The UNISDR's Geneva meet will finalize the draft of a new global framework for disaster risk reduction (DRR) which is set to replace the existing Hyogo Framework for Action, adopted in 2005 after the Indian Ocean tsunami. The Indian success stories are likely to be adopted by the UNISDR as part of its draft global framework. Margareta Wahlstrom, head of UNISDR, praised India for its largescale evacuation and safeguarding lives. In a statement on Tuesday she said: "India has demonstrated again to the world that if you set the bar high for reducing your exposure to risk then you will save many lives and reduce your economic losses." Cyclone Hudhud was just as great a threat as last year's cyclone Phailin to a densely populated coastline, the UNISDR chief said, lauding the coordination between different departments of the government. "The authorities, with the support of the Indian Meteorological Department, acted with speed to order the evacuation of up to 400,000 people. This, along with a great effort to keep the public informed, kept casualty figures low," she added.
Wahlstrom recalled how "India's journey from the loss of 10,000 lives in the Odisha super cyclone of 1999 to today's relatively low death tolls from similar events demonstrates the value of agreeing on global priorities for reducing disaster risk." The UN appreciated the continuous stream of bulletins and alerts from the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and coordinated efforts from the Indian National Coastal, Ocean Information Systems and the National Disaster Management Authority which played vital role in disaster mitigation.
India is among 86 countries which have set up national platform for disaster risk reduction. New Delhi already has a 10,000-strong highly trained force to work on rescue and relief operations in case of natural or man-made disasters. The 10 battalions of India's National Disaster Response Force comprise of soldiers drawn from its paramilitary forces trained in commando operations. Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, presenting the country report at the 6th Asian ministerial conference on DRR in Bangkok last June, had said New Delhi has already earmarked 10% funds in all its development schemes for innovation, disaster mitigation and restoration.
It may be important to note that India spends more than $50-60 billion a year on many of its social sector developmental schemes. Rijiju said his government is trying to rope in the private sector in a big way to work in coordination with the public sector on building resilience through their corporate social responsibility funds. In India corporates have to spend 2% of their profits on corporate social responsibility building community assets and meeting other social obligations. The government made appropriate amendments in its Companies Act a few years ago to add this specific provision. The government has already prepared "a vulnerability atlas, setting up of Indian national Centre for Ocean information Services; built community hubs of the Indian Space Research Organization for early warning and the Central Water Commission regularly provides flood monitoring and flood forecast reviews."
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