Need of better disaster management system
Need of better disaster management system
Disasters are a part of human race. It is natural to face the disasters but the worrying part is the dramatic increase of the natural disasters in last some years. The damage caused to the human race by the disasters has been a serious issue on national as well as on international arena. Look back at the past decade; the rate of manmade disasters and natural disasters is up considerably.
During the period 1994 to 1998, the average disasters per year were 428 which climbed to 707 during 1999 to 2003. It was a sharp rise of 60% over the previous years. The biggest rise came in the countries that had low human development. In such regions, the rise was 142% over the previous years. The different types of disasters that resulted in significant damages are drought, flood, technological disaster, and rise in temperature, windstorm and many others. All these events result in the global economic loss that goes above US $1000 billion per year.
The scene in India
Coming to the local scenario, it is no different from the global scenario. Remember the big disasters including the cyclone in Orissa in 1999, earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 and the devastating Tsunami in 2004. The disasters affected the million people across the country resulting in terrible loss of life and property. It snatches away the means of livelihood from people. They have a colossal impact on the structure of economy.
The significance of Disaster Management
The simple term Disaster Management comprises the whole bunch of disaster-related activities. Some people think it just as a means of helping the people after the disaster. It is connected with the post-disaster activities done by the relief and reconstruction authorities. However, disaster management is beyond the post-disaster activities. It not only covers the post-disaster activities but is also linked to the pre-disaster activities.
Disaster Management Activities
The modern disaster managers are busy finding and planning the measures that can help minimize the loss of disasters. The people assigned with the responsibilities are those people who work in the development field and are a part of urban, agricultural, economic and regional development projects. One of the finest examples is of the housing specialists who prepare a low income housing project to help out the people in a disaster prone area. The specialists have the responsibility to build such houses that can minimize the loss in future disaster. The houses should reflect the disaster-resistant construction strategies.
Disaster Management and development activities
Coming to the agriculture zone, the specialists have to plan the projects in such a way that they can stop the environmental degradation in the future that can be caused from droughts, floods or other natural hazards. Most of the disaster management activities are connected with the development projects. Only some of the activities revolve around the emergency response. It is about everything, the emergency assistance, the long term maintenance and the arrangement of livelihood for the displaced persons. The key is to care about the refugees. The refugee field is a wide term that requires the development skills and the complete awareness of legal, political and humanitarian issues.
The need of the hour
Disaster Management helps the country to know about the potential hazards of the disasters. It provides the answer to the many questions like how, when, where the disasters can occur? The study enables to know the problems that can arise in the event of disaster. Talking about the figures, about 59% of the land mass in India is susceptible to seismic hazard. Almost 5% of the area is susceptible to floods and almost 8% is prone to cyclones.
The percentage is at a higher end when we talk about the agricultural land that is susceptible to drought. The figure stands at 70%. There are many other parts that are prone to landslides and avalanches. So, the problem of natural disaster stands in all regions. The manmade hazards can also be not ignored. They even cause a huge loss of life and property. To counter all the problems it becomes essential for the country to set up an efficient disaster management system that can look after the pre-disaster development projects as well as the post-disaster activities.
Working on Capacity
The word capacity holds a lot more significance in disaster management. It is the second name for the means and resources that act as a strong support to encounter the impacts of the disaster. It prepares the regions to withstand the disaster, prevent or mitigate the effects and after that quickly recover from the losses. The capacity can be divided further into two groups: Physical capacity and Socio-economic capacity.
In simple terms, Disaster Management System is the key to the disaster risk reduction. The first advantage of system is preparedness that provides governments, individuals and the communities to respond quickly with the disaster solutions. It can be in the form of viable emergency plans, the warning systems, the inventory management, evacuation plans and the right training of personnel. The second advantage is mitigation of losses in terms of life, property and livelihood.
- RE: Need of better disaster management system -Hemant Sharma (08/12/14)
- There is no questioning that India has been always a vulnerable country to natural disasters. The natural calamities such as folds, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and landslides are recurring phenomena. The recent Uttarakhand disaster has left our disaster management authorities gasping. There are many eyebrows being raised about the role of our National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Even after so many breakthroughs in science and technology, the human death toll and economic losses have just mounted. There are various guidelines issued by the government of India but they never seem to make any considerable amount of impact.
The objective of NDMA was simply to prevent disasters in the country. However, as it turned around people in Uttarakhand were caught unawares by the flash floods and landslides in the absences of any warning or alert. It is very unfortunate that these kind situations keep popping up in our country where more than millions get affected by disasters every year. The post disaster actions have also not been quick and adequate. India’s inefficiency in tackling these disasters has raised many concerns in a hazard prone country.
The warning system in India has been articulated on paper with finesse but when it comes to practical use of these systems, the authorities fail to implement the same with effectiveness. There were many projects in the pipeline setup by the government to prevent the natural disasters that hit our country every year. But as it seems they were either left in the midcourse or were to be redesigned because of its poor planning. If these projects were implemented on time then we would have reduced the losses to a bare minimum.
We all are aware of the fact that India is struck by disasters very often, still there seems to be no plan in place to tackle the disaster even before it has arrived. Tsunami should have been a lesson for the Disaster Management Authorities of India. But there is still lack of required equipments to prevent the disasters. Another drawback is the relief that comes after the disaster. Relief is the main aspect as it provides help to the affected. In India, relief is hard to come by on time. Affected people still have to wait for days after the disaster to get proper food and water supplies.
Rehabilitation is another important aspect of disaster management. This is an area which should be given proper attention as this is the part where the city or the affected place gets reconstructed. Providing relief is important but it is also very important to reconstruct the town. Restoration of infrastructure, medical facilities, schools, houses and other sources of living is a mandate too.
After having witnessed hazards on a huge scale, its time India prepare and plan themselves for future disasters. The government at the central as well as at the state/district level has to implement various projects to prevent the disasters initially. Government should try and initiate a nationwide awareness which would help people to understand the disaster management strategies. There should be a proper response team including the doctors, paramedics, engineers, etc that can provide rapid response to disaster. Emergency operation centre and trigger mechanism is also very important. People should know way before the disaster is about to hit the city.
India being a hazard prone country has made several significant changes in the disaster management program. With the youth coming in, a new culture of preparedness, quick response and prevention of disaster is being accompanied. India is working very hard as a nation to deal with the various disasters that struck the nation every year. However, we are still a long way to go and without support of the people of the country and the government it won’t be possible. Thus, we have to make sure that we start the change at the grass root level and then see it coming up to the top level.