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$4 m. U.S. grant for disaster management

New Delhi Sept. 4. The United States Agency for International Development has given a $4 million grant for community-based disaster planning and management in 20 multi-hazard-prone districts of Orissa, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttaranchal and Assam.

The grant given on August 1 to the United Nations Development Programme will enable communities and the States to prepare action plans keeping in mind the special needs of women, children and other vulnerable sections in disaster situations.

More than 40,000 volunteers will receive information and equipment for disaster-response decision-making and more than 2,50,000 disaster management teams will be created. Disaster management information centres will be set up in 17 districts to increase community awareness.

A U.S. Embassy release today said the initiative, which is being implemented in cooperation with Indian partners, ``builds on lessons learnt during disasters which indicate that better preparedness leads to more sustainable recovery".

The grant is part of a larger multi-donor effort to support a disaster-planning initiative of the Home Ministry.

The Government intends to boost the capacities of State, district and local Governments to address disasters. — UNI

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