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Saturday, May 26, 2012

COUNTDOWN TO MONSOON 2012 Monsoon on mind, civic body eyes social media to give weather updates

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is planning to log on to social media networks to disseminate all weather-related information so that citizens are well-informed about the vagaries of nature while on the move. The BMC plan is part of its monsoon preparations and as a first step, the civic body's disaster management cell will be posting a weather update on its Facebook page from June 1. Also, it is considering sending out the updates via the micro-blogging site. 
    After civic chief Sitaram Kunte's directive, BMC has already started awareness campaign to improve the quality of disaster response and has started training NCC and NSS students on it. Civic 
body officials have also started interacting with citizens groups and other organizations. 
    "The problem lies in quality disaster response. In case of any disaster, many people do come forward to help others but the quality isn't good enough, leading to more problems. Our training camps are free of cost and we have put up hoardings outside the fire brigade offices," a senior official from the civic body's disaster management cell said. 
    With rise in drowning cases over the years, the civic body for the first time has decided to pre-deploy fire brigade and civil defence officials to prevent such cases. It has also decided to deploy 36 life guards at six beaches. "We have observed that in the past few years the number of drowning cases in the beaches has increased. There aren't any deaths due to flooding. Hence, we have decided to take precautionary measures to prevent such deaths," said the official. 
    The civic body is also planning to give localized rainfall and temperature updates during this monsoon and is set to install 28 new automatic weather stations (AWS), taking the number of weather stations installed by the civic body to 61. There will be a weather station every 4 km, as opposed to one every 10 km, as it currently is. 
    The BMC has identified 215 flooding spots in the city, of which 76 are in the island city, 79 are in the western suburbs and the remaining in eastern suburbs. The maximum number of flooding spots is in L ward (Kurla) with 16, followed by 12 in K- West (Andheri and Vile Parle) and F-South (Wadala) wards. The civic body has planned to install over 230 dewatering pumps across the 215 flooding spots. Some flooding spots will have more than two pumps. The BMC has also asked mobile operators to allow the civic body to send bulk messages in time of disasters. 
    The civic body is organizing awareness campaigns on quick quality response, to equip citizens with disaster management skills.The civic body has urged citizens to begin cleaning up their surroundings to prevent vector-borne diseases. To begin with, the civic body wants citizens to clear stagnant water spots. It also urged people not to spread rumours in case of a disaster. 
24x7 helplines 108 & 1916 
20 lifesaving platoons distributed in various wards 
9 teams of navy will be positioned; 3 at Ghatkopar, 3 at Malad, 1 at Mankhurd, 1 at Naval Dockyard and 1 at Worli. 
24x7 ward control rooms in 19 wards 
5 municipal schools in each ward to be temporary shelters 
36 lifeguards deployed at 6 beaches

The civic body has identified 215 flooding spots in the city


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