Disaster Management Bill passed in a joint sittingFeb 27 2013
The Parliament passed the Disaster Management Bill 2011, today, after almost four years of the bill being drafted. Under the aegis of the Home and Cultural Affairs Ministry, the bill streamlines some response mechanisms.
The Home Minister, Minjur Dorji, said the bill took some time in the cabinet, as sections had to be redone before the bill went for deliberations.
He said in the absence of the bill, it had been difficult to respond to disasters. “It was so difficult to even process things and when there is no bill like this one, we have to depend entirely on the ways and means to do it.”
It was in 2009, the same year cyclone Aila damaged the public infrastructure worth millions of ngultrum, that the bill was first drafted to respond to any major natural disasters in the country.
…We could not even come up with the disaster risk reduction in absence of the bill.”
In less than five years, the government has estimated over a billion ngultrum in damages caused by disasters such as windstorms, floods, fires and earthquakes.
The bill after its enactment will streamline challenges through the establishment of an emergency operation centre, says the Home Minister.
Once the operation centre is ready, there will be a command from the centre controlled by the Prime Minister, who will then pass down all the instructions from the government. “We are also going to get equipment for the centre that will facilitate the communication in times of disasters.”
Other major plan under the bill is to have a focal disaster officer in every dzongkhag, who will be trained to handle and respond to disasters.