New protocols for managing disasters

Government approves disaster management authority’s updated document

Updated - May 13, 2019 12:39 am IST

Published - May 12, 2019 06:21 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Picking up valuable lessons from the Cyclone Ockhi disaster and the 2018 floods, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has updated standard operating procedures (SOP) and adopted new protocols for disaster management in the State.

The State government has approved KSDMA’s updated ‘Orange book of disaster management — Kerala — SOP and emergency support functions plan’ and a new, separate document, ‘Monsoon preparedness and emergency response plan.’ The revision is meant to enhance the capacity of government departments to handle emergencies effectively.

Named so for its orange-coloured outer cover, the orange book was earlier known as the ‘Handbook on disaster management — Volume 2 — emergency operations centres and emergency support functions plan.’ It describes incidence response mechanisms to be adopted at the State, district and taluk level.

Space debris too

Containing information on emergency response assets available across the State, the orange book explains the SOP for rainfall, flood, cyclone, tsunami, high waves (swell waves, storm surges, ‘kallakadal’), landslip, petrochemical accidents and even mishaps caused by space debris (meteorites, falling spacecraft parts, etc.).

On the other hand, the ‘Monsoon preparedness and emergency response plan’ is season-specific. It is meant to be strictly complied with during the south-west and north-east monsoon seasons (June to December).

Earlier, directives on monsoon preparedness were issued in the form of government circulars. According to KSDMA, no single document spelt out the responsibilities of individual government departments.

Role of govt. depts.

The new document, published in Malayalam, lists the roles of the State emergency operations centre, central agencies, district disaster management authorities, and 29 departments.

“This plan will be a season-specific dynamic sub-plan of the Orange book of disaster management - Kerala. This plan will be updated every year after receiving the first Long Range Forecast of the India Meteorological Department,” the government said in a May 9 order approving the two documents.

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