New Delhi: In view of the disastrous earthquake which took place in Nepal and some other states of India on 25 April, the National Cadet Corps (NCC) has planned to organise mock drills in schools across the country to create awareness against the natural calamity and handle the crisis in an effective manner.

NCC will conduct mock drills in schools to prepare children at times of earthquakes. AFP

NCC will conduct mock drills in schools to prepare children at times of earthquakes. AFP

More than 3,700 people were killed in the Saturday earthquake, leaving behind a trail of incidences of death and mass destruction.

For thousands of school students in Delhi and the National Capital Territory (NCT), it was an uncanny experience on Saturday 25 April, when suddenly they experienced a trembling sensation all around. The school desks and chairs were shaking; ceiling fans started swaying sideways, and then, there was a warning from class teachers: “It’s an earthquake.”

Many children promptly got under their study desks, whereas many following their teachers’ advice, ran out of the classrooms towards the playground and open areas.

After a few moments, when the earth settled, children were back in their world of fantasy, weaving exaggerated stories of how their friends fell from the chairs and how they got inside the desks to protect themselves from the onslaught, unaware of the mass destruction that had already taken place in Nepal and elsewhere.

Considering that school children are vulnerable to such disasters, the NCC has decided to spread awareness about the after-care and handling of the situation, and to minimise damage in case of any such emergency.

“It’s a pan-India programme and the NCC will educate all its cadets across the country about the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ in case of an earthquake and plans to carry out mock drills in schools. It will also concentrate on first aid, evacuation and will teach students on how to help their fellow-mates and teachers out of the crisis,” an NCC Headquarters source told Firstpost.

The NCC has a 14 lakh-strong-cadet base across the country and education of all these cadets towards disaster management would go a long way in ensuring that minimum casualties occur in case of emergencies.

According to an official source, the mock drill would focus on emergency support framework related to the handling of the situation, when an earthquake takes place. The drill comprises communication (warning dissemination), evacuation, search and rescue, medical health, etc.

“The cadets will be apprised of the drill curriculum at group-levels and district-levels on various aspects to deal with the situation,” the official source said.

The NCC, with its headquarters at New Delhi, is open to school and college students on voluntary basis. It’s a tri-services organisation, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force, engaged in grooming the youth of the country into disciplined and patriotic citizens. A voluntary organization, the NCC recruits its cadets from high schools, colleges and universities from all over India, and provides basic military training to them.

“Social service and community development is an integral part of NCC curriculum. Post-natural calamity, the NCC cadets have lent their services in reconstruction work, clearing of the debris, disposal of the dead and flood relief operation,” an official said.

Prior to this in February 2012, with the help of the Armed Forces, the first state-wide mega mock drill on earthquake preparedness was conducted in Delhi by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in association with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) simultaneously at around 400 locations. More than 15,000 officials, including 400 observers from the Armed Forces participated in the event.

The aim of the statewide mock drill was to assess strengths and weaknesses of the associated stakeholders such as Emergency Support Functionaries (ESFs) and Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) so that corrective measures could be undertaken for a better disaster response in future.

“The basic purpose of the mock drill was to generate awareness among residents of Delhi and to evaluate the level of preparedness and coordination among various ESFs set up across all districts of Delhi. During the mega mock drill exercise, various preparatory mock drills, orientation workshops, awareness programmes and extensive media campaigns were held for mass awareness generation,” a DDMA official said.

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Following Nepal earthquake, NCC to conduct mock drills in schools across India