An Advance Coordination Conference began here today ahead of the South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMEx-2015) being organised by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) later this year. The representatives of Disaster Response from the SAARC member countries besides representatives from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), NDRF and Senior Officers from the nodal Ministries are participating in the two-day Conference where modalities and requirements for the main exercise to be conducted at the NDRF Base, Ghaziabad, during November 23-26, 2015, are being discussed.
Addressing the inaugural session, the Member Secretary, NDMA, Shri R.K. Jain said that disasters are an inevitable phenomenon and we have to prepare ourselves to tackle it. Worldwide, there is a loss of over 300 billion US dollars every year due to disasters and South Asia is more prone to disasters, he added. Shri Jain further said that the Regional and International Cooperation is critical in facing disasters and there is a need to move together for the preparedness of disaster management. The Secretary, NDMA further highlighted the fact that conduct of Disaster Management exercise on annual basis is need of the hour and it is imperative for the countries involved to get together at the earliest to set up appropriate institutional mechanism for sharing best practices related to disaster response and management.
The Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri B.K. Prasad, while addressing, said that SAARC countries are vulnerable to various kinds of disasters and the time has come to move together to face the eventualities. He further said that this two-day workshop is crucial for the main summit to be held in November 2015.
The Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Dr. A.M. Gondane said that SAARC has developed various mechanisms over the years to address various issues and the time has come to develop a better mechanism for tackling disasters. SAARC countries should work closely not only for growth and development but also remain prepared for unexpected eventualities, he added.
The Director General, NDRF, Shri O.P. Singh, while welcoming the delegates, said that South Asia is facing disasters and has to move together to minimise the impact. Since SAARC countries share the borders, trans-border manifestations come to play a crucial role in disaster management.
After the inaugural session, the representatives of all the participating member countries gave a brief account of the Disaster Response Mechanism in their respective countries and also shared the best practices in the field. The Nepal representative, during his presentation, appreciated the efforts of NDRF during the Nepal earthquake 2015, and also highlighted the fact that the NDRF teams reached within six hours of the disaster.
During a thought provoking brainstorming session on Regional Cooperation in the field of Disaster Response and Management, a detailed presentation on ‘Walk Through to the SAADMEx-2015’ was made by the Deputy Inspector General, NDRF, Shri S.S. Guleria. During this session, the draft Concept Paper on Disaster Management was discussed threadbare, and the representatives of Member Countries made valuable suggestions. Shri Guleria also made a presentation on the ‘On Site Operation Coordination Centre’, ‘Receive and Dispatch Centre’ and ‘National Emergency Operation Centre’.
Deputy Inspector General, NDRF, Shri R.K. Rana later made presentations on ‘Table Top Exercise’, ‘Field Training Exercise’ and ‘After Action Review’, in which the delegates actively participated. Shri Rana also made a presentation on ‘Logistic Plan’ for the final SAADMEx-2015.
Delegates from SAARC Countries, representatives from Embassies/High Commission of SAARC Nations in Delhi, NDMA, NDRF, NIDM and Senior Officers from the Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs are attending the conference. All the delegates will be heading for a Field Site Inspection and discussion on administrative preparations for the SAADMEx-2015 exercise at designated Field Sites tomorrow.