Community-based disaster management training at MSSRF Puducherry
Vigyan Prasar (VP), Department of Science and Technology (DST), National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Ministry of Home Affairs and M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) jointly organised a three-day Training of Trainer (ToT) programme on ‘Disaster Management for Coastal communities’ from December 27-29, 2022, at the MSSRF field office in Pillaiyarkuppam, Puducherry.
Participants were from diverse backgrounds, including school teachers and lecturers, science forum members, and volunteers from both farming and fishing communities. 56 participants joined as local trainers to train other community members from Salem, Karur, Chidambaram, Villupuram and Pudukkottai districts in Tamil Nadu. Following this training, these trainers will spread awareness on disaster preparedness in their communities and work closely with the district/state disaster management authority.
During the training, the administrations of Puducherry and Karaikal expressed an interest in engaging these master trainers as ‘volunteers’ when state-level disasters occur, and as resource persons for awareness campaigns. Further, 20 coastal volunteers will be selected from this three-day workshop and trained through the APKA MITRA project under the Puducherry State Disaster Management Agency (SDMA). As part of this training, the trainees met the Puducherry Deputy Collector, Mr Tamilselvan, and discussed the prevention and mitigation aspects of disaster management in Puducherry. The training also included a field visit to the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) – Puducherry and cyclone-affected zones in Puducherry.
Dr Amir Ali Khan, NIDM, Dr TV Venkatesan, VP, DST, Dr. Velvizhi and Dr Rengalakshmi, MSSRF, Dr Yogita, NIDM, Dr Bhaskar Rao, SDMA, Dr Irfan, VP, Dr Nalini, Professor, University of Puducherry, Mr Suresh, Project Officer, Fire Department, were the key resource persons who trained the team on the disaster assessment, risk management, emergency response, recovery, psycho-social issues, and other aspects of disaster management.
Dr Velvizhi, Head – Fish for All Centre, MSSRF-Poompuhar, trained them on disaster preparedness and risk reduction strategies for coastal fishing communities based on the foundation’s hands-on experiences. Dr Rengalakshmi briefed the trainees on Natural Disasters, Climate Change and Coastal Agriculture, highlighting strategies and approaches adopted during Tsunami and Gaja cyclone. Ms Girija, Development Coordinator, Puducherry-MSSRF, organised and coordinated the overall training programme.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.