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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A dry run to tackle FLOOD-LIKE DISASTERS

Mateen Hafeez I TNN 

Mumbai: Monsoon may still be days away, but several government organisations teamed up on Tuesday to conduct a mock drill to assess their preparedness to tackle floods. Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the fire brigade, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's disaster management cell as well as the civil defence gathered outside the Matunga police station to carry out the mock drill. 
    Though the focus of the exercise was floods, the teams conducted a 'dry run' under the King's Circle bridge. The drill, which began at 3 pm, lasted for an hour. "Our intention was to check how prepared and fit we are. The mock drill was conducted at an area which was severely affected in the 26/7 flood. We will now assess the results of the exercise,'' said brigadier B K Khanna, senior specialist, NDRF. 

    Several groups of BMC workers, mostly women, played the role of flood victims while members of the other groups from the fire brigade, the NDRF's divers and swimmers, rescued them. 
    The mock drill was a traffic stopper of sorts, with curious passersby—in taxis, cars and even BEST buses—thronging the 
site to see what was going on. Taxis, cars and even BEST buses halted. Though the traffic police had diverted several routes, much of their energy and time was spent in controlling vehicular movement. 
    Before the drill started, the NDRF personnel inflated a rubber boat in 15 minutes. In true street play fashion, three NDRF personnel donned diving gear and 'brought' the victims to safety. Other 'rescuers' in life jackets 
assisted in the entire operation. The flood victims, screaming bachao bachao, were rescued in three boats which later 'took' them to a safer place. A 25-yearold man, who was 'unconscious', was brought on a stretcher and three women doctors helped him regain conscious. He was given first aid. 
    Inspector P Sagar Kumar of the NDRF said, "We've come all the way from Pune; we don't have any office in Mumbai yet. We are identifying low-lying areas and will conduct mock drills to tell citizens what to do in disasterlike situations.'' 

TO THE RESCUE: Several groups of BMC workers, mostly women, played the role of flood victims while members of the other groups from the fire brigade, the National Disaster Response Force's divers and swimmers, rescued them. The mock drill, however, brought the traffic to a halt as curious passers-by stopped to have a look


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