GUWAHATI, May 26 - The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has launched a month-long comprehensive awareness campaign in all the 20 hillocks of the city on landslide risk mitigation activities involving the communities. The campaign has been jointly launched with the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) of Kamrup (Metro) district since May 17. The ASDMA has planned 40 awareness meetings under this campaign and the first meeting of this series was held at the Garbhanga Hillock, Beharbari on May 17.
Meenakshi Das Nath, State Project Coordinator, ASDMA, kick started the campaign. Over 150 people attended the first sensitisation meeting. The second and the third sensitisation meetings were held in the Khanapara and Noonmati areas on May 18.
It needs to be mentioned here that a study conducted by the ASDMA in collaboration with the Civil Engineering Department of Assam Engineering College (AEC) here, has identified over 360 landslide-prone sites on 20 hillocks in Guwahati. During every monsoon season, many of these sites report incidents of landslide, loss of human lives and public and private property.
It is expected that sensitisation and landslide risk mitigation activities among vulnerable communities with their active participation in the landslide-prone hillocks in Guwahati will result in involvement of the vulnerable communities in the mitigation activities, giving them a sense of responsibility in fighting this problem.
This programme is being conducted is association with Geological Survey of India, Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), Soil Conservation Department, Forest Department, Fire and Emergency Services, IIT Guwahati, Cotton University’s Geology Department, Community Radio- Jnan Taranga (90.4) and Radio Luit (90.8).
Community Radio will also play an integral part in the sensitisation programme wherein they will design the community learning programmes through a community participatory method, which will involve focus group discussion, expert comments, etc., and also carry out impact assessment of the campaign.
Discussions were held on the warning signs of landslide, safety messages and specific knowledge on landslide. Besides, an interaction was held between the community and the officials concerned on these issues.
ASDMA Project Coordinator Meenakshi Das Nath has sought the cooperation of the people living in the hilly areas of the city in its effort to mitigate the problem of landslide. “While landslides are unabatedly occurring, there is an urgent need for taking a holistic approach towards landslide risk mitigation, both at short-term and long-term basis, and campaigns like this is a major step towards this direction,” she said.