Preparation meeting for 2 BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise and Expert Group Meeting 2020 held in Puri

Puri: The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organization of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia, which houses 1.5 billion people. The member countries of BIMSTEC are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. Sector-led cooperative BIMSTEC has identified 14 priority sectors where a member country leads.
India is a leading country for transportation and communications, tourism, counter terrorism and international crime and environment and disaster management.
In recent times it has been observed that the frequency of disaster and the trend towards damage in human life, properties and cultural sectors is increasing. The BIMSTEC region suffers from almost all possible disasters including earthquakes, landslides, avalanches, floods, cyclones, tsunamis, droughts, forest fires etc.
During the 4th BIMSTEC Summit at Kathmandu in August 2018, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India proposed to host the 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise at the Expert Group meeting of NDMAs / NDMOs of BIMSTEC Nation in 2019 in India. Accordingly, it was decided that BIMSTEC-DMEx will be conducted at Puri, Odisha in February, 2020 with the theme “Cultural Heritage Site that Suffers Severe Damage in an Earthquake” and a “Cultural heritage site that is affected by flooding or storm surge”.
In view of the above, the preparatory meeting for the 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise for the year 2020 is being organized in Puri involving the delegates from all the 7 BIMSTEC nations on 14-15 November, 2019 by NDRF. Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), on behalf of the State Government is co-hosting this prestigious International event which will be culminated in organizing BIMSTEC DMEx-2020 and BIMSTEC Expert Group meeting in February 2020.
The main objective of the preparatory meeting is to work out the modalities requirement of BIMSTEC-DMEx 20 in advance, so that maximum benefit can be derived from the exercise. The objective of the proposed BIMSTEC event is to test the existing emergency procedures for notification, preparedness and emergency response in coordinated manner during a major earthquake scenario at cultural heritage site. This will test multi-stakeholder coordination in and disaster scenario involving International, National, State, District and local agencies. Cultural heritage are a nonrenewable resource to be transmitted to future generations. Considering the immense importance of cultural heritage in the life of community and the strong physiological faith of the people of BIMSTEC region, there is a dire need to pay attention to save these sites during emergencies. The earthquake that occurred in Kathmandu, Nepal, in April 2015 or the 2013 Himalayan region flood are high profile examples of the vulnerability of cultural heritage in the region.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had chosen the historic city of Puri for the preparatory meeting and for main exercise to get the exact scenarios as it houses a number of cultural heritage sites of India that are highly vulnerable to natural disasters.

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