Ladakh Divisional Commissioner Saugat Biswas reviews avalanche preparedness

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Leh: Divisional Commissioner Saugat Biswas, who is also Secretary Disaster Management, reviewed the disaster preparedness of Kargil and Leh to deal with avalanches.

The meeting was called in wake of the recent avalanche in Tangole, Kargil district in which two lives were lost.

Divisional Commissioner directed District Administration Leh and Kargil, Ladakh Police, and Union Territory Disaster Rescue Force (UTDRF) to take guidance from reports issued by Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) and prepare a list of locations that are avalanche prone, taking into consideration previous years’ data.

Notifying avalanche-prone areas is a must and rolling out of police protocol to restrict movement in such identified areas during and after a snowfall, and sensitizing the communities about the risk of avalanches are areas that need immediate attention, said the Divisional Commissioner.

Discussing further precautionary steps, Divisional Commissioner Biswas, directed that the rescue response time in any disaster rescue operation must be further minimized after regular practice with an aim of saving lives. In the recent Avalanche incident that took place in Tangole village of Kargil district, which took two lives, Biswas expressed deep regret and directed the Districts to remain alert for the next couple of months when more such avalanches can be anticipated with the change in temperatures. Deputy Commissioner Kargil informed that the unfortunate incident took place even though there was no avalanche warning for the day.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Sonam Dorjey, UTDRF Leh suggested that formation of Civil Defence volunteers in villages shall prove vital in such situations so that rescue can be mobilized at the earliest. Biswas directed that the volunteers under Aapda Mitra must be kept functional at all times.

Discussions also took place on the need to work with the village Panchayats to spread awareness in the communities through workshops and training on the use of first-aid and rescue equipment etc.

Conducting mock drills at potential locations to assess the preparedness of first responders, the activation of telecommunication, the preparedness of the ambulance, and the role of machinery stressed by Divisional Commissioner Biswas.

Biswas also took stock of the inventory of equipment available with Ladakh Police, the District Administrations, and the UTDRF. He directed the concerned officials to ensure that the equipment is maintained and upgraded at all times.

In order to deal with medical conditions most prevalent in such cases, Biswas directed CMO Kargil to ensure that the ambulance is fully equipped with the required equipment and staff. Further, the Health Department was also directed to conduct training for officials, village representatives, etc in first-aid as well as skills to resuscitate victims of avalanches on the spot of the accident.

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