GUWAHATI, June 29 - For the first time ever, a coordinated and comprehensive action plan is in the offing to rescue marooned people during urban flooding in Guwahati.
A three-day mega flood relief drill exercise �Jalrahat�, an exercise for tackling urban flooding, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, jointly conducted by the Armed Forces, the Government of Assam, the National Disaster Management Authority, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority and other agencies which began yesterday, was in full display on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra near Bhutnath in Santipur area of Guwahati city today.
The mock drill exercise which lasted for over an hour, kept the spectators on the edge of their seats as personnel from the Armed Forces, the Navy and the Air Force, the National Disaster Management Authority, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority and other rescue and relief agencies worked in tandem and precision to rescue marooned people from house rooftops and inundated areas.
It also showcased how people can save themselves from floods by adopting simple techniques with materials that are available in their surroundings and at homes. The highlights of the drill exercise were aerial recce, rescue by boats, rooftop rescue by helicopters, rescue by aerial ropeway, diving operation, small team incision and extrication operation (sky ops), manual rescue from multi-storey buildings and dropping of food supplies from helicopters.
Speaking on the occasion as chief guest, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the plan put in place will help rescue marooned people in the event of flooding in Guwahati city. �With the kind of sophistication induced in our technology systems, the rescue and relief operations have got a shot in the arm,� he added.
Extending his special thanks to the Armed Forces and other agencies involved in the drill exercise, Sonowal pointed out that such exercises should be carried out in rural, far-flung and interior areas so that people of those areas get valuable tips on how to save themselves at times of calamities. �It will be a good endeavour if such drill exercises conducted here to tackle urban flooding in Guwahati, are carried out in the rural, far-flung and interior areas of the State to create awareness in a big way. People in those areas must get the opportunity to see such exercises so that they get valuable tips as to how to save themselves and others in the event of natural calamities,� he added.
The Chief Minister lauded the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in putting a comprehensive disaster rescue and relief operation mechanism in place to reach out to people at the time of exigency.
It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Modi had released the first National Disaster Management Plan 2016 on June 1 last. And with India hosting the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in November next, the nation has shown its commitment towards humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Jalrahat is the first of its kind exercise planned after the release of the plan in the backdrop of a natural disaster in the form of urban flooding in Guwahati.
In his welcome address, Lt Gen Devraj Anbu, GoC of 4 Corps, said the key facets of the National Disaster Management Plan, 2016 have been integrated encompassing understanding of disaster risks, disaster risk reduction and enhancing disaster preparedness to save precious lines. �The aim of the exercise is to synergize the efforts of all stakeholders for enhancing disaster preparedness, assess the effectiveness of the plan, organisational skills and decision support system at each stage of the flood rescue and relief efforts,� he said.
Anbu said that disaster management right from the planning stage has been evolved with coordinated efforts of the Armed Forces, the Army, the Navy, personnel of the National Disaster Management Authority, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority and other agencies. �The deliberations that began with a tabletop exercise in the three sessions at Narengi army cantonment yesterday and the thrust given by the State government, will help build faith and confidence among the people and take the disaster management mechanism to greater heights,� he said.
The GoC further said that the three-day exercise included static demonstrations at the Assam Engineering Institute playground today, with the conclusion coming up tomorrow.
The event was attended among others, by Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia, senior officials of National Disaster Management Authority, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, officials and personnel of the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Kamrup metropolitan district administration and other agencies.