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  Home >> Disaster prevention & Management >>  Minutes of Meeting on Disaster Management held on 12th Jan 2006


Minutes of Meeting on Disaster Management held on 12th Jan 2006 at 3:00 pm at the Conference Hall, MCGM Annexe Building



Those present:

Shri Shrikant Singh, Addl M.C.

Shri Subrat Ratho, Addl M.C.

Shri Vilas Vaidya, MCGM

Smt. Seema Redkar, OSD, MCGM

Shri Masurkar, Safety Officer, MCGM

Dr. Rita Savla, UNDP

Mrs. Indrani Malkani, JAAG ‘D’ Ward

Ms. Shibani Sachdeva, United Way of Mumbai

Ms. Meena L., HOPE Foundation

Mr. Joseph D., HOPE Foundation

Mr. Janet Gojan, HOPE Foundation

Ms. Treesa Joseph, Karunya Trust

Mr. Sunilsinh Mantri, Anirudh Academy of Disaster Mgmt.

Mr. Ashutosh Tembe, Anirudh Academy of Disaster Mgmt.

Mr. R. Kedari, Anirudh Academy of Disaster Mgmt.

Mr. Wendell D’cunha – Times Foundation

Mr. Dynaneshwar Tarwade, Apnalaya

Ms. Bhavana Kapadia, SNEHA

Mr. Sandesh Ambeker, Frischmann Prabhu

Mr. Rahul Gawane, CORO

Mr. Santosh Surve, Yuvak Pratishthan

Ms. Sayani Par, Action Aid, Mumbai

Mr. Anant Kedari, Vikas Sahayog Pratishthan

Mr. Xavier, ALM Andheri

Mr. Sudhir Badami

Ms. Zinnia Khajotia

Mr. Amar Madnani

Mr. Vinay Somani, Karmayog / NGO Council

Mr. Atul Inamdar, Karmayog

Ms. Tanya Mahajan, Karmayog


(this part of meeting prior to Mr.Singh and Mr.Ratho attending)


Amar:               Does anyone have a model plan for disaster management for Asian cities?

Indrani:             In the 2003 EMI workshop (Earthquake Mega-cities International) that I had attended, the concept of learning from other sister cities was introduced. In Asia, Mumbai has Dhaka, Colombo and Manila as sister cities.

Amar:                           The experiences of North Mumbai will be different from those of South Mumbai. Does the disaster management plan exist only on paper? Does it make promises for resources that could be needed in a disaster? For. Eg.: In case of a terrorist attack, where 2 high rise buildings may collapse, and render 2000 people homeless: is there a plan for these people? Is the State Govt. going to take care of them? Does each building itself keep resources aside in a safe place for such a scenario?

Vinay:                           It would be better if we do not ask such questions, but instead state what our suggestions are; else Mr.Singh will just answer yes/no and this discussion will not have much value.

Zinnia: In a disaster, Traffic is a problem.

Amar:                           Is the BMC going to tell us the plan, or is this just a brain-storming meeting?

Vinay:                           A clause in the BMC-NGO Council MoU specifically mentions the formulation of a disaster management plan for the city. We need to know what is available, and beyond that be pro-active, and say that this is what we want, and how we want to be involved.

Amar:                           In the old days, it was a accepted norm that the Home Guards of a particular area would take charge. Are they still there?

Mr.Vaidya:             Home Guards are part of the Disaster Team.

Indrani:             The Civil Defence also has stations – 161 stations across the city.


(Mr.Singh and Mr.Ratho arrive)


Mr.Singh:             BMC has had associations with NGOs in the past. Disaster Management has certain dimensions (which we have seen since July 26th) where consultative processes are possible. Based on the Disaster Management Plan that we have been working on for the last few months, the following active roles for NGOs / Civil Society exist:

            1) Information dissemination

2) Response mechanism. In any disaster, citizens are the first to respond, then Govt. responds. Therefore, we can plan for volunteers all over Mumbai, who will have a direct communication line to enable exchange of data between reliable people. This immediate response of information is critical.

            3) Awareness of disaster aspects

In order to define these roles within the DM Plan, we need to first study the strengths/weaknesses of the NGOs and the volunteer base, and then work out how to organise relief, etc.


Indrani:             In the workshop, great focus was put on NGO participation and their roles were defined and there were working papers on each of these aspects. The main roles of NGOs would be the 3 Cs: cooperation, coordination, and collaboration. In D-Ward, we felt it necessary to do a pilot, where we looked at a) mitigation aspects and b) identifying our strengths, ie what we are good at, and being honest about it. We undertook the documentation of our Ward, in order to update the information in the DM Plan with the BMC. The next step was to get sufficient groups to be aware of what to do if required, for eg.: hospitals should know what to do. We have in D Ward a doctors group called PEARLS, headed by Dr. Nilotama, who have started to work with the BMC in order to know what to do. NGOs can work on training, awareness and coordination. My suggestion is in each ward to find such a group who can work well in such a manner.

Mr.Singh:            We have an inventory of resources available in the city: hospitals, health, machinery, etc.

Indrani: The D-Ward document that we received from the BMC was of 1999. This needs to be updated, and that is what we are doing, with hospitals for a start. All wards have such a document.

Amar:               I am not able to understand. Is there a Plan? If yes, thereafter, it depends on what resources are there to make the plan effective, Thereafter citizens / NGOs can respond with resources to improve it.

Mr.Ratho:            Today is an introductory meeting; there are various people who have gathered here thanks to the NGO Council; we may not get down to discussing the plan today – we could do that at a later stage.

Ms. Sayani, Action Aid:             Community Preparedness is what we are  going to work on, on both urban and rural levels.

Bhavna (SNEHA): UNDP has done a lot of work in disaster management in Gujarat; we could learn from those experiences.

Dr.Savla (UNDP): We are at the moment still studying the existing DM Plan, and will be able to respond to that soon.

Vinay:   There has not been much documentation of the learnings from the floods of NGOs and their responses. BMC should undertake or pay for such documentation.

Treesa: For the DM Plan at a macro level, NGOs should be organised at the Ward level. We had worked in Powai during the floods and have sent reports of the work done to all Govt. offices. We are now in the second stage of rehabilitation in rural areas affected by the floods.

Amar:            Learnings are important; we cannot duplicate paper plans; we must learn from our own experiences in order to have an effective plan.

Shibani:            United Way is supported by 35-40 Corporates. After the floods, we received some funds and spent a part of that on relief, and then decided to spend the rest to be prepared for the next disaster. Hence we are in the process of setting up the Mumbai resource Centre, where with help from Vinay, we have collected information on each Ward. We want to partner with 1 or 2 NGOs in each ward, but have not received any response so far, so have gone ahead with another NGO. With 18 persons working in the Wards, we have updated the information, and in 15 days we expect this to be available, A Help-line will also be launched, and we are setting up an office with full-time staff. 4 Coordinators will be assigned 7 Wards each, and will get the Ward DM Plans updated in collaboration with Local Citizen Groups and the BMC. Phase 1 of this will be completed in 60 days.

            We are also covering the 400 Dattak Vasti Yojanas, as we want to work at the grassroots level; 75% of the DVs will be profiled in the next 60 days.

Vinay:   This is clearly a serious event underway.

Mr. Singh:            It is a step in the right direction. Each ward needs to be mapped and split up further as well. We need to identify ward citizen groups and create associations with them. We need to create an NGO base – each ward may have 3-4 strong NGOs  - we need an umbrella NGO for the coordination of volunteers.

Shibani:            We can’t succeed if we don’t partner with other NGOs. What we are doing is putting financial help on the table, creating a hub and bringing a corporate way of working into this.

Sunil: I am from the Anirudh Academy of Disaster management; we have 30,000+ volunteers to whom we have given a 7-day training. We have 60 rescue teams, 100+ centres in Mumbai. We have an Office in Mumbai equipped to work for 24 hours in an emergency. We have lifeboats, dinghies, and we provide free of charge training if the numbers are sufficient for a training programme.

We request the BMC to be the nodal agency in regard to the DM Plan and not NGOs, even for such areas such as updating information. If BMC will give us the DM Plan, we will study it and respond.

Mr. Singh:            The areas of associations with NGOs needs to be defined first. We need not discuss the entire plan with NGOs; for instance some specialised areas such as the fire brigades’ response etc are beyond the purview of NGOs and citizens.

Sunil:    Since in an emergency, all existing resources fall short, we need volunteers and hence we are training them.

Mr. Singh:            Can you tell me Ward wise, a list of volunteers who are available to the BMC, so that we may plan for them; else working independently of the BMC could even be dangerous.

Indrani: All administration should be from the BMC; we are all here by association; all information and documentation should also come from the BMC to ensure that it is authentic.

Zinnia:  Is the BMC willing and ready for the responsibility of the DM Plan or is being forced on you? The BMC seems to have too much on its plate; these 2 organisations (United Way and Anirudh) seem to have done more work than the BMC. We need to have a single unifying authority.

Mr.Ratho:            The single authority is the BMC; take it or leave it. You have stated the obvious. What Shrikant has said that in a disaster, the first response is of the citizen, even before the BMC, or NGO or any other entity. Hence the citizen also needs training, and awareness, of what to do in an earthquake, what resources are there in the Ward, which is the nearest hospital. We should keep focussed on: 1) information the BMC should know and 2) information the citizen should know.

            The work that United Way is doing is a welcome development; they are not representing a particular area; they have expertise of people, resources to take it forward. BMC can’t shirk its responsibilities. If there is an assessed / identified NGO in an area, we can build a partnership with that entity.

Zinnia:  Since it is a simplistic meeting, lets look at simple issues, like Traffic. Why is the Traffic Police not at this meeting?

Mr.Ratho:            We are discussing more than disaster prevention; we are discussing mitigation and preparedness as well. We can list all the questions that come up, 100 or 1000, and then answer them.

Wendell: The media can be used to spread the right information, instead of rumours. The media can also play the role of highlighting best practices.

Dyaneshwar: We work in M-East. We had a I day training programme conducted by the Times Foundation in Disaster Management. At present, we are discussing what next after the flood? The answer is community preparedness. M-East has a high fire risk, with refineries and BARC. We have been working here for 25 years, and have good relations with the community. It is also necessary to sensitise BMC staff as well as CBOs. We want to work at ward level, with teachers in BMC schools and are looking for collaboration.

In M-East we have learnt that there is a Mahila Mandal Federation of 330 Mahila Mandals, CBOs and youth organisations. We should also take a list of all organisations in a ward from the Charity Commissioner, and then work with them, The Mahila Mandals have a lot of grassroots reach and information, and are well networked with the community health workers, etc.

Seema: Social resource mapping is essential; of finances, manpower, etc. This is happening in some wards (L, M, H); it needs to start in all wards. Small mandals and groups also need to be brought in. UNICEF is working on  building up such a data base and tying this in with BMC’s DM Plan.

Mr.Ratho:            While they are working on this data base, we can identify the training needs of these groups and conduct training programmes in DM for them.

Seema: Micro-planning will need to be done to determine who has what skills.

Vinay:   There are vertical themes and horizontal themes, like a grid, of organisations who want to bring their resources to the table, and how they should work with the BMC. We can list out the themes and groups, and then detail these. Each Group will have someone from the BMC

Seema: yes, we can start in 3-4 wards.

Mr.Singh: I have been involved with the DM Plan over a period of 1.5 years, and there are some factual inaccuracies in the public understanding of this plan. Ward wise, we need to identify associations that can be done with NGOs, then have a team, and then work on a plan of action. The BMC is ready to get this plan on to a state-of-the-art communication website, that will be interactive with feedback and volunteer details, etc.

Amar:   Is there an existing handbook for how we can interact / associate with the BMC?

Mr.Singh:            We can put that out.

Amar:   We need a manual.

Vinay:   Who will do that?

Indrani: We all have roles to play; the DM plan for each plan is specified; we need to upgrade that, and BMC is the final authority.

Sudhir:  We are still reacting to 26/7; we have to assist the BMC in change of attitude.

Indrani: We should not re-invent the wheel; and start working ward wise.

HOPE: We need to provide information and training on what a citizen can do?

Sudhir:  We could teach DM in schools like Environmental Studies.

Mr.Vaidya:            the Govt. Of Maharashtra, in collaboration with the World Bank and Yashada have prepared a DM Plan in 2000 that in Phase 1 has identified vulnerable areas. Phase 2 will take up inventories and ward level micro-plans.

Vinay:   We need to:            1) Study the existing plan and respond

                                    2) form focus groups to detail identified areas

Indrani: We have developed a module for DM awareness in schools – this will shortly be handed over to Mr.Vaidya.



transcript by Tanya

It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. --Charles Dudley Warner