Srikakulam district.   | Photo Credit: Special_Arrangements

Indian Red Cross Society training rural women as first responders

Disaster response and management is usually the forte of experts. However, in a natural calamity or disaster even ordinary people can help themselves before professional help arrives. In Srikakulam district where floods are common when Vamsadhara and Nagavali rivers are in spate during monsoons, rural people, particularly women become victims.

People who live in low-lying areas are unable to reach safer places and rehabilitation centers. Flash floods are another major concern for villagers. To address this the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) has been conducting special training programmes for rural women to save themselves, and extend a helping hand to others in distress. IRCS’ innovative training programme is aimed at training ordinary people as Social Emergency Response Volunteers (SERV). Under this, rural women were taught life-saving techniques under the guidance of experts. They include how to float in water during floods, and smooth evacuation, among others.

In non-flood emergencies, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to those who suffer cardiac arrest, artificial respiration and manual cardiac massage were also explained to them. Volunteers were also taught bleeding control procedures and safe transport of persons injured in accidents.

In the last one month alone 1,953 persons were trained during 41 special camps conducted in Patrunivalasa, Devarapalli, Regidi Amadalavalasa, Borivanka, Sithampet villages and other places, according to IRCS chairman of Srikakulam District P.Jaganmohana Rao.

“In normal days, the volunteers would create awareness among the public about the government schemes. It ensures leadership quality among them. With the positive response from volunteers, many others are also approaching us for the two-day training programme,” he added.

Enhancing confidence

Regional Coordinator of IRCS K. Satyanarayana said that IRCS would provide free kits and food to volunteers during the training programme. A volunteer of Guest, non-governmental organisation, K.Lakshmi of Borivanka said that the training had enhanced her confidence levels. “We can serve people in a better way only when we have expertise in handling crises. We can instil confidence among the people when they are in distress during floods, cyclones and other natural calamities,” she said.

Sensing the need, Srikakulam Collector K.Dhananjaya Reddy directed IRCS to make at least 1% of the population as volunteers in the district. Andhra Pradesh-Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan who is the head of IRCS for both States will visit Srikakulam and interact with SERV volunteers on July 9. He is expected to review and make suggestions to master-trainers. IRCS has selected the Srikakulam unit of SERV programme as a pilot project and it would be replicated in other districts very soon.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 9:03:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/saving-themselves-and-others-during-disasters-and-distress/article24343885.ece

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