February 20, 2019: Dharamsala falls under seismic zone IV and thereby prone to major earthquakes and related hazards. A 7.8 earthquake struck the Kangra valley in 1905 that claimed the lives of over 20,000 and caused severe destruction. The area is also prone to various other hazards such as landslides, cloudbursts, rock falls and fires. The Tibetan community remains largely unaware of the risks and about possible steps that can be taken to mitigate the effects of these hazards.
The CTA, with funding from the USAID, has launched a pilot disaster preparedness program that will initially be focused on key buildings and complexes within the CTA campus and nearby complexes including the Petoen School, Delek Hospital and the Tsuglagkhang Monastery. The program is being organized by SARD within the Department of Finance and GeoHazards Society India based in New Delhi.
The kick-off event was a disaster management training provided to the staff of the Delek Hospital on February 20, 2019 in which 35 staff and doctors participated in the training. Topics included: understanding hazards, safe and functional hospital, non-structural risk mitigation, emergency disaster management plan, hospital incident command system, job action sheets, and family preparedness.
The sixteen-month initiative will include trainings; development of a Disaster Management Plans (DMPs), Standard Operating Procedures, Evacuation Plans; fire risk assessments; mock drills, media, annual safety audit; development of home guide to earthquake safety; and the development of a dual language family preparedness mobile application.
GeoHazards Society (GHS) is a not-for-profit organization working towards making the country’s most vulnerable communities safe from earthquakes and other hazards, through preparedness, mitigation and advocacy. Having worked towards risk mitigation for many years, GHS strives to encourage preparedness and mitigation at all levels of society including Government departments, Hospitals, Schools, corporate and communities at large. GHS has also pioneered the development of the first school safety mobile application for Android platform. More details at www.geohaz.in
“Given the dense construction in and around the CTA campus, even a moderate seismic activity or other natural disaster could have a devastating impact on lives and property. This pilot disaster preparedness program is critical for raising awareness and mitigating some of the risks,” said Kaydor Aukatsang, the Chief Resilience Officer of the CTA.