A two-day preparatory meeting for the 2nd Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Disaster Management Exercise - 2020 began here on Thursday with theme "response to a cultural heritage site that suffers severe damage in an earthquake" and "response to a cultural heritage site that is affected by flooding or storm surge".
"The main objective of the preparatory meeting was to work out the modalities and requirement of BIMSTEC DMEx-2020 in advance," read a press release.
"The main focus of BIMSTEC DMEx will be to test the existing procedures for notification, preparedness and response to an emergency in a coordinated manner during a major earthquake scenario and flooding or storm surge at the cultural heritage site. This will test multi-stakeholders coordination in a disaster scenario involving international, national, state, district, and local agencies," read the press release.
Delivering the inaugural address, Chief Guest Lt. Gen. Marwah said that the BIMSTEC region is rich in cultural heritage but prone to various kinds of disasters. Citing the examples of recent disasters that took place in the BIMSTEC countries and affected heritage sites, he said that there is a need of comprehensive and systematic action for the safety of heritage sites during a disaster, especially during floods and earthquake scenarios.
He further added that during the last 10 years, the frequency of cyclone in the region has increased by over 30 per cent and caused severe damage to the heritage sites. He also underlined frequent changes in the climatic condition, its effect on the heritage sites and steps to be taken for the prevention of these heritages sites.
DG NDRF SN Pradhan, BIMSTEC Director Pankaj Hazarika, and SRC Odisha PK Jena were among the representatives of BIMSTEC member countries who attended the meeting.
The second 7-Nation BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise 2020 is scheduled to be held in Puri and Konark in the month of February next year, where all the seven nations - India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand will participate.
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