DISASTER MANAGEMENT: MEANING, CHALLENGES, PRECAUTIONS AND GOAL
India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disasters on account of its unique 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. At the global level, there has been considerable concern over natural disasters. Over the past couple of years, the Government of India has brought about a paradigm shift in approach to disaster management. In India, the role of emergency management falls to National Disaster Management of India, a government agency subordinate to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Disaster management means a systematic response to a disaster. Earlier the approach to disaster was limited to providing relief to the disaster-affected area. For the first time, the Tenth Five Year Plan devoted a chapter to disaster management. The Disaster Management Act, 2005 came into the statute book on 26 December, 2005 exactly on the first anniversary of the devastating tsunami of 2004, which killed nearly 13,000 people in India alone and affected 18 million people and defines disaster management as “a continuous and integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing measures expedient for prevention of danger or threat of any disaster; mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or preparedness to deal with any disaster; prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster, rescue and relief.
Challenges in Disaster Management include Climate change, Geographical locations, Speed of delivery, Movement of people from disastrous zones, Lack of depth in knowledge. Some precautions to escape horrifying effects of a disaster are creating an emergency list of contacts, an inventory of household items and family assets. Develop a plan and set priorities. Make an evacuation map of your house. Include each room and possible escape routes from each room. Hold regular drills at home. Make sure everyone knows where to go and what to do in an emergency. Make an emergency kit. Include blankets, food and snacks high in protein, water, a flashlight and batteries as goals of Disaster Management including reduction or avoidance of losses from hazards, prompt assistance to victims and effective recovers must be achieved to save lives and losses.
The School Safety Programme under the GOI-UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme essentially targets in promoting a culture of safety in school. The goal of the programme is to promote a culture of disaster preparedness in the school community, place school safety in the education agenda —awareness raising, education, training and capacity building of the Government Officials, Educational Administrators. And other such Awareness Programmes must be adopted at an extensive level to spread the knowledge of precautions taken before, during and after surviving a disaster.
Some other Important Points Regarding Disaster Management Information are as follows:
- India’s National Policy on Disaster Management was approved by the Union Cabinet of India on 22nd October, 2009 with the aim to minimize the losses to lives, livelihoods and property, caused by natural or manmade disasters with a vision to build a safe and disaster resilient.
- The Policy is also intended to promote a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through knowledge, innovation and education. It encourages mitigation measures based on environmental sustainability.
- The goal of the plan is to reduce or eliminate the loss of life. The plan strives to do the same for property damage resulting from natural hazards.
- Nations General Assembly, in 1989, declared the decade 1990-2000 as the International Natural Disaster Reduction with the objective to reduce loss of lives and property and restrict economic damage especially in developing countries.