Disasters Management

 Effective Management of a disaster is broadly classified into following phases

Disaster Mitigation

Disaster Mitigation focuses on measures that can be taken to minimize the destructive and disruptive effects of a hazard and thus lessen the magnitude of a disaster. Mitigation, by far, offers the best and most cost-effective option for dealing with disasters. With good planning, most mitigation measures can be integrated with normal development activities at a minimal cost. For e.g.: Strengthening buildings to make them earthquake resistant, Planting of crops that are less affected by disasters and development of diversified economies so that losses in one sector can be absorbed by other sectors.

Steps involved in Mitigation:

To reduce the harmful effects of natural disasters, actions are required on three fronts, viz.

  • Reducing vulnerability of the physical settlements and houses.
  • Reducing vulnerability of the economy.
  • Strengthening of the social structure of a community, so that coping mechanisms can help absorb the shock of a disaster and promote rapid recovery.

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster preventing focuses on the hazard that causes the disaster and tries to eliminate or drastically reduce its direct effects. The best example of disaster prevention is the construction of dams to prevent flooding. Generally, prevention is expensive and the results are often far less than desired. However, a strong focus is required on being prepared and equipped to face any disaster. Following points are considered while planning for Disaster preparedness planning:

  • Risk areas are determined and mapped
  • Vulnerable settlements are identified
  • The responses that would be possible in the event of a disaster are examined
  • The resources required for responding to a disaster are estimated and the deficiencies listed
  • The development of an implementing instrument is made. This is usually in the form of a disaster preparedness plan, which is a formal document that sets out the sequence of activities and the responsibilities of each participant. Normally, activities are divided into parts, so that resources can be organized at each critical place and stage
  • Development of tools necessary to respond and implement the plan. These include the establishment of communications networks, transport capabilities, action plans, procedures, and checklist for specific areas, the establishment of evacuation routes, etc.
  • Strategic placement of resources to be used in the response.
  • The final step in preparedness is training and drill. A preparedness plan and the tools of preparedness are of little value unless people know how to use them effectively. Performance is enhanced first by training and then by regular drills, which are designed to make each activity routine and thereby help reduce the response time.

Disaster Response

The Disaster Response phase is characterized by taking actions that are necessary to save lives during a disaster. These include

  • Search and Rescue
  • First-aid
  • Emergency medical assistance
  • Restoration of emergency communication network
  • Restoration of emergency transportation network
  • In some cases, evacuation from areas still vulnerable to further disaster.
  • Other actions taken during the Response phase include initial disaster assessment and emergency repairs to critical facilities.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery phase can be further classified as the transitional phase and the Reconstruction phase In the transitional phase, people return to work, permanent repairs of infrastructure and damaged buildings are undertaken, and other actions necessary to help the community return to normalcy, in the earliest possible time, are brought into effect. This phase coincides with the period in which emotional recovery normally occurs. However, this period is most difficult for the victims. During this time, depression may set in as people finally realize the full extent of losses. Limited outside intervention during this phase can be of great assistance in helping victims recover. Assistance in the form of cash or credit, activities that create jobs and constructive projects are among the more appropriate types of aid.

The reconstruction phase is characterized by the physical recovery of the community along with recovery of the environment. During this period, people reconstruct houses and other buildings, repair roads and other community facilities and agriculture returns to normalcy. The time span is very difficult to define. It may start fairly early, even during the recovery period and may last for many years. The reconstruction of houses, in particular, is an activity that takes many years to complete.

Disaster Management Plan

Nations, where plans did not exist, suffered more seriously than they would otherwise have, had there been a plan. The purpose of planning is to anticipate future situations and requirements, thus ensuring the application of effective and coordinated counter measures. Moreover, there should be a flexibility of approach while planning for disasters. Most countries nowadays gear national development to a series of time bound plans, e.g. five year plans. The obvious merit of this kind of system is that it provides considerable flexibility for adjustment to unscheduled or unexpected events.

The Format of Plans

There is no rigid or standard format of disaster management plans. In fact, thereverse applies, in that the format needs to fit the circumstances in which the plan is being made and the requirements which it is designed to meet. However, certain common features tend to apply to most plans. These include:

Clarity of aim:

The aim needs to be carefully and accurately selected, because it determines the entire thrust and scope of the plan.

Realism:

The plan must be realistic, in the sense that it relates to an accurate assessment of the disaster threat and that it takes into account the scale and capability of counter-disaster resources that are available.

Level of the Plan:

The plan must be accurately related to the level with which it is concerned, i.e. whether it is at the community level, state level or national level.

Flexibility:

This is required because disaster circumstances do not follow set patterns. Planned decentralisation, where appropriate, is a useful adjunct towards achieving flexibility.

Definition of Responsibility:

Clear and unambiguous definition of responsibilities at the planning stage is of critical importance. This reduces the possibility of misunderstandings and duplications when it comes to execution of the plan.

Ease of Execution:

The plan should be formulated in a manner that facilitates ease in execution. References within the plan should be clear and readily identifiable.

Control and Communication

The Disaster Management Volunteers have been initially trained by Mr. Ulhas Thakur of Herdelia Chemicals. These trainers will now be conducting the program.

AADM also ensures proper skilled snake handling personnel to be present at the time of the live demonstration as a precautionary measure. These members are very highly skilled in this area, and prepared for any situation that may arise.