Arunachal CM Pema Khandu

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu Thursday stressed on the need for putting in a robust advance warning system to avert the loss of lives due to disasters.

Chairing a meeting on monsoon preparedness, Khandu insisted that the State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) should be active round the clock during the season and said the SDRF and NDRF should avoid granting leave to its personnel and remain alert with full strength.

“Human life is precious. We must go to the extreme to prevent loss of lives,” the chief minister said.

He also called upon the officials of the state disaster management to not depend only on telephonic or WhatsApp messages but personally contact their officials in the districts in case any warning has to be conveyed.

“Though we do not want any disaster to fall upon us, we cannot deny the fact that nature is unpredictable and we need to be prepared. Arunachal Pradesh, owing to its strategic geographical location, has to face the situation every monsoon,” he said.

Appreciating the system adopted by the department of disaster management for keeping track of all weather forecasts by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and sending warning messages to vulnerable districts, Khandu observed that bad weather often disrupts data services.

The officials at the state disaster management authority (SDMA) should personally call the district administrations or the district disaster management officers concerned to ensure that the warning is conveyed in advance, he said.

Lauding the Capital district administration for evacuating 17 households from vulnerable areas within the state capital, Khandu directed all deputy commissioners to follow suit so as to avoid any loss of human lives.

To the concerns raised by the SDMA and deputy commissioners regarding provision of immediate relief to disaster victims, the chief minister advised the state finance department to coordinate with the SDMA and ease release of funds for the purpose.

He also endorsed the suggestion to equip police stations with basic equipment and first aid kits for relief operations as police is the first approach in case of any disaster related incident.

He requested SDMA to work on it and do the necessary immediately. As far as funds are concerned, he said SDMA has sufficient funds.

“At least four months of monsoon lie ahead. Let’s be fully prepared,” Khandu added.

Disaster Management advisor Tanpho Wangnaw, who has been visiting vulnerable places and recent landslide-hit areas in the state capital, blamed rampant and illegal earth-cutting by citizens as the major cause of landslides.

Advocating strict action as per law against persons indulging in illegal earth-cutting, Wangnaw also raised concern over failure of officials, especially in the districts, in submitting reports on disasters and losses incurred.

He said, for want of reports, the SDMA is unable to process immediate relief for the victims, which amounts to injustice.

As per details provided by SDMA, till Wednesday 14 districts, 33 villages and about 3000 people have been affected while 7 persons have died – 4 in Itanagar capital region and 3 in Kurung Kumey.

Two persons are reported missing, one each in Itanagar and Anjaw. At least 7.6 hectares of cultivated fields have been destroyed while 392 houses have been damaged across the state.

In the state capital, three temporary shelters (one each at Banderdewa, Naharlagun and Itanagar) have been designated. However, these shelters are lying vacant as all the evacuees (17 households) have preferred to shift with their relatives. The lone relief camp established at Tezu in Lohit district presently has 92 inmates.

According to other departments concerned, no major damage has been reported on highways, sufficient food grains in stock, water supply to the state capital restored and the medical department is ready with teams for any emergency.

Chief Secretary in-charge Kaling Tayeng, commissioner (planning) Prashanta Lokhande and officials of the finance, health, food and civil supply, PWD (highway), PHE, disaster management, Papum Pare and Itanagar district administrations, police headquarters, NDRF and SDRF participated in the meeting.

Also read: Flood condition worsens in Assam, landlsides in Arunachal

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