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Thursday 11 May 2006

Suriname floods

Just a heads-up that the World Wide Help Group is blogging about the floods in Suriname at http://worldwidehelp.blogspot.com/.

Information from and about Suriname in general, and the flood situation in particular would be most appreciated. As would information about aid efforts, whether official, NGO-led or ad-hoc, national or international. Mail us at suriname[AT]worldwidehelp[DOT]info.

And we could really use your help if you can translate from and to Dutch.
3 Comments Post a Comment
Anonymous Anonymous said :

poor suriname

Fri May 12, 10:08:00 pm IST  
Anonymous Anna said :

Why is there so much spammers messages?

Fri Jun 23, 12:47:00 am IST  
Anonymous Rakesh said :

I don't know if this blog is still active but I need help...
Life here is difficult but the work... Is endless...!

The relief work has long stopped and we are in the process of rehabilitation and rebuilding... And this is as equally crucial a phase as the relief phase...

We need the world not to forget us...!

The reason I'm posting here is to seek help with getting Medical (peadiatric, ENT, Opth, Dermatology, Nursing, first-aid etc) and Education (Teachers and Teacher-Trainers) specialists over to the islands, with the view of conducting camps and workshops (orientation, refresher and capacity-building)here.
I am very impressed with Vikas Khanna beyond tsunami project to set up emergenicy call centers around Tsunami hit areas, as a parameter to seek support system.

“Beyond Tsunami;Needs Assessment Project (to include revised timeframe and costing) for setting up/upgrading of “Village Information Centres” (VICs) for receiving/disseminating Tsunami Early Warnings ; training in Community preparedness for multi-hazard (including tsunami) risks in the coastal Indian States through integrated engagement of the Government, Civil society and the Community” --to be presented to the National Institute for Disaster Management (NIDM), New Delhi and the Disaster Management Cell of the Anna Institute of Management (AIM), Chennai

Methodology/ description of the major activities of the project

1. Identifying existing reports/schemes--non government and government--for setting up village knowledge centers, which could be upgraded to serve as a nucleus for “multi-hazard-knowledge”( on cyclones, high tides, storm surges and now tsunami)/ and for relevant training programmes at the village level.

2. While the Tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Tamil Nadu, both ongoing and projected have been multifacted, my focus is primarily on the abovesaid aspects. I would also establish contact with the Chennai-based NGO n-Logue, as I understand that it has already set up 1,500 information kiosks in villages in Tamil Nadu, equipped with basic information equipment. My study would involve the following:

(i). Study of the structure and location of n-Logue’s information kiosks which fall under the list of Tsunami – hit villages.

(ii)Recommendation on how to upgrade these to make them “Multi hazard – ready “ for receiving information on early hazard warning relayed by the District level Emergency Control Room (EOC)

(iii) I would not only undertake the aforesaid study but also, based on my professional interactions with the Tamil Nadu State Government Officials, undertake the implementation of my findings by proposing to them and facilitating the necessary linkages between each kiosk setup by n-Logue and the village level institutions, where there is already a slot for non-govt. representatives. Similarly, based on my findings n-Logue possibly in collaboration with Dhan Foundation and the MSSRF could so strategize the locations of its projected kiosks, so that the focus is initially on Tsunami hit villages.

(iv)Facilitating the establishment of necessary linkages between the ongoing/projected schemes of different agencies so identified, and exploring the possibility of collaboration/integrated approach/dovetailing of schemes to make it cost efficient and avoid duplication. The Dhan Foundation and n-Lodue are setting and Information Kiosks in the Tsunami-hit villages, but as yet, there are no visible institutional linkages between the latter and the Village- level DM Committees / DM teams (where they exist).

(v)Facilitating strategies for upgrading the schemes to incorporate the tsunami component, based on which the agencies would need to revise the costing and the time schedules, to be set within a specific time frame, and based on the latter, an integrated strategic action plan would need to be drawn up
My proposed tasks in TN: 1. To meet with offiicials in the Relief and Rehabilitation, Revenue Administration, Disaster Management and Mitigation Deptt, Govt. of TN and gather relevant datra on the institutional arrangements at the village level-- existing and projected. (2.) To discuss with them the content and time frame of relevant government reports/programs (outlined by me below), and explore the possibility of an integrated approach, based on which an integrated needs assessment (including detailed revised costing),could be worked out after incorporating the tsunami component. (3). Similarly, as regards village level training programs, explore the possibility of integrating government and non-government training schemes, for “training of the trainers”for other tsunami hit coastal States. (4) In the course of my ongoing meeting with State govt. officials, discuss with them the following:
a.). Data on DM Committees (DMC)/Data on DM Plans (DMP)

1. Data on DMCs formed so far, identifying the districts which are said to have 100% coverage at the block and village levels within the district.
2. I will identify other tsunami hit districts in TN where DMCs are yet to be set up, in which context I would advise the state government to undertake the same on a priority basis
3. Procure data on DMPs at the district and village level; I understand that unlike the DMCs, in this case even in districts where a start has been made, the coverage of villages in the concerned districts is still very low.
4. I will identify tsunami-hit villages where DMPs have not been formulated as yet, which I would advise the State Government to do so on a priority basis
5. I will also identify other tsunami-hit districts in TN where no DMPs have been formulated as yet
b.). Data on Village DMCs and DM teams: Similar information would be gathered under this head.

My suggestions:

1….While recommending to the state govt. to expedite efforts in this direction in the context of DMCs and DMPs, for opening new kiosks,the focus first needs to be on those tsunami-hit districts/villages where there no such government level activity has begun as yet. One will need to coordinate with the activities (on going and projected) of other agencies like Dhan Foundation and Enlogue who are setting up Information Centres, so that through such a coordinated effort all villages which were hit by tsunami could be covered in an integrated way , so as to ensure that there are some visible Govt./non-Govt. mitigation measures in each of the Tsunami-hit villages as per a planned target date.

2…Even though timely tsunami relief work did bring solace to the tsunami hit population, many of them could still be instate of “numb psychology”, compounded by the fear – howsoever unfounded – of being caught unprepared in the even of another tsunami. Hence early coordinated initiatives “ both non-government and government” for setting up DMCs/DMPs/kiosks in the villages so prioritized would go a long way to assure the local population that some measure are afoot post-tsunami, in the direction of Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness.

c.). Data on Emergency Operations Centres(EOC)

While funds have been sanctioned for the same by the government, these are yet to be set up both at the state and district levels.

My suggestions:

As an when EOCs are set up at the district level, there would be need to work out the necessary linkages between the EOCs and the kiosks set up through voluntary action. I am also procuring information in the course of meetings with the director NIOT on how the tsunami early warning system is likely to be received and relate to the two identified regional centres at Chennai and Hyderabad. Since the NIOT is not officially concerned with the onward communication/dissemination of the information relayed by them to the Secretary, Ocean Development, my suggestion would be to have the regional centres relay this information simultaneously to the EOCs at the state level, which in turn will be responsible for relaying same to the EOCs in all the district, and each district level EOCs would have the responsibility to disseminate this information to all the hazard prone villages -- both with kisks and without. I would accordingly draw up a flow chart –also based on my study of the electronic dissemination of warnings in the visual and audio public media, both in the US and Japan-- and further suggest planning of coastal evacuation routes in each village, guiding them through signs to the designated shelters.

d.). Tsunami – Ready- Villages (TRVs) based on the concept of Tsunami – Ready – communities (TRCs) in the US

Based on the US West Coast experience of setting up TRCs through voluntary action, I would be suggesting a similar/modified concept for Tsunami prone coastal TN, by drawing up a set of criteria in consultation with State Govt. officials and NGOs, and as and when a village is able to meet these criteria it would be certified as being Tsunami – Ready

NB: All the above data would be plotted by me in a Map, and accordingly a proiritized list of Tsunami-hit villages would be prepared for integrated initiatives by the Govt. and NGOs


Relevant provisions in Government Reports/ Programmes

(a)Chapter on “Disaster Management”in the Tenth Five Year Plan (2000 to2010)

Under the sub- heading “District and local level,” it underlines “the need for local bodies to be ‘effective instruments’ in tackling disasters through early warning system….( page 195).

(b)Report of the “High Powered Commission”(HPC) on disaster management, submitted to the Government of India in 2000

In its timetable entitled “Responsibility and time frame for recommendations of HPC” it envisages inter alia the following: 1. Under ‘‘Institutional mechanisms” the setting up of District “Disaster Management Committees” (DMCs) by 2000-2001 and District- level CRFs by 2000-2001. 2. Under “Culture of Preparedness,”it refers to the setting up of forecasting, warning and alert systems, modernizing forecasting control rooms and improving communication links (including district level) in three phases—01,15 and by 2020. 3. Under “Culture of quick response,”it includes response mechanism, trigger mechanism, networking/coordination, to be achieved by 2000-01. 4. Under “Culture of strategic thinking,” it refers to information networking, information technology/disaster information system (in this case without giving any specific time frame). In the corresponding sections of the report, a detailed account of each of the above concepts has been given, including the setting up of “state of art EOCs”at the district level, training for community preparedness, and detailed guidelines on district level inter agency coordination in the event of emergencies (pp.165-180).

My proposed tasks: To meet with officials in the —and convene a meeting with the concerned State Government officials, to work out a status report on achieving targets set out in the HPC report and prepare a revised time frame, along with costing, after incorporating the tsunami component, as per the guidelines discussed in the sections below.

(c)The Government of India/ UNDP Disaster Risk Management Program (2002-2007); Agenda notes of the third meeting held on December 21, 2 004

This report has: (i) A separate section on “Establishment/strengthening of Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) at the state and district level; the report “also has guidelines on architectural, structural and communication layouts,” which it says have already been sent to all the states and districts in the country, and further that UNDP is providing some communication equipment, details of which are given in the report (para 7.3). (ii) A separate section on “Community preparedness plan and synergy with formulation of Village development plans,” with a specific training component for village volunteers, as its core activities to be completed by December 2007. (iii) In its status report on the latter (para 7.6), in the case of TN, so far disaster management plans have been formulated only in 161 villages; as regards training imparted to volunteers, this has included 78 DMC members, 18 in first aid and 25 in search and rescue. Similarly, as regards training imparted to Panchayati Raj representatives, who are also members of the district DM committees, in TN, 46 have been trained at the district level and 133 at the block level. The report does not however spell out the balance to be covered in any of the categories by 2007).

2.My proposed tasks: To meet with the GoI-UNDP representatives at New Delhi, cue them into MSSRF’s proposal on setting up VKCs ; explore the possibility of collaboration with the MSSRF on this, and on establishing the necessary
communication lines between the village-level DM Committees / DM teams (where they exist).

district level (EOCs when set up)and the village level VKCs/ Information kiosks; expedite the process of working out revised schedules/time frames and costing of setting up of EOCs and training programmes, after incorporating the Tsunami component in each, with the focus initially on the tsunami- hit villages.

(d.). National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (World Bank Assisted): Workshop for participating States/UTs on December 24, 2004

This project envisages supporting coastal States/UTs, who in turn have been tasked to “identify and implement high priority activities for cyclone risk mitigation/strengthening Coastal Zonal Management Framework.” A workshop was held on December 24, 2004, in the course of which States/UTs were expected to make presentations in this regard.

My proposed tasks: To procure reports from TN and Pondicherry –which I have not been able to access on web site—and suggest to them, in consultation with W Bank officials, to draw up revised reports incorporating the tsunami risk mitigation component, for consideration of the WBank.

(e) Government of India, MHA, NDM Division’s report of March 2005: Prevention/Protection and Mitigation from Risk of Tsunami Disasters: A Concept Note

I had sent a copy of my larger project on Tsunami India to Secretary NDM in February 2005, some suggestions of which of which appear to have been incorporated in this concept note. MHA’s concept paper is a very timely and comprehensive guide, given that all the above existing and ongoing schemes, worked out in the context of known hazards, need to be revised and upgraded to incorporate the tsunami component. (i) For example, while studies to be commissioned now for undertaking a tsunami vulnerability assessment/ tsunami hazard map—also recommended in the World Bank et al report of March 14,05—are likely to take up some time, the concept paper in Chapter 3 on “Tsunami- Risk in India and its assessment” lays down the technical parameters on these aspects. This in turn could serve as a reference point, based on which initial revisions in ongoing schemes/ programmes for upgrading them to incorporate the tsunami component could begun to be made.(ii) Similarly, in Chapter 5 on “Multi-hazard safety measures in coastal areas,”it lays down technical parameters both for structural and non-structural measures; in Chapter 6 on “Specific measures for safety from tsunami,”it lays down specific design principles for tsunami and also covers the subject of planning for evacuation. (iii) Chapter 7 outlines the tsunami warning system for the Pacific Ocean, and some concepts—albeit sketchy***—on a work plan for the India; Chapter 8 is on “Design criteria for tsunami/cyclone mitigation, based and which revised initial estimates for upgrading the existing/ongoing schemes should be possible, pending the results of detailed technical studies like to be undertaken. (iv) Chapter 2 on “What to do or not to do under Risk from Tsunami,” is a very informative checklist, which could be translated in regional languages, and posted for example in the EOCs in the districts and RKCs in the villages.

My proposed tasks: (1) To discuss the aforesaid aspects of the concept paper with the representatives of different government, non-government and funding agencies I would be meeting, and to impress upon them the need to undertake without delay, upgrading of their ongoing and proposed schemes outlined above, based on some of the parameters in MHA’s concept note. And after such an exercise has been taken by them in respect of their own schemes, possibilities of collaboration, through an integrated approach--which would be both cost efficient and avoid duplication—or/and of establishing inter-agency linkages vertically and horizontally, could be explored in joint meetings.(2). As regards, the concept of the early warning system, MHA’s concept paper has explained the working of the early warning system in the US. Tsunami warnings are received in the US at 2 regional centers—Hawaii and Alaska; the latter,upon receiving early warning from the Tsunami Pacific Ocean System, immediately relays this information to the tsunami prone states on the US West Coast; information is also disseminated to the public through radio, TV, and the US Coast guards relay this through marine radios. The concept paper does not however go into the details of community preparedness and “information dissemination” at the community level. Information on this will be supplemented through discussions with officials at the NIOT, Chennai (3) On my part, in the course of my meetings in India, I would like to introduce the concept of “Tsunami- ready communities,” on the US West Coast, where in order for communities to be certified as “tsunami- ready,” they need to fulfill certain basic criteria of preparedness laid down by the concerned US agency, and explore how this concept after suitable modifications could be introduced in coastal TN, which could then serve as a model for coastal India. (4) Further, in the context of an early warning system for India (para 7.3), the MHA concept note merely lists 7-8 action points, including reference to“assessment of present capacity…warnings, gap areas and needs,” without spelling out how these gaps are to be met. While the setting up of an early warning system for the Indian Ocean has been announced by the Government, what needs to be fleshed out further is identifying the intermediate links through which this information would be received at the district EOCs and its dissemination at the village level--to the village DMCs, DM teams and the VKCs. It is quite possible that on the East Coast, Chennai would possibly be identified as the “regional warning center,” given the three key related offices—the NIOT, Cyclone Warning Research Center and the branch office of the “Global Seismology network” are located in Chennai. (5) I also propose visiting these offices, and establish the necessary linkages with members of the MSSRF and concerned State Government officials, to get some idea about the possible communication channels links between the regional and the village centres, and also for planning the quickest and safest evacuation routes—posted with signs all along, as is the standard practice in coastal cities in the industrialized West.

Sun Jul 16, 11:37:00 am IST