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Disaster cell for Red Cross

Patna, June 29: Governor Devanand Konwar inaugurated the disaster management cell at the Bihar headquarters of Red Cross Society today. On the occasion, Konwar called upon people of Bihar to join humanitarian organisations like Red Cross to render collective services to victims of disasters like flood, earthquake, fire and others.

“In the wake of any kind of disaster, victims not only need material help but they also need our sympathy and care. They require the help of the community to bounce back to normalcy after disaster recedes. We should all come forward and reach out to them with a helping hand when they require us,” the governor said while addressing a gathering of Red Cross volunteers and functionaries. On the occasion, Dr A.A. Hai, chairman of the newly inaugurated cell outlined the role and functioning of the cell saying that it aimed at co-coordinating relief works carried out by volunteers throughout the state in case of a disaster.

“Flood has been a traditional problem in Bihar and we have prepared an army of about 1 lakh volunteers, 10,000 of which are very active and well trained. They are our real asset and will double up as software of the cell. We have risen to the occasion and have reached out to help the needy whenever the situation has demanded so and our aim is to further strengthen the system,” he said.

He also recalled the relief works carried out by the society in the past and talked about how it had helped flood refugees during Kosi floods in 2008 which had hit as many as 48 lakh villagers across five districts. “After the floods, we adopted Dedra village in Madhubani district and completely rebuilt it. So impressed were the villagers with us that they renamed the village as Red Cross village,” Hai said.

He also apprised the audience of the future plans and works carried out in recent times to help disaster-hit people. “We have constructed a raised cemented platform in a flood-prone village in Muzaffarpur district which can give refuge to 4,000 people during high waters. Recently, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with Unicef through which they will fund our joint relief activities. Under the programme, we are training four volunteers each in all villages of the state in first aid so that they are in a position to help people during adverse situations,” Hai added.

He added that teachers of 35 schools from five flood-prone districts were being trained in disaster management so that they spread the word to others and also help implement the relief activities during floods.

On the occasion, a book titled “Basics of Disaster Management” co-authored by father-daughter duo of KNP Srivastava and Archana was also presented to the governor.

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