IORA Meet on Disaster Risk Management

The Indian Ocean Region is sometimes called the “World’s Hazard Belt” as eight out of ten disasters in the world occur here, making nearly one-third of the world's population vulnerable.

In 2018, Indonesia suffered tsunamis and earthquakes, Madagascar faced severe droughts, India saw floods and landslides in India besides seasonal cyclones in the Islands of the Indian Ocean, and many more calamities. The loss of lives, as well as the damage to property and the natural environment, is incalculable. More so as the IORA is home to small island nation states and developing littoral countries with high population densities, which are hit much harder due to the lack of resources and assets to handle a calamity.

Moreover, the region is also witnessing an increasing link of disasters to climate change with increasing sea levels and rising water temperatures. Disaster Risk Management (DRM) is, therefore, one of its priority areas and its Action Plan (2017-2021) has specific goals to improve resilience in IORA countries. Towards this, it encourages partnerships between governments and institutions to strengthen this priority area through joint training programmes, sharing of experiences and best practices, capacity building and enhancing the technical capabilities within the region.

One such meeting of IORA Cluster Group on DRM was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)  and Ministry of Home Affairs on 5-6 February 2019 in New Delhi. and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

The two-day meeting featured interactive sessions with a focus on the development of a draft Work Plan for DRM in IORA. It also deliberated on the need for establishing a DRM Core Group to take forward the agreed objectives under the Work Plan.

Discussions on strengthening cooperation in disaster response interventions, including the deployment of response teams and mobilization of relief material to affected countries, were held. Besides, information exchange, sharing of best practices, data and early warning technologies were also discussed.

A total of 36 delegates from eight Member States, including India, and the IORA Secretariat participated in this meeting. Senior officials of MHA, MEA, NDMA and  NDRF were also present.

Goals of IORA Action Plan (2017-2021)
·        Enhancing cooperation with other inter-governmental and multilateral organisations
·        Sharing of information, expertise and best practices
·       Implementing training and capacity building programmes
·       Developing resilience through early warning systems and regional exercises

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