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PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday pitched for a “proactive rather than reactive” approach and the use of future technologies in handling natural disasters to minimize damage.

Inaugurating the third session of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR) here, the prime minister said, “We cannot stop natural disasters but we can come up with systems to minimize damage from them.”

“We have to be proactive rather than reactive. What was the situation in the country (earlier) for being proactive and what is the situation now? Even after five decades of Independence, there was no law in the country to tackle disasters,” he said.

After the 2001 earthquake in Kutch, Gujarat was the first state to come up with a disaster management act, he said. On the basis of this act, the Centre enacted the National Disaster Management Act in 2005, he said.

Subsequently the National Disaster Management Authority was set up.

He pointed out that it was natural for previous governments to place disaster relief with the agricultural department.

He recalled that when natural calamities like earthquakes struck earlier, it was dealt at the local level with the help of local resources.

The prime minister highlighted that the world over it is a norm to learn from each other’s strengths.

He stressed the need to develop a dynamic system to deal with natural calamities.

Modi said that by studying natural calamities of the past century, an accurate assumption can be made, and also stressed on revising these methods in due time, be it material or system.

He said in India the system, solutions and strategy of disaster management have always been local.

Citing the example of the “bhunga” houses of Kutch which survived the earthquake to a large extent, the prime minister stressed the need to evolve local models of housing and town planning as per new technologies.

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“Enriching local technology and material with the new technology is the need of the hour. When we link the examples of local resilience with future technology, only then we will be able to do better in the direction of disaster resilience,” he said.

He said traditional housing and town planning process should be enriched with future technology to better manage disaster planning, and added real-time assessment of resilience of local infrastructure was the need of the hour.

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