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Engage the youth to reduce the risk of natural disasters

ASU, in collaboration with Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, holds a workshop that examines the society’s preparedness for tragedies such as pandemics, floods, earthquakes and fires

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How safe are the buildings we live in? Does it contain earthquake- resistant design and materials? Is our apartment complex ready for emergency fire cases? What would happen if we were struck by a flood? All these queries boil down to one larger question: Are we prepared for these disasters?

To teach students about reducing the risks caused by natural or man-made disasters, the School of Education, Apeejay Stya University (ASU), Rotaract Club, National Service Scheme (NSS) and Unnat Bharat Abhiyan conducted a webinar on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction and Youth’ on October 13, International Day For Disaster Risk Reduction.

Mr. Nakul Tarun, Director, Zone4 Solution, a disaster management service

At the workshop, Guest Speaker, Mr. Nakul Tarun, Director, Zone4 Solution, a Disaster Management Service initiative renowned for reducing risk towards lives and businesses, delivered an enlightening session. With more than two decades of experience in the field, Mr. Tarun was former Deputy Director with the Directorate General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Civil Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

Welcoming the guest of the day, Dr. Vijay Kumar, Assistant Professor and Programme Coordinator, School of Education, ASU, said “Disaster risk reduction is an important function of government bodies in any country. However, it is also the responsibility of each individual to contribute their bit and dive in as responsible citizens. Today we are gathered here to encourage the youth to participate and think constructively on how to reduce disasters.” At the session, enlightening students on why risk reduction of disasters is the need of the hour, Mr. Tarun stated, “Each year India’s GDP is affected by 2% due to disasters and the national losses we incur. The country’s aim to create a 6 trillion economy has been hit, especially after Covid-19, a disaster we could have been better prepared for.”

He highlighted the importance of reason, responsibility and accountability at an individual level for reducing commonly occurring disasters. He cited an example of a fire incident at Lord Krishna School in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, in which a parent filed a plea to the Supreme Court of India, seeking relief and the school’s accountability for such incidents. After this case, observing safety for these kinds of disasters became an integral part of learning centres such as schools and colleges.

Mr. Tarun encouraged students to think constructively about reducing the risks in their daily life and use smart thinking to reach safe solutions. He informed them about the relevant authorities to report to in case of an untoward incident and advised them to promote a culture of awareness and safety. Before closing the session, he gave daily life examples to students elucidating how they can actively prevent tragedies by being aware about emergency exits, air pockets, fire extinguishers, disaster management plans etc. “Reducing risks is a continuous process and each day we should work towards it,” he said.

The session concluded with ASU students delivering a vote of thanks to the guest, also promising to contribute towards their society by generating awareness and engaging in smart thinking to be better prepared for tomorrow.  

Mrini Devnani is Senior Correspondent (Newsroom). She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has a passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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