Don Bosco head wants school disaster preparedness certification

VMGUWAHATI ? In the wake of the recent news reports decrying the disaster preparedness of 200 schools in Guwahati, the President of the Don Bosco Group of Educational Institutions has come up with a plan to train teachers to handle disaster.

?We are sitting on a volcano type of situation as the city of Guwahati is most vulnerable to disaster and there is total unpreparedness,? said past president of the Rotarians Salesian Fr V.M. Thomas.

He added, ?God has been merciful to us and nothing disastrous has happened so far.?

Fr VM was quick to caution, ?we seem to be sitting in the comfort zone.?

As proactive measure Fr VM said, ?I welcome the idea of training the 2,000 or so school teachers and make them for "school readinesses in times of disaster.?

Not satisfied with mere training, Fr VM insists, ?the schools should obtain a ?School Disaster Preparedness Certificate? from competent authorities within a stipulated time and should have mock drills at least once in a month as in Japan or other countries.?

Fr VM?s proposal was triggered by a report submitted by Assam Engineering College (AEC) before the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) in March-end, around 200 private and government-run schools in Guwahati were found most vulnerable to?disasters like earthquake, flood and strong winds by the Kamrup (Metro) district disaster management authority.

According to the source, while some of the schools that need repairing are leading private schools of the city that have been set up in recent times, some were established over 100 years back. The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) and District Disaster Management Authority of Kamrup (Metro) district have planned to train about 2,000 school teachers in the city by October this year to handle crisis situations and disasters. The earthquake zoning map of India divides India into 4 seismic zones (Zone 2, 3, 4 and 5). According to the present zoning map, Zone 5 expects the highest level of seismicity whereas Zone 2 is associated with the lowest level of seismicity. The city of Guwahati situated on the banks of Brahmaputra river falls in seismic zone-V - the highest earthquake risk zone.

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