Disaster Management in Kangra

Disaster Management Team in Kangra

Himachal Pradesh, especially Kangra, is no stranger to disaster. The whole state is prone to landslides, earthquakes, flash floods, avalanches etc. However, if you look specifically at Kangra, you will find the district along with Hamirpur and Mandi ranks very high in earthquake vulnerability. Besides, it is also moderately vulnerable in landslides and flash floods. Parts of the district also have regular avalanches. However, the Kangra town, being located in lower elevation, does not have to face that.

Disaster in Kangra Town

The city of Kangra falls under a very high damage risk Seismic Zone 5. Consequently, earthquakes are More than one hundred years have passed, yet nobody can forget the earthquake that shook Kangra on 4th April in the year of 1905.  The impregnable Kangra fort, which withstood attacks from most ferocious enemies, could not stand against the nature‚Äôs fury. It is said that more than 1300 people lost life in that quake. It has to be understood that the number is quite high because the population was not high as it is today.

Indeed, it is hard to imagine what would happen if a disaster of that magnitude takes place today. Unplanned urbanization and consequent increase in the number of people living permanently in this small town has made the area more vulnerable. The huge influx of tourist who comes visiting the town almost throughout the year multiplies the problem. Fortunately, the Himachal Pradesh government has taken up proactive plans to tackle natural disasters like earthquakes and landslides.

Tackling Disasters in Kangra

Apart from what happened in 1905, more than 250 earthquakes of lesser magnitude have rocked Kangra in the last 90 years.  It is a fact that their impact has not been as disastrous as in 1905. What is more, according to experts, such low intensity earthquakes are actually good because they release the seismic energy and prevent it from accumulating. Thus frequent low intensity earthquakes actually prevent high magnitude earthquakes. However, that has not stopped the government from taking adequate measures.

District Disaster Management Authority in Kangra

Pre Disaster Mock Drill

To tackle disasters in Kangra, District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has been formed with the District Commissioner as its head. Although he resides in Dharamshala, he can be easily contacted at the following numbers:

Office Phone Number: 01892-222-103   
Fax No: 01892-223-321
Residential Number: 01892-224-950
Mobile Number: 94180-14333
Email Id: [email protected]

There is also a State Disaster Management Authority or SDMA headed by the Honorable Chief Minister. Earlier disaster management was relief centric; but today the program has become more proactive. Along with post disaster relief, the government is aiming for pre disaster preparedness. Some of the programs taken up for such purpose are as follows:
  • Capacity building
  • Mock exercises
  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Conferences and Workshops

Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Kangra

Logo of the DDMAIndeed, public awareness is big step in tackling disaster in Kangra. Many people still believe that earthquakes and other disasters that kill people and destroy properties take place due to the wrath of God. The government is now trying to educate people on the actual facts. For that, NGOs have also been roped in. The NGOs working in this field have to face enormous challenge; yet they have done good work in this respect. The corporate world has also been invited in tackling disaster. There too the response has been quite positive.

However, in spite of the progress in disaster management, much needs to be done. For instance, the government hospitals need to be upgraded to tackle emergencies. There has to be better coordination among different agencies. Most importantly, the building codes needs to be followed most diligently. Indeed, without the full cooperation of the public, disaster management cannot be successful in Kangra.
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