The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has implemented the ‘Aapda Mitra’ (friends during disasters) scheme on pilot basis to train 6,000 community volunteers (200 per district) in 30 flood-prone districts of 25 states and Union Territories, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
He also said that these community volunteers will respond to the community’s immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster, and so far more than 5,500 volunteers have been trained under the pilot scheme.
Based on the success of the pilot scheme, and request from the states/UTs, the government has approved the up-scaling of the Aapda Mitra scheme, covering 350 districts prone to flood, landslide, cyclone and earthquake to train 1,00,000 community volunteers in disaster response.
Apart from this, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) conducts community awareness programmes for capacity building of communities in disaster management.
In 2021, NDRF trained 1,380 community volunteers in disaster management, Rai said.
“The NDRF is also conducting school safety programmes (SSPs) and imparting basic training to school children as well as teachers to evacuate themselves during an earthquake. In 2021, NDRF conducted 81 SSPs covering 18,057 beneficiaries,” the minister informed the Lok Sabha.
Rai also said that to inform, educate and make people aware, NDMA runs awareness generation campaigns through electronic and print media, including social media, on various disasters from time to time.
These campaigns include Dos and Don’ts, audio-visual films, messages containing preparedness during and after disaster events etc.