10. Disaster Management


Variously dangerous events occur many times in the environment. Those are called as disasters. Some of the main natural disasters are floods, wet and dry famine, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. These are ‘all of a sudden’ troubles to the mankind. Such events cause sudden changes in the environment and thereby cause the damage to it. En[1]vironment is also damaged due to use of natural resources for our development. This leads to sudden disasters, unexpected to human. These can be called as man-made disasters. United Nations has defined the disaster as ‘the sudden event that leads to the huge loss of life and property. Words like ‘huge’ and ‘sudden’ are important in the definition. As the disaster occurs suddenly, it cannot be predicted. Hence, precautions are not possible. Huge losses to the property occur in the area of disaster. There are long term effects on society due to incidences of life and property loss. Various areas of life like economic, social, cultural, political, law and administration, etc. are affected by it. The life in the area of disaster disturbs totally. There is loss to life and property of the people in distress. Earlier, we have studied various types of disasters and the measures to be taken. None of the different disasters are similar. Period of each disaster is not same. Some disasters are short term where as some are long term. Reasons behind each disaster are also different. Depending upon the nature of disaster, it can be determined that which component of the environment will be affected more.

Earlier, we have studied the effects of various types of disasters and the precautionary measures to be taken in case any disaster happens. We can classify the disasters in other ways too; like catastrophic disasters. Ex. Cyclones in Odisha, catastrophic earthquakes of Gujarat and Latur, frequently buzzing cyclones in coastal Andhra Pradesh, etc. which lead to total chaos, huge loss of life and property in respective region. However, irrespective of all these, life has always returned to normal within short time. Disasters making the impact for long duration are those whose after-effects are either severe or severity increases with time. Ex. Famine, various problems of crop, strikes of workers, rising levels of oceans, desertification, etc.

Effects of disaster

We have understood the serious effects of disaster with the help of above-mentioned questions. Collapsing of bridges, flooding of coastal villages, shortage of food are some of the problems of floods. Collapsing of houses, developing cracks in land are some of the effects of earthquake. Disasters like forest fire and drought also adversely affect the envi[1]ronment. However, what is exact nature of these disasters? Whether there are any changes in nature before the occurrence of disasters? For how long the effects occur after the oc[1]currence of disaster? How? It needs to be think over all these aspects. This helps us to understand the nature and gravity of the disaster.

Disasters definitely affect the economy of the nation. That effect is always relative to disaster and economy i.e. if any port is destroyed, there are long lasting effects on econo[1]my due to huge expenses on its reconstruction. An effect of disaster on social leadership is that if local leadership is not strong enough, citizen become confused. It affects their par[1]ticipation in rescue and rehabilitation activities. Administrative problems arise during the disaster. If local governing bodies are affected by disasters, related departments cannot answer the problems of disaster efficiently. All the concerned departments are affected by disaster and thereby entire system collapses.

Nature and scope of disaster Taking into consideration the scope of disaster, some of the important facts must be thought over, as follows

  1. Pre-disaster phase
  2. Warning phase
  3. Emergency phase
  4. Rehabilitation phase
  5. Recovery phase
  6. Reconstruction phase

Taking into consideration the nature and scope of disaster, only three aspects of disaster are important for common citizens.

  1. Phase of emergency: Important character of this phase is that maximum lives can be saved by quick actions during this phase only. Various actions like search and rescue op[1]erations, medical assistance, first aid, restoring communication services, removing the people from affected area are expected in this phase. Gravity of disaster can be estimated in this phase only.
  2. Transitional Phase: Rehabilitation work is started in this phase, after the subsidence of any type of disaster. It includes clearing of debris, restoring water supply, repairing roads, etc. so that it will help to bring normalcy in public life. Rehabilitation of the victims is important aspect of this phase. Generally, different institutes offer the monetary and other type of help to such people. It helps to soothe the mental stress at the earliest if these vic[1]tims are offered with the permanent mean of earning livelihood and this is true rehabilita[1]tion.
  3. Reconstruction Phase: This is highly complicated phase. This phase begins in transi[1]tional phase. People reconstruct their buildings and facilities like roads and water supply are restored. Farming practices are restarted. However, it takes long time for reconstruc[1]tion. Planet Earth has experienced many natural disasters. Listening to the description of those disasters brings numbness to the mind. Most of the disasters and related unprecedented situations have been occurred in the Asian continent and region of Pacific Ocean. Huge loss to the life and the planet Earth has been occurred due to such disasters. Generally, such conditions of natural imbalance have been arisen due to greed of economic progress of human being.

In reality, old problems of several years have become fierce. Ex. Increasing population, its increasing needs emerging problems out of it are now at the extreme end. Such disasters have been increased after the world war-II. Condition of instability arises in the country due to various reasons like economic inequality, racial and religious differences, etc. Inci[1]dences like terrorism, abduction, social differences have been a routine now. Production and use of harmful chemicals is under ban in developed countries. How[1]ever, production of either same or those chemicals which can wipe out the human race is common in developing and poor countries.

Another such threat to human being is from the atomic energy plants. Ex. Radiation leakage occurred after a blast in atomic energy plant at Chernobyl, Russia. Its ill-effects are still experienced in the region. This atomic energy plant was only used for electricity generation. Now a day, many countries are equipped with atomic energy. Out of this, risk of radiation leakage is increasing due to carelessness. Hence, importance of disaster management has become the foremost need of almost all the nations. In fact, it is most necessary for citizens of all countries, because they are the main sufferers in any type of disaster. Hence, direct participation of citizens in disaster management is highly neces[1]sary. Similarly, disaster management schemes should be changed with respect to loca[1]tion, time and nature of the disaster. It should not be restricted for a particular period. Overall, there may be any type of disaster, it should be overcome. Concept of disaster management has been arisen out of this only.

Disaster management

Disaster may be minor or major, short- -time or long-time, it should be overcome and effective disaster management is necessary for it. There is close relationship between disaster management and public participation. Disaster management is either prevention of disasters or making arrangements to face it or at least achieve the abilities to face it. Disaster is a very fast process, in fact it is accident. What shall we do in such situation? How can we protect ourselves, our belongings and animals?

In case of disaster management, there should be an attempt to minimize the losses. Disasters are never planned but losses due it can be prevented in a planned manner.

Disaster management is achieving or time to time improving the ability to face the disasters through scientific and careful observations and analysis of data. For example, preparing the action plan through study of various aspects like preventive measures, rehabilitation and reconstruction and executing that plan is nothing but the management of disaster. Disaster management can be divided into two parts.

Structure of Disaster Management Authority

 In case of disaster, an authority has been established at the level of government. Following flow chart indicates the function of control and coordination under the disaster management from national to village level. Disaster Management Act, 2005 has been passed in our country.

Structure of Disaster Management Authority In case of disaster, an authority has been established at the level of government. Following flow chart indicates the function of control and coordination under the disaster management from national to village level. Disaster Management Act, 2005 has been passed in our country.

District-wise Disaster Control Unit:

District control unit is established immediately either after the impact of disaster or getting intimation about it. It reviews about various aspects of disaster, keeps continuous contact with various agencies like army, air force, navy, telecommunication department, paramilitary forces, etc. for getting help. It is also responsible for coordinating with various voluntary organizations for their help in disaster management.

First Aid and Emergency Action: You have studied in earlier classes about the types of first aid to be offered to the persons injured in disasters. Use of this knowledge is useful for offering the help to classmates or people around you facing any disaster and injured there in.

Sometimes, we have to face the disaster due to our own unawareness. Some symbols given beside are seen used around us. Those symbols can not be ignored. Such symbols are useful to avoid the mishaps.

In emergency condition, various transportation methods like cradle method, carrying on back, carrying on two hands are to be followed. Those methods depend upon the condition of victim. We face different types of major or minor disasters in our daily life. Varieties of disasters like accidents, stampede, injuries in fighting, electric shock, burns, heat shock, snake bite, dog bite, fire due to electric short circuit, epidemic of any disease, etc. happen around us. Victims of disaster need to be offered some primary help before actual medical treatment. First aid is useful in such circumstances.

First Aid Kit

It is essential to have material necessary for first aid with us. That material is available in the first aid kit. You can also prepare a first aid kit. It is also important to use whatever the material available in the given condition for first aid.

Mock Drill

It is a practice to check the preparedness of facing the disaster as early as possible. Virtual / Apparent situation of disaster is created to check the reaction time for any type of disaster. Trained personnel observe their responsibilities to check execution of plan designed for disaster redressal. This helps to check the efficacy of the system prepared for disaster redressal.

Mock drill is arranged on disaster of fire in various schools by the fire fighters. It includes the demonstrations like extinguishing the fire, rescuing the people trapped at higher floors of buildings, rescuing the persons whose clothing have caught the fire, etc. Such activities are also arranged by police force and voluntary organizations.