New Delhi, Jan 21 : Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today urged South Asian nations to use their strengths in science and technology to build a robust system of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to reduce risks of natural and man-made disasters.
Inaugurating a SAARC Workshop on the Application of Science and Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in South Asia here, he said, "South Asia has the largest scientific and technical manpower in the world. Many of its scientists and technologists are supporting the most advanced scientific, research and technical institutions around the world. Some of its scientific and technical institutions are also at par with the best in the world."
Drawing the attention of participants to the fact that various regions of the sub-continent are prone to earthquakes, Patil stressed the need for sustained scientific research on earthquakes, particularly in the Himalayan region, so as to be able to identify fault zones and the return period more accurately.
"Earthquake resistant designs and technology would have greater acceptance if it makes use of local ethos and locally available building materials," he said.
Describing cyclone risk mitigation as another priority area for scientists, Patil said that prediction of the precise location of the landfall was essential so that the people who would not be affected by the storm surge do not have to be evacuated.
He also highlighted the need for dealing with challenges like sea level rise and climate change.
"India will extend all possible assistance and cooperation to all of its neighbouring countries for better management of disasters in the region," he added.
Scientists and policy-makers concerned with the application of science and technology for disaster risk reduction and management in the member countries of the SAARC are attending the two-day workshop.
The workshop will develop a road map for regional cooperation in the field of science and technology for disaster risk reduction and management.