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IANS

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Wednesday said that the central and state governments should be better prepared in view of the South West Monsoon so that the losses due to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and landslides can be minimised.

He stressed on the need for building up capacities and response reflexes to ensure round the clock preparedness throughout the year.

Speaking at the Annual Conference of Relief Commissioners and Secretaries of Departments of Disaster Management of States and Union Territories, Bhalla said that through continued efforts over the last several years, the disaster management system has been able to reduce the impact of natural disasters on human lives.

He said that before 2014, the approach towards disasters was only relief centric but now it has changed and the focus on saving human lives has become an additional component of disaster management.

Bhalla called on the states to undertake capacity building of urban local bodies, their State Disaster Response Forces (SDRFs), Fire Service and Civil Defence, since they are the first responders during a calamity. He emphasised on the importance of building capacities at the city and district levels and involving communities.

Noting that besides floods, in recent years cyclonic storms, forest fires, heat wave conditions and lightning strikes have shown an increasing trend, he stated that there was a need for synergies and effective coordination amongst institutions. This could be ensured by preparing action plans at the local, district and state levels, he added.

The two-day conference is being held to review the preparedness of states, UTs for dealing with any natural disasters that may occur during the coming South-West Monsoon season. This conference is being held in physical mode after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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