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Centre’s index exposes NE’s lack of preparedness to natural disasters

GUWAHATI, June 15: Even though the northeastern States are highly vulnerable to natural calamities, they are found lacking in taking effective steps to tackle such disasters.

The development has come to the light in the first Disaster Resilient Index prepared by the Union Home Ministry. The index of 29 States and seven Union Territories had covered topics such as risk assessment, risk prevention and mitigation, risk governance, disaster preparation, disaster response, disaster relief and rehabilitation and disaster reconstruction. The index was released by the Home Ministry recently.

Five NE States stand at the bottom of the first Disaster Resilient Index prepared by the Union Home Ministry. The index has placed Assam, which is highly vulnerable to earthquake, floods and landslide, in the fourth position. The State is lagging behind Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra in taking effective steps to tackle natural disaster.

On a scale of 100, Assam has secured 41.9 points – 50 in risk assessment, 27 in risk prevention and mitigation, 54 in risk governance, 46 in disaster preparation, 42 in disaster response, 39 in disaster relief and rehabilitation and 29 in disaster reconstruction.

Tripura has secured the seventh position while Sikkim, another disaster-prone State, has been placed in the 16th position in the Disaster Resilient Index.

Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have secured 28th, 27th and 26th positions respectively in the index, just ahead of Jharkhand at the bottom. Mizoram was in 22nd position while Meghalaya came 21st.
Sources said the Disaster Resilient Index has exposed lack of preparedness of NE States to effectively tackle natural disasters and punctured the tall claims of the respective governments to save lives and property during such disasters.

“The entire North Eastern region is highly disaster-prone with the region witnessing floods and landslides almost every monsoon while it is in seismically active Zone V. Despite such high vulnerability, the State governments in the region have taken very casual approach to tackle natural disasters,” the source said.

Assam and other NE States annually experience ravages of floods, erosion and landslides.

Manipur witnessed an earthquake of 6.7 on the Richter scale in 2016 in which six persons died and over 100 were injured. The State has scored less than 20 points in risk assessment (16), risk mitigation (9) and risk reconstruction (18).

The index, currently in the form of a draft report prepared by the Home Ministry, gets support of the United Nations Development Programme.