- History shows that India is exposed to national disasters. Cyclones, floods, earthquakes, droughts and floods are major threats.
- About 60 percent of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of various intensities, over 40 million hectares is prone to floods and 68 percent of the area is susceptible to drought. This not only results in loss to thousands of lives, but also in terms of loss in private, community and public assets.
- While substantial scientific and material progress has been made, the loss of lives and property due to disasters has not decreased.
- Government of India has now brought about a paradigm shift in its approach to disaster management, from being relief centric to one with greater emphasis on preparedness, prevention and mitigation.
- This approach proceeds from the conviction that development cannot be sustained unless disaster mitigation is built into the development process. Another cornerstone of the approach is that mitigation has to be inter- disciplinary spanning across all sectors of development.
- Disaster Management occupies an important place in the policy framework as it is the poor and underprivileged who are worst affected on account of calamities and disasters.
- Disaster Management is a multi-disciplinary area in which a wide range of issues that range from forecasting, warning, search and rescue, relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation are included. It is multi-sectoral as it involves administrators, scientists, planners, volunteers and communities. Their roles and activities span the pre-disaster, during disaster and post-disaster plans. All these activities are complementary and supplementary to each other and here is a critical need for coordinating these activities.
- Natural disasters directly impact economies, agriculture, food security, water, sanitation, environment and health. It is therefore one of the single largest concerns for most of the developing nations.
- Apart from the economic aspect, such disasters also have social and psychological dimensions that needs to be studied and appropriate strategies for mitigation developed.
- Today, we have a range of early warning systems for a range of natural hazards. However, it is not enough to ensure that communities are safe from disasters. This is where disaster mitigation can play an important role.
What is disaster management?
- The United Nations defines a disaster as a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society. Disasters involve widespread human, material, economic or environmental impacts, which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.
- The Red Cross and Red Crescent societies define disaster management as the organisation and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies, in particular preparedness, response and recovery in order to lessen the impact of disasters.
Types of disasters
There is no country that is immune from disaster, though vulnerability to disaster varies. There are four main types of disaster.
- Natural disasters: including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcano eruptions that have immediate impacts on human health and secondary impacts causing further death and suffering from (for example) floods, landslides, fires, tsunamis.
Natural Types of Disasters
- Environmental emergencies: including technological or industrial accidents, usually involving the production, use or transportation of hazardous material, and occur where these materials are produced, used or transported, and forest fires caused by humans.
- Complex emergencies: involving a break-down of authority, looting and attacks on strategic installations, including conflict situations and war.
- Pandemic emergencies: involving a sudden onset of contagious disease that affects health, disrupts services and businesses, brings economic and social costs.
Man-Made and Technological Types of Disasters
- Any disaster can interrupt essential services, such as health care, electricity, water, sewage/garbage removal, transportation and communications.
- The interruption can seriously affect the health, social and economic networks of local communities and countries.
- Disasters have a major and long-lasting impact on people long after the immediate effect has been mitigated.
- Poorly planned relief activities can have a significant negative impact not only on the disaster victims but also on donors and relief agencies. So it is important that physical therapists join established programmes rather than attempting individual efforts.
- Local, regional, national and international organisations are all involved in mounting a humanitarian response to disasters. Each will have a prepared disaster management plan. These plans cover prevention, preparedness, relief and recovery
Phases of Disaster
- The National Governor’s Association designed a phase of disaster model to help emergency managers prepare for and respond to a disaster, also known as the ‘life cycle’ of comprehensive emergency management.
- The four phases of disaster:
- The model helps frame issues related to disaster preparedness as well as economic and business recovery after a disaster.
- Each phase has particular needs, requires distinct tools, strategies, and resources and faces different challenges.
- The issues addressed below relate to the resiliency and recovery of the local economy and business community before and after a major disaster.
Phases of Disaster
- Mitigation involves steps to reduce vulnerability to disaster impacts such as injuries and loss of life and property.
- This might involve changes in local building codes to fortify buildings; revised zoning and land use management; strengthening of public infrastructure; and other efforts to make the community more resilient to a catastrophic event.
- Preparedness focuses on understanding how a disaster might impact the community and how education, outreach and training can build capacity to respond to and recover from a disaster.
- This may include engaging the business community, pre-disaster strategic planning, and other logistical readiness activities.
- The disaster preparedness activities guide provides more information on how to better prepare an organization and the business community for a disaster.
- Response addresses immediate threats presented by the disaster, including saving lives, meeting humanitarian needs (food, shelter, clothing, public health and safety), cleanup, damage assessment, and the start of resource distribution.
- As the response period progresses, focus shifts from dealing with immediate emergency issues to conducting repairs, restoring utilities, establishing operations for public services (including permitting), and finishing the cleanup process.
- Triage efforts assess and deal with the most pressing emergency issues. This period is often marked by some level of chaos, which can last a month or more, depending on the nature of the disaster and the extent of damage. Federal resources, such as action from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (in the case of a major disaster declaration) and non-profit resources such as the Red Cross are deployed immediately
- Business re-entry into the economy begins during this phase. Businesses initially may face issues with access to their site, preliminary damage assessment, and communications with staff, vendors, suppliers and customers. Ongoing issues may include access to capital and workers, the repair of damaged property or inventory, and a diminished customer base. It is in this phase that long-term future of a region’s business base will be saved or lost.
- Business Recovery Centers are quickly set up in a community to centralize small business recovery resources (e.g. SBA, SBDC, SCORE, CDFI, etc), local bank officers, technical assistance providers, and other critical assistance for maintaining business continuity and/or get businesses up and running.
- Federal resources from SBA, FEMA, HUD, EDA, USDA, etc., as well as state programs, start to arrive; temporary housing goes up; and the planning for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, facilities, and areas begins. The response phase typically continues through the sixth month, again depending on the nature of the disaster.
- It is not uncommon for disasters to reveal a weakened economic development landscape, with significant gaps in organizational capacity, staff and resources. Thus, economic development agencies and stakeholders may need additional staff, capacity building assistance, and training.
- Recovery is the fourth phase of disaster and is the restoration of all aspects of the disaster’s impact on a community and the return of the local economy to some sense of normalcy.
- By this time, the impacted region has achieved a degree of physical, environmental, economic and social stability.
- The recovery phase of disaster can be broken into two periods. The short-term phase typically lasts from six months to at least one year and involves delivering immediate services to businesses.
- The long-term phase, which can range up to decades, requires thoughtful strategic planning and action to address more serious or permanent impacts of a disaster.
- Investment in economic development capacity building becomes essential to foster economic diversification, attain new resources, build new partnerships and implement effective recovery strategies and tactics.
- Communities must access and deploy a range of public and private resources to enable long-term economic recovery.
Highlights of the National Disaster Management Plan
The National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) is the first ever national plan prepared in the country.
Following are the highlights of the NDMP:
- The NDMP has been aligned broadly with the goals and priorities set out in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
- The Vision of the Plan is to “Make India disaster resilient, achieve substantial disaster risk reduction, and significantly decrease the losses of life, livelihoods, and assets – economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental – by maximizing the ability to cope with disasters at all levels of administration as well as among communities.
- For each hazard, the approach used in this national plan incorporates the four priorities enunciated in the Sendai Framework into the planning framework for Disaster Risk Reduction under the five Thematic Areas for Actions:
- Understanding Risk
- Inter-Agency Coordination
- Investing in DRR – Structural Measures
- Investing in DRR – Non-Structural Measures
- Capacity Development
- The Response part of the Plan has identified eighteen broad activities which have been arranged into a matrix to be served as a ready reckoner:
- Early Warning, Maps, Satellite inputs, Information Dissemination
- Evacuation of People and Animals
- Search and Rescue of People and Animals
- Medical Care
- Drinking Water/ Dewatering Pumps/ Sanitation Facilities/ Public Health
- Food & Essential Supplies
- Housing and Temporary Shelters
- Relief Logistics and Supply Chain Management
- Disposal of Animal Carcasses
- Fodder for livestock in scarcity-hit areas
- Rehabilitation and Ensuring Safety of Livestock and other Animals, Veterinary Care
- Data Collection and Management
- Relief Employment
- Media Relations
- The Plan has also incorporated a Chapter on Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance.
- The generalized responsibility matrix given in this section summarizes the themes for strengthening Disaster Risk Governance and specifies agencies at the Centre and State with their respective roles.
- The matrix has six thematic areas in which Central and State Governments have to take actions to strengthen disaster risk governance:
- Mainstream and integrate DRR and Institutional Strengthening
- Capacity Development
- Promote Participatory Approaches
- Work with Elected Representatives
- Grievance Redress Mechanism
- Promote Quality Standards, Certifications, and Awards for Disaster Risk Management
- The National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) provides a framework and direction to the government agencies for all phases of disaster management cycle.
- The NDMP is a dynamic document in the sense that it will be periodically improved keeping up with the emerging global best practices and knowledge bases in disaster management.
- Globally, the approach towards post-disaster restoration and rehabilitation has shifted to one of betterment reconstruction. The NDMP provides a generalized framework for recovery since it is not possible to anticipate all the possible elements of betterment reconstruction.
- The Plan also highlights that the disaster risk reduction will be achieved by mainstreaming the requirements into the developmental plans.
Disaster Management Support Programme in India by ISRO
- India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disasters on account of its geo-climatic conditions.
- Floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and landslides have been recurrent phenomena.
- About 60% of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of various intensities; over 40 million hectares is prone to floods; close to 5,700 km long coastline out of the 7,516 km, is prone to cyclones; about 68% of the cultivable area is susceptible to drought.
- The Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the East and part of West coast are vulnerable to Tsunami.
- The deciduous/ dry-deciduous forests in different parts of the country experience forest fires.
- The Himalayan region and the Western Ghats are prone to landslides
- Under the DMS programme, the services emanating from aerospace infrastructure, set up by ISRO, are optimally synthesized to provide data and information required for efficient management of natural disasters in the country.
- The Geostationary satellites (Communication and Meteorological), Low Earth Orbiting Earth Observation satellites, aerial survey systems together with ground infrastructure form the core element of the observation Systems for disaster management.
- The Decision Support Centre established at National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of ISRO is engaged in monitoring natural disasters such as flood, cyclone, agricultural drought, landslides, earthquakes and forest fires at operational level.
- The information generated from aero-space systems are disseminated to the concerned in near real time for aiding in decision making.
- The value added products generated using satellite imagery helps in addressing the information needs covering all the phases of disaster management such as, preparedness, early warning, response, relief, rehabilitation, recovery and mitigation.
National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM)
- National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has been entrusted with the nodal responsibility for human resource development, capacity building including training & education, research, documentation and policy planning in the field of disaster management.
- Upgraded from the National Centre for Disaster Management of the Indian Institute of Public Administration on the 16th October, 2003, NIDM is steadily marching forward to fulfill its mission to make a disaster resilient India by developing and promoting a culture of prevention and preparedness at all levels, and emerge as a Centre of Excellence.
- Union Home Minister is the President of the Institute and, its Governing Body is chaired by Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Mission and Objectives
- Mission of NIDM is to strive relentlessly towards making a disaster free India by developing and promoting a culture of prevention and preparedness at all levels, provide assistance in policy formulation and to facilitate in reducing the impact of disasters through achieving the following objectives:
- Planning and promoting training and capacity building services including strategic learning.
- Research, documentation and development of national level information base.
- System development and expertise promotion for effective disaster preparedness and mitigation.
- Promoting awareness and enhancing knowledge and skills of all stakeholders.
- Strengthening institutional mechanisms for training and capacity building of all stakeholders.
- To become National Resource Centre for the Central and State Governments in the field of Disaster Management in collaboration with other premier institutions
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