Being Prepared: Delhi to get its own disaster response force next yearhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/being-prepared-delhi-to-get-its-own-disaster-response-force-next-year/

Being Prepared: Delhi to get its own disaster response force next year

The specialised state force will be on the lines of the National Disaster Response Force.

Delhi will soon have its own disaster response force. The modalities are being worked out by the Delhi Disaster management Authority (DDMA) after the Delhi government felt the need for a dedicated response force for synchronisation and better effectiveness in a disaster situation.

The specialised state force will be on the lines of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

So far,disaster management as done by DDMA,is a coordinated activity between various departments such as police,health,fire,PWD and civil defence.

“But there are limitations,and we fall back on NDRF to come to our rescue in a disaster situation. They have to be called in even for minor incidents like the Lalita Park and Chandni Mahal building collapse. Delhi falls in Zone 4 (high damage risk zone) of the seismic map of India. If we have to deal with the eventuality of an earthquake,we need a specialised and dedicated state disaster response force,” a senior DDMA official said.

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The government has proposed to get soldiers on deputation from the Central Paramilitary Forces on a three- to five-year tenure as personnel for the force.

“The land for its office also needs to be identified,as there are plans of distributing the force in different locations across Delhi to reduce the time lag in case of a disaster. On the lines of the NDRF,the force can practice and provide training on disaster management during idle time to individuals,civil defence volunteers,schools,colleges and hospitals,” the official said.

The biggest ever mock drill to test the city’s preparedness in the eventuality of a disaster was conducted on February 15 this year.

The final review report — an independent third-party assessment — presented by the Indian Army on March 2,highlighted various lacunae in the response of various emergency support functionaries,and noted that there was an urgent need for “either raising or converting Delhi Armed Police into a Delhi Disaster Response Force”,the training of which can be on the lines of NDRF.

“The NDRF already has a unit based in Ghaziabad,which is across the Yamuna. In case of a disaster,response time is crucial and the NDRF could be of little service considering that the Yamuna bridge would collapse in an earthquake. While the DDRF will be manned by officials from the paramilitary forces,we aim to be fully equipped and have the force ready by the end of 2013,” DDMA Secretary Dharam Pal said.