Tsunami in December 2004 is a major natural calamity that killed thousands of people in India. But Govt. and NGOs gave relief always better than the previous disaster. But good relief cannot prevent another disaster. Relief can help the victims to survive, but cannot reduce their risk. Disasters make poor people pooper and more vulnerable to future disasters. Many loses could have been avoided with a culture and a conscious practice of disaster preparedness. Creating a culture o disaster preparedness would require coordinated and continuous efforts by communities, Govt., media and Civil Society Organizations.

Most of the Non-Governmental and Govt. Departments are concentrating their efforts on developmental activities even in disaster prone areas without realizing the importance of community disaster preparedness and disaster management. This resulted in drastic sow down and even set back of development activities, whenever disaster occurred. So, disaster preparedness is a very essential aspect and needs to be linked up with the development activities for their total success.

Most of the parts in the operational Ares of RDWS are prone to cyclones or floods. Realizing the importance of community preparedness. RDWS has started disaster preparedness programme along with development activities in its target villages, wherever necessary. RDWS has formed taskforce groups in its target villages, which are identified to be vulnerable to cyclones and floods. These task force members are trained on the following aspects.

The actions include :

  • First aid demonstration on cuts and injuries, wounds, shock, burns, snakebite, fractures
  • Bandages, different types and their uses,
  • Manual carries (Single men and two men carries)
  • Artificial respiration

The actions include :

  • Warning system and evacuation procedure
  • Demonstration of floating aids

The actions include :

  • Identification of safer place,
  • Organizing relief camp and meal centers,
  • Maintenance of cyclone shelters
  • Principle of hygienic and sanitation

The trained taskforce members will prepare a comprehensive ‘Village Contingency Plan’ which includes a detailed village layout. The plan will also contain all the details about the vulnerable groups of people like pregnant women, handicapped, aged people and children. It will also have information about the low-lying areas, elevated places, cyclone shelters. A copy contingency plan is given to the MRO or concerned Govt. authorities. This will help them in providing the necessary help during disaster without much difficulty.

After this step, disaster drill is conducted by dividing the taskforce members into five groups as Warning group, Shelter group, Rescue group, First aid group and Relief group. The actions and responsibilities of every taskforce member will be identified and their co-ordination will be emphasized during these mock drills. The disaster management activities can be broadly divided into three stages :

This the preparation that needs to be done in the weeks before the cyclone prone periods. This includes activities like :

  • Collection of food and cooking fuel,
  • Updating of list of vulnerable groups,
  • Inspection of safety equipment (VHP Radios, ropes, plastic sheets, first aid kits),
  • Inspection of boats which will go to retrieve shrimp seed collectors,
  • Round the clock monitoring of weather bulletins,
  • Securing homes, personal property and livelihood equipment wherever possible

The actions during disaster include :

  • Evacuating vulnerable groups to safe locations,
  • Retrieving the shrimp seed collectors and fishermen as much as possible
  • Organizing the places of shelter and providing food and water,
  • Continuous monitoring of news bulleting an sharing information with people,
  • Providing first aid to the needy,
  • Preventing Panic and crushing in overcrowded shelters

The activities after the disaster include:

  • Management of relief efforts
  • Ensuring food and water supplies,
  • Sanitation,
  • Care of homeless and the bereaved,
  • Medical assistance to the injured,
  • Assisting with claims and compensation,
  • Re-construction and rehabilitation.

During the year, our RDWS has successfully initiated fie Taskforce groups in five villages of Bhogapuram Mandal of Vizianagaram district. All the members in these task force groups were strengthened o various capacities through capacity building trainings on community level disaster preparedness. We have already prepared Village Contingence Plans for all five villages with active people participation.