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IRCS strengthens its Disaster Management Programme
New Delhii- 16th July 2007

Prof. (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, Indian Red Cross Society presenting a memento to the Chief Guest Smt. P. Jyoti Rao, Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

A National level two-days meeting is being organized by the National Headquarters of the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) to review its disaster preparedness and response activities for flood, earthquakes, cyclones etc.

While inaugurating the meeting, the Chief Guest Smt. P. Jyoti Rao, Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) appreciated IRCS for distributing 24,500 units of family packs valued at Rs. 139.62 lakhs (approx) to the flood victims of the States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Kerala. She further complemented the IRCS for its initiation to establish video-conferencing system as a part to extend the information sharing facilities in the disaster prone States (Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura and Uttrakhand and its six Regional warehouses.

Prof (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS informed that IRCS has 700 branches and with a strength of 12 million volunteers/members, it is gradually emerging as a leading Disaster Management agency. It is equipped with the best of Disaster Response tools and has a back up of National, State and District Disaster Response Team members (NDRT, SDRT & DDRT respectively) who immediately reach the disaster affected areas and start their rescue and relief operations with the support of local volunteers. He informed that with the help of its Water Sanitation Units (Watsan) in the disaster affected areas, 5000 to 10,000 litres of clean drinking water can be made available within one hour with the help of a single unit, which would suffice to the needs of 10,000 beneficiaries per day. IRCS has six large Regional Warehouses (7-12 acres) situated at strategic locations, which stores relief items that can be distributed to the States within 24 to 48 hours. At present there is availability of 80,000 family packs which cater to
80,000 vulnerable families. He further added that one-year PG Diploma Course in Disaster Preparedness and Rehabilitation started by IRCS is aimed at increasing the capacity of the managers in Government and Private Sector for effective disaster response and rehabilitation. Moreover, St. John's Ambulance, the training unit of IRCS with approximately 650 centres, organizes training classes in First Aid, Home Nursing, Hygiene & Sanitation and Mother Craft & Child Welfare.

In the meeting the officials propose to consider and finalize Community based disaster preparedness (CBDP) model for Training of Trainers. In the proposed manual inputs have been obtained from similar manuals practiced in many of the disaster prone countries such as Philippines, Sudan,Vietnam etc.

The Indian Red Cross Society has an experience of more than seven decades in the disaster relief. It plays a significant role in community level preparedness activities like cyclone shelters in Orissa, raised platforms and raised tube wells in Assam and Bihar and community radios in Andhra Pradesh. All these have been identified and recognized as some of replicable models in disaster preparedness. During the super cyclone of 2000 in Orissa, 23 cyclone shelters saved the lives of about 42,000 people and this successful model has been approved and adopted by the State Government. IRCS at present has 63 cyclone shelters and the State Government has proposed the Society to take over its have 97 cyclone shelters and make it a sustainable model which can be replicated.

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