Mock Emergency Drill

•June 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I was invited by the National Disaster Management Authority to one of four Mock Emergency Drills being held today in Delhi. The drill simulated a terrorist attack with 4 terrorists entering the station, holding commuters hostage and taking control of the Control Room. People are particularly concerned about a repeat of the Mumbai attacks, especially with the Commonwealth Games due to be hosted here in 2010.

Just before the Mock Drill started (at 8a.m.) all commuters were evacuated and sniffer dogs were employed to check for any bombs. Civil Defence volunteers then entered the station and played dead or injured as a fake bomb was detonated to simulate a terrorist attack. Different agencies entered the station as and when they could respond to the emergency call.

It was certainly interesting to watch it all unfold. There seemed to be a lack of coordination between the different agencies involved – the Fire, Police, Ambulance services, Metro Security and Army. But I guess this is why we have Mock Drills to learn and improve. There were a lot of big guns, official uniforms and shouting and screaming – oh and sweat – I think the A/C was turned off!

Some feedback from the reports submitted to the Chief Minister included: Needing to block tunnel exits to prevent terrorists escaping; and the wounded should be treated and held close by as key eye-witnesses.

ps if anyone knows how to upload photos so they stay the right way up then please let me know!

Staying in Delhi

•June 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So things haven’t exactly gone to plan. I came out under the auspices of Save the Children UK who had put me in touch with Save the Children India (StCI) who in turn had put me in touch with SEEDS India. Together they were going to help facilitate my research here. So it turns out that StCI are not really able to host me in any form. SEEDS have since gone out of their way to host me. This means that I have cancelled my planned trip to Patna, Bihar and decided to stay here in Delhi where it will be easier to make contacts and access other resources. SEEDS have put me up in their staff guesthouse and I have some desk space at their office. We’ll see what happens!

The week has been a bit of a rollercoaster but I have made some contacts and had some meetings with the Indian National Disaster Management Authority and UNDP staff. I’m hoping I can gain access to a slum with an interpreter to help me conduct my interviews and research. If only I had known before I would have done this groundwork before coming to India. Oh well, just another challenge!

I’m putting up (staying in local talk) in a nice upmarket residential area – the staff call the flat it B-8. I soon realised however that no bus drivers or autorickshaw drivers knew where B-8 was! Fortunately I remembered the way i had come and found my way home the first night.phil 003

Why am I here?

•June 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So why am I here in India? This is the final part of my Masters programme at King’s College, London. I’m here to conduct research for my final dissertation due in 2 months time. I’m reading an MA in Disasters, Adaptation and Development.

The topic of my research is Youth Leadership in an Urban Slum and the implications for Disaster Risk Reduction. I intend to interview youth aged 16-25 who are living in an urban slum prone to disasters. Disasters could be anything from earthquakes to floods,  fire or other environmental hazards that cause disasters. Reducing the disaster risk could involve measures to clear rubbish or unblock drains or implement early warning systems or awareness campaigns – essentially reducing people’s vulnerability to disaster events.

Hello India!

•June 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

Well here I am. India! I read it was hot and they told me it was hot…. but this heat is something else. I try not to comment on the weather everytime, the mundaneness and routineness of the weather makes it a subject i try to avoid. I mean we only discuss it when we’re complaining (it is either too hot or cold or too wet or well just not how we want it!) or trying to make light inconsequential conversation. but here I am the first line of this blog and my first blog and I’m talking about the weather.

For anyone who hasn’t been to India then I have to start with this because it IS HOT! Imagine walking past one of those extractor fans at street level outside restaurants in Japan or a massive hairdryer (not that i can recall using one this century) and well thats what its like everywhere! it dries the back of the throat and stings the eyes.