We may know that there are two types of disasters: Natural and Manmade or Human Induced Disasters.
Disasters that occur due to abrupt changes in the earth systems and weather conditions are called as natural disasters.
These disasters have further been classified into – Planetary and Extra-Planetary Disasters.
Disasters that occur on land and in atmosphere due to changes in earth systems or the geological conditions and atmosphere are called as Planetary Disasters. These disasters have further been classified into – Terrestrial and Atmospheric disasters.
Disasters that remain confined to land and bottoms of oceans are called as terrestrial disasters. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and mine disasters are some examples of terrestrial disasters.
Atmospheric disasters are caused due to atmospheric events. Tropical cyclones, droughts, floods etc. are some examples of atmospheric disasters.
Disasters occurring due to collisions between the earth and space bodies or due to physical forces between them are called as extra-planetary disasters. High tide waves, hurricanes, landslides, movements of rocks, changes in sea level, biological extinctions etc. are examples of extra- planetary disasters.
Man- made Disasters
Disasters that are caused due to human intervention in the natural processes or due to his activities related to development and war are called as man- made disasters.
Occurrence of epidemics, nuclear hazards, industrial accidents, biological war fares, bioterrorism etc. are man- made or human induced disasters.
In modern age, so many of the natural disasters like earthquakes etc. have become man- made disasters due to human activities of building mega dams and large scale developmental projects.
Management and Mitigation of Disasters
We know that disasters whether natural or man- made, are very dangerous and destructive.
We just cannot do anything to stop a disaster, if both of the vulnerability and the hazard are existent. We can only try our best to protect men, women, children and cattle etc. that are in distress and help them by offering life sustaining things they need.
We can prepare our people, cattle and property in advance to escape any disaster if it occurs in future. We can only manage or mitigate a disaster.
In general sense of the word, the act or skill of dealing with people or situation in a successful way is called as management.
In case of a disaster, formulation of strategies, taking actions and adopting processes to prevent, minimize or control the adverse impacts of a disaster at all the stages (before, during and after) of its occurrence, is called as disaster management.
According to the National Disaster Management Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India- Disaster Management can be defined as ‘the body of policy and administrative decisions and operational activities which pertain to the various stages of a disaster at all levels.
Policies and measures designed and adopted to minimize impacts of a disaster, whether natural or man- induced, is called as disaster mitigation.
For a successful mitigation of a disaster, it is important for the people to understand causes, seriousness, impacts and need of relief measures.
Mitigation relates to the reduction of the effects of hazards and conditions vulnerable to it. Hence, mitigation activities are focused on both the hazard and elements exposed to the threats of the hazard concerned.
The mitigation strategies are so devised that they can modify the occurrence of a particular hazard. Here is an example – the proper management of water, reduction of impacts and strengthening of the structures so as to reduce damage, can be the mitigation strategies for a drought prone area.
Mitigation also relates to physical, economic and social vulnerability to a particular hazard and underlying causes of the vulnerability.
The disaster management strategies can be divided into three parts- Pre- disaster Management Strategies or Preparedness, Disaster Occurrence Management Strategies, and Post Disaster Management Strategies
We can neither prevent nor avoid a disaster. However, we can reduce the extent of a disaster by making advanced preparations. This incorporates four components- Awareness, Planning, Monitoring and Development of Early Warning System.
In fact, preparedness is a protective process. It includes such measures which enable governments, communities and individuals to respond rapidly to the disaster situations so as to cope with them effectively.
Awareness: Making people aware of vulnerability, hazard and extent of risk of a hazard can enable them to protect themselves and their properties up to considerable extent. This can be done by either of the following measures- information, education and communication (IEC). How can disaster awareness help the people? Well, this can help the people in following ways-
(i) It will ensure unity, co- operation and participation to fight against a particular disaster. This is due to awareness that people may remain ready to co- operate to agencies that come forward to help them.
(ii) Through awareness, people become able to protect themselves on their own against a disaster.
(iii) Disaster awareness develops a sense of service among people and they remain ready to help their fellow citizens caught in the hazard.
(iv)This enables people, to know legal aspects of disaster control, management and mitigation.
Planning: It is the most important component of disaster preparedness. Planning is necessary for getting success in every sphere of life. As for a disaster, vulnerability, extent of risk, preventive measures, safety measures, recovery options etc. are planned in advance so as to avert disaster risk and carry on rescue operations.
Monitoring: Proper care and knowledge of changing conditions and operations done during awareness building and planning is necessary. All the programmes and plans under preparation need to be monitored carefully so as to avoid any possible mistake.
Early Warning System: Early Warning Systems are developed in disaster –prone areas to inform public to take up necessary actions soon after a hazard is suspected. For this, warning stations are established near sea coasts, river banks, in industries etc. Warning related to abrupt weather fluctuations are regularly transmitted to people through communication channels.
India has established various disaster warning stations in different parts of the country. As much as 250 cyclone- warning Dissemination Centers have been established along eastern and western sea- coasts that send early warning through communication satellites.
In modern times, remote sensing satellites are effectively employed for monitoring as well as for sending data and photographs of weather conditions. Special automatic aircrafts are also being employed for collecting information about the changing weather.
Preparedness also includes maintenance of inventories, training of personnel, search and rescue measures, and evacuation plans. The preparedness planning needs to be supported by appropriate legislation with clear allocation of responsibilities and budgetary provisions.
Disaster Occurrence Management Strategies
At the time when a hazard strikes, the service groups, government agencies or social organizations should take up all possible rescue measures to protect people and their properties. At that time, activities are taken to ensure that needs and provisions of victims are met properly and their suffering is minimized. These strategies are called as Emergency Response Strategies.
Post Disaster Management Strategies
These strategies include- Damage Assessment, Relief Measurement and Rehabilitation. Strategies adopted at this stage are called as Response and Recovery Strategies. Under these strategies, activities are taken to achieve early recovery and removal of earlier vulnerable conditions. An assessment of damage is done through surveys and baseline data collection etc.
The relief and Rehabilitation measures are done on the basis of these activities. Other activities covered under these strategies are- Empowerment of women, coping with post disaster situations, restoration of livelihood with overall purpose of sustainable environment, and, coherent mechanism should be designed for meeting the needs of children following disasters. The rehabilitation of children should be priority, but in some cases their future outside the village might be preferable.
Feature Image: The Hurricane Horror, The Telegraph