Disaster is a sudden, calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, and destruction and devastation to life and property. The damage caused by disasters is immeasurable and varies with the geographical location, climate and the type of the earth surface/degree of vulnerability. This influences the mental, socio-economic, political and cultural state of the affected area. Generally, disaster has the following effects in the concerned areas,
It may also be termed as "a serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources."
Thus, a disaster may have the following main features:-
Thus, in simple terms we can define disaster as a hazard causing heavy loss to life, property and livelihood.e.g. a cyclone killing 10,000 lives and a crop loss of one crore can be termed as disaster.
Generally, disasters are of two types – Natural and Manmade. Based on the devastation, these are further classified into major/minor natural disaster and major/minor manmade disasters. Some of the disasters are listed below,
Risk is a measure of the expected losses due to a hazardous event of a particular magnitude occurring in a given area over a specific time period. Risk is a function of the probability of particular occurrences and the losses each would cause. The level of risk depends on:
It is defined as "the extent to which a community, structure, service, and/or geographic area is likely to be damaged or disrupted by the impact of particular hazard, on account of their nature, construction and proximity to hazardous terrain or a disaster prone area."
Hazards are defined as "Phenomena that pose a threat to people, structures, or economic assets and which may cause a disaster. They could be either manmade or naturally occurring in our environment."
The extent of damage in a disaster depends on:
This relationship can be written as an equation:
Disaster Risk = Hazard +Vulnerability
Government of India [GoI], Ministry of Home Affairs [MHA] and United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] have signed an agreement on August 2002 for implementation of "Disaster Risk Management" Programme to reduce the vulnerability of the communities to natural disasters, in identified multi–hazard disaster prone areas.
Goal: "Sustainable Reduction in Natural Disaster Risk" in some of the most hazard prone districts in selected states of India".
The four main objectives of this programme are:
The programme has been divided into two phases over a period of six years. Phase I [2002-2004] would provide support to carry out the activities in 28 select districts in the states of Bihar, Gujarat and Orissa. In phase II [2003-2007], the Programme would cover 141 districts in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
Special Focus: 38 Earthquake prone cities having more than half a million population.
Earthquakes usually give no warning at all.
Now is the time to formulate a safety plan for you and your family. If you wait until the earth starts to shake, it may be too late. Consider the following safety measures:
Earthquakes give no warning at all. Sometimes, a loud rumbling sound might signal its arrival a few seconds ahead of time. Those few seconds could give you a chance to move to a safer location. Here are some tips for keeping safe during a quake.
Here are a few things to keep in mind after an earthquake. The caution you display in the aftermath can be essential for your personal safety.
If you are living in an area where CBDP exercises have taken place, ensure:
Based on predicted wind speeds and storm surge heights, evacuation may be necessary. Official advice may be given on local radio / TV or other means of communication regarding safe routes and when to move.
This guide lists simple things you and your family can do to stay safe and protect your property from floods.
It is important to know what kind of stove or cooking oven you have in your home – gas, electric, kerosene or where firewood is used. The stove is the No. 1 cause of fire hazards in your kitchen and can cause fires, which may destroy the entire house, especially in rural areas where there are thatched roof or other inflammable materials like straw kept near the kitchen. For electric and gas stoves ensure that the switch or the gas valve is switched off/turned off immediately after the cooking is over. An electric burner remains hot and until it cools off, it can be very dangerous. The oven using wood can be dangerous because burning embers remain. When lighting the fire on a wooden fuel oven, keep a cover on the top while lighting the oven so that sparks do not fly to the thatched roof. After the cooking is over, ensure that the remaining fire is extinguished off by sprinkling water if no adult remains in the kitchen after the cooking. Do not keep any inflammable article like kerosene near the kitchen fire.
Develop a Family Disaster Plan. Please see the "Family Disaster Plan" section for general family planning information. Develop landslide-specific planning.
Learn about landslide risk in your area. Contact local officials, state geological surveys or departments of natural resources, and university departments of geology. Landslides occur where they have before, and in identifiable hazard locations. Ask for information on landslides in your area, specific information on areas vulnerable to landslides, and request a professional referral for a very detailed site analysis of your property, and corrective measures you can take, if necessary.
Indian railways is one of the busiest rail networks in the whole world. In a single day it runs around 14,500 trains across various terrains covering 63,140 kilometers that transports millions of passengers. It is also participating in a Trans-Asian railway link project. Looking for greater financial success it has deployed information technology in its various commercial activities. However its disaster management plan is far from being an efficient one, every time a crisis has occurred that the lack of an efficient mechanism has come to fore. This paper looks at Indian Railways present disaster management plan and proposes different strategies in using information technology for disaster preparedness and response. It proposes the setup of a disaster management network that has both private and public interface.
An Introduction to Disaster Management
Concept and Meaning
A disaster is a consequence of a sudden disastrous
event which seriously disrupts the normal function of the society or the
community to the extent that it cannot subsist without outside help.
A disaster is not just the occurrence of an event
such as an earthquake, flood, conflict, health epidemic or an industrial
accident; a disaster occurs if that event/process negatively impacts human
combine two elements: hazard, and the vulnerability of affected people. "A
disaster occurs when a hazard exposes the vulnerability of individuals and
communities in such a way that their lives are directly threatened or
sufficient harm has been done to their community's economic and social structure
to undermine their ability to survive.
A disaster can be defined as any tragic event
stemming from events such as earthquakes, floods, catastrophic accidents,
It is a phenomenon that disasters can cause damage to life, property and
destroy the economic, social and cultural life of people.
Disaster is the exposure of a group of
people to a hazard, leading to a serious disruption of the functioning of a society
and causing human, material, economic environmental
losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope.
A disaster results from a combination of hazards and vulnerability that exceeds the capacity of
a society to reduce the potential negative
consequences of risk.
Hazard is an extreme event, natural or
man-made , with a destructive potential to social, economic and human assets. These
may include future threats, and may be “natural”
(geological, hydro meteorological and biological) or “man-made” (Conflict, environmental
degradation and technological hazards).
Disasters are often described as a
result of the combination of: the exposure to a hazard; the conditions of
vulnerability that are present; and insufficient capacity or measures to reduce
or cope with the potential negative consequences. Disaster impacts may include
loss of life, injury, disease and other negative effects on human physical,
mental and social well-being, together with damage to property, destruction of
assets, loss of services, social and economic disruption and environmental
A disaster is
a calamitous, distressing, or ruinous effect of a disastrous event which seriously
affects or disrupts (or threaten to disrupt) the critical functions of a
community, society or system, for a period long enough to significantly harm it
or cause its failure. It is beyond the capapabilty of the local community to
overcome it. The stricken community
needs extraordinary efforts to cope with it, often with outside help or
It is a situation resulting from an environmental
phenomenon or armed conflict that produce stress, personal injury, physical
damage, and economic disruption of great magnitude.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Disaster
as "any occurrence that causes damage, ecological disruption, loss of
human life, deterioration of health and health services, on a scale sufficient
to warrant an extraordinary response from outside the affected community or
Types of disasters
Disasters are broadly divided into two types:
2) Man made
Natural disasters occur as the result of action of the natural forces and
tend to be accepted as unfortunate, but inevitable. They include:
/ Sea Surges / Tsunamis
Famines may be defined as a persistent failure in
food supplies over a prolonged period. It is a phenomenon in which a large
percentage of the populations of a region or country are so undernourished and
that death by starvation becomes increasingly common. A famine weakens body
resistance and leads to increases in infectious diseases, especially cholera,
dysentery, malaria, and smallpox. Famine is associated with naturally-occurring
crop failure due to draught and pestilence and artificially with war and
lack or insufficiency of rain for an extended period of months or years when a
region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a
region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a
substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region.
A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land,
producing measurable property damage or forcing evacuation of people and vital
resources. Floods are caused due to heavy rainfall and the inadequate capacity
of rivers to carry the high flood discharge. Floods develop slowly as rivers
swell during an extended period of rain. A flood occurs when water overflows or
inundates land that is normally dry. Mostly it happens when rivers or streams
overflow their banks.
Cyclones are strong winds that are formed over the
oceans. The term "cyclone" refers to all classes of storms with low
atmospheric pressure at the centre, are formed when an organized system of
revolving winds, clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere, anti-clockwise in the
Northern Hemisphere, develops over tropical waters.
A hurricane is a huge storm. It is a powerful,
spiraling storm that begins over a warm sea, near the equator and accompanied
by fierce winds, flash floods, mudslides and huge waves.It is a low pressure,
large scale weather system which derives its energy from the latent heat of
condensation of water vapor over warm tropical seas.
An earthquake is a sudden motion or trembling of the
ground crust caused by the collision
of tectonic plates resulting
in the abrupt displacement of rock masses. Earthquakes result from the movement
of one rock mass past another in response to tectonic forces underneath the
result when magma rises, pushes through a weakness in the Earth’s crust, and
spills out onto the surface, devastating anything in its path. The superheated
rock is not the only danger, however. Far below the earth’s surface, volcanic
gasses are dissolved in the magma. As the magma rises, it begins to cool down,
and gas bubbles begin to form. This makes the magma less dense than the
surroundings, causing it to rise faster.
threat is a pyroclastic flow. This
high speed ejection of hot gasses and debris can travel in excess of 80
kilometers per hour and usually averages between 200 and 700 degrees Celsius.
Not only does the pyroclastic flow travel too fast to be outran, but it will
incinerate everything in its path. pyroclastic
Man made disasters
of toxic chemicals or radioactive materials(industrial accidents),
The potential disaster losses, in lives, health
status, livelihoods, assets and services, which could occur to a particular
community or a society over some specified future time period. Traditional
Most of the old disaster threats still exist like
earthquakes, cyclones, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, wildfires, floods,
landslides, and drought so do the man-made ones like fire, explosions and other
major accidents which cause heavy human casualties, economic and social losses.
These same traditional threats have increased as increase in population has
force people to settle in disaster prone areas which increase the impact of disasters.
Modern disaster threats:
These consist of manmade events like hijacking,
terrorism, civil unrest, terrorism and conflict with conventional arms as well
as chemical, biological, nuclear, or radiological weapons. Increased social
violence has drastically affected many nations and communities.
A dangerous phenomenon, substance, human activity or
condition that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property
damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or
Hazards are conditions that have the potential to
harm to a community or environment
Geological process or phenomenon that may cause loss
of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods
and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.
These disasters include landmass related disasters
like earthquakes, mudslides, volcanoes etc,
Water and climatic Hazards (Hydro meteorological hazards)
These include storms, cyclones, floods etc
By their nature, the manufacture, storage, and
transport of chemicals are accidents waiting to happen. Chemicals can be
corrosive, toxic, and they may react, often explosively. The impacts of
chemical accidents can be deadly, for both human beings and the environment.
Industrial/ Technological hazards
A hazard originating from
technological or industrial conditions, including accidents, dangerous
procedures, infrastructure failures or specific human activities, that may
cause loss of life, injury, illness or other health impacts, property damage,
loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or
These include industrial
pollution, nuclear radiation, toxic wastes, dam failures, transport accidents,
factory explosions, fires, and chemical spills.
also known as biohazards, refer to biological
substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily that
of humans. This can include medical waste or samples of a microorganism,
(from a biological source) that can affect human health. It can also include
substances harmful to animals. Examples: anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularemia,
brucellosis and botulinism toxin, bird flu.
Definition and concept.
Disaster management includes sum total of all
activities, programmes and measureswhich can be taken up before, during and
after a disaster with the purpose of avoiding, reducing the impact or
recovering from its losses.
According to Kelly (1996),"Disaster
management" can be defined as the range of activities designed to maintain
control over disaster and emergency situations and to provide a framework for
helping those who are at risk to avoid or recover from the impact of the disaster.
Disaster management means managing resources and
various responsibilities to deal with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies.
This may include preparedness before disaster, response and recovery i.e. rebuilding
and supporting society. The purpose of this is to lessen the impact of
management can be defined as the organization 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
The various aspects of disaster management:
The aims of disaster management are to:
Reduce (avoid, if possible) the potential losses from hazards;
Assure prompt and
appropriate assistance to victims when necessary;
Achieve rapid and durable
and relevance of disaster management in the present environmental scenario
Over the past 20 years disasters have affected 4.4
billion people, caused $2 trillion of damage and killed 1.3 million people.
These losses have outstripped the total value of official development
assistance in the same period. Natural disasters disproportionately affect people
living in developing countries and the most vulnerable communities within those
countries. Over 95 per cent of people killed by natural disasters are from
developing countries (Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters, 2012).
In developing countries, the incidence of natural
disasters, the impact of climate changes and the management of the natural
environment strongly influence the rate of development progress
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
At the global level, there has been considerable
concern over natural disasters. Even as s 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
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.
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 under-privileged 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 to 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
Enunciation of policy
Legal and techno-legal framework
Mainstreaming Mitigation into Development process
Specific schemes addressing mitigation
Community participation and capacity building
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.
Bilateral-Aid i.e. foreign and local, national
funding is being used to deal with disasters especially the post disaster phase
Community based disaster management:
The role of community participation in disaster
management is very important. When the community becomes a part of the decision
making system it ensures the ownership and accountability. It is very important
for the medical staff and doctors to know the local language for treating the disaster
victims. The local people have to be trained to manage the disasters. One of
the most effective mechanisms for a country to prepare for a disaster is by
conducting education and public awareness programmes at the local community
level, educating, preparing and supporting local populations and communities in
their everyday efforts to reduce risks and prepare their own local response
mechanisms to address disaster emergency situations.
Community based approach in disaster management is a
process of educating and empowering the population through sharing knowledge
and information about the various types of disasters and their potential risks
as widely as possible so that people act appropriately when a disaster happens.
Members of a community are the immediate victims of adverse effects of a
disaster. They have the best knowledge about their local surrounding in terms
of the most disaster-prone areas, the demography of their community and their
social and traditional organisation. Community leaders can create Community
Based Action Plans specific to their needs. This action plan incorporates the
hazard map, mock exercises and other important methods, skills and information needed
in preparation for a disaster.