Disaster preparedness: Communications is identified as the missing link should any disaster strike the country.

Although the country has preparedness plans and legislations relating to disaster, lack of communications could hinder the plans and laws from being implemented.

“This has been the missing link,” Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said in an informal meeting with journalists yesterday.

To address this missing link, the government on January 4 approved the incident command system (ICS) in order to ensure responsibilities in times of a disaster.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said ICS is a system of command that is supposed to automatically kick-in during rough times and restore the situation to normal.

“No matter how prepared we are, if there is no system of command it becomes ad-hoc,” he said.

For instance, Lyonchoen said that the system clarifies the roles and responsibility of coordination, planning, financing and relief operations in terms of dissemination of information and reporting. “It defines who is responsible for what,” Lyonchoen added. Most importantly, he said that it avoids “ad-hoc-ness.”

Although the country has a disaster management department and an Act that bifurcates the roles and responsibilities to committees in the dzongkhags, the Prime Minster could not assure that the country is fully prepared. “We must redouble our efforts,” he added. “Much has been done but we are never fully prepared.”

Tshering Dorji