National Disaster Response Force

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National Disaster Response Force and Civil Defence
राष्ट्रीय आपदा मोचन बल और नागरिक सुरक्षा
Agency overview
Formed 2006
Type Agency
Jurisdiction Government of India
Headquarters NDRF Headquarters, R. K. Puram, New Delhi
Agency executive
  • Om Prakash Singh, Director-General
Parent department Ministry of Home Affairs
Major Disasters in India (1980–2009)

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is an Indian police force constituted "for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster" under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.[1] :section 44–45 The "Apex Body for Disaster Management"[citation needed] in India is the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The Chairman of the NDMA is the Prime Minister[2][3]

The responsibility for Disaster Management in India’s federal system is that of the State Government. The ‘nodal Ministry’ in the central government for management of natural disasters is the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).[4]

When 'calamities of severe nature' occur, the Central Government is responsible for providing aid and assistance to the affected state, including deploying, at the State’s request, of Armed Forces, Central Paramilitary Forces, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and such communication, air and other assets, as are available and needed.[5]

Command and control[edit]

The National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC), located in MHA, is mandated to function 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The NEOC is responsible for monitoring the disaster or disaster like situation, receive updates from federal EW Agencies like the IMD, Central Water Commission, Snow & Avalanche Study Establishment. After processing the information it submits its report and updates to affected States and concerned Central Ministries and organisations. During the monsoon period, it is required to issue daily situation reports. The NEOC is also required to uploaded its reports on its website[6]

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is under the NDMA.[7] The head of the NDRF is designated as Director General. The Director Generals of NDRF are IPS officers on deputation from Indian police organisations. Director General wears the uniform and badges of rank of an army three-star general.

The NDRF is a top-heavy organisation which in addition to the DG has several Inspector Generals (IG) and Deputy IGs, who fly flags and wear army-style badges of rank.[8][9]


National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is a force of 12 battalions, organised on para-military lines, and manned by persons on deputation from the para-military forces of India: three BSF, three CRPF, two CISF, two ITBP and two Sashastra Seema Bal. The total strength of each battalion is approximately 1,149.[10] Each battalion is capable of providing 18 self-contained specialist search and rescue teams of 45 personnel each including engineers, technicians, electricians, dog squads and medical/paramedics.[11]

NDRF in addition to being able to respond to natural disasters, has four battalions capable of responding to radiological, nuclear, biological and chemical disasters.


Location of NDRF Battalions

These NDRF battalions are located at twelve different locations in the country based on the vulnerability profile to cut down the response time for their deployment. During the preparedness period/in a threatening disaster situation, proactive deployment of these forces will be carried out by the NDMA in consultation with state authorities. The present location of NDRF Bns are as follows:[12]

S. No. NDRF Bn State CPF
1 NDRF Bn, Ghaziabad Uttar Pradesh ITBP
2 NDRF Bn, Bhatinda Punjab ITBP
3 NDRF Bn, Kolkata West Bengal BSF
4 NDRF Bn, Guwahati Assam BSF
5 NDRF Bn, Mundali Odisha CISF
6 NDRF Bn, Arakkonam Tamil Nadu CISF
7 NDRF Bn, Pune Maharashtra CRPF
8 NDRF Bn, Gandhinagar Gujarat CRPF
9 NDRF Bn, Patna Bihar BSF
10 NDRF Bn, Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh CRPF
11 NDRF Bn, Varanasi Uttar Pradesh SSB
12 NDRF Bn, Itanagar Arunachal Pradesh SSB

Functional parameters[edit]

The aim of the National Disaster Management Authority is to build a safer and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster and technology driven strategy for disaster management. This has to be achieved through a culture of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to generate a prompt and efficient response at the time of disasters. This national vision inter alia, aims at inculcating a culture of preparedness among all stakeholders.[13]

NDRF has proved its importance in achieving this vision by highly skilled rescue and relief operations, regular and intensive training and re-training, familiarisation exercises within the area of responsibility of respective NDRF Bns, carrying out mock drills and joint exercises with the various stakeholders.

Disaster response[edit]

Rescue and relief operations during the Kosi breach in Bihar
Rescue and relief work during the Odisha Flood
NDRF clearing debris of the Darjeeling landslide
NDRF shifting school children to safer places during Cyclone Aila
NDRF rescue and relief operation, Karnataka
NDRF Response during a building collapse in Bellary, Karnataka

In the previous years, NDRF has proved its efficacy with its commendable performance during various disasters including the drowning cases, building collapses, landslides, devastating floods and Cyclones. NDRF has saved 1,33,192 human lives and retrieved 276 dead bodies of disaster victims in 73 response operations in the country. Some of the major response operations of NDRF as below:


  • Flood in Bhavnagar, Gujarat – 3–5 July 2007 – Rescued 291 people; distributed 3,750 food packets
  • Flood in Rajkot, Gujarat – 3–5 July 2007 – Rescued 291 people; distributed 3,750 food packets


  • Building collapse (Hotel Shakunt) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat – 3–5 Feb 2008 – Saved 10 people & recovered 6 dead bodies
  • Flood in Lakhimpur, Assam – 14 June – 20 July 2008 – Rescued 2,500 civilians
  • Flood in Dhemaji, Assam – 16 June – 31 July 2008 – Rescued 600 people
  • Flood in Lakhimpur, Assam – 21 July – 4 Aug 2008 – Evacuated 2,000 people
  • Kosi breach in Bihar – 20 Aug 2008 – Saved over 1,05,000 people including women, children & aged; distributed medicines and water bottles
  • Flood in Lakhimpur, Assam – 31 Aug – 9 Sep 2008 – Saved 750 people
  • Flood in Puri, Cuttack, Kendrapara & Jagatsinghpur, Odisha – Sept 2008 – Saved over 1,000 people
  • Flood in Kamrup, Assam – 28 Sep 2008 – Saved 350 people
  • Flood in Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu – 26–30 Nov 2008 – Saved 773 people
  • Flood in Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 26 Nov – 2 Dec 2008 – Rescued 1,550 people


  • Cyclone Aila (24 Pargana North & South, West Bengal) – 25 May – 10 June 2009 – Rescued 2,000 people; distribution of medicine to 30,000 victims & food packets to 16,000 homeless victims
  • Flood in Barpeta, Assam – 27 May 2009 – Saved 300 people
  • Flood in Junagarh and Porbandar, Gujarat – 16–29 July 2009 – Saved 2,225 people
  • Flood in Kasarkode, Kannur and Ernakulam, Kerala – 17–24 July 2009 – Saved 180 people
  • Flood in Sitamarhi, Bihar (Bagmati breach) – 2–9 Aug 2009 – Rescued 1,034 people; distributed medicines to 831 victims
  • Flood in Howrah & Hooghly, West Bengal – 8–14 Sep 2009 – Rescue 675 people
  • Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka Floods – Oct 2009 – Saved 10,659 people


  • Building collapse at Bellary, Karnataka – 27 Jan 2010 – Saved 20 human lives and recovered 27 dead bodies
  • Flood in Guwahati, Assam – 20–25 April 2010 – Saved 300 human lives
  • Cyclone Laila in Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka – 18 May 2010


  • Cyclone Phailin in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha etc. - The battalions of the army and navy were used to evacuate people.

During the Kosi beach in Bihar in August 2008, which was declared a national calamity by Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh,[14][15][16][17] NDRF personnel actively engaged themselves in rescue operations and relief duties in districts Supaul, Madhepura, Araria and Purnia. About 780 NDRF personnel trained in flood rescue operations along with 153 high capacity inflatable boats and other rescue equipment were deployed in the flood affected areas. The swift and highly skilled operations of NDRF saved more than 100,000 people trapped in swirling waters of river Kosi.[18] NDRF personnel distributed relief supplies including drinking water to the stranded flood victims.[19] Medical camps were also established to provide medical care to the flood affected people. Impressed with prompt and efficient response of NDRF, Chief Minister of Bihar Shri Nitish Kumar approached Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh for a NDRF Bn to be stationed in Bihar[20] and offered 65 acres (260,000 m2) of land at Bihta near Patna.

NDRF commendable rescue operations were no less appreciated during the 2008 floods in Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala and Assam.

On 25 May 2009 Cyclone Aila hit West Bengal coast with a fury unprecedented in recent history. It took at least 94 lives, seven of them in Kolkata, and affected over 40 lakh people. More than six lakh houses were destroyed completely or damaged partially.[21] NDRF promptly responded to the devastating situation and 600 personnel of NDRF with 84 boats and other rescue equipment started rescue and relief operations at cyclone affected areas of district 24 Pargana North and South of West Bengal.[22][23][24] During the operations NDRF personnel rescued around 2,000 trapped persons and distributed 50 truckloads of relief materials to the affected people.

On 1 Oct 2009 in the wake of worsening flood situations in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the State Government of both the states sent their requests for deployment of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for rescue and relief operations. NDMA mobilised 963 flood rescue trained personnel (including some deep divers) and 308 inflatable motorised boats from 05 NDRF Bns located at Arakkonam (Chennai), Pune, Mundali (Odisha), Greater Noida and Bhatinda and airlifted on 2–3 Oct 2009 in Air Force IL-76 and AN-32 aircraft from nearest Air Force bases and Civil Airports. The rescue personnel deployed in 04 districts of Andhra Pradesh (Kurnool, Vijayawada, Mehboob Nagar and Nandhiyal) and 04 districts of Karnataka (Bagalkote, Raichur, Gadag and Vijaypur) and immediately started rescue and relief operations in the flood affected districts of both the states.[25][26][27]

NDRF rescued tens of thousands persons marooned in the floods at these two States and distributed over 40 quintals of food and drinking water. The medical teams of NDRF at these districts administering medical first response and distributing medicines to the flood victims.

On 26 January 2010 a five-storied under-construction residential building collapsed at Bellary, Karnataka with about 50 people trapped under the huge debris. 3 rescue teams (102 personnel) of NDRF Bn Pune promptly airlifted to Bellary and NDRF personnel carried out round the clock operation with the help of search & rescue equipments and dogs for 09 days.In the meticulously carried out operation under huge debris the NDRF managed to rescue 20 live persons. The last person was rescued on the 9th day. NDRF also retrieved 27 dead bodies trapped under debris.[28][29][30][31]


  • NDRF rushed teams to parts of India and Nepal affected by a late April earthquake.
  • Flood in Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 10 Nov – till date – Rescue operation in progress.



NDRF personnel undergoing Heli-slithering Training
Flood Rescue Training
Search and Rescue Training
Training of Dogs by Swiss Experts
CBRN Training of NDRF Personnel

In future, the key to efficient disaster response will depend primarily on effectiveness of training and re-training of Specialised Disaster Response Forces. With this vision, a detailed “Training Regime for Disaster Response” has been prepared by NDMA/NDRF identifying the specific disaster response training courses and devising a unified, structured and uniform course module as well as syllabus for these training courses. The proposition behind a unified, structured, uniform course module and syllabus is that first the entire NDRF battalions will successfully attain these courses and subsequently the State Disaster Response Forces (SDRF) and other stakeholders will be trained on the same lines. The need of uniformly structured course module emerged from the fact that if all the NDRF battalions and other ‘first responders’ undergo the same training exercise, the coordination between different stakeholders would be expedient and well planned at the time of any major disaster where different NDRF battalions, SDRF battalions and other stakeholders will be working together in close coordination with each other.

Already trained Trained in 2009–10 Total
CBRN 2,976 480 3,456
Heli-borne training 2,700 1,500 4,200
Natural disasters 5,071 950 6,021
Water rescue 3,520 1,600 5,120
Foreign trained 54 07 61

After its constitution in 2005, NDRF with its swift and highly skilled rescue operations has emerged as most visible and vibrant force of the NDMA. NDRF personnel are invariably trained in courses like Flood Rescue, Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue, Medical First Responders, Rope Rescue, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Emergencies; Dignified Disposal of Dead Bodies etc. NDRF personnel are trained in prestigious institutes like NISA, DRDO, BARC, CME, Army, Navy and Air Force as well in foreign countries like USA, Singapore, China, Finland, Korea, Switzerland etc.

Training abroad[edit]

  • INSARAG Asia-Pacific Exercise, China, 4–7 August 2006
  • OPCW Chemical Emergency Course, Finland, 21–25 August 2006
  • UNDAC Induction Course, Korea, 17–29 Sept 2006
  • INSARAG Asia-Pacific Exercise, Mongolia, 31 July – 2 August 2007
  • UNDAC Induction Course, Malaysia, 10–14 July 2007
  • INSARAG Meeting, Korea, 3–6 Oct 2007
  • UNDAC Induction Course, New Zealand, 14–16 Oct 2007
  • INSARAG Asia-Pacific Exercise, Switzerland, 17–20 Nov 2008
  • Management of Dead Bodies, Geneva, Switzerland, 4–8 Feb 2008
  • Singapore Civil Defence Academy, Singapore, 10–27 March 2008
  • INSARAG Asia-Pacific Exercise, Philippines, 15–17 April 2008
  • APCSS, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 29 May – 27 June 2008
  • Advanced Search & Rescue Course, Florida, USA, 1–5 Sep 2008
  • Chemical Exercise, OPCW, Tehran, Iran, 1–5 Nov 2008
  • INSARAG Asia-Pacific Exercise, Nepal, 21–24 April 2009
  • APCSS, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 20 Aug – 22 Sep 2009
  • Bio-terrorism Table top Exercise, Montreux, Switzerland, 7–8 Sep 2009

Training of NDRF[edit]

While the NDRF is being trained, re-trained and equipped as a specialist force for level three disasters, it is equally important to ensure capacity building of state police personnel who are invariably the first responders in any natural or man-made disasters. To ensure this, a two-pronged strategy is being suggested to the states: firstly, to train state police personnel in the basics of disaster management and secondly, to train at least one battalion equivalent out of their state armed police units as State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) on lines of the NDRF. In addition to police personnel, the SDRFs may be constituted from existing resources of the Fire Services, Home Guards and Civil Defence. NDRF Bns and their training institutions will assist the States/UTs in this effort. The State/UTs will also be encouraged to set up DM training facilities in their respective Police Training Colleges and include this subject in their basic and in-service courses.

205 police personnel from 21 states of the country have been trained.

Search and Rescue Training
S No Date of course Location No. of successful participants
1 5 Feb – 6 April 2007 FSTI, NISA Hyderabad 24
2 5 Nov – 29 Dec 2007 FSTI, NISA Hyderabad 18
3 11 Oct – 11 Nov 2008 Police Training Centre, Arunachal Pradesh 42
4 24 Nov 2008 – 16 Jan 2009 FSTI, NISA Hyderabad 16
5 12 Jan – 27 Feb 2009 CTC-II Coimbatore 17
6 5 Sep – 13 Nov 2009 FSTI, NISA Hyderabad 23
7 Oct 2009 ILDM, Department of Revenue, Govt of Kerala 40
8 8 Feb – 20 March 2010 CTC-II Coimbatore 25
Total 205

Training being one of the most important attributes for an efficient force, the Government of India has recognised the recommendations of the NDMA for setting up an apex National Institute of Excellence for Search and Rescue at a central place like Nagpur to provide training of trainers and to meet other national and international commitments. Also a network of 10 outreach centres at the respective NDRF Bns locations are proposed to be set up.

Community-based disaster preparedness[edit]

Demonstration of rope rescue techniques to villagers
Making an improvised banana raft
Demonstration of life-saving techniques to school children
Training the teachers of Pune University
Capacity-building programme of NDRF
Capacity-building of school children

Awareness and preparedness campaigns are key components of proactive approach on disaster management. In case of any disaster, the local population is the actual first responder. It may take some time for the district or state administration to mobilise rescue teams, including police and fire personnel. If the local people is properly sensitised about the precautions and preventive actions to be taken in case of any calamity, the loss of life and damage to property can be drastically reduced. Thus, one of the most important tasks of NDRF is to continuously engage themselves in the community capacity building and public awareness programmes, which includes training of people (the first-responders) and concerned government officials at different levels in the areas with high vulnerability. Along with community capacity building and public awareness exercises, NDRF is also actively engaged in area familiarisation exercises. Such exercises provide first-hand knowledge about the topography, access route to various disaster-prone areas, and the availability of local infrastructure/logistics which can be used in disaster response operations.

Year-wise number of community volunteers trained by NDRF

Year No. of volunteers
2007–08 48,374
2008–09 1,96,477
2009–10 4,10,830
Total 6,55,681

A pilot project on community capacity building and public awareness campaigns on floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters was organised by NDRF teams during June–July 2007 in 14 high vulnerable districts (Araria, Saharsa, Kishanganj, Madhepura, Supaul, Khagaria, Begusarai, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Munger, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi and Samastipur) of Bihar. In this project, 2,200 volunteers and State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) officials were trained by the NDRF. This capacity building programme was continued next year also.

State-wise numbers of community volunteers trained by NDRF

S.No State No. of beneficiaries
1 Gujarat 1,47,018
2 North-Eastern States 93,349
3 Maharashtra 82,735
4 Rajasthan 79,524
5 Bihar 74,095
6 Karnataka 31,809
7 Haryana 31,349
8 West Bengal 21,086
9 Kerala 18,363
10 Tamil Nadu 16,110
11 Uttar Pradesh 14,490
12 Uttarakhand 9,946
13 Madhya Pradesh 9,550
14 Himachal Pradesh 7,440
15 Punjab 7,060
16 Andhra Pradesh 6,345
17 Other States 5,412
Total 6,55,681

In 2008, NDRF embarked in a big way on community capacity building and public awareness programmes in Bihar, which included training of vulnerable people and officials in various districts. NDRF carried out three-day flood preparedness training programmes for a month in 15 vulnerable districts (Bhagalpur, East Champaran, Vaishali, Munger, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, Madhepura, Khagaria, Begusarai, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Patna, Sitamarhi, Samastipur and Sheohar) of Bihar before monsoon season at district/Block levels. More than 15,000 village volunteers, local people, students, State Police, and also Central and State Government personnel participated in the programme.

NDRF also conducts regular mock exercises on various disasters like cyclone, flood, earthquake, NBC emergencies, mass causality management etc. Participation in such exercises on the one hand improve the professionalism of NDRF personnel to tackle the real emergency situations and on the other provides an opportunity to interact with various State Government officials and to develop cordial relations with them that can be of great help during response to actual disasters.

As of 31 March 2010, NDRF had trained more than 6.5 lacs community volunteers throughout the country.

Workshops and exhibitions[edit]

NDRF exhibition at IIT Mumbai
NDRF exhibition on disaster awareness at Arunachal Pradesh
Exhibition on disaster awareness at Tripura
Disaster awareness exhibition at Odisha
Workshop on disaster risk reduction in Mizoram

NDRF Bn Pune put up an exhibition of International standard at TechFest 2010 (the annual International Science and Technology Festival of IIT Mumbai) and organised demonstrations on Heli-Rescue, Collapsed Structure Search & Rescue, High-Rise Building Rescue and Dog Show between 22–24 Jan 2010 aimed at generate awareness among the visitors. TechFest 2010 was inaugurated by Gen N C Vij, Hon’ble Vice-Chairman, NDMA. This three-day event witnessed more than 70,000 visitors, 15,000 participants, nearly 2,000 colleges and approximately 5,000 members of Industry and academia. The exhibition and demonstrations of NDRF were highly appreciated by the visitors.

Some of the important exhibitions organised by NDRF are as below:


  • UNOCHA, Annual USAR Team Leaders Meeting – 13–15 March 2007
  • 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction – Nov 2007


  • Workshop on ‘Disaster Risk Management’ at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh – 17–18 April 2008
  • Workshop on ‘Disaster Preparedness’ at Shillong, Meghalaya – 10–11 June 2008
  • Workshop on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’ at Agartala, Tripura – 12–13 Dec 2008
  • Exhibition on Disaster Management, Army Training Command at Bhubaneswar, Odisha – 13–14 Dec 2008


  • A workshop cum exhibition on Disaster Management, University of Pune, Maharashtra – 12–13 Jan 2009
  • Workshop on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’ at Aizawl, Mizoram – 11–12 June 2009


  • TechFest 2010 (The annual International Science and Technology Festival of IIT Mumbai) – 22–24 Jan 2010
  • Technika 2010, the annual technical festival of Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra − 26 March 2010
  • Exhibition on Disaster Awareness, Bihar Divas at Gandhi Maidan, Patna – 22–24 March 2010
  • Participation in TATPAR 2010 (Mega-Exhibition on disaster management organised by Disaster Management Department of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) at Shivaji Park, Mumbai – 26–27 Feb 2010


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External links[edit]