Australian High Commissioner visits ASDMA  

Australian High Commissioner visits ASDMA  

Guwahati, February:- Australian High Commissioner to India, His Excellency Mr. Barry  O’Farrell AO visited the Assam State Disaster Management Authority headquarter witb a view to share  knowledge on areas concerning international cooperation between Australian Government and the  Government of India, in context of disaster management and allied sectors. High Commissioner was  accompanied by Ms. Rowan Ainsworth, Consul-General, Australian Consulate-General, Kolkata; Mr.  Paroksh Prasad, First Secretary, Australian High Commission, New Delhi and Ms. Angelina Nair, Senior  Research and Visits Officer, Australian Consulate-General, Kolkata. A meeting at ASDMA was  coordinated by Mr. G.D.Tripathi, CEO ASDMA who was joined by Mr. Amitabh Rajkhowa, ACS,  Commissioner & Secretary Revenue & Disaster Management Department; Mr. Bhaskar Pegu, ACS,  Secretary Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Mr. Alakananda Medhi, ACS, SPC ASDMA  and other senior officials. 

During the meeting, Tripathi presented the landscape of measures adopted by the ASDMA over the years  to address the challenges that state faces due to the interplay of multiple disasters. Climate change  induced disasters like recurring floods, erosion, landslide and thunderstorm has been devastating the  communities every year. Moreover, challenges of environmental degradation, seismic vulnerabilities, etc.  are making the task of preventing the adverse outcomes more complex. 

ASDMA, with an objective to promote the culture of safety and to reduce the disaster risk, has been  strengthening its Disaster Management Plan through infrastructure development like Multi-Purpose  Flood Shelters; capacity building; adoption of mitigation measures like Flood Resilient VillagesWomen-friendly community managed flood shelters with Sanitary Vending Machine, etc.; 

enhancing knowledge through various collaborative studies and through various technology interventions  like Flood Early Warning System (FLEWS), Integrated WebGIS Platform for Early  Warnings/Alerts Dissemination, etc. The measures also include a quick response, recovery and  rehabilitation mechanism like State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), V-SAT and satellite phone for  strengthening communication, MIS for Search & Rescue Equipment and FRIMS for standardised  reporting and aggregation of impacts. The challenges that exist in the dissemination of early warnings is  that it is confined within the administrative machinery. To disseminate it to the last mile ASDMA needs  to implement a location based alerting system for lightning, severe thunderstorm and flood early warning. 

In conversation with the High Commissioner, Tripathi said “Partnership between Government of Assam  and Australian Government holds a lot of potential both strategically as well as economically under  Australia India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. From the point of view of disaster management in  Assam we are now putting more thrust on Risk Reduction instead of focusing only on Response and  Recovery. In this context, we may collaborate towards developing a robust technoligy platform for  Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) closely integrating all the stakeholders. We may also take inspiration  from the Land Management System of Australia as the land use management & rapid urbanization has  been a major challenge in Assam”.  

Speaking on the occasion His Excellency Mr. O’Farrell said. “Thank you for the fascinating discussion. It  reminded me of the similarities in the disaster management systems between Australia and India  including the challenges of climate change. Look forward to working with you in disaster resilience in the  northeast Indian Ocean”.