GUWAHATI, April 30 - With the State bracing for the first wave of floods, managing thousands of flood-hit in the temporary relief camps is going to test the authorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of the grave risks involved in the exercise, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has prepared an elaborate flood relief management plan ahead of the impending flood season.
�Supporting the flood-hit is always challenging but this year it is going to be far tougher due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have prepared an exhaustive document so that all the stakeholders in the exercise can remain well-equipped to deal with the flood situation and prevent spread of the coronavirus,� Pankaj Chakravarty, CEO, ASDMA, told The Assam Tribune.
�The document will be used by all the district disaster management authorities (DDMAs), SDOs (Civil) and revenue circle officers (RCOs) for management of relief camps during ensuing flood season,� he added.
Under the relief camp management manual, camps and accommodation capacity are to be earmarked in advance while additional relief camps besides the existing pre-identified camps are to be ascertained as per population density of villages to earmark space for social distancing. Seven square metre area per person has been fixed instead of 3.5 sq metre to validate social distancing of at least one metre between any two camp inmates.
The manual envisages sufficient toilet facilities proportionate to the camp intake capacity and the PHE department has been roped in to coordinate. Also to be ensured are sufficient sanitation facilities comprising hand-wash, soap, sanitizers, masks, etc., for the camp inmates.
�The relief camp premises will be strictly notified as no-spitting, no-tobacco zone. Wearing of masks inside the camp will be made compulsory and sufficient numbers of masks will be provided by the DDMAs,� he said.
�Medical support and health surveillance teams will do daily monitoring (in place of weekly) of the inmates� health condition following all precautions and guidelines. Medical teams will be armoured with basic PPE for conducting screening during the registration process,� he added.
�Pre-identification of the medical facilities like ambulances for transportation of infected, isolation facilities nearby, etc., is another plan component. In case of sneezing, cough, fever and common cold, immediate medical supervision will be made and the person kept separately as per COVID-19 norms and regulations,� he said.
E-help desks which will be available across all operational relief camps with the help of pratirodhi bandhu (trained volunteers) as counsellors and facilitators are another novel feature. These desks will emphasise on the facilities available on the e-help platform such as telemedicine, e-vet care, etc. Standard operating procedures for relief and cooked food distribution in camps in strict adherence to precautionary measures as per COVID-19 protocol as also for arrangement for livestock fodder have been prepared.
Chakravarty said a camp register would also maintain separately information about pregnant women, infants, elderly, people with existing health conditions and persons with disability so that they could be given special care. For livestock, pre-identified highland areas with green grasses, including tea garden areas, would be used.
�A grievance redressal mechanism for collecting and addressing feedbacks and complaints from camp inmates will be made operational at camp level. Real-time instructions to departments concerned have been given to address grievances. Each camp will have an information board showing contact details of key service providers for immediate support,� he added.
Appropriate IEC for prevention of COVID-19 infection will be displayed in local language using pictorial depiction and lesser texts. Any food item brought to the camp will be sanitized appropriately as per disinfection protocol and all packed items cleaned properly using disinfectants.