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Sunday, October 20, 2013

BMC comes up with manual to tackle disasters

Mumbai: In the wake of the Mazgaon building collapse, the BMC's disaster control unit has proposed a new emergency support system to improve the response time and clearly define the roles of all agencies involved in times of a tragedy. 

    A manual called Mumbai Emergency Operations Plan (MuEOP) has been published and it will be treated as Gospel by the civic body during emergencies. "Such a document is an asset to the subject of mitigation of trauma and will increase efficiency in many aspects of disaster management," said S S Shinde, joint municipal commissioner and project director, in the manual's preface note. 
    A source said that during the Mazgaon building crash, there was a lack of co-ordination between various agencies involved, affecting the response time in rescuing victims. 
Even after the building collapse, at the behest of a local corporator, families of the victims who had been rehabilitated in Ghatkopar were brought back, saying that their livelihoods were being affected and relief should be given to them in the same area. This could have been avoided if the BMC had its policies in place, said the source. 
    The manual aims to define the mission and purpose of agencies involved in disaster and emergency situations. The BMC has also published a community resiliency indicator master plan, which too will be crucial in mitigating disasters. 
    "Not only the community at large, but also the efficiency and capability of personnel discharging duties are important. In order to increase their 
efficiency, it is imperative that the chain of command and co-ordination of agencies become understood by all concerned," said Indrani Malkani, V Citizens' Action Network, who helped the BMC formulate the document. 
    As per the MuEOP, 14 emergency support functions (ESF) have been identified. Some of them are communication, fire-fighting, search and rescue, relief supplies and public safety and law and order. The manual states that each ESF will be headed by a lead agency and will be supported by the identified support agencies. 
    In case of a building collapse, the fire-fighting ESF will come into play and the fire brigade will become the lead agency and the incident commander. It will direct the search and rescue operations and co-ordinate with other required supporting agencies like the BMC's disaster control unit, BMC's hydraulic department and the Mumbai police. A per
sonnel assigned to each support agency will work in accordance with the lead agency. On receipt of a call from the fire brigade, the situation will be brought under control, by augmenting men, machinery and the required resources.

MAZGAON BUILDING COLLAPSE


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