Workshop on ‘Urban Earthquake Disaster Risk Reduction’ at KU

 Srinagar, October 13(Scoop News) -   N. N. Vohra, Governor Jammu and Kashmir, today stressed the high importance of putting in place State and District Disaster Management Plans on urgent basis and forging effective partnerships for reducing the earthquake risks and promoting mitigation and preparedness measures in the State.     

The Governor, as Chief Guest, was inaugurating a 3-day Workshop on “Urban Earthquake Disaster Risk Reduction” at the Kashmir University here today. This Workshop has been organized by the Kashmir University in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

The Governor observed that as no reliable scientific tools have so far been developed for accurate forecasting of an earthquake, the best option available is to ensure most effective preparedness to mitigate the consequences of any natural or manmade disaster. In this context, he stressed the vital importance of enlarging awareness about all aspects of disaster preparedness on a continuing basis. The Governor observed that the entire North West Himalayan Region was seismically vulnerable and J&K State was in seismic zones IV and V while Srinagar was itself in Zone V which has witnessed several earthquakes in the past. The 2005 Uri earthquake had resulted in over 76,000 killed and over a lakh injured on both sides of the LoC, besides considerable loss of property. He said that to meet future disasters it is necessary for taking every required step to remain fully prepared. He called for organizing area-wise training workshops by involving students, Scouts, Guides, NCC Cadets, Civil Defence volunteers, engineers and the society at large to cope with any arising situation in the future.

The Governor while congratulating Prof. Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Kashmir University, and his colleagues for timely organizing this Workshop on a most relevant subject, suggested to the Vice Chancellor to organize more such workshops in different areas to enlarge the awareness all across the Valley. He added that the Kashmir University and its various scientific departments have to play a great role in this effort. 

The Governor thanked the NDMA for their support and help in imparting training to the personnel who manage the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi and Shri Amarnathji Shrine pilgrimages in the various aspects of disaster management. Referring to the installation of three Advanced Warning Systems in the Amarnathji Shrine area by the Meteorological Department during this year’s Yatra, the Governor said that this provided better and more accurate weather reports. He hoped that the Doppler Radar would also be soon established at Srinagar, which will provide a huge facility for more accurate weather prediction in the Kashmir Valley.         

Later, the Governor inaugurated an Exhibition of the sophisticated life saving disaster response equipments put up by the 7th National Disaster Response Force under the aegis of NDMA at the University Campus. He took keen interest in the equipments and stressed for adequately training the personnel in using this equipment to the best advantage. 

In his Presidential address,  M. Shashidhar Reddy, Vice Chairman, NDMA, addressing the inaugural session of the Workshop, dwelt on the various initiatives being taken by the NDMA to enlarge awareness about the preparedness and mitigation vis-à-vis earthquakes. In this context, he said that NDMA has taken the initiative to launch first ever Multi State Earthquake Preparedness Campaign. He also stressed for safe construction standards of buildings, particularly in earthquake vulnerable States like J&K. He thanked the Governor for inaugurating the Workshop.      

Dr. Harsh Gupta, Member, NDMA, sad that the UN General Assembly has decided to designate 13th October as International Day for Disaster Reduction and expressed happiness that organizing of this Workshop coincides with this important Day. He said that J&K should be made as earthquake free as possible.  

Dr. Muzaffar Ahmad, Member, NDMA, emphasized on the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings and training of engineers and masons in the State.   

Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, threw light on the measures being taken and approaches developed in regard to understandings about earthquakes as well as preparedness and mitigation aspects thereof.

In his welcome address, Prof. Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Kashmir University, gave details of the topics to be discussed during the technical sessions of the Workshop. He also dwelt on the aims and objects of this Workshop, adding that 2000 students of the University, various colleges and schools would be trained during this scientific event through lectures, technical talks and demonstrations.       

Prof. Nilofer Khan, Dean Students Welfare, University of Kashmir, presented a Vote of Thanks.

The Deans, Heads of Departments, Faculty members, students of the University and delegates participating in the Workshop were present on the occasion.