Ladakh disaster management authority holds first meeting

Leh: Lieutenant Governor R K Mathur on Wednesday chaired the first meeting of the Ladakh disaster management authority and stressed on the need to station helicopters in the Union Territory for relief, rescue and evacuation during a calamity.
“The Union Territory of Ladakh on Wednesday held the first meeting of its disaster management authority under the chairmanship of the Lt Governor,” an official spokesman said.
Mathur also said helipads should be upgraded to handle bigger aircraft such as the Mi-17 and the Chinook, and added that there should be additional airstrips for relief, rescue and evacuation purposes.
During the meeting, the Lt Governor exhorted officials to engage various central agencies in disaster management planning for Ladakh and ensuring regular interactions to study disaster-related aspects throughout the year.
Mathur said as immediate measures, administrative buildings in Ladakh should be strengthened to make them earthquake and fire resistant, and equipped with satellite phones, the spokesman said.
The Lt Governor suggested that the meteorological department should have a strong database of disaster-related information and this data should be updated at regular intervals.
“Handling of any disaster is the responsibility of every individual and entire Ladakh needs to contribute to the risk reduction of natural as well as man-made disasters,” Mathur said, adding that resources like emergency stocks and equipment should be made available at the village level along with trained volunteers to deal with disasters.
The governing authority and officials should be available as first responders in a functional position at the time of any disaster, he said.
The spokesman said that the Lt Governor stressed on extensive training to paramedics in handling disaster victims, immediate setting up of an emergency operation centre and on measures to address the possibility of drought.
He said a detailed presentation was given by the Leh and Kargil district commissioners and the disaster management authority on the history of disasters in Ladakh and rescue operations, and preparedness.
The Lt Governor’s advisor, Umang Narula, stressed on the need to have a comprehensive disaster plan for Ladakh in order to cater to possible contingency and disasters.
He impressed on the use of technology like drones and satellites to improve communication networks and community-level involvement through training and mock drills to enable them to manage disaster as first responders.