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Battling Floods during Covid19

Deoria, one of the most flood prone districts of India, also had to suffer the fury of Covid19. But credit must go to the meticulous planning by IAS officer Amit Kishore, who tackled the double whammy with courage and determination.

Outbreak of Covid 19 and floods at the same time and place makes for a deadly cocktail, and Deoria district in Uttar Pradesh has been its prominent victim. It was terrifying sight, this suffering of people on two fronts. However, the administration under the leadership of IAS officer Mr Kishore didn’t give up. They did a commendable job of flood management while following the Covid-19 norms. Mr. Kishore not only ensured safety of people and cattle but also took care that no one got affected during the process. It was largely due to Mr Kishore’s efforts not a single life was lost during this period of tumult and distress in Deoria. His work has been recognized on various level and he is shortlisted for the SKOCH Awards for excellence in Covid response. Started in 2003, this award salutes people, projects and institutions that work hard to make our country a better place. It covers the best of governance, inclusive growth excellence in technology, corporate leadership and empowerment etc.

Mr. Kishore talking to him team about managing the situation

Mr. Amit Kishore, while talking with Indian Masterminds, shared the challenges and experiences in those exceedingly difficult times.

Timely response

Many rivers like Ghaghara, Gandki & Rapti flows into Deoria. This is the main reason of it being considered among one of the most flood prone districts of India. Almost every year, people suffer due to floods. This year the situation was anticipated to be much worse because of the lockdown and migrants returning to their homes. It was indeed a huge challenge for the district administration to ensure the people’s safety from the double whammy of floods and Covid 19.

The rescue operation started timely

Anticipating the trouble, the district administration started preparations from June itself. “It was one of the biggest challenges I had faced till now. Tackling the flood itself is a big task, and now we also had to ensure everyone’s safety from the virus. This year Ghaghra flowed over the red line for more than one week. We were fearing it to be the worst flood in in years. But, due to timely response we were able to safely manage the situation”, said Mr. Kishore.

This was the worst flood situation in many years due to the presence of Covid

Awareness campaign

The Deoria administration started the flood management with an all department meeting, with even the participation of UNICEF as well as disaster management teams. An awareness campaign was also launched to tell people that this year the situation was going to be different.

The number of safety camps and boats were increased. Mr. Kishore said, “The camps were built with safe distance in between, to avoid crowding. We also doubled the numbers of boats which for rescue operations. There were strict orders to allow not more than 10 people in one boat, even though it has a carrying capacity of 25.’’

Awareness campaigns were held by the officer

People usually panic during any disaster. It becomes a greater challenge to control the crowd during a rescue or distribution of relief items. To avoid these, people stranded in floods were told to move to higher places; all necessary items, such as masks and sanitizers, were provided to them before-hand.

Not only this, Mr. Kishore visited all the affected areas multiple times. He ensured that all the riverside embankments were constructed in time and were strong enough. The disaster management teams also organized several mock drills for the rescue mission.

He ensured everyone’s safety

Ensured safety of Pregnant women

Mr Brijesh Pandey from the crisis management department of Deoria said that two years ago a woman delivered a baby on a boat. The administration didn’t want a repeat of such incidents. year. So, all the pregnant women in the district were identified and were escorted safely to safe places much before the flood situation became worse.

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