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Survey bares poor disaster preparedness

Survey bares poor disaster preparedness
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People of Kerala, the state which has an envious record in several human development indicators, have largely been found to be unaware of precautionary measures and emergency kits to be used at times of disasters with two thirds of respondents of a survey pleading ignorance

Thiruvananthapuram: People of Kerala, the state which has an envious record in several human development indicators, have largely been found to be unaware of precautionary measures and emergency kits to be used at times of disasters with two thirds of respondents of a survey pleading ignorance.

The findings in the state-wide survey held just over two months after the state was devastated by unprecedented floods in a century have prompted the organiser, Kerala State Literacy Mission (KLSM), to pitch for a "disaster management literacy programme".

The state is known for its high literacy, lowest infant mortality, and highest life expectancy rates among others.

Yet, according to the survey, 66.77 per cent of people, cutting across cities and villages, were unaware of precautionary measures and emergency kits to be used at times of disasters.

The detailed report of the survey-How and What the Flood-Affected Kerala Thinks-carried out by the KLSM, was released by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a function here on Saturday.

At least 20.02 per cent of people, who took part in the survey, had not even heard about climate change, though it is one of the most discussed topics globally, it says.

Only 43.74 per cent of people were aware of different forms of natural disasters such as drought, flood and earthquake, while just 8.43 per cent knew that cyclone is a form of disaster, the report said.

The initiative, carried out with the support of about 50,000 students pursuing the mission's equivalency programmes on October 2, covered over 2.91 lakh households in all the 14 districts of the state.

Besides men and women, the survey covered over 35 transgenders also, the mission sources said.

At least 66.77 per cent of people were unaware about the emergency survival kits that can be used during the time of disasters, the survey report said.

Director of Literacy Mission P S Sreekala said it was also interesting to note that 41.86 per cent of people did not have an idea about the precautionary measures to be taken during the time of emergencies.
Carried out as part of the rebuilding initiatives of the state government post the August deluge, the survey was aimed at assessing the public's scientific knowledge on climate change, disaster management and environment-friendly lifestyle, she said.

Based on the report, the Literacy Mission has submitted a set of recommendations to the government.

One of the major proposals was to introduce a disaster management literacy programme in the state, Sreekala said.

Disaster management, emergency preparedness and climate change should be made part of the public education system, she said.

Floods and rains had claimed at least 493 lives and left a trail of destruction during this year's South West Monsoon in Kerala.

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