In a first-of-its-kind move, over 100 women personnel including disaster combatants and rescuers have become part of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), country's federal calamity force.
According to reports, a team of female members trained by the NDRF was deployed for contingency duties on the banks of the Ganga river in Uttar Pradesh's Garh Mukteshwar town.
"The first women rescuers' team is already on ground. Recently, the U.P. government requisitioned an NDRF team and they (women) went there (Garh Mukteshwar). The team handled the rescue boats and related equipment," said NDRF Director General S N Pradhan, reported The Quint
"These personnel have all the skills to be called complete rescuers," he added.
Having women fighters in the NDRF combat ranks was a work-in-progress for some time but more than 100 female personnel have joined the force over the last few months. More are set to be deputed with the battalions across the country as soon as they finish their pre-induction course and training, according to the Director-General.
He further informed that the female personnel are being inducted in the Sub Inspector, Inspector and Sub-officer ranks. In the near future, the number is expected to go over 200.
"We can deploy both components of an all-woman NDRF team or a mix squad of male and female personnel for responding to a situation. We prefer the second because if there is complement of women personnel it makes a great difference on the ground where women, children and old persons are being rescued," said the officer.
"The skill sets of women are stronger in some aspects... so that can be leveraged especially in situations were women are victims," he explained.
Speaking about the efficiency of the first women's team in disaster combat, he said that the personnel are 'performing well' and they can play a key role in amplifying the efficiency and also symbolise pride, inclusion and gender sensitivity.
As per authorisation, each NDRF battalion of over 1,000 personnel can have 108 woman rescuers.
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