18th Jan is celebrated as National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Raising Day across the country. On the occasion of 16th NDRF Raising Day, let us look at the role of NDRF in disaster management in 2020.
NDRF During Cyclone Amphan
As the country was grappling with the COVID-19 outbreak, the people of Bengal and Odisha were also experiencing the rage of a cyclonic storm Amphan. Tagged as a Super Cyclone, the storm had the potential to cause large scale damage.
In order to contain it, NDRF deployed a 39 self-contained rescue & relief teams, in the coastal areas of West Bengal & Odisha in the initial stages. Later, it deployed additional 10 teams in West Bengal for the post-cyclone Amphan Management. The NDRF teams relentlessly engaged with the local administration in bringing evacuating people to safer places and bringing normalcy in the post-cyclone stage.
According to a report by the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), minimal loss of lives was observed as a result of the cyclone because of the accurate forecast by IMD and timely deployment of NDRF troops.
NDRF in Management of Vizag Gas Leak
A gas leak from the LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam, which was operating without environmental clearance for over two decades, killed 12 people and sickened hundreds on May 7. An NDRF team, that was already present at the regional response centre at Visakhapatnam and swung into action at 5.30 am of the morning after the local authorities informed them about the incident that had occurred around 2.30 am on the same night. The villagers first informed the local police and the civil administration and fire departments swung into action. Unable to control the situation, the NDRF was alerted. While the leakage has not stopped completely, a minimum quantity remains and the source of the leak is in the process of being plugged completely.
The NDRF is a specialised force equipped to provide a specialised response to chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological (CBRN) disasters. During the Vizag Gas leak, it tackled the situation to the best of its capabilities to contain the damage and loss of life. It even airlifted a team of five experts specialising in handling chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological disasters from its fifth battalion in Pune to Visakhapatnam to tackle the disaster effectively.
NDRF Teams Rescue Flood Victims in Assam
In Assam, incessant rainfall caused an unexpected flood in Bongaigaon, Baksa, Kamurp Rural (Rangia) and Barpeta districts. The situation was further aggravated by overflowing of the rivers Puthimari, Beki, Aie and Pahumara.
A total of 11 search and rescue teams of NDRF were pre-positioned in Assam to monitor the flood situation during the time. The teams carried out rescue operations in the flood-affected areas and evacuated 487 marooned villagers and transported them to safer places. Besides teams are also assisted the district administration in the distribution of mask, screening inundated areas and maintained proper social distancing due to COVID-19 emergency.