Sambit Report

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  • 8/8/2019 Sambit Report



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    1 Introduction 04

    2 Objective 043 Acknowledgment 05

    4 Inauguration Ceremony 06 11

    4.1 Father Reginald Fernandes, Convenor, State Inter

    Agency Group, West Bengal


    4.2 Dr. Asim Dasgupta, Minister-in-Charge, Finance

    Department, Government of West Bengal


    4.3 Shri B. Bhattacharya, Member, National Disaster

    Management Authority


    4.4 Shri. Anisur Rahaman, Minister-in-charge, Department

    of Panchayat and Rural Development, GoWB


    4.5 Dr. Mortaja Hossain, Minister-in-Charge, Department of

    Disaster Management, Government of West Bengal


    4.6 Shri M.L. Meena, Principal Secretary, Department of

    Disaster Management, GoWB


    4.7 Shri G.S. Mandal, Cyclone Expert, NDMA 09

    4.8 Shri Nasir Ateeq, UNICEF 10

    5 Role of media and DRR 12 - 14

    6 Day 1- Session One 15 21

    6.1 Integration of DRR in development 15 17

    6.2 Community and family level preparedness 18 19

    6.3 Multi-Hazard and Climate Change in the context of WestBengal

    20 21

    7 Day 2 Session One 22 27

    7.1 Role of Panchayat in Disaster Management 22 23

    7.2 Issues of water and Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in


    24 25

    7.3 Preparedness in the backdrop of Aila 26 27

    8 Educational and Cultural programmes 28

    8.1 Quiz 28

    8.2 Kobigaan, folk songs 28

    8.3 Band performance 288.4 Mock drill 28

    8.5 Stalls 28

    9 Day 2 Session Two 29 35

    9.1 Earthquake Risk Mitigation 29 30

    9.2 Health and Nutrition in Disaster Response 31 33

    9.3 Our learning in Post Cyclone Response 34 35

    10 Day 3 Session One 36 41

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    10.1 Policies and Challenges in Disaster Risk Reduction 36 - 37

    10.2 Education and Child Protection in Emergencies 38 39

    10.3 Rights based Issues in Response & Preparedness 40 41

    11 Closing Ceremony 42 44

    11.1 Shri Puthumai Nazarene, State Coordinator, State InterAgency Group, West Bengal


    11.2 Shri Debabrata Pal, IAS, Joint Secretary, Department of

    Disaster Management, Government of West Bengal


    11.3 Shri G.Padmanabhan, UNDP 42

    11.4 Shri Ray Kancharala, Save the Children 43

    11.5 Shri Himadri Maitra, Disaster Management Officer 43

    11.6 Shri Subhashish Debnath, Organizing Committee 44

    Photographs 45 - 46

    IAG Contacts 47

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    Sambit-the first West Bengal State DRR Congress, was organised by the State Inter-

    Agency Group in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management, Government

    of West Bengal during April 22-24, 2010 in the Yuva Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium),

    Kolkata. There were around 700 participants in the three-day Congress that included

    representatives from various communities, government officials, and representatives from

    UN Organisations, NGOs, INGOs, educationists and Students. This Congress gains its

    importance because of the increasing episodes of disasters across the globe in the last few

    decades. This Congress has been able to chalk out a roadmap for the future with

    enthusiastic participation from delegates from the districts, media representatives and

    other participants. The special significance of this Congress was exchange of opinion

    towards creating a common platform for integrating and mainstreaming disaster risk

    reduction development among the DRR experts, PRI representatives, NGO representatives

    and Government officials.


    1. To provide a common platform for stakeholders and communities for sharing of ideasand knowledge of DRR in West Bengal.

    2. To focus on challenges while implementing risk reduction initiatives in the multi-hazardous environment.3. To advocate and demonstrate good practices for an enabling environment in DRRactivities.

    4. Strengthen the institutionalization of unified response strategy through inter-agencycoordination.

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    The successful implementation of the first State Disaster Risk Reduction Congress Sambitcould not have been possible without the co-operation and assistance of the following

    respective organizations. They are:

    1. National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi2. Department of Disaster Management, Government of West Bengal3. National Disaster Response Force, Madhyamgram, Kolkata4. Jadavpur University5. United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)6. United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP)7. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), India8. Indian Red Cross Society9. Caritas, India10. Dan Church Aid, India11.Lutheran World Service India Trust12.Oxfam, India13.Save the Children14.Sphere India15.Goal, Ireland16.World Vision17.Churchs Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA)18.Adventist Development & Relief Agency (ADRA), India19.Catholic Relief Services (CRS)20.West Bengal Voluntary Health Association (WBVHA)21.Association of Bengal Collaborators for Development (ABCD)22.Southern Health Improvement Samity (SHIS)23.Palli Unnayan Samity (PUS)24.Society for Professional Action in Development (SPADE)25.Professional Institute for Development and Socio Environmental Management


    26.TATA Steel Limited27.Action Aid, India28.Seva Kendra, Kolkata

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    Sambit-the first West Bengal State DRR Congress, was organised by the State Inter-

    Agency Group in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management, Government

    of West Bengal during April 22-24, 2010. Those who were present in the inaugurationceremony included Dr. Asim Dasgupta Honble Minister in Charge, Department of Finance;Sri B. Bhattacharya Honble Member NDMA; Shri. Anisur Rahaman Honble Minister-in-

    charge, Department of Panchayat and Rural Development, GoWB; Dr. Mortaja Hussain ,

    Honble Minister-in-charge, Department of Disaster Management; Sri M.L. Meena PrincipalSecretary, Department of Disaster Management, Father R. Fernandes from State Inter

    agency. The inaugural session was compered by Smt. Madhumanti Moitra.

    In his welcome speech, the convenor of State IAG,

    Father Reginald Fernandes called upon everybody

    to be part of this noble cause and complimented the

    participants of the Congress. The following gives thesummary of his address:

    The main objective of the three-day Congress isto forge unity and exchange of opinion. If joy is

    doubled, while grief becomes half, if shared.

    There are all kinds of people in the Congress those who have not been affected by disaster,

    those who have been devastated by disaster and those who do not have any idea of

    disaster. All of us can share information and knowledge and become enriched in the


    It is hoped that active participation from national and international delegates will makethe Congress a grand success

    The main purpose of the DRR Congress is not to educate people, because there are anumber of media, including television and internet to educate people but sharing and

    exchanging each others thoughts and experiences

    These three days will provide opportunities for coordination between the DRRpractitioners and DRR experts and the national and international organisations will

    assume leading roles in this process.

    In his address, Finance Minister Dr. Ashim Dasgupta thanked the State Inter Agency

    Group (IAG) and the Department of Disaster Management, Govt of West Bengal fororganizing the Congress. He greeted all the participants of the Congress. He made spoke on

    Disaster Risk Reduction the summary of which is given below:

    1. He emphasized on collection and compilation of information and data on naturaldisasters including flood, drought, cyclone etc.

    2. He pointed out global warming and carbon emission as one of the main reasons fordisaster

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    3. He suggested that the punitive actions should be adopted for rich nations, which areprimarily responsible for carbon emission and the countries which are making positive

    contribution should be rewarded

    4. He laid emphasis on planting of trees to bringabout environmental sustainability. He alsomentioned about formation of committee of

    people living in the forests to prevent

    indiscriminate deforestation.

    5. He advised to engage international agencies fordredging in the river-basins in order to solve the

    silting problem. He advised to sell sand from the

    river beds to those who need them. This, he

    observed, would solve the sewerage system.

    6. In order to increase the water sources, he advisedto prepare for ponds and water bodies and integrate with National Rural Employment

    Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).7. He expressed the need to prepare GIS map in order to manage landslide in North


    8. In the area of weather forecast, he advised to follow scientific principles as perinternational standards

    9. He advised wide dissemination of weather forecast10.He mentioned setting up of relief centres in a decentralized manner11.He mentioned importance of mobilising Self Help Groups (SHGs) for Disaster


    12.He emphasized on coordination between Government and non-government agencies13.He expressed the importance of publishing information on relief distribution before the


    After the speech by the Finance Minister, Shri. B. Bhattacharya, member NDMA made a

    short speech. At the outset, he thanked the Government of West Bengal particularly

    Department of Disaster Management, and all the

    participants. He mentioned in the beginning that

    discussions on Disaster Risk management is not

    limited to relief, but has wider appeal. The following

    gives a summary of his speech.

    The geographical location has primary role. It hasmountains on the north and 7500km of coastline.

    He ascribed shifting of the Indian Plate on the

    north eastern side as one of the main reasons of

    climate change.

    He emphasized on planning prior to disaster and preventive strategies along withrehabilitation and rescue. Although Disaster prevention action was adopted in 1987

    internationally, it has been implemented in India late

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    Emphasis should be given on vulnerable analysis and risk assessment. Proper systems should be applied for disaster management. It is necessary to prepare

    appropriate maps. More importantly, there should be coordination between maps for

    various disasters, viz. flood, cyclone etc,

    The central government has undertaken a number of programmes for disastermitigation.

    Proper network need to be established for dissemination of information from statelevel to district level and finally o people and vice versa.

    A number of solutions have emerged in the last 20 years. Infrastructure must beprepared for establishment of communication network and ensuring normal life during


    There is still 60% gap between planning and implementation. There are encouraging examples at international level. For instance, only 34 people

    died of earthquake in Japan in last 7 years and in California there is no report of Death.

    The next speaker was special guest of the inauguration ceremony, the Honble Minister-in-Charge for Panchayat and Rural Development, Shri Anisur Rahaman. The main points of

    his speech were:

    1. To integrate of Panchayats in disaster riskreduction activities.

    2. To take lessons from earlier episodes of floodin 1978, 1988 and 2000 and take lessons

    related to rehabilitation.

    3. Strong coordination between Panchayat andNGOs is required at all levels for risk reduction.Immediately capacity building exercises is to

    be conducted jointly with Panchayats and


    4. The minister also suggested the Panchayatswould take more responsibility in DRR.

    Disaster Management Minister Dr. Mortaja Hossain

    spoke the following in his brief speech.


    He assigned global warming and deforestation aremain reasons for disaster.

    2. He observed indiscriminate construction activitiesdue to increased urbanization is one of the main

    reasons for disturbance of ecological balance.

    3. He advised IAG to advocate the centralgovernment to take stringent steps towards

    strong mitigation measures to reduce disaster

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    The Ministers speech was followed by a short address by Shri M.L. Meena, Principal

    Secretary, Disaster Management Department. While thanking all the participants, he made

    the following points:

    On the basis of recent experience of tornado in Uttar Dinajpur, he said that a lotpeople become homeless. It is the responsibility of the NGOs and Government to

    arrange proper shelter for the homeless people

    Distribution of relief should be proper duringdisaster and relief should reach the most

    distressed people.

    Sometimes relief materials do not reachproperly because of local problem. NGOs can

    make people aware about this, and work for

    more cooperation so that relief materials arereached to the right places at the right time.

    NGOs should be engaged in relief work sincerequirement of manpower is high during


    Shri G.S. Mandal, Cyclone Specialist, NDMA also thanked IAG and Government of West

    Bengal for organizing such a big event. Brief content of his speech is as follows:

    West Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat have been included in national Cyclone RiskMitigation Programme along with other states including Andhra Pradesh, Orissa etc.

    More states will be included in the future.

    More relief shelters should be set up with helpfrom the Central Government. Arrangements

    must be made to relocate people to safe


    Last Mile Connectivity was also mentionedthrough which contacts can be established

    from state to community level.

    Government has done commendable job inreleasing grant to set up Relief / cyclone

    Shelter. Although relocation of people from place of disaster is most important, this job

    becomes difficult because of high population density.

    National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Programme (NCRMP) has been set with supportfrom Government of India and World Bank. The Central Government will operate on

    the basis of Five Year Plan.

    The communication system gets destroyed by high tide during cyclone.Reconstruction of infrastructure has been done in a fast manner.

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    Infrastructures is necessary for transfer of information from districts to the villages. Rainfall is comparatively high in West Bengal and 200-230 km is the expected speed

    of cyclone. The speed was less during Aila yet we have failed to manage the disaster.

    Mobile connection needs to be strengthened for early warning. The situation has improved in last 30 years in the field of Disaster Management.

    However, Disaster-resistant Infrastructure has to be improved a lot

    Speaking on behalf of Ms. Lori Calvo, the State Representative of UNICEF, Shri Nasir Ateeq,

    Programme Communications Specialist, UNICEF, observed that State IAG has proved itself

    to be a mobiliser at the international level. The activities were spread from mid 2009. He

    conveyed his wishes to all participants.

    UNICEF is deeply satisfied to be associated with Department of Disaster Management and

    IAG. It is evident from Aila experience that

    Department of Disaster Management is very watchful

    on Disaster Risk Reduction. UNICEF is particularlyconcerned with safety of women and children.

    UNICEF is eager to work with agencies like IAG,

    UNDP, OXFAM etc. It is evident from the discussion

    that DRR initiative is successful and West Bengal has

    proved to be model.

    UNICEF wishes to spread the message that while West

    Bengal has projected itself as a model, there is no

    room for complacency. A number of vulnerable communities have a lot to learn on DRR.

    Congress is a platform where a future plan can emerge through joint consultation. UNICEF

    expresses thanks to IAG, Department of Disaster Management and all the delegates.

    UNICEF pledges to be with women and children during disaster. A positive outcome in this

    regard is also expected from this consultation.

    At first Smt. Bani Saraswati, member of the IAG, greeted all the participants. She, on

    behalf of IAG, thanked the Honble Minister

    Shri.Ashim Dasgupta. She mentioned that Shri

    Dasgupta made an important observation. The

    analysis that growing episodes of disasters and the

    reasons should not be confined to the nationalboundaries but has to be traced to the activities of the

    developed countries. She thanked the Minister for

    making the all participants of the session richer with

    his insightful observations. She also thanked

    Mr.B.Bhattacharya member of NDMA, who came all

    the way from Delhi. She expressed her vote of thanks

    to Mr. Anisur Rahman, Minister of Panchayat and Rural development. His presence was

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    significant for the session. He shared his rich experiences with the participants. She also

    thanked Minister in Charge, Disaster Management Department , Dr. Mortaja Hussain, the

    Principal Secretary of the Department, Shri M.L.Meena and Dr. G.S. Mandal of NDMA, who is

    an expert on Cyclone. Though Ms. Lori Kalvo of UNICEF could not take part in the Congress,

    her absence was compensated by Shri Nasir Ateeq. Smt. Bani Sarawati thanked UNICEF forinitiating CBDRR work In West Bengal.

    She also thanked the government officials especially Shri Debadrata Pal who discussed the

    issues in an open mind.

    She also thanked the media, representatives from Panchayat and the other participants

    present in the programme. She looked forward for a fruitful discussion in the three day


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    Theme: Role of Media and Disaster Risk Reduction

    Day : 22 April, 2010, Venue: Ichamati Auditorium, Session: Post-Inaugural

    The theme of session at venue Ichamati of the first days programme of Sambit-1ST StateDRR Congress, West Bengal was Role of Media and Disaster Risk Reduction. Thechairperson of this session was Shri Ashok Bhattacharya, Director - Roopkala Kendra. The

    other panelists were Shri Bob Roy from the Times Group, Smt. Ishani Dutta Roy from ABP,

    Smt. Ajitha Menon from ANI. The session was conducted by Smt. Sucharita Barman.

    Smt. Barman began the session with a proper

    explanation of the concept Disaster Risk Reduction

    and how this term can be well executed in a holistic


    Shri Ashok Bhattacharya observed that it is theresponsibility of the media to generate awareness

    on disaster risk reduction among people at the

    grassroots level. The awareness generation has to be

    carried out in well-specified method in an

    uninterrupted manner before and after any disaster.

    Chairmans address was followed by interactive session. One of the participantscommented that terrorist attack is one kind of disaster and enquired what would be the

    role of mass media in this aspect.

    The Expert Panel comprising of Smt. Ajitha Menon and Smt. Ishani Dutta Roy observed thatduring any disaster it is very difficult to get accurate information from any government

    official. It is also difficult to ascertain the exact responsibilities assigned to an officer. Some

    government officials try to avoid queries. Hence it is important to maintain all the relevant

    information. Moreover, the responsibilities assigned to one specific officer should be

    publicly notified so that in case of any requirement, the officer can be contacted directly.

    In this context the Chairman of the session observed that most of the people of India were

    not aware of tsunami before it happened. But Japan, being a coastal country had priorexperience of tsunami and therefore was fully equipped to deal with emergency situation.

    The risk could have been averted if awareness generation workshops were organised by

    govt agencies. He observed that if State IAG takes the initiative for coordination, this will be

    more effective.

    Shri. Puthumai Nazarene from the State IAG made a pledge that State IAG will play an

    important role in coordination and will be organizing seminars and workshops on regular

    basis for orientation of media for disaster risk reduction.

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    One participant observed that disaster is not exclusively environment related. A number of

    schools have been closed in West Bengal. He enquired about the role of media in awareness

    media regarding this issue.

    Most of the disasters originate from human activities. Large dam is a case in point. Besides,illegal construction near coastal areas increases the possibility of cyclonic situations.

    The Experts, mainly Shri Bob Roy and Smt. Ishani

    Dutta Roy informed that media houses operate with

    limited human resources. It is very difficult for few

    reporters to collect all the relevant data and

    information. Hence if organisations which are

    associated with such activities can come forward and

    assist media to collect data then media can play an

    active role in generating awareness for disaster risk


    One of the participants observed that after any

    disaster, gory footage and photographs are displayed in mass media which may cause panic

    in the minds of the people. He asked whether display of such footage / photographs should

    be banned.

    In the context of this observation, Shri Bibhas Pal from Kolkata Doordarshan informed that

    Doordarshan supports the view that no gory display should be encouraged. Those who

    engage in display of such photographs belong to private TV channels.

    Ajitha Menon had a different view on this. She said it is necessary to show such

    photographs to the mass otherwise people will not get an idea of such devastations.One participant observed that media does not give enough importance to landslide related

    disaster in hilly areas. What is the method to generate awareness among people regarding

    such issues.

    Smt. Ishani Dutta Roy informed the audience that most of the time media does not get

    information on time. In the post-disaster period media organisations do not take enough

    initiative to spread awareness among people. They give very little importance to awareness

    generation regarding disaster preparedness.

    One participant observed that the fact that government department and mass media are

    inter-dependent is not perceived and this leads to lack of coordination. Although the nameof the Relief Department has changed to Disaster Management department, mass media

    reports as relief department. Disaster risk reduction initiatives will be easier and more

    humane if the Disaster management Department and mass media operate in a coordinated


    The Expert Panel (Shri Bob Roy and Smt. Ishani Dutta Roy) informed that the Disaster

    management department has never shared the laws and programmes with mass media.

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    While the Disaster management department works with a specific issue, mass media is

    engaged. Keeping in mind the limitation of mass media, a coordinated effort will be helpful.

    One participant enquired about any constructive role of mass media in raising awareness

    on environmental risks such as Sponge Iron factories and global warming.

    In reply to this Shri Bob Roy informed that a number of news-items have been published on

    these issues. However, he communicated that the media cannot provide any solution to any

    problem; it can only highlight the issues.

    One participant observed that during any disaster, women suffer more than men. Women

    suffer more because they hesitate to come out of their homes leaving all their belongings.

    In order to reduce such type of risk, it is essential to raise awareness among women

    through television serials.

    In this context, the Chairperson informed that Roopkala Kendra has prepared a number of

    short films on Disaster Risk Reduction and has plans to make more such films in future.


    To establish role and contribution of media as a partner of community and disastermanagement and motivate them to take active part in awareness generation.

    To establish close contacts among the government and media to spread early warning andawareness to the grassroots level.

    To adopt positive steps to ensure rights of people affected by disaster. To ensure that people do not suffer from unnecessary fear and negative attitude. Mass media personnel should take active participation in awareness building on disaster


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    Theme: Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction into Development

    Day : 22 April, 2010, Venue: Teesta Auditorium, Session: Evening

    The theme of session 1 of the first days programme of Sambit-1ST State Disaster RiskReduction Congress, West Bengal was Integration of DRR in development. Thechairperson of this session was Smt.Choten Lama, IAS, who has served as District

    Magistrate of East Midnapur district. Among other

    speakers were Shri Surajit Roy, District Planning

    Officer, South 24 Paraganas, Shri Tarun Debnath,

    Secretary, SHG promotional forum. The moderator of

    this session was Shri Himadri Maitra.

    In the inaugural address Smt. Lama emphasized the

    importance of the consultation. She observed that

    adequate attention must be given so that risks ofDisaster do not hamper the process of development.

    She shared one of her experiences of a disaster during

    her tenure as DM. After a boat carrying 17 people capsized in a river, rescue work became

    difficult and the reason was concrete structures thrown in the river during construction of

    a bridge. Children can be made aware of the disaster risk and they, in turn, can spread

    awareness in their homes.

    The discussion session was followed by interactive session with active participation from

    government officials, representatives from non government and voluntary organizations.

    One of the topics that came for deliberation was landslide in hilly areas. One of the

    participants enquired about the plans to be adopted for the next 25-30 years to reducepotential risk of landslides in hilly areas like Darjeeling.

    Smt. Choten lama commented that if the Government and Non-government organizations,

    instead of working in isolated manner and blaming each other, work in unison, the

    situation will improve. This would and can significantly reduce injuries and damage to

    property. She added awareness generation at gram Panchayat level is mandatory and in

    view of possibility of landslides in the hilly areas, it is possible to combine development

    works with disaster risk reduction.

    A number of issues emerged in the course of discussion:

    1. It was advised to use the term convergence rather than integration.2. A group of volunteers has to be formed at Panchayat level who, at the time of

    implementation of developmental programme, will disseminate information on disaster

    before, during and after a disaster. Besides, awareness generation on protection of

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    human lives should not be limited to district or block level; it must also be conducted at

    the Gram Samsad level as well.

    3. Any developmental work has to be completed within scheduled time limit. Otherwise itmay increase the risk of disaster. Active participation and regular monitoring byPanchayatPradhan is necessary.

    4. It was demanded by some that government should set up Flood Centres in theSecondary and Higher Secondary schools.

    5. In places like Purulia, dams are not constructed properly which leads to scarcity ofwater during summer. However, cracks appear during rainy season which causes flood

    in the villages. Government was urged to take appropriate steps.


    It was also mentioned it becomes difficult for NGOs to implement programmes due tonon- cooperation from Panchayat.

    During the course of discussion, Shri Surajit Roy

    mentioned that the main problem is not negligence.

    Rather, relationship between government and people

    is perceived as donor-receiver relationship. Usuallyany planning or development plan flows from the

    government to grassroots level. Effectiveness of the

    programme increases if the cycle is reversed. In case

    the planning is initiated at grassroots level and the

    plan is presented to the government, the plan isconsidered with more seriousness. He observed that

    condition of people cannot be improved considerably

    unless decentralized development process is adopted.

    Shri Tarun Debnath addressed the same issue by saying that development and disaster are

    interrelated. He said that work pace can be speeded up if it is done through SHGs. It is

    observed that the places where SHGs have done productive work, localized disaster

    reduction preparedness has been more effective. In this context, Shri Surajit Roy raised a

    number of issues: (1) if ones own home is well-protected and the electric connection isproper, then one is protected and if this is disseminated in the community the overall risk

    is reduced. (2) Importance of rain water storage in the context ofAila experience (3) Headvised to form disaster risk reduction groups at gram Panchayat level comprising of 10-12

    male and 12 female. He suggested organizing regular meetings with the village women

    during their leisure time to discuss this issue which may eventually lead to empowering

    these women.

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    Formation of task force by the members of self help groups and proper training imparted

    to these members was suggested by Shri Debnath. He set an example by saying in 2004

    those who took part in community based disaster preparedness did not lose any important

    documents. The moderator of the session said in order to reduce the risk of disaster people

    should be self dependent and exchange information on disaster risk reduction and otherrelated work, and this should be done in harmony.


    1. To develop human resource skills in disaster management.2. To give more power and responsibilities to self help groups and include them in disaster risk

    reduction process.

    3. To study and analyse hazard, risk and vulnerability at all levels.4. In order to prepare micro-zonation, use of GIS technology has to be made mandatory. In order

    to achieve this, coordination has to be brought about between District Planning Cell and

    Disaster management department.

    5. To make data available from natural Resource Database Management System from districtlevel to Gram Sansad level.

    6. To undertake disaster related research within disaster management department. Closercontacts to be developed between research organizations and implementing agencies for

    execution of research findings.

    7. To establish linkage between indicators of Disaster Risk Reduction and Human DevelopmentIndex.

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    Theme: Community and Family Level Preparedness

    Day : 22 April, Venue: Ichamati Auditorium, Session: Evening

    The theme of session 3 of the first days programme of Sambit-1ST State Disater RiskReduction Congress, West Bengal was Community and family level preparedness. The

    session on Community and family level preparedness had Shri Sunil Mammen from Caritas

    India as the Chairperson. Md. Asif Ahmed, member of

    Disaster Management Department; Anjan Bag, Caritas

    India and Smt. Sheela Debi a SHG member as

    panelists. This session was mostly on an interactive

    mode with participation from members of Gram

    Panchayat, representatives from non-government

    organisations, officers of the disaster management


    One of the issues that was raised was preparation of

    PLA method map on the basis of plans prepared at the

    Gram Samsad level. Awareness generation at the family level was also discussed. The

    following points also emerged during the discussion.

    1. Implementation of early warning through siren before cyclone and flood2. Population Report should be properly updated.3. In view of possibility of change on government at Panchayat level training should be

    organized every six months.

    4. Easy escape route from home during disaster (Multiple roads to each village).5. Coordination between Panchayat and disaster management department and Panchayat

    with households.

    6. Integration of Disaster management plans with the development plans.7. Awareness among the school children on disaster preparedness and installation of handpump on the roof of houses for availability of water during disaster8. Vigilance to prevent theft of sand bags placed as barriers for embankments9. Arrangement of Disposable Delivery Kit (Dai kit) consisting of blade, thread, cotton,

    polythene and gauge for expecting mothers.

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    10.To keep necessary papers and documents together in separate place11.In the flood-prone areas, to keep rice and other food items properly packed in plastic

    bags so that food supply remains intact even if the house is inundated.


    To undertake awareness generation programs at household and community level throughvillage.

    To undertake regular planning exercise on disaster risk reduction and integrate this plan withregular development plans at all levels.

    To make arrangements for training of workers associated with disaster risk reduction at regularintervals.

    To undertake state-wide campaign to initiate the habit of keeping Family Survival Kits.

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    Theme: Multi-Hazard and Climate Change in the context of West Bengal

    Day: 22 April, Venue: Subarnarekha Auditorium, Session: Evening

    The theme of session 4 of the first days programme of Sambit-1ST State Disaster RiskReduction Congress, West Bengal was Multi-Hazard and Climate Change in the context ofWest Bengal. The session was chaired by Prof. Subhash Santra and the panelists were Shri

    Roshan Rai, Prof. Ananda Chakraborty, Shri Subhro Sen from WWF and Shri Anshuman Das

    from Service Centre. The discussion was conducted by Shri Pratik Kumar Bandopadhyay of

    Disaster Management Department.

    In this context Prof Chakraborty discussed the

    possible reasons for landslide in West Bengal. In

    analyzing the reasons he mentioned indiscriminate

    de-forestation, rise of population in geometric

    progression and consequent urbanization and airpollution. Global warming is increasing the erratic

    rainfall. Excessive use of fossil fuel is one of the

    contributing factors. The temperature has increased

    by 1oC in the last 15 years and intensity of Tropical

    Cyclone has increased.

    Change in natural pattern for landslide and rainfall is mainly responsible for flood and

    drought. Excessive deposit of silt in the river has diminished the water retention capacity of

    the rivers. Due to environmental imbalance even normal rainfall is giving rise to drought


    He offered a number of suggestions:

    Upgradation of infrastructure for DRR Increase in awareness at all levels Wide dissemination of plans and programmesA number of issues cropped up for discussion following the speech by Prof. Chakraborty

    The water carrying capacity of rivers is never discussed at the GP level or district leveland as a result of this weakness, a number of potentially dangerous projects get


    Construction of roads, even National Highways on cultivable land Filling up of the water bodies for construction activities Strong legal framework is necessary to prevent such human activities that enhances the

    possibility of disaster

    WWF representative Shri Subhro Sen commented that although a lot is spoken about

    climate change related issues, ultimately this issue do not get priority. He informed that

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    although a state level climate change committee was formed two years back with the Chief

    Minister of Government of West Bengal at the chair, it started functioning only a month ago.

    Shri Roshan Rai who came from Darjeeling, in his

    short speech said that, it is difficult to debate ifclimate change is taking place scientifically or not.

    But the questions that were raised in terms of

    helplessness caused due to siltation, river issues or

    sewage problems will get doubled with climate

    change and with extreme heat and erratic monsoons.

    He focussed on three main comments:

    A landscape approach is needed because theSunderbans and the rest of Bengal receive water from the Himalayas. At some places

    there is excess or no water. But in Darjeeling there has been dramatic changes in terms

    of crops like in the higher altitudes Rhododendrons are blooming a month before thanit used to.

    Another example would be the oranges which used to grow at the height of 3 4thousand meters, is gaining altitude day by day.

    Most importantly, a type of mosquito which breeds mainly in the tea gardens is nowactually found in the foot hills of Darjeeling.

    The whole discussion of multi hazard and climatic changes should look at a holistic

    perspective, which includes food security and not just loss of water and soil.

    One of the delegates asked what method should be adopted to communicate with the grassroot level people and what would be the role of media?

    One of the panelists, Mr. Angshuman Das, commented that deforestation is at times

    necessary for livelihood. However, if such activities are undertaken in a coordinated

    manner and a land resource map is put in place then deforestation may not lead to disaster.

    He advocated use of GIS technology.


    1. To fix objectives for development of institutional structures and infrastructure at the State level inorder to get rid of the problems relating to disaster and climate change

    2. To stop deforestation and promote aforestation and keep a balance on Food Chain and habitatchange.

    3. Make a state wide plan on land resources.4. To increase all round awareness on landslide, land erosion and habitat chain in the coastal areas.5. In order to promote long term development, an integrated plan has to be prepared through

    concerted efforts by environmentalists, development specialists and disaster management


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    Theme: Role of Panchayat and Participatory Approaches in Disaster Risk Reduction

    Day 23 April, Venue: Teesta Auditorium, Session: Morning

    The theme of session 1 of the second days programme of Sambit-1ST State Disaster RiskReduction Congress, West Bengal was Role of Panchayat in disaster management. TheChairperson of this session was Shri Amalendu Ghosh. The Panelists were Shri Sanjay

    Moulik, Shri Manab Sen and Ms. Bani Saraswati. Sri Pinaki Haldar moderated the session.

    Shri Ghosh emphasized on the fact that Gram

    Panchayat Act, 1973 does not have any mention of

    separate rules on Disaster Risk Management. Hence

    the concept of disaster management should be

    viewed as an integral part of well-conceived and

    well-planned development.

    It was also mentioned that Panchayat sometimes play

    the role of government and it is its responsibility to

    play such a role. Some Panchayat members shared

    personal experiences like they have seen crops

    spread over the roads which can lead to accidents.

    Other issues discussed were:

    Improper implementation of plans due to limited resource of government. Existence of Kucha roads, particularly in places like Gajol, Malda which may cause

    floods during rain.

    It was suggested to form immediate Action group to fight against disaster. Crops are scattered on the roads in the rural areas, which make them prone to accidents.Smt. Bani Saraswati also mentioned various roles of women in any emergency. She also

    laminated that keeping in mind emergency situations women should keep all the important

    documents like property papers in safe and protected place.

    Sri Manab Sen advocated that Disaster Management plan should be prepared in

    coordination with Gram Sansad, Gram Panchayat, Block and District. Sri Sanjay Mollickpromoted educating and awareness building among common mass on disaster risk


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    1. Preparation of disaster management plan in coordination with Gram Samsad, GramPanchayat, Block and District

    2. To include officers of Disaster management Department in the Planning andDevelopment Committees of Panchayat bodies in various tiers

    3. Representation in SDMA (State Disaster Management Authority) from PanchayatDepartment

    4. To create awareness among the Panchayat members to incorporate DRR in developmentplans

    5. To amend the Panchayat act in order to include DRR. Similarly, the State DisasterManagement Act to be amended in order to incorporate the role of Panchayat

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    Theme: Issues of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Emergencies

    Day: 23 April 2010, Venue: Ichamati, Session: Morning

    The theme of session 2 of the second days programme of Sambit-1ST State Disaster RiskReduction Congress, West Bengal was Issue of water and sanitation and hygienepromotion in emergencies Prof. Arunava Majumdar was on the chair and other panelists

    were Dr. Anshuman Mitra, Smt. Mamta Pradhan from Oxfam and Shri. Pratik Kumar

    Bandopadhyay, officer of Disaster Management Department. The discussion was hosted by

    Shri Bhashwar Bandopadhyay from Oxfam.

    Prof. Majumdar commented at the outset that safe

    water is one of the basic human rights. During

    disaster safe water becomes scarce but safe water is

    absolutely necessary to ensure health. Microbial and

    natural pollution are two major reasons forenvironmental pollution. Therefore water pollution

    becomes a major issue during flood. If people are

    aware of water purification techniques, it becomes

    possible to purify flood water and use for drinking

    and household work. Since tube wells get submerged

    during flood the same have to be disinfected. It is

    important to form volunteer team from local youth and they should be trained in repairing

    hand pumps.

    Water purification needs to be monitored and it must be ensured that diarrhoea, malaria,

    and cholera are not spread in the relief camps. If the water supply is not adequate, thestagnant water must be purified before use.

    Mamata Pradhan demonstrated models of latrines. The design of the toilets in the flood

    prone areas must be advanced and the height is more than the normal toilets.

    Two issues came up for discussion:

    The cheap variety single pit latrine gets flooded easily - how to manage thisproblem.

    Due to inundation of the toilet, water at home becomes scarce -how to manage thisproblem.

    In reply to the first question, P.K. Banerjee there is basic technical difference in design

    between toilet used in normal and flood prone areas. Prof. Majumdar mentioned there are

    two types of toilets and the Vietnam Model is named Eco-San-Toilet is used which is

    suitable in flood prone areas.

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    One participant asked about the quality of water that we drink every day. He said there are

    116 water quality laboratories in West Bengal. He also said sand layer must be placed in

    the toilet pits and should be at least 30 ft from the water source. In reply to another

    question he said the depth of litch pit should not be more than 5 ft.

    In the discussions that followed, Dr. Mitra brought

    forth the public health and hygiene aspects in

    relation to water and sanitation issues. Water

    purification was also discussed. Shri Banerjee

    reiterated the importance of awareness building and

    group formation in order to ensure relief

    distribution and water purification.

    Dr. Majumdar underscored the importance of

    creating barrier around water bodies and advised

    collaborative venture with STF for waterpurification. He also mentioned that women become vulnerable to reproductive tract

    infection. He advised use of sanitary pads.


    1. Administrative steps to be taken to raise awareness on water purification techniques.2. People must be oriented on techniques to store rain water in ponds and water tank.3. Use of NREGS for implementation of sewage system.4. Infrastructure upgradation of toilets to make them suitable for use in disaster situation.5. Water and hygiene aspects must be included in the disaster management plans at Panchayat

    and Municipal level.

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    Theme: Preparedness in the backdrop of Cyclone Aila

    Day 23 April, 2010 Venue Subarnarekha Auditorium, Session: Morning

    The theme of session 4 of the second days programme of Sambit-1ST State DRR Congress,West Bengal was Preparedness in the backdrop ofAila. Chairperson of the session wasShri Hari Krishna. Among the speakers were Shri

    B.C.Patra, Joint Secretary of Disaster Management

    Department, Govt West Bengal, Prof Abhijit Kundu

    from Jadavpur University and Shri Paresh Chandra

    Mandal, representative of an NGO in Sunderban.

    Shri Hari Krishna initiated the session by highlighting

    on the lessons about how to fight against cyclones

    like Aila in the future. He categorized the session into

    four parts: Pre-disaster cautionary arrangements During Aila Participation of government and NGOs Negative impact of Aila Future preparedness strategy on the basis of Aila experienceThe suggestions which came up at the beginning of the discussion are as follows:

    Instead of referring only aboutAila it would be better a holistic view is adopted forkind of devastating cyclone.

    Weather forecast and necessary information if provided on time by themeteorological department with SMS alerts can help in reducing disaster.

    Abhijit Kundu added by saying that sometimes people do not take the alerts seriously.

    Some people thoughtAila would ultimately move towards Bangladesh without touching

    West Bengal. Shri Kundu emphasized on scientific development and spoke about Last MileConnectivity. He emphasized mobilizing ICDS workers at the grassroots level for

    dissemination of alerts. In case this is not possible, a system of alerts through mobile

    phones could be introduced. He suggested construction of at least one concrete house in

    every disaster prone area which can be used as cyclone shelter during disaster.

    A comparative analysis between Aila and tornado in Uttar Dinajpur cropped up during

    deliberations. While Aila happened during the day, tornado struck at night. There werealerts before Aila but there was no information before tornado. Where Aila destroyed

    Bengal and some parts of Bangladesh tornado affected only few places. Number of deaths

    during Aila and afterwards (mainly out of diseases like cholera) was much more than that

    in tornado. Approximately 39 people died during tornado. Many of them were hit by tinned

    (aluminium sheet) roof, a structure which is more popular in North Bengal than in coastal


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    Educational and Cultural programmes during Sambit


    A quiz contest was organized on Disaster RiskReduction in the post-lunch session on the second day.

    The discerning point of this session was enthusiastic

    participation by the delegates. Most of the delegates

    gave correct answers and thereby demonstrated high

    level of awareness. The contest was coordinated by Shri

    Anupam Chakrabarty from the Department of Disaster


    Kobigaan (folk songs)

    At the outset, a group of folk singers from Burdwan

    performed Kobigaan. It was informative and through their

    performance they presented various aspects of Disaster and

    dos and donts of the people in all disaster phases

    Band performance

    After the all day long

    discussion Mohul, a groupof Bengali folk singers, gave

    a breakthrough performance. Participants enjoyed

    thoroughly and became a part of the excitement filled

    warm evening.

    Mock drill

    The role of the dogs trained under the strict supervision

    for the inspection of the police is famous all over the

    world. The highly trained dogs can not only be used in

    police inspection, but also in the emergencies during

    disasters, which was correctly proved by the members of

    the NDRF through their eye-catching dog-show.


    The venue of the threeday long conference of the Disaster Risk Reduction

    Congress was ornamented with twenty stalls. Many

    INGOs / NGOs and self-help organisations, put up stalls

    to show case items and issues relating to DRR, along

    with the Disaster Management Department Government

    of West Bengal, Jadavpur University and NDRF.

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    Theme: Earthquake Risk Mitigation

    Day: 23 April, 2010, Venue: Teesta Auditorium, Session: Afternoon

    The theme of afternoon session of the second days programme of Sambit- 1ST State

    Disaster Risk Reduction Congress, West Bengal was Earthquake Risk Mitigation. TheChairperson of this session was Shri Debashis Kar, Director General Building, Kolkata

    Municipal Corporation. The Panelists were Shri Biswajit Chakraborty and Shri Sujoy

    Chowdhury of Goal Ireland. Smt. Ranjini Mukharjee of UNDP anchored the session.

    The Chairperson observed that earthquake strikes all

    of a sudden at any time of day and night without any

    prior warning. Hence this issue needs to be given

    special attention. Special techniques have to be

    adopted to reduce the risk of such disaster. It is

    advisable not to construct strong concrete walls in

    earthquake prone zones since lot of people have diedas a result of building collapse. It is also observed

    that earthquake has less severe effect on mud

    houses. Local resources and earthquake resistant

    technology suitable to the local situation has to be

    referred to when infrastructure design of the area would be planned.

    Smt. Ranjini Mukherjee, mentioned that earthquake risk reduction should be included into

    the syllabus of school children and also mentioned the role of schools in this issue.

    Shri Biswajit Chakroborty, an expert on DRR divided earthquake-prone areas in various


    1. Extremely high earthquake prone zone2. Moderately high earthquake prone zone3. Low earthquake prone zoneIn the West Bengal context, the following gives idea on zones:

    Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar fall within extremely high earthquake prone zone South 24 Paraganas fall under Moderately High earthquake prone zoneHe said that most of the towns are not planned. If an earthquake strikes Kolkata, with its

    effect measuring 4.5 on Richter scale, it would damage almost 45% of the constructions of

    the city. Chances of damage are more during the day because a large number of people

    come to the city for livelihood from districts and villages.

    Shri Sujoy Choudhury said:

    People in the urban area should be more aware in the day to day life. Everybody should have a clear idea of the type of construction of their respective


    People should be aware of easy route of escape during a disaster.

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    Capacity building and awareness generation is required at both school and college level.Citing an example from the Gujarat earthquake, he informed that lack of awareness led to

    so many deaths. This was because the school children took shelter inside the school

    buildings which collapsed.

    One Participant observed that during floods in

    Bardhaman, substantial number of people lose their

    lives because of inundation of the coal mines. He

    suggested setting up of Diver training centre in

    Mython Dam. Every 20-60 km area should have one

    diver under the supervision of Corporation and

    Panchayat. This would help saving lives.

    In urban area construction of houses with pillars is a

    normal phenomenon which is unsafe from disaster

    point of view. However, these are considered aslegal construction by Municipal Corporations. Hence

    awareness generation needs to be done at Municipal


    Another participant commented that there is no system of demolishing any structure that

    is unable to withstand a disaster. The Government projects do not allot additional funds to

    construct Disaster-resistant houses. Panchayats do not have any designated engineer.

    Therefore, infrastructural change is necessary. Another participant observed that Disaster

    management should be included in school syllabus. Drama, Mime and paintings exhibitions

    can be used as awareness media to spread awareness among school children. School

    buildings should be constructed in such a manner that they are Disaster-resistant.


    1. To set up Diver training Centres to avoid loss during earthquakes and avalanches in the MiningAreas

    2. To introduce BIS codes and disaster resistant features in Panchayat Building Bye-laws for houseand infrastructure construction.

    3. To appoint engineer capable of setting up of disaster-resistant structures in the Panchayatadministration

    4. The school buildings should be constructed in accordance with latest building bye-laws andconsidering disaster-resistant technology accordingly. School Safety programmes should

    immediately be started and adopted at the state level.

    5. Organize sophisticated training for Fire Brigade and Civil Defence personnel6. Adherence to BIS Specification specially with respect to recent improvements brought in for

    constructions e.g Ductile grades like Fe500D with its better product features will reduce the

    risk of disaster in all types of construction for individuals or for institutions.

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    Theme: Health and Nutrition in Disaster Response

    Day 23 April, 2010, Venue : Ichamati Auditorium , Session: Afternoon

    The theme of session at venue Ichamati of the second days programme of Sambit-1STState Disaster Risk Reduction Congress, West Bengal was Health and Nutrition in DisasterResponse. Chairperson of the session was Dr.Ujjwal Sengupta. Other members of the panel

    were Dr. Asit Pandey, Dr. Prabhas Choudhury. Dr. Prabir Chatterjee moderated the

    discussion. Dr. Sukanta Sil of North 24 Parganas CMOH was also present.

    The Chairperson emphasized on the importance of the health of the victims after any

    disaster. He said that disaster is directly related with health and nutrition. Lack of nutrition

    is observed after disaster which eventually affects public health.

    Dr.Asit Pandey (ACMOH) referred to the picture of

    Basirhat, North 24 Paraganas after Aila. He sharedhis experience by saying that three blocks of North

    24 Paraganas were flooded and one government

    representative was dedicated to every Aila affected


    53,840 suffered from diarrhoea out of which 11

    died. 61 were victims of snake-bite and 2 people

    died. 7 blocks which included Hingalgunj,

    Sandeshkhali and Hasnabad were totally devastated

    by Aila. 6,17,000 people out of a total population of 13,50,000 were injured. 22,400 people

    suffered from malaria, dengue and cholera. The main area of concern was unsafe drinking

    water. It was found that water supplied by Government and NGOs contained bacteria, the

    main reason for this being leakage of pipe line. The numbers of relief workers were not

    sufficient though lot of people from Government and NGOs were engaged in relief work. Dr

    Pandey said that the drinking water supplied in pouches were contaminated which in turn

    contaminated the water leaked from pipeline. In spite of so many limitations the diseases

    were eventually managed with the help of the relief workers.

    Every person requires 15 litres of drinking water every day. But Aila affected areas did not

    get sufficient drinking water. It was suggested to mix 3 drops of bleaching powder to every

    litre of water. But there was not enough supply of bleaching powder.

    Children below 5 years did not get vitamins in the ir meal. Chirand gur(Pressed rice andmolasses) were usually supplied to people during an emergency. But this type of food has

    less nutritious value. Lack of protein has also been observed.

    Dr.Pandeys speech was followed by observations of Dr. Prabhas Choudhury. He said since53% of the villages of West Bengal are flood-prone, so recovery including rehabilitation

    and reconstruction is difficult in these areas. Both government and NGOs must work

    together to face and manage these kinds of disasters. He suggested forming a group in

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    every block comprising of one government official and a doctor and that their contact

    numbers must be provided to everybody in the respective block.

    Keeping in mind of the public health, 500 antibiotics were supplied which helped to fight

    against the diseases after Aila. He added with deep regret that in some cases relief workwas hampered. The relief workers got stuck up on their way to remote areas. Due to lack of

    proper communication facilities relief could not be sent. Hence awareness generation is

    required among common people along with active and rapid response during emergency

    situations. Dr.Ujjwal Sengupta also shared the same view. He said that pre and post disaster

    plans are required.

    Some important and vital questions were raised from the participants at the end of the


    During any disaster what should be the mode oftreatment for the elderly people

    How to handle child-related nutrition issues.

    All the children stay in same relief camps makesthem difficult to stay healthy.

    Whether medicines are used in sufficient quantityin the villages. Often, villagers do not prefer to take

    ORS simply because ofbad taste

    How to keep the women healthy in relief campsand whether it is possible to arrange for trauma


    What arrangements can be taken to keep the women safe and protected in the reliefcamps

    In context to the questions raised by the participants, the discussion that came to the fore

    front was:

    Nutrition plays a vital role during any natural calamities or disasters. So nutrition should

    not be overlooked during this time. It should be according to the standards of the present

    time as well.

    Hygienic, cheap and more nutritious food should be included as relief food. For example: it

    is seen that Chhola or Bengal Gram is given as relief food, though it is nutritious but water

    is needed to consume it. During emergencies it is hard to get potable water. So, we have to

    think about such food which gives optimum nutrition; beside the food, hygiene can be


    It is seen that children and older people do not get proper nutrition during disasters. We

    have to think about the cheap enriched and fortified food for them including women. (The

    At risk group)

    It is also observed that, there is a tendency among mothers to overfeed their children

    during this time, to secure the food for them. As psychologically, mothers are biased and

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    want to secure maximum food for their children, they also collect cooked food from the

    camp and store them privately for their children. Storing foods unscientifically, can lead to

    outbreak of many diseases.

    So here we have to give them nutrition, education and also a nutrition monitoring system(specifically during disasters) which should be set up for proper monitoring. It would not

    only be able to achieve the highest nutrition but also cut the expense of the Government by

    proper use of resource.

    Proper nutrition monitoring and special care should be taken in the flood or disaster prone

    areas, as this strategy would help to reduce the negative consequences of an aftermath.

    Nutrition and hygiene education should be given to all who are handling food at that time.


    Special Disaster-related plans have to be prepared regarding health and nutrition and this planshould have special provisions for the vulnerable section including children, elderly people,

    breast-feeding mothers. This has to be integrated with the main DRR plan

    Vulnerability relating to Health and Nutrition has to be assessed for different types ofdisasters

    Safe toilet for women and children need to be arranged. Special attention must be given toreproductive health of women. Arrangements must be made to make hygienic materials


    In the post-disaster period, survey must be conducted for behaviour change and analysis ofpsychological impact on them, and facility for counselling may be done.

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    Theme: Our learning in Post Cyclone Aila

    Day 23 April, 2010, Venue : Subarnarekha Auditorium, Session: Afternoon

    The theme of session at Subarnarekha of the second days programme of Sambit-1ST StateDRR Congress, West Bengal was Our learning in postcyclone response. The Chairperson of this session

    was Shri Nilanjan Shandilya , ADM, South24

    Paraganas District. Other Panelists included Shri

    Tanaji Sen from Red-R India, Shri Jatin Mandar from

    Save the Children, Shri Alok Ghosh from CASA and Fr.

    Soosaiappa from Palli Unnayan Samity. The

    Moderator of the session was Shri Puthumai

    A.Nazarene, the State Coordinator of State Inter

    Agency Group-West Bengal.

    The chairperson said that one of the major lessons from Aila is that we should change our

    mindset towards DRR. It has to be seen that the disasters cause minimum injury and

    damage. Puthumai displayed some slides containing data and photographs of damage

    caused by Aila and said that Disaster management becomes easier if NGOs work together

    with Panchayats.

    The issues that emerged during deliberations are:

    Sharing of experiences and ideas is less within the NGOs. Sometimes relief sent inone place is less and surplus in another place. This is due to the fact that NGOs have

    very little idea of the geographical location. Psycho-social reception was also

    discussed in the session.

    During Aila the agricultural fields were flooded by salt water which hamperedcultivation. How to start cultivation all over again?

    In this context, Shri Alok Ghosh suggested that instead of knowing about the geographical

    location of the devastated areas, it is more important to send relief in coordination with

    Gram Sansad. It was also suggested to cultivate seeds like Matla, Hogla, Nonarekha,

    Nonashal which grow up in fields inundated by saline water. He emphasized on human

    development and improvement in lifestyle of people. He emphasized the need for State

    level authorities on Disaster management in the model adopted at the national level.

    Shri Jatin Mandar discussed about trafficking in Patharpatima and Sandeshkhali 1 and 2

    blocks. He informed that Patharpratima has attracted global attention due to highest

    suicide rate. He suggested building children friendly space for children which would reduce

    vulnerability of children and their mothers and this may help in reduction in trafficking.

    Mid-day meal is started after 4-6 months of Aila. Hence government machinery should be


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    Since the agricultural fields have been inundated by saline water, some farmers have

    shifted to shrimp farming and fishery from paddy or vegetable cultivation. Limited training

    is sometimes acting as handicap. Hence training is essential.

    Shri Tanaji Sen from Red-R India said that information, coordination and sense ofresponsibility is required for any work to be done. Along with success, failure should not be

    ignored. Any political and social issues should not hamper our work, keeping them in mind

    we should move forward. Rehabilitation is not only reconstruction of houses and building

    but taking care of the injured and depressed people and giving them hope to survive.

    The chairperson raised some important points during the discussion:

    He said that disaster management should be on long term basis. This will spread more

    awareness and people will learn faster.

    He also said that in the post-disaster period, special care should also be taken for birds,

    animals, tree planting.


    At the time of assessment of damage and recovery, needs of the marginalized people should be takencare of

    Alternative arrangements for livelihood development should be ensured during and after emergency Safety aspects for humans and nature must be considered Steps must be taken to desalinate soil and initiate steps to start cultivation Dissemination of information for early warning has to be made acceptable to people. Coordination has

    to be brought about among Government, NGO and Panchayat bodies

    Relief and Rescue is part of basic human rights and this should be done on emergency basis, and boththe work should be implemented fast on emergency basis

    In the post-disaster period all the relevant departments should respond on emergency basis Localised and time-bound warning system should be introduced Embankment should be constructed as per quality specifications and in time-bound manner Steps must be taken at Block and Gram Panchayat level for storage of relief materials for speedy


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    Theme: Policies and challenges in Disaster Risk Reduction

    Day: 24 April, 2010, Venue: Teesta Auditorium, Session : Morning

    The theme of session at Teesta Hall of the third days programme of Sambit-1ST StateDisaster Risk Reduction Congress, West Bengal was

    Policies and challenges in Disaster Risk Reduction.

    The session on Disaster Risk Reduction was chaired

    by Shri Debabrata Pal (IAS), Joint Secretary of Disaster

    Management Department, Government of West Bengal

    and the members of the expert panel were Shri G.

    Padmanabhan of UNDP, Shri Rabindranath from

    Assam and Prof. Ishita Mukherjee of Calcutta


    The chairperson observed that due to indiscriminate

    construction of buildings in urban areas, loss of lives has increased during earthquake. He

    advocated integration of BIS codes and building byelaws and stressed upon upgradation of

    the BIS codes. He also said that obstruction like barrage is constructed every year in the

    rivers at an interval of every 1 km in the different blocks. But by not breaching this local

    barrage at the end of the year, it leads to the occurrence of the unprecedented floods. This

    problem also needs to be changed. Since poor people have a tendency to construct houses

    in low land, they face sufferings most in the time crisis. Government projects like Indira

    Aawas Yojana (IAY) may be utilized for reducing their distress.

    The next speaker, Shri Padmanabhan highlighted the joint initiative between stategovernment and UNDP. He emphasized on knowledge sharing and early warning system.

    He also said that civil society must take collective ownership for DRR.

    Prof. Mukherjee emphasized on gender disparity in the disaster context. She said both men

    and women should be given equal chance in the disaster related activities. Special attention

    must be given to areas where backwardness among women is more acute. A few issues

    came up for discussion.

    What form of disaster is related to climate change Problems in formulating policy and implementation How to generate awareness among most vulnerable people How to use policies prepared by IAGThe chairperson mentioned that people have benefited by UNDP funded Disaster Risk

    Management Programme. This needs to be triggered towards more activity in the entire

    State. He pointed out that State Disaster Management Authority should have representative

    from Panchayat Department.

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    Shri Rabindranath highlighted the policy aspects of Disaster Management and main

    features of Disaster Management Act 2005. He advocated for wide dissemination of

    knowledge and technological upgradation.


    Process of DRR is actually development process. This must be reflected in developmentplan.

    The resources for DRR have to be strengthened. Coordinated effort by Government, NGO, Corporate Houses, Education Institutions,

    Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) and CBOs to ensure effective DRR.

    Protection during disaster is a fundamental right-this must be recognized in legal and

    institutional arrangement.

    Dissemination of early warning information up to Gram Panchayat level. The BIS code must be maintained in the construction of the houses under the Indira

    Aawas Yojana (IAY).

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    Theme: Education and Child Protection in Emergencies

    Day 24 April, 2010, Venue: Ichamati Auditorium, Session: Morning

    The theme of session at venue - Ichamati of the third days programme of Sambit-1STState Disaster Risk Reduction Congress, West Bengal was Education and Child Protectionin Emergencies. The Chairperson of the session was

    Shri Ray Kancharla of Save the Children. The

    panellists were Sri Umapada Chatterjee, Additional

    State Project Director, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan Smt.

    Paramita Neogi, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF, Smt.

    Sheril Francis, St. Xaviers College.

    Chairperson mentioned that children constitute 40%

    of population in the country. Yet, the Disaster

    Management Act does not have any special section onchildren. He invited two NGO workers on stage to

    share their experiences. Both of them mentioned about creation of child friendly space in

    their project areas, increase vigilance for prevention of trafficking and counseling of the

    children. He made a presentation which dealt with creation of child friendly space and

    explained the STOP model ( S- Space & Structure, T Trust, Time, Talking, O- Opportunity

    to play and P -Partnership with Parents). He hoped management of emergency situation

    will be easier with:

    Child protection at local level Family education Institutional strengthening Localized care State policy Preparation of protocol guidelineIn this context one panelist mentioned about gender disparity and HIV-AIDS, participation

    at GP level and inclusion of DRR in school curriculum.

    Since children are most vulnerable any policy should be prepared with CCW ( ChildCannot Wait) in mind.

    The issues that were raised in the interactive session were:

    Inclusion of child protection in the Act, Condition of children during man-made disaster

    situations (terrorist attack), and Preparation of State level Resource Team.

    Shri Chatterjee said this been included in syllabus and how to expand the scope is explored.

    As a ground work for formulation of Disaster Management Team, mock drill has been

    organized. Other aspects were (a)sensitize government employees on restriction of use of

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    child labour (b) improvement of government Homes. (c) Preparation prior to disaster is

    necessary, this eases management of disaster.

    Smt. P.Neogi said

    Trafficking increased after cyclone Aila. Quality and Distribution of Resources is important. Protection of a vulnerable child is a human

    responsibility-not the work of government alone.

    Specialist training is essential. The whole issue needs to be viewed with empathy.Shri Gomes from St. Xaviers College, Kolkata and Smt.

    Sheryl Francis informed the steps they have taken in

    colleges to orient the students on safety.

    In this case students are asked to form a Disaster Management Committee and asked to

    draw Resource and Vulnerability Map. Orientation is given on early warning, fire fighting,

    first aid, formulation of rescue team etc. In the St. Xaviers College


    Giving importance on Child Protection in the acts relating to Disaster Management. Give due importance to right to child protection and respect the opinions of the children

    at the village level while developing disaster management plan.

    Awareness to be increased on child labour and the practice of child labour must bestopped.

    Identify disaster related risks for children. Disaster Management should be included in school syllabus.

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    Theme: Rights based issues in Response and Preparedness

    Day 24 April, 2010 , Venue: Ichhamati Auditorium, Session: Morning

    The theme of session at Ichhamati venue of the third days programme of Sambit-1STState DRR Congress, West Bengal was Rights basedissues in Response Preparedness. The Chairperson of

    this session was Shri Chittaranjan Mandal from Action

    Aid India. Shri Somen Das, Disaster Management

    Officer, Sri Vikas Gora from Sphere India and Smt.

    Sabrina Edwards were on the panel of experts.

    The chairperson said that the rights of the most

    affected by disaster, marginalized and backward

    people should be protected and honoured and people

    must be made aware of their rights.

    To receive relief during disaster is a basic right of an individual. Receiving good quality

    relief with appropriate amount forms integral part of the right. Despite this, violation of

    human rights occurs mostly at the time of disaster. Other fundamental rights include food,

    nutrition, shelter, drinking water and sanitation.

    The issues that emerged in the Interactive Session were:

    Indicators to assess quantity and quality of the relief material. Role of state to ensure rights of the citizens The manner in which the rights of the people are ensured during disaster.According to Shri S. Das, although right to life and freedom is recognised in the constitution

    and right to family life and livelihood also forms part of human right, these rights are

    violated during disaster. Since relief camps operate at levels beyond optimum capacity,

    some are denied of the right to food, nutrition, drinking water and sanitation. Since relief

    camps are organized in the schools the education is hampered.

    Shri Vikas Gora informed that two aspects become crucial in the Disaster Situations:

    Helplessness of the people affected by Disaster

    Substantial number of women and children among the people affected by Disaster Relief materials should never be considered as alms - it is a fundamental right No compromise on quality of life for disaster affected people. Special measures for old people and children Adequate attention to environmental protection, especially about pollution from plastic


    Special arrangements to take expecting mothers to hospital.

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    Special attention for prevention of trafficking ofgirl child.

    Coordinated efforts of all agencies. Strict monitoring of quality and quantity- no one

    should be deprived.

    Smt. Sabrina highlighted the following issues in the

    Interactive session:

    Women are affected more during disaster becausethey mostly stay within homes.

    Most women are unaware of sources of relief. The relief distribution system is not transparent. Women become subject to sexual harassment. Sanitary Napkins should be available with adolescent girls and women. The place where a woman sleeps at night should be adequately protected. If a man leaves home for work, the security of the woman is affected. Sometimes women

    leave SHGs after disaster.

    Sometimes men, out of despair become addicted to alcohol, and they inflict mental andphysical abuse on women.


    Maintain quality of the relief materials Relief to be distributed as per valid demand and should not be dictated by supply. The rights of children, women and specially-abled persons should be protected. Adequate steps to be taken to prevent trafficking during disaster. Men and women should take equal part in preparation of Disaster Risk Reduction. Quality of the Relief materials to be determined on the basis of standard of living and local


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    Shri Puthumai Nazarene, Coordinator, State IAG

    thanked all participants from various organisations,

    particularly those who have worked tirelessly to makethe Congress a success. He introduced the persons

    who will speak in the closing ceremony: Joint

    Secretary, Shri Debabrata Pal, UNDP representative

    Shri G. Padmanabhan, Vice-chairman of Sphere India:

    Shri Ray Kancharla, and Officer from the Department

    of Disaster Management: Shri. Himadri Maitra. The

    closing speech was scheduled to be delivered by the

    member of the organising committee, Shri Subhasish


    Joint Secretary Shri Debabrata Pal, mentioned thatIAG began its operation in selected areas of south 24

    Paraganas and Nadia in 2000. However the potential

    of state wide intervention on CBDP could not be

    realized on the basis of these activities. The operation

    of state IAG speeded up after involvement of the state

    government. As an impact of this collaboration first

    state IAG conference being organised utilizing

    Government infrastructure. The Disaster

    Management Department has introduced DRR

    activities in some districts and Municipalities. I hope

    this conference will explore diverse possibilities which will be beneficial to people at large.

    Shri G. Padmanabhan from UNDP complimented the

    West Bengal Government and State IAG for

    successfully organising first such Congress in India. He

    elucidated concepts on DRR in a lucid manner. He also

    mentioned the policies on DRR and inclusion of DRR

    in 11th Five-year plan. He pointed out some obstacles

    to DRR initiatives and these are lack of awareness,

    improper implementation. He mentioned DRR is not

    only a responsibility of government. This is a

    responsibility of all those who are associated with

    some development work. In conclusion, he informed

    that UNDP will be happy to collaborate with the Government of West Bengal and IAG as per

    guidelines of NDMA and Union Home Ministry.

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    Shri Ray Kancharala, the Vice-Chairperson of Sphere India, complimented the Joint

    Secretary of the Department of Disaster Management for organising such a historic

    Congress. He hailed this initiative as commendable

    and mentioned West Bengal is truly a pioneer in this

    aspect. This Congress provided opportunity forinteraction among various groups of people including

    grassroots level functionaries, professionals,

    government officials, members of civil society and

    many others. He particularly mentioned the

    discussion on child education and child protection at

    the time of disaster. He hoped this Congress will not

    only show new ways for implementation of the Hugo

    Framework, but would also facilitate child protection

    in vulnerable areas and empowerment of people in the rural areas. He thanked all partners

    responsible for organising this Congress.

    Shri Himadri Maitra, summarised the recommendations that emerged during three-day


    To increase awareness on DRR among people inand through the mass media.

    To make arrangements for research in theDisaster Management department, establish

    contacts with Research Organisations and

    implementing findings of the research.

    To link indicators of DRR with HumanDevelopment Index.

    To conduct state wide campaign for keepingFamily Survival Kit ready.

    To fix targets for infrastructural upgradation formanagement of problems associated with Disaster and Climate change.

    Relief to be distributed as per valid demand and should not be dictated by supply To prepare a comprehensive perspective plan in consultation with environmentalists,

    development experts and DM department.

    To have representative of Panchayat and Rural Development Department in StateDisaster Management Authority.

    The schools have to be made earthquake resistant. School safety work plan has to beadopted at the state level. Economic loss of marginalised people has to be taken into account to assess damage

    and loss for recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

    Information on early warning has to made accessible to people. Coordination has to bebrought about among government, Non government organizations, PRI and Disaster

    Management Teams in this regard.

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    That DRR initiative as development activities has to be reflected in the developmentplans.

    To give due importance to child protection in disaster management act and planning.Shri Subhasish Debnath, on behalf of the organising committee of the Congress expressedheart-felt gratitude to the Ministers of Finance,

    Panchayat and Rural Development and Disaster

    Management, Government of West Bengal. He

    thanked the members of NDMA and representatives

    of the NDRF and about 700 delegates of the Congress.

    He also expressed thanks to the community

    members, Panchayat representatives, Government

    officials, UN representatives, delegates from the

    NGO/INGO, educationists, students and members of

    the organising committee. He said that the biggest

    gain of this conference is active participations by allthose present. In this connection he thanked the Officers of the DM department and Shri.

    D.Pal, Joint Secretary in particular. He conveyed that a joint initiative by government and

    civil society is making the DRR initiatives stronger and vibrant.

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