New Delhi: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) wants the subject of disaster mitigation be included in school curriculum to train students to become the first responders in times of natural calamities and help reduce casualties.
The NDRF played a crucial role in Kerala where nearly 300 people have lost their lives since August 8 in the second spell of the monsoon that displaced 10.40 lakh people.
“The need of the hour is awareness on natural calamities. We can train children on disaster mitigation by making it part of the school curriculum,” Director General of NDRF Sanjay Kumar told PTI in an interview.
Kumar said school children, cadets of the NCC, village defence force personnel can play vital role at the time of natural calamities like flood, fire, quake or tsunami and can be trained properly so that they can be the first responder in any disaster.
The DG said about 67 lakh people across the country have been imparted basic combat training by the NDRF till now as part of its efforts to create effective response against calamities like earthquakes and floods
Talking about the latest rescue operations in Kerala, the DG said they have deployed their highest-ever strength in a single state with 207 boats and 58 teams.
He said the force received thousands of distress calls at its control room and every effort was made to reach the marooned and flood-affected people.
“Water level was up to the height of 2-3 stories in certain locations and rescue teams waded through river-like currents to reach the affected,” Kumar said.
“The operation was difficult in Kerala as we faced flooding, house and road collapse disaster situation at one time, the DG said.
The NDRF is the federal disaster contingency force and has undertaken over 3,000 operations all over the country till now.
It is currently deployed and pre-positioned in a number of flood-affected and prone states.
The NDRF, raised in 2006, has 12 battalions with a strength of over 13,000 personnel and is based in various states.