Delhi doesn't have enough ambulances!

NDMA's findings from the mega drill for disaster preparedness — more ambulances needed, resources inventory required


Puja Bhattacharjee | February 20, 2012

The national disaster management authority (NDMA) said that the drill in Delhi for ramping up the city's disaster preparedness was success; however, ambulances were in short supply. "There was a shortage of ambulances during the drill and PCR vans had to be used to carry the 'injured'," said vice chairman M Shashidhar Reddy at a press briefing here on Friday.

Reddy said that the drill helped the authority identify loopholes in the disaster response strategy. Another important gap identified was the need for a common communication system to ease rescue operations. He held that state of the art emergency operation centres should be set up at the state and district levels. "There is also a need to have adequate and systematic inventory of resources," he added.

Reddy also highlighted that a Delhi Disaster Response Force needed to be set up at the earliest and suggested that NDMA could train its personnel and help the body identify state of the art technology needed for appropriate response. The government can then form such establishments in all states. “The government has funded the states but they (disatster response forces) are yet to be implemented (sic). The northeastern states as well the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir have shown a keen interest.”

Asked if the drill could have done with greater publicisation, the NDMA bigwig replied, "All we wanted to do was create awareness without spreading panic. So, we bombarded every number that was registered in Delhi with SMSes and held launched awareness campaigns through print, radio and outdoor media."

On February 15, a mega earthquake drill was conducted all over Delhi in schools, colleges, hospitals, metro stations, malls, etc. to test the preparedness of the authorities and various agencies in the event of a major disaster as well as to sensitise the citizens. Reddy mentioned that the engineers' bill and the real estate bill will help regulate construction in this regard. The army which was on site to assess the drill will be presenting its report on February 24.



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