New Delhi, Oct 9 (IANS) India’s apparatus to deal with disasters like floods is inadequate but a lot of it can be improved if women in flood-prone areas are trained in disaster-management skills, said CSR Director Ranjana Kumari on Monday.
Talking to reporters about a training programme that Centre of Social Research (CSR) conducted in collaboration with the Asia Foundation for women in four districts of Bihar and Nepal, Kumari said women are natural leaders and are the first ones to participate in relief work in situation of disaster.
“We trained around 2,600 women in these districts who will further train other women on important skills which can help them manage their livelihood and protect themselves properly during floods,” Kumari said.
The training was conducted in Supaul and Saharsa districts of Bihar and Sunsari and Saptari districts of Nepal between May and August.
Women were taught things like moving to high ground before the floods approach, dig a hand pump there for water supply, take stock of the old, disabled and children and those who cannot protect themselves, store medicines, secure the identity proofs like Aadhar, voter id and ration card etc.
“Women are natural leaders and are first to step up to plate whenever any adversity strikes. But the patriarchy has kept them disempowered in these places … we need to change that. Their awareness is very important to deal with such disasters,” she said.
“The governments only swing into action after the disasters have wreaked havoc… a lot can be avoided if only they spend 20 per cent of their disaster management budget on the training of women,” she added.
Kumar also claimed that training of women in Nepal’s Sunsari district, which saw the death of 178 people last year during floods, prevented casualties because of the floods this year.
All four districts were chosen for training for they are prone to be affected during the floods in Kosi river, which flows in southern Nepal and northern Bihar.
In 2008, the flooding in the river in Bihar had cost about 250 lives, destroyed 300,000 homes and 800,000 acres of cropland, and displaced over 30,00,000 people.