New Delhi, September 4, 2019 : Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) under Department of Youth Affairs of MoYAS has taken up an initiative on preparing Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) of NYKS Youth Volunteers for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in collaboration with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). It is proposed to establish institutional mechanism for organized and structured engagement of NYKS by creating Block Level Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) of volunteers as first responders in NDRF selected hazard prone districts. It is also proposed to cover such districts in India in a phased manner in collaboration with NDRF, State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA) and District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA).

Any disaster requires a quick response to save lives, contain the damage and prevent any secondary disasters. Affected community is always the “First Responder”. In most instances, this takes place spontaneously, outside any organized setting. Volunteers from the community play a vital role in immediate response to any disaster. National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and other orgnised services including police, fire services etc. take some time to reach the disaster sites.  In the meantime, volunteer groups not only provide initial rescue and relief services, but also act as link between the affected community and institutions arriving at the scene, thus strengthening response by the government actors. Volunteers also work as “force multiplier”particularly when the  emergenccy services have to be reached to the remotest affected community.

Initially, institutional mechanism for organized and structured engagement of NYKS by creating Block Level Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) of volunteers as first responders is going to be on a pilot basis in 32 multi-hazard Districts of 28 States/UTs. Further, 295 blocks have been selected in districts across India. 30 young volunteers are to be selected from each block. Around 8,850 volunteers will thus be trained through 6 days customised training at 12 battalions of NDRF during the year 2019-2020. An MoU between NYKS and NDRF regarding the initiative and to progressively increase the number of NYKS Youth Volunteers for the next five years has been developed. It is expected to train more than 50,000 youth associated with NYKS till the year 2024.

A video conference was organised by NDRF and NYKS with State Directors of 28 States and District Youth Coordinators of 32 Districts on 9th August, 2019 to brief them about the initiative and how to go about the project. A One Day Workshop for SDs and DYCs of NYKS was successfully conducted in Ghaziabad on 19th August, 2019 in which detailed discussion was held between the stakeholders in order to infuse in them the sense of responsibility required to carry out this project as a motivator and leader in their respective States/Districts.

The first training Batches of DRTs of NYKS Youth Volunteers for Disaster Risk Reduction training has commenced from 02nd September, 2019 and will continue till 07th September 2019. 13 Districts’ Nehru Yuva Kendras have sent 30 youth volunteers each. Around 390 volunteers which include more than 100 female participants are attending the training programs. The trained NYKS Youth Volunteers will work as DRTs and will be called as ‘NDRF- friends’. An online database is being created by registering the volunteers on NYKS portal and the data will be shared with NDMA/SDMA/DDMA for future communication with the volunteers.   

A comprehensive course has been prepared by NDRF including topics like Basic Search and Rescue, patient assessment, BLS & CPR, Snake Biting, Fire safety, group exercises, etc. The training will consist of both theoretical and practical sessions so as to build the capacity and confidence of volunteers to act as first responders to a disaster in their respective area. Feedbacks will be taken by NYKS from these trained volunteers to further improve the training programme.  

Each concerned NYKS District Youth Coordinator will prepare an Action Plan in consultation with DDMA and approval of concerned DM for continued community level engagement of trained volunteers which would include deployment of trained volunteers in the District Control Rooms/Emergency Operation Centres, normal time DRR and other activities; undertaking mock drills at local levels; generating DRR awareness amongst village communities; peer education; addressing Gram Sabha meetings on DRR; encourage participation in events such as 26th January Parade etc. A close monitoring of complete training programme will be done by both NYKS and NDRF to improvise the programme in future.

Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan is the largest grassroot level youth organization, of its kind in the world. It channelizes the power of youth on the principles of voluntarism, self-help and community participation. Over the years, NYKS has established a network of youth volunteers through its 623 District Kendras. It has played a major role in implementing various flagship schemes of the Government.