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A complete and comprehensive network is required to fight disasters : Satya Narayan Pradhan, IPS & DG, NDRF

Ranchi, Jharkhand | July | 05, 2020 ::

TEDxKanke organized its 14th webinar series with esteemed speaker.

Title of the Webinar was Future of disaster response in India.
Speaker was Satya Narayan Pradhan, IPS & DG, NDRF
Moderated By: Mr Rajeev Gupta, Curator, TEDxKanke

On the future of Disaster Response in India

• India is the 4th most impacted country in terms of economy due to disasters but one of the largest countries to face absolute impact of disasters in forms of floods, cyclones, earthquakes and the tsunami.
• The future of disaster response in India is from recovery to resilience in a networked world.

• Disaster Response as a subject was with the Agriculture Ministry. When disaster happened, the idea was to move towards relief and recovery.
• Now it has become part of national security and has oved to Home Ministry – a symbolic move. The government is focused on meeting the disaster before it happens.
• Disaster does not know borders – it does not care about regions, states and nations and impacts everyone in the community. That is why a complete and comprehensive network is required to fight disasters, as we have already seen in the case of COVID.

On three disclaimers on Disasters

• Disasters have happened – Four of the biggest disasters happened in the last two decades – the Kashmir Hindukush earthquake – 2.2 lakh deaths, tsunami – 2 lakh deaths, Nargis cyclone more than a lakh dead, 2010 – Haiti earthquake, 2011 -, Fukushima disaster, and now COVID.
• Disasters will happen – We cannot be circumspect enough vis-à-vis disasters. We have to be prepared and assume that disasters can happen anytime and only then can we reach a disaster ready culture.
• Disasters can happen to all of us – disasters are just around the corner and never it should be assumed that a disaster cannot happen to us. We have to be disaster ready at all times and it cannot happen within out country. It requires us to happen alignment and collaboration on expertise with a network of countries. One country which is overwhelmed with disaster needs the world’s help to fight a disaster.

On the progress of Disaster Response in India

• We are much more prepared in terms of technology. We had propeller radars that were used for the first time in case of Amphan and Fani. When the response had to be planned, there were multiple lakhs of push messages reaching the villages across the Eastern coastline in India. This has to be made better and widespread – what I call “Widesourcing” of technology.
• There is a better synergy between community and government – a vital requirement for mitigating disasters going forward.
• Cloud to Street is an open platform built using GIS and track real time information to track disasters. This has been given to all agencies that track disasters to be field ready in studying and predicting disasters. The top three Disrupting Technologies for disaster management exists in India. Apart from Satellite – Cloud to Street services, we have Social Media and Crowdsourcing like Microtasker, Reporter, Social Computer and Sensors that are helping using maximizing our resources during disasters.
• The quick learning curve has led to a paradigm shift which has brought our focus to risk mitigation and preparedness. There is now a human right parameter to disasters – right to food, shelter and life etc. is compromised during a disaster. This gives way for a disaster protection right.
• We are enabling partnerships and co creation to build more rural resilience. Also building our technology arsenal such as using Drones, Simulation of flood maps, Spatial Data, LIDAR and Mobile Apps and GPS to have a resilient approach.
• Data has to made intelligible using Big Data. The data collection done with some of our apps and our digital technology is serving ways for policy makers to create regulations that help us in responding to disasters using data backed decisions.
• There are further developments in governance as several State Governments are making disaster response efficiency a part of their election campaigns. However, we need a much more robust and collaborative policy and response structure.
• Disaster has to be community-led. If the community is not ready to do what it has to do, there will be inevitable damage to life and property. NDRF arrives only after the community has faced the first impact of a disaster.
• We need to scale up our readiness with using data. It comes down to the Survival of the fittest. The country that will be best prepared will be the one which is Digital Data-Driven Disaster Ready (D3Ready). Only Japan seems to have reached that mark.

Audience Questions:
By Mr. Sushant Bharti

Preparation and predictive analysis win any day:
• NDRF is the primary response force from the federal govt side. It itself does not do much of data analysis and is not a data-oriented force. But in the forecasting side, the prediction agency is using data crunching for forecasting in a very systematic way.
• IMD is the only meteorological department of the world which has started predicted lighting. This year onwards, we can predict cloud burst which, as well, has been possible due to data crunching.

There is a growing concern about cyber-attacks. There is increased geo political tensions and with IOT and new tech it is easier to bring. National system to a halt. Do you consider cyber-attack as a type of disaster and how prepared is India?
By Mr. Vidyanand Prabhakar, from UK

• This comes under the purview of IT Ministry. There is also National Cyber Infrastructure and Protection agency that looks after this. There are other agencies involved as well but the coordination is lacking.
• We need to slowly develop coordination. In the last 5 years, there has been a lot of conversions happening in terms of counter-attacking. India has realized it cannot just sit down and allow other players to invade and is much more aggressive with its cyber tactics.

Creating a disaster ready society and disaster ready government is also an economic decision. The cost of preparation is much lesser than the economic cost faced during a disaster as seen in case of COVID. We get ready only when we face repeated disasters. Is NDRF or any govt agency doing an analysis of the economic impact of disasters and analyzing the economic cost that can be saved by being ready?

By Mr. Sunil Barnwal, IAS, Govt. Of Jharkhand

• There is not enough thinking in this direction. The theory and metrices suggest that if we spend 1 Rupee on disaster preparedness, we save 7 Rupees in damage. But this kind of thought has not been put forward from the government side.
• Some industries like Tata and PSUs in Oil Sector (like ONGC) have done some rigorous analysis on economic terms and assessed the cost that can be saved
• This is further missing in places like Jharkhand. But making a cost benefit analysis is very important to understand the costs that can be saved by planning in future with an in-depth cost-benefit and comparative analysis for pending well in time versus spending after disaster.
• A good example exists in Singapore where they not only have a modelling of cost benefit analysis, but they have also modeled a publicly available simulation where people can see what damage will happen in a locality. Another example is Japan A great example from Developing Countries exits in Chile where they have prepared for tremors and modelled damage potential in their decision making.
Other participants Prof Satish Sinha, ISM Dhanbad, Baswaraj Dalgade, JSW Steel Ltd and Rinku Bakshi , Bank of America asked question on preparedness of National Disaster in India.

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