ITANAGAR, May 19: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday convened a monsoon preparedness meeting with all relevant departments, as well as the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and the National Disaster Response Force. (NDRF), at the Civil Secretariat here.
After reviewing the preparedness reports submitted by all parties involved, the CM said: “While we don’t want disaster to befall us, we cannot deny the fact that nature is unpredictable. and we must be prepared. Arunachal Pradesh, due to its strategic geographical location, has to deal with the situation every monsoon,” he said.
Khandu stressed the need for a robust early warning system, so people can be warned in advance and loss of life avoided.
“Human life is precious. We have to go to extremes to avoid loss of life,” he said, and asked officers from the disaster management department to “not just rely on phone or WhatsApp messages, but to personally contact their officials in the districts in case a warning needs to be conveyed. »
Commending the department for following all weather forecasts issued by the Indian meteorological department and sending warning messages to vulnerable districts, Khandu observed that bad weather often disrupts data services.
“Therefore,” he said, “National Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) officials should personally call the district administrations or the relevant district disaster management officer to ensure that the warning is transmitted in advance”.
He stressed that the state emergency operations center should be active 24 hours a day throughout the monsoon, while the SDRF and NDRF should avoid granting leave to their personnel “and remain vigilant with all their might”.
Praising the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR) administration “for evacuating 17 households from vulnerable areas of the state capital”, Khandu ordered all deputy commissioners to do the same, to avoid the loss of human life.
To concerns raised by the SDMA and the Deputy Commissioners regarding the provision of immediate relief to disaster victims, the Chief Minister advised the Ministry of Finance to “coordinate with the SDMA and facilitate the release of funds for this purpose”.
He endorsed the suggestion to equip police stations with basic equipment and first aid kits, and asked the SDMA to “work on it and do the necessary immediately”, adding that the SDMA has sufficient funds. .
“At least four months of monsoon await us. Let’s be fully prepared,” Khandu said.
Disaster management adviser Tanpho Wangnaw, who visited all the vulnerable spots and areas recently affected by landslides in the capital, blamed “widespread and illegal land cutting by citizens” as the main cause of landslides.
Advocating for strict action in accordance with the law against people engaging in illegal logging, Wangnaw also expressed concern that authorities, especially in the districts, do not submit disaster and disaster reports. losses incurred.
“Without reporting, the SDMA is unable to process immediate relief for the victims, which amounts to an injustice,” he said.
According to details provided by SDMA, as of Wednesday, 14 districts, 33 villages and around 3,000 people have been affected, while seven people – four in ICR and three in Kurung Kumey district – have died. Two people – one in Itanagar and one in Anjaw – are missing.
At least 7.6 hectares of cultivated fields were destroyed, while 392 homes were damaged across the state.
In the state capital, three temporary shelters (one in Banderdewa, one in Naharlagun and one in Itanagar) have been designated. However, these shelters are vacant because all the evacuees (17 households) preferred to relocate with their relatives. The only relief camp established at Lohit HQ Tezu currently has 92 inmates.
According to officials from other departments, no major damage to highways has been reported, sufficient stocks of food grains are in stock, the state capital’s water supply has been restored and the medical department is ready with teams for any emergency.
The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary (in Charge) Kaling Tayeng, Planning Commissioner Prashant Lokhande, and officers from Finance, Health, Food and Civil Supplies, PW (Highway), PHE and disaster management departments from Papum Pare and the ICR, in addition to police and officers from the NDRF and SDRF. (PR cell of the CM)