New Delhi: The gruesome train accident in Odisha’s Balasore on June 2 has not only left irreparable wounds to those who lost their loved ones and those injured in it, but its horrors have also mentally affected the rescuers of NDRF. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General Atul Karwal said on Tuesday that whenever personnel of the force deployed in the rescue operation at the train accident site sees blood, another rescuer is no longer hungry.
Nine teams of NDRF were deployed for the rescue operation after three trains collided in Balasore. About 278 people died and more than 900 were injured in this accident, one of India’s worst rail accidents. After the rescue operation is over and the tracks are repaired, the movement of trains has started on this route but many victims claim that their near and dear ones are not being traced.
According to official figures, the force rescued 44 victims and recovered 121 bodies from the scene. Karwal said, “I met my personnel involved in the rescue operation after the Balasore train accident… A worker told me that whenever he sees water, he feels it like blood. Another rescuer told that he had lost his appetite after the rescue operation. Addressing the Annual Conference on Capacity Building for Disaster Response, 2023, organized by the NDRF at Vigyan Bhavan here, Karwal said the accident was so severe that the bogies were damaged leaving several bodies trapped inside.
The NDRF Director General, who recently visited the accident site, said keeping in mind the problems faced by some of its personnel, the force has started psychological counseling and mental stability courses for its personnel after they return from rescue and relief operations. He said, “Such counseling for good mental health is being done for our personnel who are involved in rescue and relief operations in disaster-hit areas.
“Our personnel need to be mentally and physically fit, hence various physical and mental fitness programs have been included. Counseling sessions are being organized for the good mental health of the rescuers. Karwal said that similar sessions were also conducted recently for rescuers returning from Turkey after the earthquake. He said that NDRF is also in the process of recruiting regular counselors.
Karwal said that after the special exercise conducted in this regard since last year, 95 percent of the nearly 18,000 personnel are ‘fit’. were found. On tackling the incidents of drowning deaths across the country, the NDRF DG said the force has prepared a “heat map” after studying the data on deaths provided by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). has been prepared. “We are told by the NCRB that on an average, about 36,000 people die every year due to drowning in India, and about two-thirds of these incidents occur mostly in designated bathing ‘ghats’, he said. But happened
“We are now working on taking steps to prevent these deaths,” Karwal said. Addressing the conference, Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is very active on the issue of dealing with disasters and early warning. He said that in the last nine years, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have ensured that proper policy, planning, resources, and training are available to deal with all kinds of disasters, not only in the country but also when our rescuers are sent abroad. He praised the work done by NDRF at the Balasore train accident site and Turkiye.