Friday, June 21, 2024

State Govt mulls helpline for disaster management


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Meghalaya is contemplating to adopt a model on the lines of the Assam government by integrating the 108 Emergency Helpline Number for disaster management to facilitate a one point crisis response helpline for the entire state, instead of different emergency helpline numbers for medical response, disaster management control room and fire department.

The Assam Government had launched the Integrated Emergency Helpline Number 108 in October last.

This idea for integrating the 108 Emergency Helpline Number for both medical response and disaster management was mooted during a workshop on Communication and Coordination on Disaster Management jointly organised by District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and GVK EMRI here on Friday.

Health and Family Welfare department Secretary MR Synrem said that it would not be a bad idea if the 108 Emergency Helpline Number which presently confine with emergency response concerning health related issues is also being utilized for cases of disaster emergency.

“The fact is that it is extremely difficult to work in isolation when it comes to emergency response in cases of disaster. To be able to handle any occurrence of disaster in an effective way, it is very important that there is a proper communication and coordination between various agencies,” Synrem said while speaking during the inaugural function of the workshop.

While pointing out that the first three hours is very critical to save precious human life during any major disaster like earthquake, he said that having a single emergency number instead of different emergency helpline numbers for medical response and disaster management would be of great help for the victims.

He also informed that some of the 108 Emergency Service Ambulance are installed with GPS tracking system and added that the project is still in its initial and experimental stage to overcome hurdles like the terrain.

Meanwhile, State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) Executive Officer HB Marak informed that they have already proposed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on the need to have a separate radio frequency channel for Disaster Management.

“This separate radio frequency channel would be very useful to communicate and coordinate with the various concerned agencies in the event of any disaster emergencies. At present there is lot of problem since the police and various armed forces have different radio frequency channel,” Marak said.

Stating that cyclones, earthquakes and landslides are three common disasters in Meghalaya, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal said that the initial stages of any disaster are very crucial as lives can be saved or damaged during this period.

Taking the landslide incident at Tura as a case study, Goyal said that the terrain was a major hurdle for any form of help to reach the affected people along with the delay of transmission of information to the concern agencies lead to the loss of three lives.


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