Bhubaneswar:14/2/20:The “2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise-2020 (BIMSTEC DMEx-2020)” was held at Bhubaneswar/Puri, Odisha from 11-13 February, 2020 with themes “A cultural heritage site that suffers severe damage in the Earthquake” & “Flooding or Storm”. Organized by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), on behalf of the Government of India, BIMSTEC DMEx-2020 was inaugurated by Chief Minister Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik ,While Minister of State (Home), Nityanand Rai launched field training exercise scheduled on 12th February, 2020 at Ramachandi Beach, District-Puri, Odisha. The first similar kind of exercise took place in 2017.
Highlighting the disaster vulnerability of the State (Odisha), Hon’ble chief guest said that the since 1891 more than 100 cyclones have affected the state. Super cyclone of 1999 was a watershed moment in disaster management preparations in Odisha. We have learnt our lessons well and set up a robust disaster management mechanism. Moreover, Odisha was the first state that had set up its dedicated disaster response Force.
Mr. Patnaik further deliberated on the need of restoration of heritage sites that are damaged by natural disasters must for future generation, not only because it is a source of the cultural identity of a local community, but also because it is a driving force of the economy. It is important to undertake adequate documentation, proper identification and grading of heritage sites based on the potential risk and other characteristics. We must improve upon early warning dissemination system and capacity building for conservation of cultural heritage sites. Hon’ble Chief Guest said that this exercise will prove a milestone in safeguarding the cultural heritage sites across the region.
Highlighting the disaster vulnerability of the region, Member Secretary, NDMA, Sh. G.V.V Sarma said that 1st BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise was organized in 2017 to strengthen the government cooperation and institutionalizing coordination among all member states. Based on the learning of 1st BIMSTEC DMEx-2017, the 2nd BIMSTEC DMEx is being scheduled to strengthen cooperation among member countries. This exercise will allow us to test the preparedness, coordination in a disaster scenario.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Secretary, Odisha, Sh. Asit Kumar Tripathy said that Odisha has suffered by maximum numbers of cyclones in the country like 1999 super cyclone, Titli, Bulbul & Fani which caused severe damage in the state. After 1999 super cyclone, we made all preparation to tackle the disasters. During the super cyclone Fani we evacuated millions of people to the safer locations within 24 hours. Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) with NDRF and other stakeholders have conducted numerous operations in Odisha, Meghalaya and Kerala. The constant practice, Exercise helps to coordinate central & state agencies. When actual crises occur we work in a well-coordinated manner.
During his welcome address, Director General, NDRF Shri Satya Narayan Pradhan, said that the first phase comprising a Preparatory Meeting was held in Puri, Odisha on November 14-15, 2019 on the basis of which this final exercise has been planned. He provided the brief about this first of its kind exercise to the august gathering. He said that the exercise will allow participants to learn and practice emergency response procedures in a safe and controlled environment and will also play a key role in the development and implementation of preparedness and response capacities at (national, regional, community and global) level.
participants of 05 member countries namely Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal are participating in this exercise. However, Bhutan and Thailand are not participating in the exercise. Over 80 delegates of BIMSTEC member nations are participating in this event.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai marked the inauguration of Field Training Exercise of 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise on flood rescue at the Ramachandi Beach, Puri. The event was attended by delegates & rescue teams of 5 member nations namely- India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Myanmar.
Nityanand Rai said, “This exercise will provide a platform for member states to evaluate existing capabilities, share best emergency response practices, improve existing emergency preparedness and strengthen regional response mechanism and also to conduct risk assessment in the context of cultural heritage sites at the time of disaster.”
He also shed light on the efforts of Government of India in organizing this first of its kind exercise at the coastal city of India, Puri in Odisha. He said, “This exercise will help in sharing best practices and expertise, consolidating the disaster response, coordination and cooperation among BIMSTEC countries during disasters.”
The exercise is being attended by International observers like United Nations Development Program (UNDP), International Search And Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) & The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), National observers from Indian National Trust for Art And Cultural Heritage (INTACH) & Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), representatives from various stakeholders viz. India Metrological Deptt. (IMD), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Centre Water Commission (CWC), Animal Quarantine and Certification Service (AQCS), Civil Defence, Fire Services & BIMSTEC Secretariat are also participating.
During three-day exercise, the delegates has share their experiences, best practices, lesson learnt in the varied fields of disaster, training and mitigation. Today, a Table Top Exercise on earthquake scenario has been conducted to provide participants with an opportunity to review and discuss disaster response plans and sharing of best practices being followed in their respective countries. Other exercises which are to be conducted during this three day BIMSTEC Exercise is Joint Field Training Exercise (FTx) on Aquatic Disaster response with focus on cultural heritage site which will be conducted on 12th February, 2020 at Ramachandi Beach, Puri, Odisha . Further, on 13th February, 2020 under the aegis of NDMA a Priority setting meeting among the member nations would also be conducted at Puri to discuss challenges and way forward for Disaster risk reduction in BIMSTEC region.