Kerala Heading Towards a Disaster Free State
What is Kerala Disaster Management Plan 2016?
In an announcement made on the official website of the State Emergency Operations Centre1, on September 7, 2016, the Kerala State Management Authority approved the Disaster Management Plan -2016, which also received the nod of the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan.
The plan looks to counter 39 different types of hazards in the state, from the planning stage to response and rescue operations. For example, if the hilly areas of Idduki or Kottayam, which are prone to landslides, experience any such unfortunate event in future, the plan takes care of various possible rescue and rehabilitation measures that will be carried out by various departments and also mentions the funding sources for the same.
The KDMP – 2016 lists seven different domains as part of the next five year plan. These domains include risk reduction, strengthening of the State Disaster Response Force, Emergency Operations Centres, extending scientific knowledge for disaster risk reduction, public development schemes, updates of disaster prone areas and renewal of risk reduction schemes.
The SDMA is will also establish a VHF radio network, VSAT connectivity, satellite phones and HF radio sets to link the disaster management agencies.
What was the Need for the Plan?
Kerala is a land of diversities. It has dense forests, a long coast line, mountain ranges and more, but all this also makes the state highly vulnerable to natural disasters. If the Amboori landslides of 2001 that took the lives of 40 people were an early warning, the 2004 Tsunami was a complete eye-opener. Nine coastal cities are very prone to calamity and Kochi is likely to witness a one-third rise in sea level by 2050, according to a report from the office of the Mayor of Cochin2.
In 2013, the state experienced heavy floods that claimed 14 lives, of which 5 people were reported to be a part of the rescue team. On April 10, 2016, things went overboard when the famous Puttingal Temple caught fire due to celebratory fireworks.
About 15,000 pilgrims were visiting the temple, since it was the last day of local celebrations of the seven-day festival for Goddess Bhadrakali. According to the New York Times3, 106 people lost their lives in the incident. More than 350 people were injured and over 150 houses around the temple area were damaged by the fire. It was a big question mark on the government's ability to counter such incidents.
According to Section 23 (1) of the Central Disaster Management Plan (CDMP), every state in India should have a disaster management plan and although the rule was implemented in 2005, Kerala approved it only in 2016.
The Road Ahead
India has made many advancements in the field of technology and financial security that can be used to reduce the impact of such incidents. For instance, the ease of purchasing online term insurance and their relatively nominal premiums make it much easier for residents of Kerala to safeguard the future of their families, say experts at Life Insurance Company.
According to an article published in the Hindu4, about 679.5 sq km in 75 talukas of Kerala are prone to floods, which puts a total population of 77.95 lakh people at risk, making it the most dangerous hazard in the state. In addition, about 27.99 lakh people are prone to landslides and 3.13 lakh people living in the 24 talukas of the coastal region are susceptible to coastal hazards.
Out of the 39 hazards that are included in the disaster management plan, 17 are natural and 22 are induced by humans. Even if the government is able to reduce the man-made disasters, all it could do against the natural disasters is to prepare for the worst.
It also increases your responsibility as a citizen. Be aware of the best term plans and life insurance policies in India and opt for a suitable policy to make sure that at least your family is ready to face unexpected emergencies. Online term plans are also a good option, given that they are the cheapest way to secure your family’s financial future.