Senior disaster management officials from seven countries of South and South East Asia, including Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, will gather here next month to conduct a joint exercise to test their readiness for a united response to major natural disasters in a region prone to cyclones, flood, drought and earthquake.
Under the banner of ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’, the exercise will be conducted by India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from October 10 to 13 in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).
Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a seven-country grouping set up in 1997 and comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people, constituting around 22% of the global population with a combined GDP of US $2.7 trillion economy. Majority of the BIMSTEC countries are situated in the South Asian Region.
The disaster management exercise will be a platform for sharing the best practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), strengthening regional response and coordination for disaster management among the BIMSTEC member-countries, an official statement said today.
Delegates from all seven countries of the BIMSTEC, representatives from embassies or high commissions of BIMSTEC countries in Delhi, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of India and senior officials from nodal ministries will take part in the event.
Disaster management was one of the important agenda items the BIMSTEC leaders deliberated on during the Goa BRICS Summit in October last year where BIMSTEC leaders, including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, were the special invitees.
The main focus of the exercise will be on testing the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-governmental interaction, dialogue or agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response, said the statement.
“It will help create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation among the member –countries and strengthen the effective utilization of the search and rescue teams for disaster relief and emergency response, including emergency rapid assessment teams and management of mass casualties especially in situations involving breakdown of infrastructure and communication,” it said.
At the end of the four-day Exercise, a publication will be brought out on the outcomes and recommendations of the joint exercise and include agreement among BIMSTEC countries on regional cooperation for disaster management and emergency response.