BIMSTEC countries should cooperate during natural calamities: Rai

Puri: Union Minister Nityananda Rai on Wednesday said the BIMSTEC countries should cooperate with each other during natural calamities, particularly in protecting the cultural heritage sites from floods and earthquake.

The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs said this after inaugurating the Field Training Exercise of 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise on flood rescue at the Ramachandi Beach in Odisha’s Puri district.

The delegates and rescue teams from 5 BIMSTEC member nations – India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Myanmar –  participated in the exercise.

The minister said that this exercise will provide a platform for member states to evaluate existing capabilities, share best emergency response practices, improve existing emergency preparedness and strengthen regional response mechanism and also to conduct risk assessment in the context of cultural heritage sites at  he time of disaster.

In order to bring in a feel of a real disaster scenario, “simulated exercise sites including villages & Heritage Site (Konark Sun Temple)” were set up at Ramachandi Beach in Puri to depict flooded localities and houses due to the flood disaster.

Large number of simulated dummy structures including multi-storeyed buildings and houses were erected in inundated condition with marooned people and livestock at the exercise site to reflect the real disaster scenario.

Flood disaster was painted due to cyclone followed by  heavy rainfall. A large number of people were presumed to be stranded within the simulated villages and also the cyclone adversely affected a cultural heritage site.

Rai said this first of its kind exercise at the coastal city of Puri in Odisha, will help in sharing best practices and expertise, consolidating the disaster response,
coordination and cooperation among BIMSTEC countries during disasters.

Rescue teams carried out a highly synchronized flood search and rescue operations including medical assistance with the help of river ambulance and relief distribution work.

This joint field training exercise was conducted under the leadership of Satya Narayan Pradhan, Director General of, NDRF.

(PTI)

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