SAARC countries' conference on disaster begins in Delhi

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New Delhi, Sep 3: A conference of SAARC countries to chalk out and undertake joint efforts on various issues related to disaster mapping and mitigation in the member nations began on Thusday.

The conference, including the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and National Disaster Response Force, is being held keeping in mind the prevalent geo-climatic conditions as well as increased frequency of natural calamities in the SAARC region, especially in the wake of the recent earthquake in Nepal in April.

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"This calls for enhanced levels of preparedness and risk resilience as well as collaborative action amongst member countries to individually and jointly deal with such disaster situations and ensure minimal loss of lives and assets," an official statement said.

It said keeping in mind such scenarios, local, national, regional and international cooperation and coordination are more vital than ever before.

Owing to unique geo-climatic-social conditions, South Asia is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters of varying magnitude and manifold dimensions, it said.

India has taken the lead to begin the process of simulation exercises on disaster management in the region coined as "South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise" (SAADMEx) and has requested the participation of all SAARC countries for augmenting current levels of individual and joint preparedness for rescue, relief and response efforts during disaster situations.

The exercise will be conducted in two phases. In the first phase, the current advance coordination conference is being held with representatives from member countries on September 3-4 here to discuss the modalities and requirements of the main exercise.

The main exercise will be held from November 23-26 in the National Capital Region and will consist of three components, namely the Table Top Exercise (TTx), the Field Training Exercise (FTx) and the After Action Review (AAR).

This will be followed by a a day-long SAARC Workshop on sharing Best Practices on "Disaster Risk Reduction" scheduled on November 27.

During the inaugural event here, NDRF Director General OP Singh stressed on the need to have concerted efforts by all stakeholders to achieve the desired results.

PTI

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