Include disaster risk reduction in development plans: PM

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday there was need to mainstream disaster risk reduction strategies, and incorporate these in the country's development programmes, as extreme weather events are on the rise world over.

Addressing the fifth meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) here, the prime minister stressed the need to improve the country's disaster management capabilities.

The meeting was meant to review two major disasters -- the Uttarakhand floods of June this year and Cyclone Phailin which affected Odisha and Andhra Pradesh this month.

"We are aware that the world over, extreme weather events are on the rise. Such events impact the poor and marginalised people in a disproportionate manner," he said.

"It is, therefore, all the more necessary that we quickly improve our disaster management capabilities. Every rupee spent on disaster preparedness is a saving of expenditure on post-disaster relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction measures," he said.

Calling upon NDMA and other agencies to lay greater emphasis on preparedness for disaster, the prime minister said: "Disaster risk reduction strategies, therefore, need to be mainstreamed into our developmental programmes and policies."

"Our early warning systems and response mechanisms should be strengthened further so that we are able to minimise the negative impact of disasters," he said.

The prime minister said the Uttarakhand floods severely tested the efficacy of our disaster response mechanisms and there are important lessons to be learnt from the experience gained from the rescue and relief operations that were carried out.

Heavy rains followed by flash floods in Kedarnath region of Uttarakhand killed hundreds of people and left thousands homeless during the monsoon this year.

The prime minister lauded the response to Cyclone Phailin. A million people were evacuated before the cyclone struck the east coast, thus limiting the loss of lives in the natural calamity.

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