Patil calls S Asia to build robust system to reduce disaster risks

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New Delhi, Jan 21 (UNI) Home Minister Shivraj Patil today called upon South Asian nations to use their strength in science and technology to build a robust system of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to reduce the risks of natural and man-made disasters.

Inaugurating the SAARC Workshop on Application of Science and Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in South Asia here, Mr Patil pointed out that South Asia holds 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 and some of its institutions are also at par with the best in the world,'' the minister maintained.

Drawing the attention of the workshop to the fact that various regions of the sub-continent are prone to earthquakes, Mr Patil stressed the need for sustained scientific research on earthquake, particularly in the Himalayan region, so the identification of the faulty zones and the return period could be made more accurately.

He said earthquake resistant designs and technology would have greater acceptance if it made use of local ethos and locally available building materials.

Describing cyclone risk mitigation as another priority area for scientists, Mr Patil said prediction of the precise location of the landfall was essential so that people, who would not be affected by the storm surge, do not have to be evacuated.

He also highlighted the need to deal with the challenges like sea level rise and climate change.

The Home Minister said India would extend all possible assistance and cooperation to all its neighbouring countries for better management of disasters in the region.

Scientists and policy-makers concerned with 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 would develop a road map for regional cooperation in the field of science and technology for disaster risk reduction and management.

UNI BKS SP RN1722

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