C-NES at State Consultation on Disaster Management, Assam

A State Level Consultation on Disaster Management in Assam was organized by the Indo Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), Guwahati on 7 and 8 December 2008 at the Don Bosco Institute, Kharghuli, Assam. More than 50 participants from various NGOs across the state as well as officials from the State Water Resource and PWD departments participated.

In opening remarks, IGSSS Executive Director Joseph Sebastian said that the IGSSS has been working in Assam for the past years for the socio economic development of the region including responses to disaster management. Paul Lokho, Regional Manager, IGSSS, spoke about the pattern of floods in Assam having changed over the last few years with their intensity increasing from 40% to 70%.

The participants felt that considering the magnitude of floods, the mitigation responses were poor. Lack of resources and skills were also posing a big challenge to tackling the problem. Strengthening public private partnership in disaster management and working out a plan of action for long term solutions in flood prone areas were discussed. The role of media was highlighted – that it has a key role to play in networking, in capturing best practices from other states and promoting disaster management strategies.

Manik Ch. Boruah, Enterprise Specialist,  and Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer, represented C-NES. Goswami spoke about the Boat Clinic program which   provided basic health services to the marginalized and flood prone communities inhabiting the river islands of the Brahmaputra  for the first time in their lives and C-NES’  successful Private Public Partnership with NRHM. Boruah spoke about how these boats could   also be used for search, rescue and relief operations during floods and how solar power could be introduced in remote areas for domestic lighting. He also emphasized the need to involve local student organizations in implementation of programmes  and inclusion of NGO/civil society organizations in policy making.

Other participating organizations included SRIJON Voluntary organization Dhemaji, Rural Volunteers centre(RVC) Dhemaji, Disaster Mitigation Society,  Shanti Sadhana Ashram, Guwahati and Socio- Economic Development Organization(SEDO), Dhemaji among others.

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