Disaster is a very common phenomenon to the human society. It has been experienced by them since time immemorial. Though its form may be varied, it has been a challenge for society across castes, creeds, communities and countries. The latest development which has been discovered in the World Disaster Reports recently is that the disasters have increased in frequency and intensity.
People are becoming more and more vulnerable to disasters of all types, including earthquake, flood, cyclones, landslides, droughts, accidents, plane crash, forests fire, etc. With the technological advancements and progress, the force of disasters is also changing. When they occur they surpass all preparedness and eagerness of society and pose bigger challenge to them. This is quite true in case of both developed and developing countries. The floods in UK, France, and heat wave in Europe, particularly in France in 2003, claimed more than 35000 lives. In the year 2006, America had to face bigger disaster in the form of tornadoes and other cyclones. They caused great loss of lives and property. All these are sufficient to prove that technological mechanisms are inadequate.
There is a direct correlation between higher human development and higher preparedness. The countries which have lesser human development are more vulnerable to risks of disasters and damage. Of all the disasters, floods are the most common followed by wind storms, droughts and earthquakes. But the drought is the deadliest disaster which accounts for 48 per cent of all deaths from natural disasters. The highest numbers of people die from disasters in Asia. India, China and Bangladesh are the worst affected countries by flood. Besides the natural disasters, transport accidents and technological disasters are also faced by the developing countries.
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India, due to its geographical locations and geological formations, is a highly disaster prone country. Its long coastline, snowclad high peaks, high mountain ranges, the perennial rivers in the north all combine to add to this problem. India, which has only two per cent the total geographical area, has to support 16 per cent of total world population. Naturally, there is a tremendous pressure on the natural resources, which directly or indirectly lead to the occurrence of disasters, namely floods, droughts, landslides, earthquakes, etc.
Like human population, India has to support large cattle population, which also heavily depends on biomass and graze into forest area. The forest cover with more than 0.4 densities is 12 per cent of the land area, though forest, at present, is 23 per cent. Due to overgrazing the quality of soil is also degrading resulting in soil erosion, silting of rivers, and removal of fertile soil and heavy silting of cultivable land. We see heavy rainfall during the monsoon, sometimes 100 cm rain in 36 hours or getting the whole monsoon rain two to three days like the ones in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Kolkata. From the region wise analysis, it is clear that northern region of India is faced with problems of avalanches, landslides, floods, drought and earthquakes because this region fall under the seismic zones III to V.
The Eastern region is confronted with the heavy floods in the perennial rivers of Brahmaputra, Ganga, etc. Drought, heat wave, hailstorm, cyclone, heavy wind and earthquake are also common in this region. The Northeastern region faces the natural disaster in the form of flood, landslides, wind outrage, earthquake as most of this part of the country comes under the seismic zones IV and V.
The Western region is widely known for severe drought, wind erosion of land and soil, flood and cyclone. This area is also prone to earthquakes. The Southern region, particularly the coastal region is vulnerable to cyclones, sea erosion, tsunami, landslides. The islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep are confronted with the problems of sea erosion and tsunami. Indian coastal areas faced some of the severest cyclones both in Eastern coast and Western coast. One of the natural disasters, namely the volcanoes is in the barren island in Andaman group of islands which periodically become active.
In recent times, it was active in 2005. Among all the disasters, tsunami is the latest phenomena, which was never seen or heard earlier. Due to having no adequate warning system, it devastated a large portion of coastal region of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh besides Andaman & Nicobar Islands and claimed a large number of innocent lives and destroyed property worth crores of rupees.
India has faced a number of disasters, ranging from flood, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunami, drought, landslides. A few recent disasters faced by India include Uttar Kasha earthquake in UP in 1991, Later earthquake in Maharashtra in 1993, Chama earthquake in Gujarat, super cyclone in Orissa in 1999, Buhl earthquake in Gujarat in 2001, Tsunami in 2004 and Mumbai-Gujarat flood in 2005. Besides, India has a bad experience of technology-related tragedy in the form of gas tragedy in Bhopal in 1984. India also faced the problem of Plague in Gujarat.
The direct or indirect impacts of disasters, either natural or technological, are always damage, destruction and death. They cause loss of life of both men and animals and properties as well. At the occurrence of disaster, everything goes haywire in view of the destruction of lifeline support systems, namely communication, power supply, water supply, drainage, etc. In this situation the health care and hospitals are also put under severe stress. Commercial and economic activities are badly affected. Life almost comes to a standstill.
The impact is almost same, in case of man-made disasters like riots. The worst affected group is the poor sections of society, who are daily wage-earner. They are the most vulnerable and they suffer the loss of their livelihood. The psychological traumas caused by the disasters are sometimes so severe that they span the whole of life of the victim. Besides other rehabilitation works, psychological rehabilitation is of great importance.
In some natural disasters like cyclones, tsunami and earthquake, it is the building structure which becomes the cause of destruction and death. It is due to this fact that in building construction, building codes are not followed property. In developing countries only 30 per cent of built infrastructures are constructed as per the building codes, while semi-permanent and other buildings do not follow the plan. Besides, the low quality of building material, liberal flouting and lack of master plan are some of the major constraints in this regard.
The UNDA with Government of India has jointly prepared an action plan for cities and towns vulnerable to earthquakes. The need in the vulnerable zones is that the existing buildings be technically assessed and evaluated and individual owners and group housing authorities should be informed about the weaknesses in their construction. Presently, in India, it is estimated that around 10 lakhs buildings which are constructed every year, an equal number of them get damaged as a result of disasters. It is required that a monitoring mechanism should be set up in disaster prone areas and it must act in proper coordination with the concerned to ensure fulfillment of building codes.
Disaster is a state subject in India; it is, therefore, the responsibility of the state to provide every kind of support and assistance to the victim. The Central Government has a facilitating role. It, with proper coordination with various ministries, extends all required support and helps to the states, namely defence services, air dropping, rescuing, searching, transport of relief goods, availability of rail and ferry services, health personnel and medical support, etc. In the State, the Relief Commissioner or Disaster Management Secretary is the specific authority responsible for handling and management of the disaster.
At the state level there is a State Level Disaster Management Committee consisting of senior secretaries of various departments and representatives of the NGOs. At national level, there is a Crisis Management Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary and secretaries from major departments of governments. In 1999 a high powered Committee on Disaster Management was set up by the Government of India to look into the existing disaster management system in the country and to suggest measures to improve it. Besides, a Calamity Relief Fund has been constituted with contribution in ratio 3: 1 between the Centre and the respective State Government. The Eleventh Finance Commission has recommended nearly Rs. 11,000 crore for the period spread over five years, while the Twelfth Finance Commission has also recommended a Rs 23,000 crore assistance for the states.
Rehabilitation is an integral part of disaster management. When disasters occur administrative measures are terribly inadequate and perhaps this is the most difficult period for a victim. The role of administration does not end with end of disasters. In fact its effort and commitment get more complex. It requires proper coordination among various agencies. In this context it is very important to note that disasters are non-routine events that require non-routine response. Government cannot rely on normal procedures to implement appropriate responses- the rescue teams require learning special skills, technologies and attitudes in dealing with disasters.
Disaster Management has assumed great importance in recent times. To handle the situation efficiently, we need to be well-equipped with latest technologies. It cannot avert the situation, but can mitigate its impacts.
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Here is a compilation of essays on ‘Disaster Management’ for class 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays ‘Disaster Management’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Disaster Management
- Essay on the Introduction to Disaster Management
- Essay on the Meaning of Disaster Management
- Essay on the Institutions of Disaster Management
- Essay on the Disaster Management Cycle
- Essay on the Plan Preparation for Disaster Management
- Essay on the Principles of Disaster Management
- Essay on the Financial Agreements for Disaster Management
- Essay on the Challenges in Disaster Management
- Essay on the Role of Indian Armed Forces and Government in Disaster Management
- Essay on the National Policy on Disaster Management
- Essay on the Awareness Programmes for Disaster Management
Essay # 1. Introduction to Disaster Management:
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; over 40 million hectares is prone to floods; about 8% of the total area is prone to cyclones and 68% of the area is susceptible to drought.
In the decade 1990-2000, an average of about 4344 people lost their lives and about 30 million people were affected by disasters every year. The loss in terms of private, community and public assets has been astronomical. At the global level, there has been considerable concern over natural disasters.
Even as scientific and material progress is made, the loss of lives and property due to disasters has not decision. In fact, the human toll and economic losses have mounted. It was in this background that the 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 through concerted international action, especially in developing countries.
Over the past couple of years, the Government of India has brought about a paradigm shift in approach to disaster management. The new approach proceeds from the conviction that develop cannot be sustainable unless disaster mitigation is built into the development process. Another stone of the approach is that mitigation has to be multi-disciplinary spanning across all sectors.
The new policy also emanates from the belief that investments in mitigation are much cost effective than expenditure on relief and rehabilitation. Disaster management occupies an important place in this country’s policy framework as it is poor and the underprivileged who are worst affected on account of calamities/disasters.
The steps being taken by the Government emanate from the approach outlined above. The app: has been translated into a National Disaster Framework [a roadmap] covering institutional mechanic; disaster prevention strategy, early warning system, disaster mitigation, preparedness and response human resource development.
The expected inputs, areas of intervention and agencies to be in at the national, state and district levels have been identified and listed in the roadmap. This road has been shared with all the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations.
Ministries Departments of Government of India, and the State Governments/UT Administrations have been develop their respective roadmaps taking the national roadmap as a broad guideline. There is, therefore: now a common strategy underpinning the action being taken by the entire participating organisation stakeholders.
The approach is being put into effect through:
1. Institutional changes
2. Enunciation of policy
3. Legal and techno-legal framework
4. Mainstreaming Mitigation into development process
5. Funding mechanism
6. Specific schemes addressing mitigation
7. Preparedness measures
8. Capacity building
9. Human resource development and, above all, community participation.
In India, the role of emergency management falls to National Disaster Management of India, a government agency subordinate to the Ministry of Home Affairs. In recent years, there has been a shift in emphasis, from response and recovery to strategic risk management and reduction, and from a government-centered approach to decentralized community participation.
Survey of India, an agency within the Ministry of Science and Technology, is also playing a role in this field, through bringing the academic knowledge and research expertise of earth scientists to the emergency management process.
Essay # 2. Meaning of Disaster Management:
Disaster management means a systematic response to a disaster. Earlier the approach to disaster was relief centric and 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 approach subsequently changed and pre-empting the disaster, assessing disaster risk and taking preventive measures has also become a part of disaster management.
The Disaster Management Act was notified on 26th December, 2005 which defines disaster management as “a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary or expedient for-prevention of danger or threat of any disaster; mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences; capacity building; preparedness to deal with any disaster; prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster; assessing the severity of magnitude of effects of any disaster; evacuation, rescue and relief; and rehabilitation and reconstruction.”
The Act provided for a dedicated and institutionalized framework to coordinate various aspects of disaster management. A National Policy on Disaster Management, which provided detailed guidelines on disaster management, was announced in 2009.
Essay # 3. Institutions of Disaster Management:
The Disaster Management Act 2005 has provided the legal and institutional framework for disaster management in India at the national, state and district levels. In the federal policy of India the primary responsibility of disaster management vests with the State Governments.
The Central Government lays down policies and guidelines and provides technical, financial and logistic support while the district administration carries out most of the operations in collaboration with central and state level agencies.
In the Central Government there are existing institutions and mechanisms for disaster management while new dedicated institutions have been created under the Disaster Management Act of 2005.
The Cabinet Committee on Management of Natural Calamities (CCMNC) oversees all aspects relating to the management of natural calamities including assessment of the situation and identification of measures and programmes considered necessary to reduce its impact, monitor and suggest long term measures for prevention of such calamities, formulate and recommend programmes for public awareness for building up society’s resilience to them. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) deals with the matters relating to nuclear, biological and chemical emergencies.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the Cabinet Secretary oversees the Command, Control and Coordination of the disaster response. The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has created new institutions at the national, state, district and local levels.
The new institutional framework for disaster management in the country is as under:
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister is the apex body responsible for laying down policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management and for coordinating their enforcement and implementation throughout the country.
The policies and guidelines will assist the Central Ministries, State Governments and district administration to formulate their respective plans and programmes. NDMA has the power to approve the National Plans and the Plans of the respective Ministries and Departments of Government of India. The general superintendence, direction and control of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are vested in and will be exercised by the NDMA.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) is mandated to assist the NDMA in the discharge of its functions and further ensure compliance of the directions issued by the Central Government. The NEC comprises of the Union Home Secretary as the Chairperson, and the Secretaries to the GOI in the Ministries/Departments of Agriculture, Atomic Energy, Defence, Drinking Water Supply, Environment and Forests, Finance (Expenditure), Health, Power, Rural Development, Science and Technology, Space, Telecommunications, Urban Development, Water Resources and the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee as members.
Secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs, Earth Sciences, Human Resource Development, Mines, Shipping, Road Transport and Highways and Secretary, NDMA are special invitees to the meetings of the NEC. The National Executive Committee is responsible to prepare the National Plan and coordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Policy and the guidelines issued by NDMA.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Central Government has the overall responsibility for disaster management in the country.
For a few specific types of disasters the concerned Ministries have the nodal responsibilities for management of the disasters, as under:
The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has the mandate for human resource development and capacity building for disaster management within the broad policies and guidelines laid down by the NDMA. NIDM is required to design, develop and implement training programmes, undertake research, formulate and implement a comprehensive human resource development plan, provide assistance in national policy formulation, assist other research and training institutes, state governments and other organizations for successfully discharging their responsibilities, develop educational materials for dissemination and promote awareness among stakeholders in addition to undertake any other function as assigned to it by the Central Government.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is the specialized force for disaster response which works under the overall supervision and control of the NDMA.
At the State Level the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), headed by the Chief Minister, lays down policies and plans for disaster management in the state. It is also responsible to coordinate the implementation of the State Plan, recommend provision of funds for mitigation and preparedness measures and review the developmental plans of the different departments of the state to ensure integration of prevention, preparedness and mitigation measures.
The State Disaster Management Department (DMD) which is mostly positioned in the Revenue and Relief Department is the nodal authority.
In the district level the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is headed by the District Magistrate, with the elected representative of the local authority as the Co-Chairperson. DDMA is the planning, coordinating and implementing body for disaster management at district level. It will, inter alia prepare the District Disaster Management Plan and monitor the implementation of the National and State Policies and the National, State and the District Plans.
DDMA will also ensure that the guidelines for prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response measures laid down by the NDMA and the SDMA are followed by all departments of the State Government at the district level and the local authorities in the district.
The Local Authorities both the rural local self-governing institutions (Panchayati Raj Institutions) and urban local bodies (Municipalities, Cantonment Boards and Town Planning Authorities) These bodies will ensure capacity building of their officers and employees for managing disasters, carry out relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the affected areas and will prepare DM Plans in consonance with guidelines of the NDMA, SDMAs and DDMAs.
Disaster Management Act (2005):
The Disaster Management Act, 2005 came into the statute book on 26 December, 2005 by a Gazette notification, 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. The Act provides a legal and institutional framework for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
It provides for establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) at the National, State and District levels with adequate financial and administrative powers and creation of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) with the mandate of undertaking training and capacity building, Develop Training Modules on various aspects of disaster management, Undertake Research and Documentation, Formulate and implement comprehensive HRD Plan covering all aspects of DM, Provide assistance in national level policy formulation and Provide assistance to state governments and State Training Institutions.
The act also provides guidelines for creation of National Disaster Response Fund, National Mitigation Fund, Establishment of funds by State Government and Allocation of funds by Ministries and Departments for Emergency Procurement. The act also provides for establishment of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
National Policy on Disaster Management in 2009:
The National Policy on Disaster Management was approved by the Government in November 2009. This comprehensive policy document lays down policies on every aspect of holistic management of disasters in the country.
The policy has thirteen chapters as under:
2. Approach and Objectives
3. Institutional and Legal Arrangements
4. Financial Arrangements
5. Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness
6. Techno-Legal Regime
8. Relief and Rehabilitation
9. Reconstruction and recovery
10. Capacity development
11. Knowledge management
12. Research and development
13. Road ahead
Salient Features of India’s National Policy on Disaster Management:
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 India by developing a holistic, proactive, integrated, Multi-disaster oriented and technology driven strategy.
With this national policy in place in India, a holistic and integrated approach will be evolved towards disaster management with emphasis on building strategic partnerships at various levels. The themes underpinning the policy include Community based Disaster Management, Capacity development in all spheres, Consolidation of past initiatives and best practices and Cooperation with agencies at national and international levels with multi-sectoral synergy.
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. It seeks to mainstream disaster management into the developmental planning process and provides for institutional and financial arrangements at national, state, and district-levels for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness and Response as it ensures adequate budgeting for disaster mitigation activities in all Ministries and Departments.
I. State Policies on Disaster Management:
The States of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala have formulated State Disaster Management Policies. Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh, Uttrakhand, Meghalaya, Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi, Orissa and West Bengal have prepared draft policies.
II. State Relief Codes/DM Codes:
Many States have manuals and codes for management of drought, floods etc. Now many states are in the process of changing their State Relief codes into Disaster Management Manuals.
Essay # 4. Disaster Management Cycle:
Earthquakes, landslides, floods, hurricanes, famines typhoons, and other disasters affect millions of people and cause a lot of financial loss to the nation every year. Many of these events are impossible to predict precisely, but with the disaster response community has a variety of tools that can employ to reduce thereafter effects.
The community understands these tools as arrayed across a “disaster management cycle” that includes work from prevention efforts all the way through long-term recovery and “building back better.”
The disaster management cycle includes several phases:
Disaster mitigation work involves directly preventing future emergencies and/or minimizing their negative effects. It requires hazard risk analysis and the application of strategies to reduce the likelihood that hazards will become disasters, such as flood-proofing homes or buying insurance.
Disaster preparedness efforts include plans or preparations made in advance of an emergency that help individuals and communities get ready. Such preparations might include the stocking of food and water, medicine, or the gathering and screening of willing volunteers.
Disaster response work includes any actions taken in the midst of or immediately following an emergency, including efforts to save lives and to prevent further property damage. Ideally, disaster response involves putting already established disaster preparedness plans into motion. Typically, this phase of the disaster life cycle draws the most attention.
Disaster recovery happens after damages have been assessed, and involves actions to return the affected community to its pre-disaster state or better-and ideally to make it less vulnerable to future risk. Risk identification includes understanding the nature of hazards as well as understanding the nature of vulnerabilities. Subsequent efforts may range from physical upgrades to education, training, and public awareness campaigns.
Essay # 5. Plan Preparation for Disaster Management:
Programme staff has selected 100 villagers (including women) who will be given intensive disaster management training. This will include preparation for post-earthquake, cyclone and fire situations. The objective of the programme is to help build up, within a short period of time, a mechanism that can respond to natural calamities and help save lives.
Results of the training should include better coordination with relief and rescue efforts of the government and humanitarian agencies so as to avoid the common mismanagement that often hampers relief operations following natural disasters.
By prioritising measures for vulnerability reduction in a transparent, accountable and inclusive way, the programme aims to shape future disaster response and related development projects in other areas of Gujarat, as well as in other drought prone states.
Disaster Contingency Plan Preparation:
A good disaster contingency plan consists of organizing resources, assessing risks, developing a plan, implementing the plan and monitoring it. The plan is a constantly changing document. The plan needs to be flexible because communities and resources change over time.
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. Understand that your plan might be different for different types of emergencies.
You would respond differently to a house fire than you would a state emergency for disaster:
1. Organize your resources. Take an inventory of resources that would be needed and available in the event of various emergencies. Resources can be other people as well as organizations. Create an emergency list of contacts. Be sure to include area codes, especially if you have younger children. Create an inventory of household items and family assets. Keep it in a water and fire-proof safe.
2. Assess your risks. Determine the potential problems in your household and in your community. Include tornadoes or wind storms in your plan if you live in an area prone to these meteorological events.
3. Develop a plan and set priorities. Make an evacuation map of your house. Include each room and possible escape routes from each room. Consider where your family would meet if a disaster happened while your children were at school and you were at work. Learn how to turn off your utilities. Include your pets in your planning.
4. Implement the plan and monitor its progress. Hold regular drills at home. Make sure everyone knows where to go and what to do in an emergency.
5. Make an emergency kit. Include blankets, food and snacks high in protein, water, a flashlight and batteries. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency also recommends a first aid kit, extra clothes, a tool kit, duct tape, a towline, a utility knife, and extra medication if applicable.
Disaster Management Plan Preparation:
The preparation of plans must fulfill the statutory requirements as laid down in the Disaster Management Act and must ensure that efforts have been made by the department to fulfill statutory duties-failure of which invites stringent liabilities including criminal proceedings by the law of the State.
This planning exercise is an effort made to mainstream all issues concerned with emergency preparedness, response and mitigation/risk reduction activities.
The department should include the following components in the department plan:
1. Planning on emergency response at all levels.
2. Planning on providing relief and recovery support (post-disaster).
3. Planning on prevention and mitigation issues (including mainstreaming mitigation into the development)
4. Programmes supported by schemes financed by the state government (multilateral bilateral and donor institutions).
5. Planning for resources such as financial and human resource to fulfill the above three components.
The roles and responsibilities (in fulfilling the above four components) of all the actors and agencies within the department should be clearly spelt out in the plan. This will avoid ambiguity and confusion while executing the plan in the times of crisis. Thus, the roles and responsibilities under the above listed heads/sections should be prepared and the responsibilities assigned.
Department plan must clearly identify and assess the current capacity of the department. In other words, the department assess the availability of human resources/manpower, equipment, need for training and further capacity building through human resource development plan. In addition, existing resource allocation by the department on disaster management functions and requirements of additional funds for a minimum period of next three years must be indicated in the plan.
Essay # 6. Principles of Disaster Management:
The principles of disaster management are:
1. Disaster management is the responsibility of all spheres of government. No single service or department in itself has the capability to achieve comprehensive disaster management. Each affected service or department must have a disaster management plan which is coordinated through the Disaster Management Advisory Forum.
2. Disaster management should use resources that exist for a day-to-day purpose. There are limited resources available specifically for disasters, and it would be neither cost effective nor practical to have large holdings of dedicated disaster resources. However, municipalities must ensure that there is a minimum budget allocation to enable appropriate response to incidents as they arise, and to prepare for and reduce the risk of disasters occurring.
3. Organisations should function as an extension of their core business. Disaster management is about the use of resources in the most effective manner. To achieve this during disasters, organisations should be employed in a manner that reflects their day-to-day role. But it should be done in a coordinated manner across all relevant organisations, so that it is multidisciplinary and multi-agency.
4. Individuals are responsible for their own safety. Individuals need to be aware of the hazards that could affect their community and the counter measures, which include the Municipal Disaster Management Plan, that are in place to deal with them.
5. Disaster management planning should focus on large-scale events. It is easier to scale down a response than it is to scale up if arrangements have been based on incident scale events. If you are well prepared for a major disaster you will be able to respond very well to smaller incidents and emergencies, nevertheless, good multi agency responses to incidents do help in the event of a major disaster.
6. Disaster management planning should recognise the difference between incidents and disasters. Incidents, e.g., fires that occur in informal settlements, floods that occur regularly, still require multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional coordination. The scale of the disaster will indicate when it is beyond the capacity of the municipality to respond, and when it needs the involvement of other agencies.
7. Disaster management operational arrangements are additional to and do not replace incident management operational arrangements. Single service incident management operational arrangements will need to continue, whenever practical, during disaster operations.
8. Disaster management planning must take account of the type of physical environment and the structure of the population. The physical shape and size of the Municipality and the spread of population must be considered when developing counter disaster plans to ensure that appropriate prevention, preparation, response and recovery mechanisms can be put in place in a timely manner.
9. Disaster management arrangements must recognize the involvement and potential role of non-government agencies. Significant skills and resources needed during disaster operations are controlled by non-government agencies. These agencies must be consulted and included in the planning process.
Goal of Disaster Management:
1. Reduce or avoid losses from hazards
2. Assure prompt assistance to victims
3. Achieve rapid and effective recovers.
Essay # 7. Financial Agreements for Disaster Management:
Financing of Relief Expenditures:
The policy arrangements for meeting relief expenditure related to natural disasters are, by and large, based on the recommendations of successive finance commissions. The two main windows presently open for meeting such expenditures are the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) and National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF). The Calamity Relief Fund is used for meeting the expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims of cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood and hailstorm.
Expenditure on restoration of damaged capital works should ordinarily be met from the normal budgetary heads, except when it is to be incurred as part of providing immediate relief, such as restoration of drinking water sources or provision of shelters etc., or restoration of communication links for facilitating relief operations.
The amount of annual contribution to the CRF of each State for each of the financial years 2000-01 to 2004-05 is as indicated by the Finance Commission. Of the total contribution indicated, the Government of India contributes 75 per cent of the total yearly allocation in the form of a non-plan grant, and the balance amount is contributed by the State Government concerned. A total of Rs.11,007.59 crore was provided for the Calamity Relief Fund from 2000-05.
Pursuant to the recommendations of the Eleventh Finance Commission, apart from the CRF, a National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) Scheme came into force with effect from the financial year 2000-01 and would be operative till the end of the financial year 2004-05.
NCCF is intended to cover natural calamities like cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood and hailstorm, which are considered to be of severe nature requiring expenditure by the State Government in excess of the balances available in its own Calamity Relief Fund.
The assistance from NCCF is available only for immediate relief and rehabilitation. Any reconstruction of assets or restoration of damaged capital should be financed through re-allocation of Plan funds. There is need for defining the arrangements in this regard.
The initial corpus of the National Fund is Rs.500 crore, provided by the Government of India. This fund is required to be recouped by levy of special surcharge for a limited period on central taxes. An amount of about Rs.2,300 crore has already been released to States from NCCF. A list of items and norms of expenditure for assistance chargeable to CRF/NCCF in the wake of natural calamities is prescribed in detail from time to time.
Financing of Disaster Management through Five Year Plans:
Although not specifically addressed in Five Year Plan documents in the past, the Government of India has a long history of using funds from the Plan for mitigating natural disasters. Funds are 11 provided under plan schemes i.e., various schemes of Government of India, such as for drinking water, employment generation, inputs for agriculture and flood control measures etc.
There are also facilities for rescheduling short-term loans taken for agriculture purposes upon certification by the District/ State administration. Central Government’s assets/ infrastructure are to be repaired/rectified by the respective Ministry/Department of Government of India.
Besides this, at the occurrence of a calamity of great magnitude, funds flow from donors, both local and international, for relief and rehabilitation, and in few cases for long- term preparedness/preventive measures. Funds for the latter purposes are also available from multilateral funding agencies such as the World Bank. These form part of the state.
There are also a number of important ongoing schemes that specifically help reduce disaster vulnerability.
Some of these are:
a. Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP),
b. Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP),
c. Desert Development Programme (DDP),
d. Flood Control Programme,
e. National Afforestation and Eco-development Programme (NA & ED),
f. Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP),
g. Crop Insurance, Sampurn Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY),
h. Food for Work etc.
Initiatives Proposed by Various Bodies Regarding Financing under the Plan:
References have recently been made to the role of the Plan in disaster management by the High Power Committee (HPC) on Disaster Management, as well as by the Eleventh Finance Commission. The HPC was constituted in 1999 and submitted its Report in October 2001. The HPC took an overview of all recent disasters (natural as well as manmade) in the country and identified common response and preparedness mechanisms on the basis of a series of consultations with a number of government, non-government, national and international agencies and media organisations.
An important recommendation of the Committee was that at least 10 per cent of plan funds at the national, state and district levels be earmarked and apportioned for schemes which specifically address areas such as prevention, reduction, preparedness and mitigation of disasters.
The Eleventh Finance Commission too paid detailed attention to the issue of disaster management and, in its chapter on calamity relief, came out with a number of recommendations, of which the following have a direct bearing on the Plan:
1. Expenditure on restoration of infrastructure and other capital assets, except those that are intrinsically connected with relief operations and connectivity with the affected area and population, should be met from the plan funds on priority basis.
2. Medium and long-term measures be devised by the concerned Ministries of the Government of India, the State Governments and the Planning Commission to reduce, and if possible, eliminate, the occurrences of these calamities by undertaking developmental works.
3. The Planning Commission, in consultation with the State Governments and concerned Ministries, should be able to identify works of a capital nature to prevent the recurrence of specific calamities. These works may be funded under the Plan.
Essay # 8. Challenges in Disaster Management:
Logistics and supply chain management underpin responses to humanitarian crises. Disaster management cannot be handled by single agency.
Following are the real factors that affect the most in any location:
1. Reconstruction challenges
3. Climate change
4. Geographical locations
5. Speed of delivery
6. Movement of people from disastrous zones
7. Influx of humanitarian staff
8. Gaps in NGO capacity
9. Funding biasness
10. Lack of depth in knowledge
11. Lack of investment in technology and communication
Essay # 9. Role of Indian Armed Forces and Government in Disaster Management:
Role of Indian Armed Forces in Disaster Management:
Whenever a disaster strikes, either it is natural or man-made, the Indian armed forces are called upon to handle the situation. They are always ready to move to any kind of disaster- affected areas and have the guts to work under adverse conditions.
India is one of the most vulnerable nations in the world, susceptible to multiple natural disasters owing to its unique topographic and climatic conditions. Its coastal states, particularly the eastern coast and Gujarat are exposed to cyclones, 40 million hectares (eight per cent) of land mass is flood prone, 68 per cent faces drought threat, 55 per cent of the area is in seismic zones III-IV and falls under earthquakes-prone belt and sub-Himalayan region and Western Ghats are threatened by landslides.
Moreover, India is increasingly getting susceptible to man-made disasters related to industrialization, transportation, environmental degradation and terrorist attacks. Besides, there is no legal ratification either at the Union or the state governments level to deal with such disasters in comprehensive manner as the subject of disaster management is not specified under any of the three lists (Central, state and concurrent) of Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The government of India is aware of the urgent need for better disaster response mechanism, but the overall trend in the nation has indicated that the level of preparedness of the Centre as well as the states is extremely uneven and requires considerable strengthening.
Fortunately, the Centre and a number of states have displayed growing appreciation for the need of effective disaster management strategies. Of late, the nodal agency for coordination of relief, response and overall natural disaster management is positioned under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
However, when any disaster occurs in India, the armed forces under the Ministry of Defence are called upon to intervene and handle the situation. As the development oriented Indian Civil Administration is ill equipped for undertaking disaster response activities in the event of major disasters, they merely rely on the armed forces.
At the same time, the Indian armed forces, being one of the most dedicated, professional, modernised armed forces in the world with rapid strides in technology development, adequately equipped with the necessary technical competence, man power and material resources undertakes rescue and relief operations of any disasters.
For instance, when tsunami occurred in December 2004, the Indian army, navy and the air force coordinated by the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) efficiently executed the relief, rescue and evacuation assignments under Operation Sea Wave, and also extended aid to Sri Lanka and Maldives under Operation Rainbow and Operation Castor at the request of their respective governments for assistance.
Whether the Kashmir earthquake of 2005, the cyclone in Bangladesh on 15 November, 2007, the fire breakout at Burrabazar in Kolkata on January 12, 2008, or the recent serial blasts at Bangalore and Ahmedabad on July 2008, the role played by the Indian armed forces is commendable.
Above and beyond its primary role, i.e., to defend the nation against any external aggression the Indian armed forces are inevitably involved in securing the country from diverse unconventional fronts. They are always in the state of operational readiness to move to any kind of disaster-affected areas and have the daring to work under adverse ground and climatic conditions, which is of immense help in assisting the civil authority during disasters.
Their performance in rescue and response action after disasters has been exemplary and with the ever increasing frequency of disasters in the South Asian region, they will continue to play a vital role in the years to come.
Furthermore, in spite of the disaster rescue and relief responsibilities, there is need for decisive modus operandi for operational coordination between the civil administration and the armed forces. Since, the armed forces’ effective response depends on immediate information made available by the state administration, delay in information has often caused loss of precious time due to lack of proper communication and coordination with the civil authority and concern for loss of lives. In this regard, the state institutions must appreciate the operational line of action in which the armed forces function.
The armed forces professional ethics are autonomous in character and do not encourage civil interference. At the same time, the armed forces need to acknowledge that the source of primary information for disaster response lies with the state.
As disaster management plan should incorporate the role expected of the armed forces so that the procedure for deploying them is well-organized, there is a need to encompass an interface personnel correlation between the state government and the armed forces for immediate effective delivery of relief to the victims affected by disasters.
Role of Government in Disaster Management:
i. Funding Mechanisms:
The policy and the funding mechanism for provision of relief assistance to those affected by natural calamities is clearly laid down. These are reviewed by the Finance Commission appointed by the Government of India every five years. The Finance Commission makes recommendation regarding the division of tax and non-tax revenues between the Central and the State Governments and also regarding policy for provision of relief assistance and the share of expenditure thereon.
A Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) has been set up in each State as per the recommendations of the Eleventh Finance Commission. The size of the Calamity Relief Fund has been fixed by the Finance Commission after taking into account the expenditure on relief and rehabilitation over the past 10 years.
The Government of India contributes 75% of the corpus of the Calamity Relief Fund in each State. 25% is contributed by the State. The requirement of funds for response and relief is met from the CRF. Overall norms for relief assistance are laid down by a national committee with representatives of States as members.
Different States can have State-specific norms to be recommended by State level committee under the Chief Secretary. Where the calamity is of such proportion that the funds available in the CRF will not be sufficient for provision of relief, the State seeks assistance from the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF).
When such requests are received, the requirements are assessed by a team from the Central Government and thereafter the assessed requirements are assessed by a Central team and thereafter the requirements are placed before an Inter-Ministerial Group chaired by the Home Secretary.
A High Level Committee chaired by the Home Minister with the Agriculture Minister, Finance Minister and the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission take decision regarding the release of assistance from the NCCF based on the report of the Central Team and the recommendations of the IMG thereon. In brief, the institutional arrangements for response and relief are well established and have proved to be robust and effective.
ii. Role of Central Government:
At the national level, the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal Ministry for all matters concerning disaster management except drought, which continues to be handled by the Ministry of Agriculture. The Central Relief Commissioner (CRC) in the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal officer for coordinating relief assistance for the natural and manmade disasters.
The CRC receives information relating to forecasting/warning of a natural calamity from India Meteorological Department (IMD) or from Central Water Commission of Ministry of Water Resources on a continuing basis. These forecasts are also concurrently passed on to the State by the Agencies responsible for early warning.
Whenever assistance is required by the States for handling a natural calamity, the assistance is coordinated by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Nodal Officers have been appointed in each Ministry/Department responsible for emergency support functions in the event of a disaster. The Central Relief Commissioner coordinates with the Nodal Officers to ensure that the requisite assistance is made available to the State.
Essay # 10. National Policy on Disaster Management:
Despite the fact that we lose thousands of lives and property worth thousands of crores each year in disasters, we have not had a National Policy on Disaster Management. Where a number of Ministries or where a broad segment of Government is involved; it is useful to have a National Policy as it serves as a framework for action by all the relevant Ministries/ Departments. A National Policy on Disaster Management has been drafted. In line with the changed focus, the policy proposes to integrate disaster mitigation into developmental planning.
The primary objective is to change the focus from relief and rehabilitation to mitigation and preparedness. MHA is working towards putting in place institutions which will reflect this holistic approach. The States have been advised (HS had written to all Chief Secretaries and the former Dy.
Prime Minister has also written to all Chief Ministers in this regard) to convert their Departments of Relief and Rehabilitation into Department of Disaster Management. 10 States/UTs: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Administration and Lakshadweep have already acted on this.
The exercise of reducing vulnerabilities of mitigation or of preparedness or in fact of response is multi-disciplinary. It involves a number of Ministries/ Departments. Unfortunately, till date all Departments have had the feeling that disaster management/response is the responsibility of the Department of Relief and Rehabilitation alone.
The States have, therefore, been advised to set up Disaster Management Authorities under the Chief Minister with the Ministers of Water Resources, Agriculture, Home, Health, PWD, Animal Husbandry, Urban Development and other Ministers who may be relevant as members. 11 States and UTs: Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Orissa, Gujarat, Kerala, Nagaland, Delhi, Goa, A&N administration and Chandigarh Administration have notified the authority.
The other States are in the process of setting up similar authorities. At the National level, a National Emergency Management Agency is being set up. The proposal for setting up NEMA and building up specialised capabilities was considered by the Committee of Secretaries (COS) on 21st April, 2004. Based on the recommendations of the COS, the Note for the Empowered Group of Ministers on Disaster Management is being revised for submission to Home Minister for approval.
Disaster Management Codes:
In line with the changed approach, we are converting the Relief Codes into Disaster Management Codes by building into it the process necessary for drawing up disaster management and mitigation plans as well as elements of preparedness apart from response and relief. A Committee constituted under the Executive Director, National Institute of Disaster Management is expected to submit the draft to the Ministry by 30th June, 2004.
Essay # 11. Awareness Programmes for Disaster Management:
i. School Safety Programme:
An Initiative under Govt of India (GOI) and UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme:
The School Safety Programme under the GOI-UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme essentially targets in promoting a culture of safety in school and draw in the commitment of providing safe learning environment for children and education professionals.
Primary strategies are to help inform, persuade, and integrate the issues of safety to create safe schools, while the goal of the programme is to promote a culture of disaster preparedness in the school community. The objective is to sensitize children and the school community on issues of disaster preparedness and safety measures and to motivate key stakeholders through direct participation in activities that would foster towards a disaster resilient community.
The School Safety Programme includes a series of ongoing activity. Following is the list of activity undertaken to create safe schools — placing of school safety in the education agenda —awareness raising, education, training and capacity building of the Government Officials, Educational Administrators, Teachers.
Students, Engineers, Masons, parents and community — development of School Disaster Management Plan / building level emergency response plan and practicing through mock drills — structural and non-structural mitigation (incorporate structural safety parameters into the new constructions) knowledge networking and capacity building of the institutions to address the challenge.
The programme is spearheaded by the School Safety Advisory Committee/ School Disaster Management Committee supported by representatives from all sections of the school community Educational Administrators, School Administrators, Emergency officials, Civil Defence, Engineering / Public Works Department, Local Administration Officials, Health and Emergency Response Officials and the local community.
The implementation framework and the programme strategies have been highlighted in the School Safety Handbook. The programme draws in key risk reduction elements and it encompasses-preparedness and mitigation measures.
ii. Safety Awareness Programs:
The purpose of Safety Awareness Programs is to promote interest, increase safety awareness, and gain acceptance of safe work practices. The aim is to secure maximum employee participation through the effective use of media and individual or group recognition. The cooperation of the local safety and health committee in the promotion of safety is to be encouraged.
Effective promotional programs must be based on a thorough study of local needs. Accurate planning and analysis are essential to achieve program objectives.
Districts, plants, and other installations should procure or develop and distribute posters, publications, films, bulletins, pamphlets, newsletters, displays, etc., based on current and projected accident trends. The display of safety posters distributed by Headquarters must be kept current. Budgeting for safety promotional needs must be included in program planning.
Implementing 7 Steps to School Safety:
1. Develop and equitably enforce a Code of Conduct for the district and building:
School district must have a Code of Conduct that is updated annually. Students and parents are all given a copy of this booklet at the beginning of the year. Additionally, the assistant principal also reviews the contents of the code of conduct in an assembly with students at the beginning of the year.
Students and parents are required to sign and return a form acknowledging the understanding of its contents as well. Teachers are also given training during staff development on the proper procedures for filling out referral forms for breaches of the code of conduct and for the proper protocol for handling classroom removals.
2. Develop district safety plans and building emergency response plans to deal with serious situations and conduct drills, table tops and functional exercises to increase the level of preparedness. School regularly holds practice drills to ensure that students and staff are familiar with the proper procedures and protocols for emergency situations. Substitute folders are also equip with information and protocols for handling emergency situations for whenever there is a substitute teacher in the building.
3. Personalize the school environment:
School personalized its environment by having students in the school Tech class build “Help Boxes”. These colorful boxes have been placed throughout the school building. Students can fill out an anonymous “help slip” if they have a problem that they need help with and drop it in the locked box.
If the student chooses to include their name, one of the school counselors will address the issue with them discreetly. Anonymous issues are usually read aloud during the morning announcements, and a suggestion for handling the issue is offered by the principal.
4. Analyze Violent and Disruptive Incident Reports (VADIR) and other student conduct data to provide information regarding pockets of concern that require attention and program strengths that could be replicated. As mandated reporters to this system, our district has a SAVE team that meets regularly to address these reports. Data from these reports issued to help revise and update our district annual Code of Conduct.
5. Implement programs and activities that have a proven record of achieving positive results; Evaluate programs periodically for their effectiveness and potential improvement. District has annually provided an after school program for students. This program provides homework help as well as elective type courses where students can engage in activities that are of interest to them.
Additionally, city also has two other community based programs affiliated with the district where students can go for after school support. Finally, local library also has a homework help program for elementary students. For two hours after school daily, these students can simply drop by with their homework and receive assistance from certified teachers for free.
6. Actively involve and engage parents and other community members in addressing issues and concerns. School must maintain a policy of communicating with parents whenever there is an incident of misconduct. Teachers are required to inform parents via phone or email communication whenever there is an incident of concern in the classroom. Administrators also actively contact parents whenever a referral is issued. Additionally, the district also has attendance teachers that specifically address attendance and truancy issues.
7. Make sure students, teachers, parents, administrators, and other school staffs are aware of warning signs of violence and the need to communicate to others.
Warning signs of youth violence that have been seen as an educator include:
1. Anger and aggression toward other students and adults
2. Isolating oneself from friends and loved ones
3. Arguing with group members during paired group activities
4. Complaints from other students about behaviour or language
5. Bullying behaviors
6. Attempting to justify violence as rough “horseplay”
7. Students bullying their parents or sibling in the home environment
8. Signs of gang affiliation
9. Frequent bruises or disheveled appearance
10. Long sleeves, coats during hot weather could be signs of a self-mutilator (cutting on various parts of the body).
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