NEW DELHI: On March 17, prime ministers of India, the UK, Fiji and others will lead an International summit on disaster-resilient infrastructure. The global coalition was launched by Modi during the UN climate action summit of 2019.
Speaking to TOI, Sandeep Poundrik, director of CDRI said, “After the 2005 enactment of the Disaster Management Act, we have gained considerable experience in dealing with disasters. The aim is to leverage the strengths and knowledge of different countries, in early warning systems, in building disaster-resilient roads, airports, power sector, then we can help each other build resilience in many countries.”
The summit, in essence, the third international workshop is expected to see representation from most of the 22 member countries who have already signed on to the CDRI and six international organisations. The issue gained prominence after the February 7 flash flood in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, which killed at least 30 people, destroyed two hydropower plants, and caused damage to livestock and property.
Pointing to the diverse membership of the coalition, Poundrik said, “Most of the countries are active in the disaster-resilient infrastructure arena, including US, UK, Japan, Australia, France Germany and Italy. Among developing countries, we have Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, small island states like Fiji, landlocked states like Mongolia and Nepal.”
Comparing the two cyclones that hit Odisha — the super cyclone in 1999 and Cyclone Fani in 2019, Poundrik said, the fatalities in Fani were less than 100, in 1999, more than 10000 people died. “India has been able to significantly reduce the loss of life. However, infrastructure losses are increasing. In the power sector alone, the losses are mounting. In the same cyclone, power sector losses were over Rs 8000 crore. Moreover, infrastructure losses are not only in financial terms but they are also loss of livelihoods.”