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Disaster response force personnel at the emergency control room after the April quake and (below) Bihar State Disaster Management Authority vice-chairman Anil Kumar Sinha. For the first time in decades in Bihar, seismic activity during Tuesday's earthquake and aftershocks were recorded at four different places in the state using seismographs - a device to measure earth movement - installed by Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) after the massive April 25 temblor. Seismographs facilitate monitoring and assessment of seismic activity underneath the ground, which, in turn, helps authorities take measures for earthquake-preparedness. Seismographs have been installed at the India Meteorological Department's (IMD's) existing earthquake-monitoring centres at Valmiki Nagar in West Champaran district, Engineering College in Motihari district, SSB camp at Sonbarsa in Sitamarhi district, SSB camp at Jainagar in Madhubani district and SSB camp at Bathnaha, Forbesganj, in Araria district. How has the scenario vis-à-vis earthquake-preparedness changed in the state following the April 25 quake and the numerous aftershocks?
It has brought a great deal of alertness among government agencies and increased responsiveness among people.
Though most buildings in Patna and elsewhere did not suffer much damage during the recent quakes, it lies to be seen how many buildings have been built keeping National Building Code's quake safety norms in mind. In my view, Bihar is gradually moving towards a safe and prepared environment vis-à-vis earthquake safety. Dissemination of information or reaching out to people to make them aware about earthquake-preparedness has been a challenging task for us. The state government has sounded high alert keeping in view the Cyclone 'Phailin', a cyclonic storm likely to hit Odisha coast on Saturday.The Metrological department has also predicted heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds. A massive fire broke out on Tuesday morning at a garment factory in Bhiwandi city of Thane district in Maharashtra. Network of Community Organisations, under the banner of Lok Shakti Sangathan (LSS), now spreads over 1709 villages. Sustained environmental awareness campaigns have been carried out to increase green cover in the intervention area and for promotion of sustainable agriculture wherein the focus has been on promotion of traditional seeds and crops with emphasis on rational usage of fertilizers (preferably organic manure) and irrigation. SSVK has conducted 5 CAPART sponsored `Training of Trainers’ programme wherein 2 trainers each were covered from 300 NGOs.
Through its health intervention it has appreciably improved the health status of its target group on indicators pertaining to infant mortality, maternal mortality, child mortality, incidence of malnutrition. Another significant achievement of the organisation has been in the area of primary education. SSVK has conducted state level review workshop of social organisers and social animators as well as a regional review workshop of 10 states of eastern and north eastern India.
The organisation has also been instrumental in carrying out relief operations as it works in a flood and earthquake endemic area. The organization, in the aftermath of 2007 floods, initiated a pilot intervention for enhancing the disaster preparedness capacities of the vulnerable communities that it works with in Ghanshyampur Block of Darbhanga district. SSVK is also a member of  Training and Learning Circle (TLC) which is a community of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) practitioners that seeks to strengthen the interface between training and education in DRR. A food for work programme, supported by CASA, was utilised for the excavation of a filled up pond over which the target group had been able to gain control after a protracted struggle. Apart from addressing the root causes of the flooding problem, the advocacy centred initiatives of the organization have also been geared towards galvanizing state response and inclusion of the most marginalized in the relief and recovery operations initiated by the various stakeholders – most importantly the government. The CLCs have been conceptualised as decentralised and integrated hubs which use  a sustainable ICT based model for addressing economic and social problems of rural poor, resulting from a lack of access to needed information with each CLC catering to a cluster of villages falling in its catchment. Publication of a quarterly newsletter by the name of `Lok Shakti’ for the past 15 years. The organisational Secretary has been an invitee participant in the World Social Forum Meets held in Mumbai and Brazil. Two Dalit women from SSVK and LSS were nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2005 and were among the 91 nominated from all over India.
Since 2007 SSVK has been a part of Dalit Watch in Disaster Mitigation Bihar along with 5 networks of people,s organization and NGOs.

Monitoring state and civil society relief and rehabilitation programme by establishing block, district level Dalit watch center, bring out manual for monitoring of relief and rehabilitation packages, facilitating complaints and demands for equitable humanitarian aid. Most recently, the organization has been awarded the prestigious Green Globe Foundation Award for the year 2010 (Category Extraordinary Work by an NGO) in recognition of its seminal role as a civil society organisation contributing to the causes of sustainable development which, while subscribing to the principles of social equity and justice, has also upheld the cause of a cleaner greener, and more secure world. Except for the one at Bathnaha, the seismographs at the other locations are fully functional. Chief minister Nitish Kumar is personally monitoring earthquake-preparedness activity by interacting with district and panchayat-level officials. Do you think Bihar is prepared to face an earthquake of magnitude 5 or above having its epicentre in the state? Though we are increasing preparedness among different stakeholders, structural safety of existing buildings remains a big concern. Numerous government schemes were initiated recently to improve preparedness at different levels through capacity-building or by raising awareness through mock drills, live demonstrations and training.
Rescuers in Ecuador burrowed through deep rubble in an increasingly desperate attempt to find survivors of an earthquake. These committees have helped in regeneration conservation, construction and innovative use of the assets that were mostly acquired in a highly degraded state. The organisation has been instrumental in setting up of a Panchayat Adhikar Samiti to ensure the effective devolution of powers to the Panchayati bodies.
Particularly sustainable gains at the community level have been the creation of a pool of trained TBAs capable of conducting safe deliveries and that of health promoters with skills of ante-natal and post natal check up and diagnostic abilities for addressing minor ailments occurring in the community. A major thrust of the organisation here has been the setting up of NFE centres to kindle the interest of the target group children in education and motivation of their wards about the significance of education with the eventual aim of enrolling the children in the formal education system. However, the approach has been to involve the beneficiaries not as passive recipients but as active relief workers in the running of the relief camps.
15 villages and 4,000 families were targeted as part of this initiative which led to creation of 55 grain banks, one each for the 55 hamlets, in which the targeted families in these villages lived. TLC promotes continuous knowledge exchange among training institutions, universities, and DRR organizations across India, Asia, and beyond.
Publication of `Bihar Insight ‘ a thematic compilation of news clippings on issues like floods, other disasters, health, education, gender, human rights, dalit rights, environment, food security, governance, social action and advocacy. The Forum in India roots itself amongst Dalits and Dalit organisations, and consists of more than 125 social, cultural, voluntary, Dalit and non-governmental organisations. The organization Secretary also visited Hong Kong on the occasion of 6th WTO ministerial level conference. The seismograph recorded seismic activity during Tuesday's earthquake in the form of fluctuating graphs called a seismogram.
Around 1,700 engineers in the building construction department and Patna Municipal Corporation have been trained following the April 25 earthquake.
The lives and livelihood of millions of the people residing in Bihar gets affected by various disasters from time to time. It has contributed greatly towards enhancing the self-esteem and self-worth of these families.
It has not only reduced the dependence of its target group members on the local money lenders but also enabled them to sustain many a struggle for their rights. Training and mass awareness camps for effective functioning of the Panchayat bodies have been carried out which have promoted more responsible functioning on the part of elected representatives and also contributed to informed participation by the target group members in the gram sabha meetings.
With support from Swiss Red Cross the organisation had been running 20 NFE centres in 20 villages.
Since 2002, panchayat representatives have also been involved as members in the Relief Disbursement Committee instituted by the organisation for effective implementation and monitoring of relief operations.
Additionally, a disaster preparedness programme was carried out  in these 15 villages through formation of Disaster Management Committees (DMC) in each village and capacity building of the DMC members as trainers in disaster preparedness.

The overall purpose of TLC is to enhance learning through South-South knowledge and solution exchanges with a focus on addressing systemic gaps and topics in training and education. Within the country, it also endeavours to reach out to other progressive, secular and struggling sections of the society and their organisations. Further, even where relief was distributed, dalits and other marginalized communities had very limited access and discrimination was extensive. People are also cautious about our alert messages - 2.5lakh text messages were sent after the Tuesday afternoon tremor on the right way to react during a quake. The State witnesses various types of natural and human induced disasters, like Floods, Drought, Earthquake, Fire, Cyclone (high speed winds), Road accidents, Stampede, Epidemics, Heat Waves, Cold Waves, and Landslides etc. They still stay very active in mobilisation, organisation and the petition, protests and struggles of the poor without ever having drawn any stipendary support from the organisation. A survey conducted in these 20 villages in 2001 found that 656 children of the eligible age group from the target group were still not attending any school. Another intervention aimed at addressing the health needs of the communities, particularly during floods, led to the creation of a trained pool of traditional birth attendants and health volunteers in all the 15 villages with a coverage of 55 hamlets. TLC focuses on supporting and developing Asia’s professional training assets for disaster risk management. Kosi Flood of 2008 and severe Earthquake of 15 January 1934 have been worst disasters in the history of Bihar and the country. They share their linkages with the organisation in terms of guidance on perspective and strategic choices. A major drive for their enrollment either in government schools or NFE centres eventually led to the number of non school going children coming down to 150 from 656 by March 2003.
The TLC Community of Practice works on system-wide issues relating to DRR training and education in India and beyond. There was consensus among a few organizations to work together on eliminating discrimination and ensuring equity and inclusion in relief measures. The Green Globe Foundation is partnered by distinguished knowledge partners: the United Nations Environment Program and The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) led by Dr.
The organisation has also backed up its efforts of enrollment in government schools by ensuring that the various governmental schemes, like scholarships, incentives and nutrition support, targetted at the underprivileged children actually reach them. Members include Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Bihar Baarh Sukhad Mukti Andolan, Dalit Samanway, Lokshakti Sangathan, Nari Gunjan and NCDHR and the collective is backed by the support of Praxis – Institute for Participatory Practices. These efforts have helped bring down the drop out rate of target group children from the government schools. A survey conducted in the government schools in and around the aforementioned 20 villages found that of a total of 4339 children enrolled in these schools, 822 came from the dalit community.
Originally developed in pilot projects in Bangladesh, El Salvador and Uganda between 1993-95, Reflect is now used by over 500 organisations in around 70 countries worldwide. Dimple Kapadia and Nobel laureate TERI Director General and The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ) chairman Dr R.K.
Pachauri in an event, attended by a large number of world dignitaries including, First African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Ms. Wangrai Muta Maathai, his Excellency Jigme Yoer Thinley, the Prime Minister of Bhutan and first female Prime Minister of Norway, Dr.

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