(Online Course) Pub Ad for IAS Mains: Chapter: 14 (Significant Issues in Individual Administration) – Disaster Management (Paper -2)

Paper – 2
Chapter: 14 (Significant Issues in Individual Administration)

Disaster Management

Disaster management is the discipline of dealing with and avoiding risks. It
is a discipline that involves preparing, supporting, and including-society when
natural or human-made disasters occur. In general, any Disaster management is
the continuous process by which: all individuals, groups, and commutates manage
hazards in an effort to avoidor ameliorate the impact of disasters resulting
front the hazards. Actions taken depend in part on perceptions of risk of those
exposed. Effective disaster management relies on thorough integration of
disaster plans at all levels of government and non-government involvement.
Activities at each level (individual, group community) affect the other levels.
It is common on to place the responsibility for governmental disaster-
management with the institutions for civil defence or within the conventional
structure of the disaster services. In the private sector, disaster management
is sometimes referred to as business contimtity planning.

Disaster Management is one of, a number of terms which, since the end of the
Cold War, have largely replaced Civil defence, whose original focus was
protecting civilians from military attack. Modern thinking focuses on a more
general intent to protect the civilian population in times of peace as well in
times of war.

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Phases and professional activities

The nature of disaster management is highly dependent on economic and social
conditions local to the disaster, or disaster. This is, true to the extent that
some disaster relief experts such as Fred Cuny have noted that in a sense the
only real disasters are economic. Experts, such as Curly, have long noted that
the cycle of disaster management must include long-term-work on infrastructure,
public awareness, and even human justice issues. This is particularly important
in developing nations. The process of disaster management involves four phases:
mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.


Mitigation efforts attempt to pi vent hazards from developing into disasters
altogether, or to reduce the effects of disaster, when they occur. The
mitigation phase differs from the other phases because it focuses on long-term
measures for reducing or eliminating risk. The impleirmitation of mitigation
can- he considered a part of the recovery process if applied after a disaster
occurs. However even if applied as part of recovery efforts, actions that reduce
or eliminate risk over time are still considered mitigation efforts.

Imitative measures can be structural or non-structural. Structural measures use
technological solution, like flood levees. Non-structural measures include
legislation, land-use planning (e.g, the designation of, nonessential hind like
parks to be used as flood zones),-and insurance. Mitigation is the most
cost-efficient method for reducing the impact of hazards. However, mitigation is
not always suitable and structural mitigation in particular may have adverse
effects on the ecosystem.
A precursor activity to the mitigation is the identification of risks. Physical
risk assessment, refers to the process of identifying and evaluating hazards. In
risk assessment, various hazards (e.g. earthquakes, floods, riots) within a
certain area are identified. Each hazard poses a risk to the population within
the area assessed. The hazard-specific risk combines both the probability and
the level of impact of a specific hazard. The equation below gives that the
hazard times the populations’ vulnerability, to that hazard produce; a risk.
Catastrophe modeling tools are used to support the calculation. The higher the
risk, the more urgent that the hazard specific vulnerabilities are targeted by
mitigation and preparedness efforts. However, if there is no vulnerability there
will he no risk, e.g. an earthquake occurring in a desert where nobody lives.


In the preparedness phase, disaster managers develop plans of action for when
the disaster strikes. Common preparedness measures include the communication
plans with easily understandable terminology and chain of command development
and practice of multi-agency coordination and incident command proper
maintenance and training of disaster services development and exercise of
disaster-population warning methods combined with disaster shelters and
evacuation plans stockpiling, inventory, and maintenance of supplies and
An efficient’ preparedness measure is an disaster operations center (EOM)
combined with a practiced region-wide doctrine for managing emergencies. Another
preparedness measure is to develop -a volunteer response capability among
civilian populations. Since, volunteer response is – not as predictable and
planable as professional response, volunteers are most effectively deployed on
the periphery of an disaster.


The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary disaster services
and first respouders in the disaster area. This is likely to include a first
wave ofcore disaster services, such as firefighters, police and ambulance crews.
They may be supported by a number of secondary disaster services, such as
specialist rescue teams.

A well rehearsed disaster plan developed as part of the preparedness phase
enables efficient coordination of rescue efforts. Disaster plan rehearsal is
essential to achieve optimal output with limited resources. In the response
phase, medical assets will be used in accordance with the appropriate triage of
the affected victims.

Where requited, search and rescue efforts commence at an early stage. Depending
on injuries sustained by the victim, outside temp Sine, and victim access to air
and water, the vast majority of those affected by a disaster will die within 72
hours after impact.

Individuals are often compelled to volunteer directly after a disaster.
Volunteers can be both a help and a hindrance to disaster management and other
relief agencies.


The aim of the recovery phase is to restore the affected area to its previous
state. It differs from the response phase in its focus; recovery efforts are
concerned with issues and decisions that nail he made, after immediate needs air
addressed. Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with action:; that involve
rebuilding destroyed propriety, re-employment, and the repair of other essential
infrastructure. An important aspect of effective recovery efforts is taking
advantage of a ‘windmv of opportunity’ for the-implemeutation of mitigative
measures that might otherwise be unpopular. Citizens of the affected ares are
more likely to accept more mitigative changes when a recent disaster is in fresh


India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disasters on account of its
unique geo-climatic conditions. Floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and
landslides have been a 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

At the global level, there has been considerable concern over natural disasters.
Even as substantial scientific and material progress is made, the loss of lives
and property due to disasters has not decreased. in fact, the human toll and
economic losses have mounted. It was in this background that the United Nations
General Assembly, in 1989, declared the decade 1990¬2000 as the International
Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction with the objective to reduce loss of lives
and property and restrict socio-economic damage through concerted international
action, specially in developing countries. The super cyclone in Orissa in
October, 1999 and the Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat in January, 2001 underscored
the need to adopt a multi dimensional endeavour involving diverse scientific,
engineering, financial and social processes; the need to adopt multi
disciplinary and multi sectoral approach and incorporation of risk reduction in
the developmental plans and strategies.

Over the past couple of years, the Government of India has brought about
a-paradigm shift in the approach to disaster management. The new approach
proceeds from the conviction that development cannot he sustainable unless
disaster mitigation is built into the development process. Another corner stone
of the approach is that mitigation has td be multi-disciplinary spanning across
all sectors of development. The new policy also emanates from the belief that
investments in mitigation are much more cost effective than expenditure on
relief and rehabilitation.

Disaster management occupies an important place in this country’s policy
framework as it is the poor and the under-privileged who are worst affected on
account of calamities/disasters.

The approach has been translated into a National Disaster Framework {a roadmap] covering institutional mechanisms, disaster prevention strategy, early warning
system, disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and human resource
development. The expected inputs, areas of intervention and agencies to be
involved at the National, State and district levels have been identified and
listed in the roadmap. This roadmap has been shared with all the State
Governments and Union Territory Administrations. Ministries and Departments of
Government of India, and the State Governments/UT Administrations have been
advised 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 all the participating organisations/stakeholders.

The changed 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

Institutional and Policy Framework

The institutional and policy mechanisms for carrying out response, relief and
rehabilitation have been well-established since Independence. These mechanisms
have proved to be robust and effective insofar as response, relief and
rehabilitation are concerned. The changed policy/approach, however, mandates a
priority to pre-disaster aspects of mitigation, prevention and preparedness and
new institutional mechanisms are being put in place to address the policy
change. Mitigation, preparedness and response are multi-disciplinary functions,
involving a number of Ministries/Departments. Institutional mechanisms which
would facilitate this inter¬disciplinary approach are being put in place. It is
proposed to create Disaster Management Authorities, both at the National and
State levels, with representatives from the relevant Ministries/Departments to
bring about this coordinated and multi-disciplinary with experts covering a
large number of branches. The National Emergency Management Authority is
proposed to be constituted. The organization will be multi-disciplinary with
experts covering a
large number of branches. The National Emergency Management Authority is
proposed as a combined Secretariat/Directorate structure – a structure which
will be an integral pad of the Government while, at the same time, retaining the
flexibility of a filed organization. The Authority will be headed by an officer
of the rank of Secretary/ Special Secretary to the Government in the Ministry of
Home Affairs with representatives from the Ministries/Departments of Health,
Water Resources, Environment & Forest, Agriculture, Railways, Atomic Energy,
Defence, Chemicals, Science & Technology, Telecommunication, Urban Employment
and Poverty alleviation, Rural Development and Indian Meteorological Department
as Members. The authority would meet as often as required and review the Status
of warning systems, mitigation measure and disaster preparedness. When a
disaster strikes, the Authority will coordinate disaster management activities.
The Authority will be responsible for:—

  • Providing necessary support and assistance to State Governments by way of
    resource data, macro-management of emergency response, specialized emergency
    response teams, sharing of disaster related data base etc.

  • Coordinating/mandating Government’s policies for disaster reduction/mitigation

  • Ensuring adequate preparedness at all levels

  • Coordinating response to a disaster when it strikes

  • Assisting the Provincial Government in coordinating post disaster relief and
    rehabilitation Coordinating resources of all National Government
    Department/agencies involved.

  • Monitor and introduce a culture of building requisite features of disaster
    mitigation in all development plans and programmes.

  • Any other issues of work, which may be entrusted to it by the Government.

The States have also been asked to set up Disaster Management Authorities under
the Chief Minister with Ministers of relevant Departments Water Resources,
Agriculture, Drinking Water Supply, Environment & Forests, Urban Development,
Home, Rural Development etc

What should be done?

For addressing natural calamities such as floods and drought, there already
exist a number of plan schemes under which a lot is being done and can be done.
State Governments need to make full use of the existing plan schemes and give
priority to implementation of such schemes that will help in overcoming the
conditions created by the calamity. In some cases this implies possible
diversion of the funds from other schemes to those schemes the implementation of
which will help meeting the situation. There may also be need in a crisis
situation for certain reappropriations / reallocations among the different

The Planning Commission will aim at responding quickly to the needs of the
Central Ministries/Departments/States in matters relating to the Plan for
meeting situations arising out of natural disasters, by enabling adjustment of
schemes to meet the requirements as. far as possible. A mechanism will be
evolved to take expeditious decisions on proposals which involve transfer of
funds from one scheme to another, or any other change which involves departure
from the existing schemes/ pattern of assistance, new schemes and relaxation in
procedures, etc. in the case of naturai disasters.

As the first responder in any disaster situation, however, each State needs to
build a team, skilled personnel, make provision for specialised equipments,
efficient communication network, and relevant, intelligent and easily accessible
database. There is also a need to consider creation of a plan scheme in each
state basically to meet the minimum requirements for strengthening
communications and emergency control rooms, thereby improving coordination and
response to disasters. No new institutional structures need be created in such a

In particular, with regard to major disasters, it is also necessary for disaster
mitigation components to be built into all development projects. In order to
save larger outlays on reconstruction and rehabilitation subsequently, a
mechanism would need to be worked out for allowing components that specifically
help projects coining up in highly disaster prone areas withstand the impact of
natural disasters as part of approved project cost for projects financed under
the Plan.

The message for the Tenth Plan is that in order to move towards safer national
development, development projects should be sensitive towards disaster
mitigation. With the kind of economic losses and developmental setbacks that the
country has been suffering year after year, it makes good economic sense to
spend a little extra today in a planned way on steps and components that can
help in prevention and mitigation of disasters, than be forced to spend many
multiples more later on restoration and rehabilitation. The design of
development projects and the process of development, should take the aspect of
disaster reduction and mitigation within its ambit; otherwise, the development
ceases to be sustainable and eventually causes more hardship and loss to the


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