Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, on May 19, stressed that a robust advance warning system for natural disasters is required to be put in place so that people can be warned in advance and loss of life can be avoided.
Khandu made the statement during a meeting on monsoon preparedness with all concerned departments, including the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), at the State Civil Secretariat on Thursday.
“Though we do not want any disaster to fall upon us, we cannot deny that nature is unpredictable and we need to be prepared. Arunachal Pradesh, owing to its strategic geographical location, has to face untoward situations every monsoon,” he said.
Lauding the district administration for evacuating 17 households from vulnerable areas within the state capital, Itanagar, Khandu directed all deputy commissioners to follow suit so as to avoid loss of human lives.
“Human life is precious. We must go to the extreme to prevent loss of lives,” he asserted, while noting that since bad weather often disrupts data services, officials of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) should not depend only on telephonic or WhatsApp messages, but personally contact their officials.
He said the SDMA should personally call the district administrations or the District Disaster Management Officer (DDMO) concerned to ensure that the warning is conveyed in advance.
Khandu also insisted that while the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) should be active round-the-clock for the entire duration of the monsoon, the SDRF and NDRF should avoid granting leave to its personnel and remain alert with full strength.
As per details provided by SDMA, till May 18, 14 districts, 33 villages and about 3,000 people have been affected while seven persons have died – four in Itanagar capital region and three in Kurung Kumey. Two people were reported missing, one each in Itanagar and Anjaw. At least 7.6 hectares of cultivated fields have been destroyed while 392 houses have been damaged across the state.
In the state capital, three temporary shelters (one each at Banderdewa, Naharlagun and Itanagar) have been designated, however, these shelters are lying vacant as all the evacuees (17 households) have preferred to shift to their respective relatives’ places. The lone relief camp established at Tezu in Lohit district presently has 92 inmates.
The chief minister also endorsed the suggestion to equip police stations with basic equipment and first aid kits for relief operations as police is the first approach in case of any disaster-related incident. He requested SDMA to work on it and do the necessary immediately. As far as funds are concerned, he said SDMA has sufficient funds.
“At least four months of monsoon lie ahead. Let’s be fully prepared,” Khandu added.