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Shout Out to our Real Heroes

19 January, 2021 07:03:32
Shout Out to our Real Heroes

The year 2020 went down history as an epoch making one, a time that none can forget in a hurry or erase from memory. Like its predecessor 2020 started with a bang. Everything was planned on a grand scale with its usual quota of fanfare and merrymaking. Year-long plans were made, resolutions were chalked. Amid all the revelry, who would have imagined that life would take us all on a whirlwind trip? By the middle of March, the entire world was gasping for life. Normalcy fizzled out from our lives. We scrambled for shelter within the confines of our homes, exiled from society and turned into prisoners. Covid-19 had defeated mankind and stalled his long and confident strides into the future.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is an Indian specialized force constituted ‘for the purpose of special response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster’ under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

As if this pandemic was not enough, our country came under a series of calamities of unprecedented nature. Closer home, on May 20, a powerful and catastrophic tropical cyclone 'Amphan' made landfall between Digha and Hatia Island in Bangladesh causing widespread damage in eastern India, specifically West Bengal, and Bangladesh. Over 10 million people were affected as the powerful storm ripped through the state causing massive damage to standing crops. Thousands of trees were uprooted and power and water supply were interrupted. Many in the state lost their homes as well. The loss of lives and destruction of property could have been manifold more but thanks to timely intervention and relief work undertaken by the brave men of National Disaster Management Force (NDMF) that immense loss could be contained.

Teams of rescuers from the NDRF in their orange uniforms are now a familiar sight at most of the natural calamities or man-made disasters in India. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is an Indian specialized force constituted ‘for the purpose of special response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster’ under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is the country’s specialised force for responding to natural disasters and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) emergencies. This specialized multi-skilled, humanitarian force was officially mobilized on January 19, 2006 and since then, it has been playing a vital role in disaster management and community awareness for disaster risk reduction in the country.

NDRF has 14,000 personnel in its ranks with 12 battalions. It was raised as a full-deputation organisation, with para-military forces like CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF and SSB constituting its manpower. At present, NDRF has a strength of 12 Battalions with each Battalion consisting of roughly 1149 personnel spread across the country.

The agency has conducted relief, rescue, evacuation operations during all the major natural or man-made disasters in the country, including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, structure collapses and even some cases of retrieval or radiological materials. NDRF teams have also responded to road and train accidents, and boat capsizes. The force has earned fame nationally and internationally with its selfless service and unmatched professionalism in disaster management. In 2011, the agency aided Japan when the country was struck by an earthquake, tsunami and a nuclear emergency. It was also praised for its heroic efforts in the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

NDRF has 14,000 personnel in its ranks with 12 battalions. It was raised as a full-deputation organisation, with para-military forces like CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF and SSB constituting its manpower. At present, NDRF has a strength of 12 Battalions with each Battalion consisting of roughly 1149 personnel spread across the country. Each battalion is capable of providing 18 self-contained specialist search and rescue teams of 45 personnel each including engineers, technicians, electricians, dog squads and medical/paramedics. In addition to being able to respond to natural disasters, NDRF has four battalions capable of responding to radiological, nuclear, biological and chemical disasters. NDRF functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and is headed by a Director General. It was announced recently that four more NDRF battalions will be raised, and teams of women rescuers will also be inducted.

The force has already proved its mettle and on its 16th Raising Day, it is time for us to acknowledge the commendable service to the nation by the men in mufti who have taken up challenges and reached to extend a helping hand to victims of natural or man-made accidents and disasters, defying death.

After personnel and officers are deputed to the NDRF, they undergo a first responder course for five months. Subsequently, sections of personnel get advanced specialized training in deep diving, special search and rescue, collapsed structure search and rescue, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear emergencies and also psycho-social intervention. Some of the personnel further undergo specialised training with national and international institutions including those on chemical and biological warfare situations. Specific and specialised training on borewell rescue course is also imparted because of a number of incidents across India where children fall into uncovered borewells.

NDRF personnel continuously engage themselves in public awareness programmes, which includes training of people (the first-responders) and concerned government officials at different levels in the areas with high vulnerability. Along with community capacity building and public awareness exercises, NDRF is also actively engaged in area familiarization exercises. Such exercises provide first-hand knowledge about the topography, access route to various disaster-prone areas and the availability of local infrastructure/logistics which can be used in disaster response operations.

The force has already proved its mettle and on its 16th Raising Day, it is time for us to acknowledge the commendable service to the nation by the men in mufti who have taken up challenges and reached to extend a helping hand to victims of natural or man-made accidents and disasters, defying death. They are our real heroes and commend our respect.

Story Tag:
  • National Disaster Response Force, India

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