Guwahati: The National Disaster Management Authority has identified traffic jams and narrow roads in Guwahati as major handicaps in disaster management measures during high magnitude earthquakes.
NDMA vice-chairman M Shashidhar Reddy said that traffic bottlenecks were found to be a major impediment in coming up with a quick response to disaster situations during surveys conducted as part of the multi-stage mega mock drill recently.
"The traffic jams here will be a major gap during disaster management in the event of earthquakes," Reddy said.
He said 64 narrow roads in the bustling city had been identified for widening to facilitate effective management of disasters like earthquakes.
"We will take up the issue with the Planning Commission and the Prime minister for providing funds to the state government to widen the roads," he said.
Five locations in the city were assessed for their earthquake preparedness -- schools, hospitals, shopping malls, government offices and commercial and residential buildings.
The purpose of the multi-stage mega mock drill was to identify gaps, generate public awareness and try to build the first response team, he said.
The drill also looked into what was expected from the stakeholders, including state government, various agencies and public, besides reviewing the state`s disaster plan, Reddy said.
"Success of an exercise depends on the number of gaps identified - power failure, problems in establishing communication in the even of destruction of mobile towers, etc, during earthquakes," the NDMA official said.
The NDMA has an incident response system whereby teams are formed for different actions during disasters like how their actions are monitored and roles and responsibilities of various emergency support functionaries identified.
"If an earthquake of eight magnitude earthquake strikes the Northeast region, the casualties will be in the region of 8.4 lakh and approximately 5.5 lakh people will be injured. In Assam the casualty figures will be six lakh and injury four lakh," he said.