New Delhi: Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, yesterday inaugurated the Field Training Exercise of 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise on flood rescue at the Ramachandi Beach, Puri (Odisha). Delegates & rescue teams of five member nations – India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Myanmar – of the BIMSTEC group participated in this exercise.
Highlighting the historicity and diversity of cultural heritage sites in the BIMSTEC region, 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.
The Minister highlighted the efforts of the Government of India in organizing this first-of-its-kind exercise and said this exercise will help in sharing best practices and expertise, consolidating the disaster response, coordination and cooperation among BIMSTEC countries during disasters.
In order to bring in a feel of real disaster scenarios, “simulated exercise sites including villages and heritage site (Konark Sun Temple)” were set up at Ramachandi Beach in Puri to depict flooded localities and houses due to the flood disaster. Large number of simulated dummy structures including multi-storied buildings and houses were erected in inundated conditions with marooned people & livestock at the exercise site to reflect a real disaster scenario.
Flood disaster was painted due to cyclone followed by heavy rainfall. A large number of people were presumed to be stranded within the simulated villages and also the cyclone adversely affected a cultural heritage site. Considering the huge impact of the flood disaster, BIMSTEC member countries offered assistance to the Govt. of India for the flood rescue & relief operation, which was accepted. Rescue teams of various member-nations responded professionally as per the situation and demonstrated quick response using latest flood rescue gadgets and equipment for rescuing marooned people.
A heli-borne rescue operation was carried out to demonstrate the coordination among various stakeholders to deal with emergency situation. Relief activities such as providing medical care to the needy, distribution of food packets etc. were also simultaneously shown. For this exercise, a Communication Centre, Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), Base of Operation, Medical Camp, Facilitation Centre, Media Enclave etc. were established by the NDRF as per the International Search & Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) guidelines for familiarization & exercise purposes.
In addition, various flood rescue techniques and use of various improvised rafts made using locally available resources for evacuation during flood disaster were also demonstrated during this exercise.
This Joint Field Training Exercise was conducted by NDRF officials under the leadership of , Director General of NDRF, Satya Narayan Pradhan. International observers from ICCROM, INSARAG, and UNDP also attended the exercise. It was witnessed by representatives from Senior Officials of MHA, MEA, NDMA, NDRF, State representatives, and other senior dignitaries.
In the series of this exercise, on 13 February a session of After Action Review (AAR) will be followed by a Priority Setting Meeting which will be organized at hotel Mayfair, Puri, Odisha.