Feb 27, 2015

India: Guv's Call to Professionalise Disaster Management

KOVALAM:There is a need to professionalise disaster management by inducting trained disaster managers in the administration and re-orienting existing staff through short-term training programmes, Governor P Sathasivam has said.

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He was speaking after inaugurating a three-day International Conference on Climate Change and Disaster Management which began here on Thursday.

Disaster management, he said, calls for convergence of technologies and institutions with a holistic approach covering a suitable mix of policy reforms, institutional changes and technology options. “Without this, it will not be possible to achieve long-term immunity against natural and man-made disasters,” Sathasivam said. In designing disaster management programmes, the poor and persons with disabilities should be given adequate attention, he said.

Effective response to disasters depend on proper linkage of quality of knowledge about the earth system, expertise of the organisation and hazard consciousness of the community, Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said.

Both climate change and natural hazards are critical issues that humanity would have to address in the current century, he said.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will soon have in place earth observation satellites with better observation capability, A S Kiran Kumar, Chairman, ISRO, said. The future of earth observation, he said, hinges on three factors: Continuity and improvement of the operational constellation of satellites; sustained observation of all climate variables and global co-operation for comparing observation data.

Terming climate change an ‘unprecedented threat,’ Jean-Yves Le Gall, President, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES – French Space Agency), called for co-ordination of space missions and pooling of resources for stepping up space-based observation of climate change phenomena.

Tanja Masson-Zwaan, President, International Institute of Space Law (IISL), underlined the importance of space technology in solving issues connected to climate change. “Climate change and disaster management are perhaps the most important issues of our times,” she said.

ISRO former chairman G Madhavan Nair, who heads the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and IAA Secretary-General Jean-Michel Contant also spoke. The three-day event is being organised jointly by the IAA, ISRO, IISL, Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.