Agartala: With monsoon hitting the Northeast region of India, the Tripura government has prepared an action plan for management of any flood-like situation in the state. This year, the challenges will be bigger amid the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), monsoon arrived in Tripura on June 6. However, the forecast shows that the southwest monsoon seasonal rainfall (June-September) for the Northeast region is likely to be less than 95% of long period average rainfall, which is below the normal average.

The seasonal pre-monsoon March-May rainfall received by the state was 61 per cent below normal. During April, the state received 85 per cent below normal rainfall and during May, the average was 50 per cent below the normal. However, it has been predicted that for the month of June, the probability of rainfall is likely to be above normal.

According to the state report, Agartala is situated 15 m above the mean sea level. All the districts are prone to floods, both normal as well as flash floods. About 40 per cent of the geographical areas are vulnerable to floods and most of them are low-lying.

The PWD (WR) and Central Water Commission have their gauge stations in all the major rivers — Haora, Katakhal, Gomati, Khowai, Manu, Dhalai, Muhuri, Feni, Juri, Kakri and Deo — for providing flood forecasting.

“North East Space Application Centre (NESAC) has also developed flood early warning system for Dhalai, Gomati, Manu, Haora and Khowai to provide flood early warnings during monsoon,” an official said.

Emergency contacts

The state and district emergency operation centres are functioning 24×7. Toll-free numbers are working in the state level (1070) and district EOCs (1077).

Besides, ERSS Incident Command and Control Centre (ICCC) is also functioning at IT Bhawan for providing real-time water inundation and flood water drainage in major locations of Agartala smart city.

“A standard checklist has been provided to all districts for ensuring flood preparedness at the district levels. Control room (112) is also functioning for any emergency response and coordination,” the official added.

The daily online situation reporting is being updated at sub-division, district and state level on a daily basis.

Infrastructure

The state has 176 boats, including 120 motor boats, which are available at districts, sub-divisions, Tripura State Rifles (TSR) battalions, fire and emergency services, Central training centre (CTI) and other key agencies. Besides, motor boats are also available with NDRF teams.

All district magistrates have been requested to keep wooden boats ready at vulnerable locations for immediate response.

Besides boats, other 40 types of critical equipment are also available at different locations. Trained volunteers and officials have been identified for operating and maintaining those equipment.

Also read: COVID-19: Tripura extends curfew in 12 civic bodies till June 26

As many as 200 trained Aapda Mitra volunteers are working closely with the district administration of Sepahijala. For upscaling Aapda Mitra scheme, volunteers have been identified in other districts.

Two teams of NDRF stationed at Agartala and Kumarghat for responding to any flood-like situation.

Adequate funds under State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) are available with the district administrations for immediate rescue and relief operations.

All the districts have district disaster management plans that include vulnerable locations, resources, key personnel, roles and responsibilities of key agencies and departments, flood shelters, guidelines and standard operating procedures for handling disaster situations.

COVID-19 compliance

Considering the present COVID situation all district administrations have been requested to identify more flood shelters and adopt appropriate COVID-19 behavior during flood response.

Other measures taken

India Disaster Resource Network (IDRN) is being updated on a monthly basis at the district level for mobilization of equipment and trained manpower at the time of need.

PWD (WR) has been requested to check the vulnerable embankments and take immediate safety measures. The department was also advised to keep adequate sand bags, cement boulders and flood protection materials at strategic locations for immediate restoration.

Key line departments like health, PWD(R&B), power, drinking water, urban development, food and civil supplies, fire services, telecommunications have been advised to take flood preparedness measures at their end.

Also read: Tripura govt to recover excess salary withdrawn by former DGP AK Shukla

Disaster safety awareness is being generated on floods, cyclones, lightning, landslides for the general public through print, social and electronic media regularly.

For mitigation, the districts and line departments would be submitting the proposals as per draft guidelines of the government of India.

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