The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Unicef rewards relief scheme

Hasnabad, Jan. 13: Impressed by the North 24-Parganas relief department’s efforts to face natural calamities, the Unicef has launched a community-based disaster mitigation programme for the district.

Armed with an information-based infrastructure system, the district relief department, headed by Salil Gupta, is ready to take on any natural disaster. It will be working from a nodal position.

After the devastating floods two years ago, the district relief department decided to move away from the common practice of providing relief and started working on a “community based disaster preparedness programme” with volunteers.

The department arranged for shelters where people, livestock and foodgrain could be shifted. “We have made 79 such shelters to provide relief. Thirty-one boats and 30 mechanised boats have been earmarked for the volunteers. We will now be able to save time instead of waiting for boats from the civil defence department,” an official said.

At present, these boats are being leased out to fishermen and ferry operators and the relief department is enjoying a share of the revenue.

Twenty people were selected from each block of the district’s flood-prone areas in Habra, Bagda, Gaighata, Swarupnagar and Baduria.

They were trained to work in conditions following a disaster. They were also placed under the charge of an officer at the subdivisional level who was in touch with the centralised district administration in Barasat.

“After we get a warning from the meteorological office in Alipore and our Early Monitoring Operation system through Insat-3C at the subdivisional office at Basirhat, we activate the process. Every person in the team is alerted,” said Gupta.

The Unicef has given the district administration Rs 2 lakh for a pilot project at the village level.

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