Srinagar: Governor N.N Vohra, has urged Chief Minister Ms. Mehbooba Mufti to take personal cognizance and issue firm directives to each and every stakeholder to forthwith start preparing for dealing with an earthquake of 8.0 magnitude and above.
In a letter to the CM the Governor has re-iterated that J&K is predominantly located in Seismic Zone V and our people had, as recently as, in the 2005 earthquake, suffered considerable losses. Noting the response of the administrative system to the September 2014 floods the Governor expressed concern that we were totally unprepared on all fronts.
The Governor has urged the SDMA must take urgent and time bound steps for strengthening all possible structural/non-structural mitigation measures to reduce the risk vulnerability in every part of the State, particularly the two capital cities and all the other densely populated high risk urban areas. Side by side, the various urban administration authorities, governmental and elected, shall need to strictly enforce a techno-legal regime to ensure earthquake resilient structural measures in every new construction, and, side by side, retro-fitting of all life-line structures, particularly hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, railway stations, airports and buildings housing important government offices.
The Governor has pointed to the need for large scale programmes being continuously carried out to create adequate awareness for enhancing the capacities of the community to become prepared for dealing with any arising situation. Further, the urban and rural communities, in all parts of the State, must become capable of effectively playing the role of First Responders and not running helter and skelter looking for help from government. In this context, it is of crucial importance to secure total awareness amongst school and college students and capacity building among all stakeholders who would be involved in First Response and emergency management. Also, the capacity and capability of accident/emergency/trauma centres shall have to be considerably enlarged, along with the provision of all required equipments and skilled manpower, the Governor has written.
SDMA shall need to hold an urgent meeting and prescribe a time frame in which each District Disaster Management Authority shall require to become prepared and functional.
This should be followed by regular conduct of mock drills in schools, colleges and at various public places throughout the State, involving all stakeholders and the public at large. This will help in identifying the gaps in our preparedness and thereby enable us to identify the measures required to strengthen our Disaster Management capacities.
The Governor suggested the usefulness of a senior officer being appointed to serve as the nodal authority who shall forthwith get in touch with NDMA and start developing/building up an “earthquake scenario” for a near actual visualization of an earthquake of the projected magnitude.