Mon, 02 Oct 2023

By Rajnish SinghNew Delhi [India], September 30 (ANI): Expressing concern that the "frequency of disasters has increased due to effect of climate change", National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief Atul Karwal said the priority of his force is to keep the fitness of all the colleagues and rescue both human and their domestic animals during a disaster.

The 1988-batch Gujarat cadre officer said, "the life of others is dependent on the fitness of rescuers" so I have asked all colleagues to get fit and maintain their Body Mass Index (BMI).

As NDRF personnel have to work sometimes more than 18 hours continuously with heavy machines without proper food and facilities, the NDRF Director General said, our fitness only helps us to protect more people during disaster.

"I have started a mission all across the force for the last six months and the BMI of the whole force has been digitised. So, I have detailed data of every person who has improved how much in fitness in the last six months," Karwal told ANI while speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by the force to honour the families of the matters of the force.

"The fitness mission is not by force", clarified the NDRF DG, adding "We have taken them along and explained to them about the benefits of fitness while performing their field duties as well as in their personal life".

Karwal said we have talked to their family members also to keep our personnel fit and the NDRF jawans have prepared their own menu and the result is positive. "They (NDRF personnel) have lost several kgs of weight in just one and two months of proper care.""Earlier 30 per cent of NDRF jawans were above BMI 25. Now the number has decreased to 19 per cent, and our target is to reduce it below 10 per cent," said the DG.

Noting that NDRF came into existence in January 2006 and in the over 16 years of its journey, Karwal said the strength of NDRF has increased to 16 from 8 Batallion.

In the operations since the inception of NDRF, the force chief said its rescuers saved the lives of 1.5 lakh people and evacuated 7.5 lakh, people, from the disaster-hit areas to safe locations.

Besides, securing the lives of people, NDRF DG said, "the priority of force personnel is to save the cattle along with humans during operation because when cattle are lost, many of the people lose their means of subsistence"."So, we even work in the direction to save domestic animals like cow, buffaloes and goat so that their means of subsistence would be available," Karwal told ANI, adding "we also engage our personnel in animal management courses too"The DG later on informed about the Centre's initiative to enhance the capabilities of states to handle a certain level of disasters for which his force has been trying to establish State Disaster Response Forces (SFRFs).

"Several states have established their own disaster forces. We train those forces and guide them to bring necessary equipments so that certain levels of disasters could be managed on that level immediately. As it takes a while for our teams to reach during Golden Hour at any disaster-hit areas due to various difficulties, so the local people should be ready for such operation," said the NDRF chief.

Community awareness and school safety programmes are also organised so that we could ready volunteers, said Karwal, adding "the focus is to minimise the impact of disaster".

There is an initiative of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to ready 1 lakh 'Aapda Mitra' and our force is helping the authority in providing training to those people.

The NNDRF chief also expressed concern that the "frequency of disasters has increased due to effect of climate change".

"Looking at this trend, we have to be ready for the challenge of the future," said Karwal.

To deal with such challenges, the DG said we follow a dynamic constant process of our experiences from the field, the drawbacks of our training during field duty, and specific needs of equipments as per the situation so that the force could improve itself.

"Improvement of the force is a constant process which we follow regularly." (ANI)

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