A report on

Activities carried out by the GOI-UNDP’s DRM Programme in Cuddalore District since Inception

Compiled by:
Sherine David SA, NUNV District Disaster Management Project Officer, United Nations Development Programme, Cuddalore District , Tamil Nadu, India

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Introduction: introduction:
We all know natural disasters such as hurricanes, flood, earthquakes, tsunamis, epidemics or uncontrolled fire are common in any society or community. Knowing how to react in such a situation is everyone's responsibility. Everyone should be familiar with this information for his or her own safety. Particularly, the community must know what to do, when and where during a Disaster. Thought and preparation will eliminate panic and assure that proper decisions will be made and carried out step-by-step. Although we don’t know when a disaster will strike, if we are prepared ahead of time, we will be better able to cope with the disaster and recover from it more quickly. The disaster-related activities of prevention, preparedness, emergency relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction each occupy a distinct time period in relation to a disaster. The length of time any one period will last can vary greatly depending on the type of disaster and other factors. Nevertheless, it is important that people involved in disaster planning and response recognize the different phases and the appropriate activities that occur in each phase. Pre-disaster activities are normally subdivided into disaster prevention, disaster mitigation and disaster preparedness. In general, disaster prevention is event-focused. In other words, the objective of prevention is to prevent the disaster from occurring at all. Disaster mitigation accepts the fact that some natural event may occur but tries to lessen the impact by improving the community’s ability to absorb the impact with little damage or disruptive effects. Disaster preparedness assumes that the disaster will occur and focuses on structuring response and laying a framework for recovery. To cut short, Disaster preparedness is a product of planning and of implementing those plans. United Nations defines the term Disaster as ““The occurrence of a sudden or major misfortune which disrupts the basic fabric and normal functioning of a society or community”. It is an event or a series of events which gives rise to the causalities and/or damage or loss of property infrastructure essential services or means of livelihood on a scale that is beyond the normal capacity of the affected communities to cope with unaided. The level of risk depends upon (1) nature of the hazard (2) Vulnerability of elements, which are affected (3) Economic value of those elements Philippine Nation Red Cross (1994) in its Disaster Preparedness training manual defines Hazards as “Phenomenon that pose a threat to people, structures of economic assets and which may cause a disaster. They could be either man made or naturally occurring in our environment. A disaster is the produce of a hazard such as earthquake, flood or cyclone coinciding with a vulnerable situation, which might include communities, cities or villages. "Vulnerability" is defined as a condition resulting from physical, social, economic, and environmental factors or processes, which increases the susceptibility of a community to the impact of a hazard. “Capacity” is the resources of individuals, households and communities to cope with a threat or resist the impact of a hazard. The term “risk” is defined as the expectation value of losses (deaths, injuries, property, etc.) that would be caused by a hazard.

Hazard X Vulnerability - Capacity = Risk Hazard (Potential threat to humans and their welfare) X Vulnerability (Exposure and susceptibility to loss of life or dignity)

Capacity (Available and potential resources)

Risk (Probability of disaster occurrence)

Risk: definition

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Disaster Risk Management Programme - India Disaster Risk Management Programme - India:
To reduce the vulnerabilities of communities living in the most hazard prone areas, Government of India in collaboration with United Nations Development programme implemented the Disaster Risk Management Programme in 2002. In the first phase (2002 to 2004), the programme concentrated on 3 states – Orissa (12), Gujarat (11) and Bihar (5) and in the second phase (2003 to 2007), Uttaranchal (8),Bihar (9), West Bengal (10), Assam (12), Meghalaya (7), Sikkim (4), Uttar Pradesh (13), New Delhi (9), Maharashtra (14), Tamilnadu (6), Orissa (2), Gujarat (3), Tripura (4), Mizoram (8), Manipur (9), Arunachal Pradesh (15), Nagaland (8). Totally it has identified 169 Districts and 38 citites in 17 states to implement the community based disaster preparedness concept through the Disaster Risk Management Programme. This programme aims at community based disaster reduction and recovery through participation of communities and local self governments. The goal of this programme is to create a sustainable reduction in disaster risk in some of the most hazard prone Districts in the selected states of India. In Tamil Nadu, this programme is being implemented in 6 Districts - Thiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari, Nilgiris and 2 cities – Chennai and Coimbatore.

Source: UNDP

Map showing DRM Programme districts and cities in Tamil Nadu The approach of this programme is to a) Focus on building community capacities, community based planning b) Partnerships with all stake-holders in Disaster Management like Governments, professional bodies, training institutions, people’s representatives, technical institutions, etc. c) Programme will boost capacities at all levels with special emphasis on Women, to address disasters through an integrated approach for reducing vulnerabilities. And the Thematic focus is on awareness generation, education, training and capacity building for better preparedness and mitigation in terms of Disaster Risk Management and recovery at Community, District and State level & strengthening of State and District Disaster Management Information Centers for accurate and timely dissemination of warning.

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Disaster Risk Management Programme Cuddalore Disaster Risk Management Programme –-Cuddalore:
Cuddalore as its name suggest, it’s a coastal District having coastal length of about 59.5 kms and is highly prone to floods and cyclones. Whenever there is a depression, cyclonic formation occurs in Bay of Bengal and it has its effect in Cuddalore District which may range from light rains in the coastal area to wide spread heavy rains and flood throughout the district and devasting effect of major cyclonic storm. Cuddalore District has the landslope from west to east and from north to south. Since the district is situated at the seacoast, it drains rain water not only of rainfall in the district alone but also from the catchments of the rivers, relatively mild land slopes makes drainage difficult. Low lying areas and coastal areas have floods during the period of heavy rains particularly during North East monsoon period.

Cuddalore District Map

There are seven major rivers and 5 reservoirs tanks in Cuddalore District. They are as follows: Sl.No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Name of the river Name of the Taluk Coleroon Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil Vadavar Kattumannarkoil Vellar Tittakudi, Vridhachalam and Chidambaram Manimuthanathi Vridhachalam Gadilam Panruti and Cuddalore Pennar Panruti and Cuddalore Paravanar Chidambaram and Cuddalore Details of major rivers in Cuddalore District Name of the reservoir/tanks Name of the Taluk Perumal Eri Cuddalore Sethiathope Chidambaram Wallajah Chidambaram Veeranam Kattumannarkoil Wellington reservoir Thittagudi Details of reservoirs/tanks in Cuddalore District

Sl.No 1 2 3 4 5

Heavy rains showers during the months of October, November and December inundates low lying areas, coastal areas and the areas nearby major irrigation sources. Cyclones are also part of the North East monsoon season. Due to floods, sudden outbreak of several water borne disease was also experienced in the past. The DRM programme is implementing its activities keeping in mind the following hazards which also include natural calamities like drought, tsunami and man-made disaster like chemical pollution, fire accidents etc., apart from flood and cyclones were also addressed to the community. Necessary steps were taken to implement the programme in the district with the proper guidance from State Government. With the Goal of making Cuddalore District “model district for Disaster Preparedness”, the District Administration took various innovative efforts to execute the Disaster Risk Management Programme effectively since its inception in 2003.

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District Disaster Management Committee: District Disaster Management Committee:
The State level consultation meetings with the District officials was organized to sensitize them about the purpose of implementing DRM programme in Tamil Nadu and about nature of the programme. Following this meeting, the District Disaster Management Committee was formed to monitor the effective implementation of the DRM programme in the District. The Committee is headed by the District Collector. The consultation meeting was organized at the District level for representatives of various Government departments and Non Governmental Organisation to sensitise the officials about the purpose of the DRM programme. The District Disaster Management Committee gathers once in three months to review the DDMC meeting................. DRM programme activities in the District and give their suggestions and recommendations for the effective implementation of the Programme in the District. The Present District Disaster Management Committee members are as follows:

Sl.No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Name of the member with designation Responsibility Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, District Collector Chairman Mr. Megaraj, Project Officer, DRDA Convenor Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Superintendent of Police Member Mr. R Srinivasan, Superindenting Engineer, PWD Member Mr. Hasting Hope, District Revenue Officer Member Mr. N. Raja, Joint Director of Health Member Mr. M. Kannan, Divisional Fire Officer Member Mr. Radha Krishnan i/c, Pa to Collector (PD) Member Mr. P. Nagamani, Divisional Engineer (H & RW) Member Mr. Chellappan, Municipal Commissioner, Cuddalore Member Mr. R. Chandrakannan, Joint Director of Agriculture Member Mr. Poonkuthan, Joint Directorof Animal Husbandry Member Mr. Ramesh, Commander, NCC Member Mr. Thirumugam, Coordinator, NSS Member Mr. Mani Member Dr. Shanmugasundaram, District Panchayat President Member Mr. N.S. Ranganathan, President, Lion’s Club Member Mr. Arumaichelvam, President, Rotary Club Member Mr. R.M. Balasubramaniyan Member Ms. Jayanthi, Secretary, Ishwariya Ladies Club Member Details of District Disaster Management Committee members Activity review

Several activities are being discussed and reviewed by the Collector, Project Officer DRDA & District Project Officer, DRMP in the weekly / fortnightly/ monthly meeting of BDO’s & other officers and DRMP subject is also discussed in weekly BDO’s review meeting.

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District level Master Trainer’s training: District level Master Trainers training:
31 Government officials and 6 representatives for various local NGO’s were identified as District Master Trainers and were sent for training on Disaster Management to Anna Institute of Management, Chennai. The First batch was sent for training on 22nd November 2003. Trainers from Anna Institute of Management – Chennai, Institute of Public Health – Chennai and State Institute of Rural Development, Chennai trained the District Master Trainers on First Aid, Rescue and Evacuation & Water and Sanitation. These District Master’s trainers in turn trained the representatives from the Block with approval from Block Disaster Management Committee. The details of the District Master Trainers are as follows:

Sl.No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Name Anu George, I.A.S., S. Kanagavalli S. Geetha H. Grace Annabhai K. Kumaresan V. Srinivasan C. Nataraja V. Subramaniyan R.T. Rangarajan S. Srimalini Vengatesan K. Paneerselvam T. Ramachandran S. Kaliyaperumal P. Rajendran G. Shanmugasundaram G. Velmurugan M. Periyasamy D. Ponmudi S. Athithan S. Selvaraj R. Manoharan N. Paranjothi D. Ranganathan A. Liyakath Ali Khan Subramanian Srinivasan Kandasamy Velusamy Prabakaran K. Marimuthu Ramachandran Tamilanban T. Mohan R. Marimuthu Samoundeeswari Adhiraj

Designation Asst. Collector (Trg.) District Project Officer - DRMP District Project Officer - DRMP District Social Welfare Officer Assistant Director (Statistics) District Educational Officer Tahsildar Tahsildar Tahsildar Tahsildar Assistant District Fire Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Block Development Officer Tahsildar Tahsildar Tahsildar AICOP (NGO) CREED (NGO) BLESS (NGO) BLESS (NGO) REAL (NGO) BOWDA (NGO)

District level Master Trainer’s – Cuddalore

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Orientation to DDMC members

Orientation to DDMC members

Two days orientation on Disaster Risk Management Programme was conducted for the District Disaster Management Committee on 28th and 29th July 2004 at DRDA Conference Hall, Cuddalore. Thiru. Aruputharaj, Faculty Member, SIRD and District Level Master Trainers of this District conducted the training. Detailed information on the importance the goals and objectives of the DRM programme, activities to be carried out in the District by the programme, the role of the local government officials in this programme was discussed in this programme. The District Master Trainers gave orientation to the District Disaster Management Committee about First Aid, Search & Rescue and Water & Sanitation. In total 45 officials comprising DDMC Members and Line department officials participated in the training.

Block level Master Trainer’s training: Block level Master Trainers training:
Three days Block Level Master Trainer’s Training was conducted from 25th June 2004 to 27th June 2004 at Conference Hall, District Rural Development Agency - Cuddalore with field visit at Chithiraipettai Village in Kurinjipadi block of Cuddalore District. The District Level Master Trainers trained by the Anna Institute of Management, Deputy Director - Health Services, Assistant Divisional Fire Officer and Tahsildar (Rehabilitation) served as trainers for the programme. 65 participants (5 per Panchayat Union) attended the training.

Training inaugural………

Field visit to Chithraipettai village

The Block level Master Trainers were trained in first aid, water & sanitation and search & rescue. They were sensitized about their role in their respective blocks in community based disaster preparedness. To get a feel of community based disaster preparedness, the team was taken to Chithiraipettai block and was asked to analyze the situation of the community and to do mapping of the community in consultation with the community people. The trained block level master trainers in turn served as master trainers in their respective block level training and trained the master trainers at Gram Panchayat level. 197 people were trained as master trainers at the block level and Gram Panchayat level in the District on Search and Rescue, and First Aid.

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Orientation to BDMC Members on DRM Programme: Orientation to BDMC members on DRM Programme:
One-day BDMC Orientation and Sensitization programme for members were conducted at division level from 5th August 2004 to 7th August 20.04, i.e., for Cuddalore Division (4 blocks) on 5th August 2004, for Chidambaram Division (5 blocks) on 6th August 2004 and for Vridhachalam Division (4 blocks) on 7th August 2004

Participants during the training programme……. Thiru. Aruputharaj, faculty member,SIRD and District Master Trainers conducted the Orientation programme. In these divisional level, orientation classes and field demonstration was performed by Asst. Divisional Fire Officer. Hand Book for DRMP has been prepared by the District Administration with the help of SIRD and CRA Office materials. Sufficient copies were printed and supplied to all the participants. St. Johns Ambulance Association’s First Aid Book and other training materials were also issued to participants. Evaluation report has also been obtained from all the participants.

Orientation to PRI’s and EO’s: Orientation for PRIs and EOs:
Block level one-day orientation for Panchayat Raj Institution members i.e., Panchayat Union Chairmen, Councilors and Panchayat Presidents, and Extension Officers of Panchayat Union on DRMP Programme has been conducted from 1st September 2004 to 9th September 2004 at block Head Quarters. 950 PRIs and Officials attended the orientation progarmme.

Training for PRI’s, Kurinjipadi Block

Training for PRI’s, Mangalur Block

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Identification of Active Volunteers: Identification of Active Volunteers:
Training active and interested volunteers in Disaster Management is one more strategy adopted to support the implementation of DRM programme activities in their Gram Panchayats. Four to five volunteers were identified from 681 Gram Panchayat and were given training on introduction to Disaster Management, basics on Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercise, their role in the PRA exercise, importance of conducting such exercise in each village and tips on plan preparation. The training was organized for these volunteers for three days at their respective blocks. Date 1st to 3rd November 2004 1st to 3rd November 2004 4th to 6th November 2004 8th to 10th November 2004 27th to 29th October 2004 1st to 3rd November 2004 4th to 6th November 2004 8th to 10th November 2004 16th to 18th November 2004 1st to 3rd November 2004 27th to 29th October 2004 4th to 6th November 2004 8th to 10th November 2004

Demonstration on fire safety equipments

Sl.No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Name of the Block Cuddalore Annagramam Panruti Kurinjipadi Kattumannarkoil Kumaratchi Keerapalayam Melbhuvanagiri Parangipettai Vridhachalam Kammapuram Nallur Mangalur

Disaster Management Plans: Disaster Management Plans:
With proper sensitization about the Disaster Management plans to the Block officials, Panchayat Raj Institute members and Volunteers, the Village Disaster Management Plans were compiled in 1081 villages. The plans were prepared with proper sensitization of the community with the community based disaster preparedness methodology through Participatory Rural Appraisal exercise.

Resource mapping………

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Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) comprises a set of techniques aimed at shared learning between local people and outsiders. PRA relies heavily on participation by the communities, as the method is designed to enable local people to be involved, not only as sources of information, but as partners with the PRA team in gathering and analyzing the information. The combination of techniques that is appropriate in a particular development context will be determined by such variables as the size and skill mix of the PRA team, the time and resources available, and the topic and location of the work. Generally, a PRA is best conducted by a local team (speaking the local languages) with a few outsiders present, a significant representation of women, and a mix of sector specialists and social scientists, according to the topic. As PRA-generated data in their original form are seldom conducive to statistical analysis (given its largely qualitative nature and relatively small sample size), alternative ways have been developed to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings. These include sampling based on approximate stratification of the community by geographic location or relative wealth, and cross-checking, that is using a number of techniques to investigate views on a single topic (including through a final community meeting to discuss the findings and correct inconsistencies).

Vulnerability mapping………. The Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercise was conducted in the villages and the community people were asked to observe their communities resources and to bring them out in the form of a map. Anganwadi worker, female health worker, female teachers were involved in mobilization of women participants. The community people were divided into two homogenous groups. The first group was asked to go within the community to observe the resources in their community. The second group was asked to go around the community to observe the resources surrounding their community. Then each group was divided into three groups and was mixed in heterogeneous proportion. The groups were given task to map out their community assets with regard to Disaster history, Hazard profile, social analysis of the community, risk and vulnerability identification, analysis & assessment, resource analysis and rescue/safe route analysis. Then with the support of the PRI members and volunteers, their response were documented and prepared as plans for a village with inclusion of basic data about the community. Such plans are prepared for entire 1081 villages, 681 gram Panchayats and 13 blocks in Cuddalore District.

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Mock Drill: Mock Drills:
The approach for conducting a mock-drill varies as per the complexity of scenario depending upon the potential hazards, response system of the institution and the target community. Therefore, to ensure proper implementation of a drill programme, roles and responsibilities (SOPs) of the concerned personnel, departments, corporate bodies, stakeholders, and mechanisms for conducting the drill should be delineated clearly. In all the trainings and other sensitization programmes relating to DRM Programme, mock drill has been conducted by the Fire Service Officials. The fire service officials made arrangements and conducted the mock drills in the remote villages also inorder to create awareness to the general public about the rescue operations during the times of disaster occurrence. Till now, 25 mock drills have been organized at Block level. Apart from this, 38 mock drills were organized at gram panchayat level and 106 mock drills at village level.

Mock Drill demonstration on safety and rescue methods during emergencies….

Mock Drill demonstration on do’s and don’ts during emergencies…. Article It’s a question that will haunt Cuddalore for a long time. Had the tsunami struck next year, could they have lost fewer lives? The answer to that lies in the district’s Samiyarpettai village, among its most hazard-prone and vulnerable, that lost 22 lives against 102 in Pudukuppam, thanks to the training they received under the UNDPfunded District Disaster Management and Mitigation Project a few months ago. Almost all other worst-affected Cuddalore villagers were to be covered under the programme next year. Cuddalore is one of the six districts in Tamil Nadu selected for the exercise. District Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi had identified Samiyarpettai as a model village for the project as it was multi-hazard prone, vulnerable to floods, droughts and earthquakes. Source: http://www.undp.org/bcpr/disred/english/news/archives/2004/dec04.htm#india

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Disaster Management Team training: Disaster Management Team training:
Disaster Management Teams (DMT) was formed at all levels in the District. Each DMT’s ensured adequate representation of women. Seven different types of Disaster Management Teams were formed at 13 blocks on information management, rescue and evacuation, emergency health management, relief, transportation management, infrastructure management and animal resource management. Nine different types of Disaster Management Teams were formed at 681 gram Panchayats and 1081 villages on vigilance and patrolling, rescue and evacuation, water and sanitation, first aid, early warning, shelter management, carcass disposal, relief and damage assessment. Trainings were given for the block, gram panchayat and village level teams at block level on first aid, rescue and evacuation and water and sanitation. Sl.No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Name of the Block Parangipettai Kurinjipadi Vridhachalam Panruti Manglore Kammapuram Nallur Annagramam Kattumannarkoil Cuddalore Keerapalayam Melbhuvanagiri Kumaratchi Training date 16th & 17th July 2005 27th & 28th August 2005 10th & 11th September 2005 24th & 25th September 2005 15th & 16th October 2005 7th & 8th January 2006 21st & 22nd January 2006 18th & 19th February 2006 25th & 26th February 2006 18th & 19th March 2006 25th & 26th March 2006 20th & 21st May 2006 10th & 11th June 2006

Details of Disaster Management Team training Success story Tmt. Meera w/o of Ramalingam (aged 42 years) belongs to Samiyarpettai Village in Chidambaram Taluk. She is a member of the ‘Early-Warning Team’ under Village Disaster Management Plan and had obtained training in the month of October 2004 as a part of Disaster Risk Management Programme activities to train the villagers in handling disasters. On 26th December 2004, at the time of Tsunami, on knowing that the water was entering the village, she boldly rushed to the seashore to do her duty of warning the people who were there, without caring for her own life. There were about 500 people on the seashore area. Due to her efforts in mobilizing the people to run towards the land, many lives were saved in the seashore. On seeing the water level further rising, when the second set of waves came, she also ran away but the waves reached her and she could manage to save herself only by clinging to the gate of a house of Tmt. Pattanichi on the beach road near the seashore area. Even after having saved herself from the jaws of death, she continued her service with exemplary courage & bravery and saved more lives by making efforts to rescue others who were struggling in water. She held the hands of four such persons namely Anandan (14 years, male), Tmt. Mathi (28 years, female), Tmt. Indira (29 years, female) and Subramaniyam (40 years, male) and dragged them inside the house of Tmt. Pattanchi. Due to her act of courage and bravery, Tmt. Meera was awarded “THE KALPANA CHAWLA AWARD FOR COURAGE AND DARING ENTERPRISE” for the year 2005-2006 with the cash prize of Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakh only/-).

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Orientation to team members on safety & rescue, first aid and water & sanitation

Mock Drill demonstration by Team members…..

Mock Drill demonstration by Team members…..

Training for School Teachers on Disaster Management: Training for School Teachers on Disaster Management:
Disaster Management was included in school curriculum to give the school children basic knowledge about handling a disaster. The Trainers of DIET were asked to sensitize the teachers on the Disaster Management at block level. In Cuddalore District, teachers Training was conducted in all 13 Blocks at their respective block resource centers. Brief History of various disasters, basic idea on disaster preparedness, importance of school mapping and importance of creating disaster awareness among school children were dealt in this training programme. The training was conducted by DIET and organized by District Disaster Risk Management Programme with the support of Chief Educational Officer, District Educational Officer and District Elementary Educational Officer of Cuddalore District. Nearly 900 teachers from the District benefited through this programme.

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Orientation to teachers about DM

Demonstration on rescue operations

Disaster Management Training for NSS Volunteers: Disaster Management training for NSS Volunteers:
As part of implementing Disaster Risk Management Programme, Disaster Management has been included in the training curriculum of NCC, NSS, Scouts and Guides, NYKs, Civil Defence, Sainik Board etc., The Programme envisages to discuss strategy to include disaster management as part of their training and link the volunteers at State, District, Block, Gram Panchayat and village level for Disaster Management. Pursuant to this, a group of 5 NSS, NSS, Scout & Guides Project Officers from Vulnerable districts in Tamil Nadu were trained at Anna Institute of Management (AIM-Chennai) about Disaster Management during the month of February 2006. Mr. Kabilan, Mr. Umapathy, Mr. Thirumurugan, Ms. Pongulai and Ms. Pushpamary (Project Officers of National Service Scheme) were identified as Master’s Trainers from Cuddalore District and were sensitized on Disaster Management. These 5 Master Trainers in-turn organized the same sensitization training programme for all the 54 NSS Programme Officers in the district on 23.06.2006 as per the instruction from the Commissioner of Revenue Administration (CRA) office to the Chief Educational Officer (CEO) office. Information regarding disaster management, importance of knowing the principles and practice of first aid especially during mass calamities and various steps to be taken while encountering natural disasters were dealt during this training programme. The 54 Programme Officers were asked to organize the sensitization programme for the NSS volunteers in their respective schools in Cuddalore District. As per the schedule provided by the Programme Officers, the sensitization programme on Disaster Management for NSS Volunteers was organized in their respective schools from 11th to 20th July 2006. This training programme was organized with eminent persons from Health, fire service and education department of Tamil Nadu Government. The children participated in the programme with lot of interest and eager to know about Disaster Management. In these programmes, the student volunteers were taught on basics of disaster, types of disaster, overview of disaster management programme, emergency first aid, do’s and dont’s during disaster phase and post-disaster phase, how to act fastly and energetically as a NSS Volunteer before, during and after a disaster. Especially, the Volunteers were given demonstration about the role they could play in relief camps in the event of any disaster. Through this programme, the student volunteers were given training to gain the confidence to face any sort of disastrous situations and to assist the deserving community in the event of a disaster. More than 2,000 NSS volunteers from various schools in Cuddalore District benefited through this programme.

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Pilot Project on on Early Warning Systems: Pilot programme Early Warning Systems in Cuddalore:
With considerable progress already made with the post tsunami recovery and reconstruction efforts, incorporating disaster risk management in all reconstruction and development activity is seen as critical as Tamil Nadu now looks to build a secure and lower risk future for its citizens. The tsunami which was a rare but high-impact phenomenon exposed the vulnerability of coastal populations to other natural hazards. The recovery and reconstruction programme is an opportunity to rebuild at higher standards of safety. Disaster risk emanates not only from natural hazards but also from a range of underlying factors – physical, social, economic and cultural – that contribute to people’s vulnerability. As part of medium to long term Disaster Risk Management initiatives the establishment of Early Warning Systems (EWS) is seen as being vital to warn the masses of an imminent natural hazard. Despite efforts being EWS District consultation meeting underway at the national and regional levels to establish effective tsunami warning systems there is a clear need for the development of EWS at the local level, with specific emphasis on top to bottom information flow mechanisms and the capacity to take actions against these warnings at the community level. The efforts to generate technically improved forecasts and warning need to be matched with equal if not greater emphasis on effective communication systems, public awareness and social infrastructure at the community level so that the warnings can be acted on soon enough. In order to meet this demand of an effective EWS mechanism at the local level the current institutional capacities need to be further strengthened to manage future disaster risks better and ensure that disasters do not erode future development gains.

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The Government of Tamil Nadu in association with the United Nations Development Programme is implementing a project that envisages to strengthen and institutionalize the Early Warning System (EWS) in the Tsunami affected coastal districts. This project therefore looks to adopt a strategy of strengthening Early Warning Systems with special emphasis on the delivery of ‘understandable’ early warnings to the communities at risk. The objectives of the project are: 1. review Early Warning Systems existing for different hazards 2.strengthening dissemination mechanisms of early warnings to communities, via community participation and training 3.institutionalization of Early Warning Systems within Disaster Management Committees and Disaster Management Teams at the community level. At the time of occurrence of hazards such as cyclones, floods, tsunamis, landslides etc. timely communication of warning is a major challenge. The location of communities, their differential access to Early Warning information, lead time available etc. have to be taken into account while designing a robust EW Communication system. The range of technological solutions available (such as HAM, Satellite Radio, Community Radio, Mobile Phones, and ICT Kiosks etc.) for warning dissemination needs to be analyzed and their strengths and weaknesses have to be identified in this process. To reach out to the last person and avoid failure, sometimes combination of such technologies can be used and any such Communication System should be able to adopt new technical evolution if they respond better to communication issues and local needs. To discuss such issues relating to technological solutions for communicating Early Warning Messages, a District level Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi testing the PA system Consultation Meeting was organized at Cuddalore Collector’s Camp Office on 30th May 2006 from 10.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. This was a follow-up of State level Consultation meeting that was organized at Chennai on 21st April 2006. Mr. Gagandeep Singh, District Collector, Cuddalore presided over the function and Mr. Biswanath Dash, Consultant, EWS and MHM, UNDP facilitated the programme. Representatives from Government Sector, CSO Sector, Academic Sector and Media Sector participated the meeting. Dissemination & Communication and Response Capability are the two components of Early Warning Systems UNDP is concentrating in this proposed pilot project at Cuddalore District. As a part of Dissemination & Communication component in the EWS, UNDP-India is in the process of installing 55 Public Addressing systems with sirens for the coastal villages, flood prone areas and 15 mobile loud speakers for the 13 block office, EOC and Cuddalore Collectorate in Cuddalore District. Master Trainers comprising of representatives from local NGO’s and District Administration were given training on Early Warning components at Anna Institute of Management, Chennai. Two NGO’s, CREED and IGSSS were identified for the Response Capability component of the EWS in coastal and flood prone areas of Cuddalore District. The NGO’s were engaged in training the identified 480 flood prone/coastal villages in Cuddalore and the main aim of this activity is to provide knowledge on EWS components and preparedness to act during emergency warning.

For more Information about the DRM Programme – Cuddalore, Kindly contact:
Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, District Collector – Cuddalore at collrcud@tn.nic.in Ms. Sakinabee, District Project Officer – DRM Programme, Cuddalore at podrda@cud.tn.nic.in 16 Draft report Mr. Sherine David, District Disaster Management Project Officer, UNDP - Cuddalore at sherine.david@undp.org