Ganjam: With the frequent cyclones that lash the coastal district, the district administration of Ganjam has now planned to launch a new special mission to combat cyclones by preparing the region and the people there to handle cyclones.
Buoyed by the fact that the district hosts the maximum number of Self Help Groups (SHGs) especially women SHGs, the administration has now tried to use their strength, reach and penetration in every nook and corner of the district to create awareness and make a special squad out of the existing SHGs which can act as a preliminary rescue team personnel.
Training have already started in the region for 50 SHGs on voluntary basis to equip them with required rescue equipment. Professional training is been given by different departments which are experts in cyclone aftermath mitigation.
“The district has seen many cyclones and many have caused massive devastations. The SHG members are accustomed to the situation caused by the disasters. We have planned to train them and equip them adequately so that they act as the first line of help during disasters,” Vijay Kulange, Ganjam Collector told Orissa POST. He also added that despite entrusting them with the duty to be the first line of defence, the SHG workers will also be trained to create awareness among the masses on how to be ready to tackle a cyclone.
The District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO) of Ganjam has now been made the nodal officer to work with the SHGs and ensure their training. Manorama Reddy (DSWO) of the district said, “Different modules of training will be given to them. They will get uniforms, caps and badges for this special work. Departments like the police, fire brigade, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and other specialised agencies will help them train in ways to provide relief in cyclone-hit areas and take preventive measures.”
Sangeeta Dalei, a SHG member from the district who joined the team, said she has started receiving training to become the first line of defence for cyclones. “During cyclones people are often left baffled and wait for government’s help. We are now been trained to first create awareness on how to fight cyclones besides being trained on how to work faster during evacuation like shifting pregnant ladies to hospitals, clearing roads faster and other works.”
According to the plan the SHG members would be trained on creating awareness among the people, encourage them to work together in affected areas post cyclone to ensure faster rescue works. Moreover, the squad will not be trained for cyclones alone but they will also be trained to tackle other disaster and emergency situations like-snake bites and accidents.