The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the four-day first Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation Disaster Management Exercise (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017).
The Exercise is being conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from October 10-13, 2017 in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). At the 17th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 7, 2017, it was decided that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.
- Addressing on the occasion, Shri Rajnath Singh extended warm greetings to all delegates from BIMSTEC nations that have come together to participate in this joint exercise. He said that their presence for this exercise represents their governments’ commitment to regional co-operation in the area of disaster risk management.
- In the recent monsoon season, floods and landslides have affected millions of people across almost all the BIMSTEC countries. This is yet another reminder of the importance of improving our disaster preparedness that over the period 1996 to 2015, the BIMSTEC countries have lost 317,000 lives to disasters.
- In these disasters more than 16 million people in BIMSTEC countries have lost their homes and economic losses are also high and escalating.
- Highlighting the progress of various nations, he said that the cyclone preparedness programme of Bangladesh is recognized as a global best practice and the last mile connectivity of Tsunami early warning system in Thailand has significantly improved preparedness in coastal areas.
- India’s effective handling of Phailin and Hudhud in the recent past is the direct outcome of over a decade of policy initiatives and enhancement of early warning capabilities, advance preparation, training and capacity development.
- Success of this joint exercise will depend on not only the work that will be done over next few days but also follow-up work after the exercise.
- If the BIMSTEC member states start sharing the hydrological data of transnational rivers with downstream countries, it will certainly help the nations in risk reduction and better disaster preparedness. We need to build a consensus on regular sharing of hydrological data of transnational rivers, he emphasised.
- India has established the Tsunami early Warning System for the Indian Ocean Rim Countries. We have deployed our National Disaster Response Force in other affected countries for response operations.
- During the four-day exercise, the delegates from the member nations will share their experiences in the varied fields of disaster, training and its mitigation.
- Various events during the exercise include a Table Top Exercise after the inaugural session to provide participants with an opportunity to review and discuss disaster response plans and sharing of best practices of one nation with the other.
- Other exercises such as Joint Field Training Exercise on earthquake disaster at Ghaziabad, Joint Field Training Exercise on Flood Rescue at Wazirabad will also be conducted.