A beginning has been made to develop a mechanism for effective Disaster Management and emergency response in the state together with Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and Government Organisations (GOs) and formulate an Inter Agency Group (IAG) with an objective to bring in the culture of working together in emergency and disasters and promote and institutionalise unified response strategy to mitigate the disasters at all stages.

This was revealed by Special Secretary Revenue Nandita Gupta in the first meeting of GO-NGO coordination and IAG for disaster management in the Himachal Pradesh organised by HP State Disaster Management Authority here today in which relevant departments of the State and centre Government, delegates from UN agencies, National and International Non Government Organisations were present. Consensus reached upon to develop a data base of NGOs at all levels working in the field whether in the disaster management or otherwise, developing the capacity of identified NGOs by providing them training in the field of Disaster Management and emergency response so that strong linkages which NGOs have with grassroots communities can effectively be harnessed for creating greater public awareness on disaster risk and vulnerability, initiate appropriate strategies to improve disaster preparedness, mitigation and improving the response capacities of the Stakeholders.

The objective of the meeting was to bring all the NGOs together and share their expertise and linkages together with the Government Organisations working for mobilising people especially youth to disseminate disaster risk reduction programmes in their neighborhood and to provide platform to the NGOs and International Non Government Organisations (INGOs) for interaction and learn and share from their experience and try minimising the loss due to disasters and Natural hazards. Apart from this, it was for the first time in the state that a mock drill was being planned on 26th and 27th of this month in Baddi- Barotiwala industrial belt to make people aware of Industrial and Chemical disasters.

Special Secretary said that any NGO in the State can give their suggestions and be member of IAG, by registering themselves with HP State Disaster Management Authority.

Initially to begin with, a core group was formed with Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, State Red Cross Society, Civil Defence Home Guards, Nehru Yuva Kendra as government bodies with Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), Save the Children as International NGOs and Mountain Forum Himalaya and SEEDS India as NGos from Himachal, who would form a charter, do mapping of all interested NGOs and coordinate with all other allied partners. It was decided that Shri Arun Chandan, Executive Director, Mountain Forum Himalaya would coordinate with the core group.