“Disaster management – a communal approach” A Paper for National Seminar On “Emerging Facts of Management: Issues and Challenges” At Shri Atmanand Jain Institute of Management & Technology Ambala City (Haryana) Author Atul Goyal Member, All India Management Association Lecturer, Department of Business Administration Jind Institute of Engineering & Technology Email: – atulg. [email protected] com Key Words * Introduction * types of disasters * disaster management * Community Participation and Team work * conclusion * references Introduction ‘Disaster is a crisis situation that far exceeds the capabilities’. Quarentelly, 1985. ‘Disaster’ is defined as a crisis situation causing wide spread damage which far exceeds our ability to recover. Thus, by definition, there cannot be a perfect ideal system that prevents damage, because then it would not be a disaster. It has to suffocate our ability to recover. Only then it can be called as ‘disaster’. Disasters are not totally discrete events. Their possibility of occurrence, time, place and severity of the strike can be reasonably and in some cases accurately predicted by technological and scientific advances.
It has been established there is a definite pattern in their occurrences and hence we can to some extent reduce the impact of damage though we cannot reduce the extent of damage itself. This demands the study of disaster management in methodical and orderly approach. Millions of people breathe their last just because of unawareness about disasters, their mitigations and their cautions when a disaster strikes their zone. Have they taken several steps of safety, they would have been breathing. A disaster whether natural or human-induced, is an event which results in widespread human loss.
It is accompanied by loss of livelihood, property, causing suffering and loss in a definite area (which is struck by the disaster). As disasters warn only in some cases and most of the disasters come without any warning, there is often a large loss in life as the habitants in that specific area do not have any idea what will happen next, be it natural like cyclones or human-induced like wars. People who die are died but their relatives, especially those of the poor families face a very painful experience throughout their life and fear is possible to be seen in their eyes.
The continent of Asia is particularly vulnerable to disaster strikes. Between the years 1991 to 2000 Asia has accounted for 83 per cent of the population affected by disasters globally. While the number of people affected in the rest of the world were 1,11,159, in Asia the number was 5,54,439. Within Asia, 24 per cent of deaths due to disasters occur in India, on account of its size, population and vulnerability. Floods and high winds account for 60 per cent of all disasters in India. While substantial progress has been made in other sectors of human development, there is need to do more towards mitigating the effect of disasters.
Many parts of the Indian sub-continent are susceptible to different types of disasters owing to the unique topographic and climatic characteristics. About 54 per cent of the sub-continent’s landmass is vulnerable to earthquakes while about 4 crore hectares is vulnerable to periodic floods. The decade 1990-2000, has been one of very high disaster losses within the country, losses in the Orissa Cyclone in 1999, and later, the Gujarat Earthquake in 2001 alone amount to several thousand crore of Rupees, while the total expenditure on relief and reconstruction in Gujarat alone has been to the tune of Rs 11,500 crore.
Later on in 2008 the process is continued and Bihar in 2009 faces the flood due to Kosi River and according to Bihar Government lose is going to amounting the 56000 crore rupees. The main point of consideration is that this lose is of only of house, land, crops etc. the assets like Pets, Cows and other mammals is not calculated. According to National Disaster Management Agency India is prone to various hazards: 1. 70% of the cultivable area is prone to droughts 2. 60% to Earthquake 3. 12% to Floods and 4. 8% to Cyclones
This disaster dries away too much economy of the government and also the lives that are gone, everyone knows can’t come back. But this all nightmare can be ignored if each one of us does their bit towards learning (in case we are not aware of the things) and then figuring out what to do when time to act comes. If we are prepared, far less lives and damage will be faced. People often think that our zone is free of quakes; we can’t have cyclones and other disasters. This mentality lets them ignore a very important subject of their life (to let be safe) – disaster management.
If they pay attention to this topic, it is assured that much less lives will be lost. TYPES OF DISASTER Disasters are mainly of 2 types, 1. Natural disasters. Example – earthquakes, floods, landslides, etc. 2. Manmade disasters. Example – war, bomb blasts, chemical leaks, etc. The phases of all disasters, be it natural or manmade, are the same. The disasters often differ in quantity of damage caused or in quality of the type of medical consequences. For example earthquakes cause a lot of physical injury and fractures, floods cause drowning deaths and infections, chemical leaks cause toxic manifestations, etc.
Victims and survivors Almost everyone in the population is affected by a disaster. No one is untouched by it. Those who suffer damage are called victims. The victims may die or live. Those who manage to live are called survivors. These survivors can be classified as, 1. Primary survivor – One who is exposed to the disaster first-hand and then survives. They are called ‘survivor victims’. 2. Secondary survivor – One who grieves the loss of primary victims. Example, a mother who lost her child, or a man who lost his friend. . Third level survivor – The rescue and relief personnel. These people are also affected due to the disaster as they are at the site of disaster and undergo almost the same mental trauma as the other victims. 4. Fourth level survivor – Reporters, Government personnel, traders, etc. 5. Fifth level survivor – People who read about or see the event in media reports. THE Second Disaster The actual disaster results in a lot of damage to the population in terms of loss of life and property.
This direct result can be dubbed as the ‘first disaster’. The impact of the first disaster sends another wave of damage triggered by chain of events relating to the first disaster by means of cause-and-effect, resulting in indirect damage to people remote from the original disaster. This can be called the ‘second disaster’. For example, tsunami had caused loss in terms of life, damage to houses, etc. This is the first disaster. This leads to disruption in the trade of fishing industries, which suffers massive financial losses.
The losses suffered by these industries results in lower wages and salaries to those involved in the fishing business. These people cannot repay their loans, resulting in losses to money lenders, and so on. Such events can also result in higher incidences of heart attacks, strokes, suicides and homicides. This is called ‘second disaster’ and can be in greater magnitude than the ‘first disaster’. Proper rehabilitation and care of the victims of first disaster can break the chain of events leading to the second disaster. Disaster Management
Disaster management aims to reduce, or avoid, the potential losses from hazards, assure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of disaster, and achieve rapid and effective recovery. The Disaster management cycle illustrates the ongoing process by which governments, businesses, and civil society plan for and reduce the impact of disasters, react during and immediately following a disaster, and take steps to recover after a disaster has occurred. Appropriate actions at all points in the cycle lead to greater preparedness, better warnings, reduced vulnerability or the prevention of disasters during the next iteration of the cycle.
The complete disaster management cycle includes the shaping of public policies and plans that either modify the causes of disasters or mitigate their effects on people, property, and infrastructure. The mitigation and preparedness phases occur as disaster management improvements are made in anticipation of a disaster event. Developmental considerations play a key role in contributing to the mitigation and preparation of a community to effectively confront a disaster. As a disaster occurs, disaster management actors, in particular humanitarian organizations, become involved in the immediate response and long-term recovery phases.
The four disaster management phases illustrated here do not always, or even generally, occur in isolation or in this precise order. Often phases of the cycle overlap and the length of each phase greatly depends on the severity of the disaster. Mitigation – Minimizing the effects of disaster. Examples: building codes and zoning; vulnerability analyses; public education. Preparedness – Planning how to respond. Examples: preparedness plans; emergency exercises/training; warning systems. Response – Efforts to minimize the hazards created by a disaster. Examples: search and rescue; emergency relief . Recovery – Returning the community to normal.
Examples: temporary housing; grants; medical care. Sustainable Development Developmental considerations contribute to all aspects of the disaster management cycle. One of the main goals of disaster management, and one of its strongest links with development, is the promotion of sustainable livelihoods and their protection and recovery during disasters and emergencies. Where this goal is achieved, people have a greater capacity to deal with disasters and their recovery is more rapid and long lasting. In a development oriented disaster management approach, the objectives are to reduce hazards, prevent disasters, and prepare for emergencies.
Therefore, developmental considerations are strongly represented in the mitigation and preparedness phases of the disaster management cycle. Inappropriate development processes can lead to increased vulnerability to disasters and loss of preparedness for emergency situations. Mitigation Mitigation activities actually eliminate or reduce the probability of disaster occurrence, or reduce the effects of unavoidable disasters. Mitigation measures include building codes; vulnerability analyses updates; zoning and land use management; building use regulations and safety codes; preventive health care; and public education.
Mitigation will depend on the incorporation of appropriate measures in national and regional development planning. Its effectiveness will also depend on the availability of information on hazards, emergency risks, and the countermeasures to be taken. The mitigation phase, and indeed the whole disaster management cycle, includes the shaping of public policies and plans that either modify the causes of disasters or mitigate their effects on people, property, and infrastructure. Importance Of Mitigation – Without mitigation, the whole disaster management is deficient.
Ask why? The reason is that unless and until, we think and act for reducing the risk from the deadly impacts of the disasters, the whole disaster management is of no use, and will be nothing more than a joke. Mitigation is very essential, because without mitigation, there cannot be any development to give steel to the impacts of the disaster. The situation will be same every time, as there won’t be any change to defend from victimization in better ways. And in fact, the conditions will grow worse and worse with each strike of disaster.
Therefore it is easy to understand that without mitigation measures and activities, disaster management is incomplete. Mitigation measures can be long termed as well as short termed also. As told in previous chapter, mitigations are not only for after the disasters, but it can be brought in action anytime, means, before, during and after the disaster because, mitigation is defined as any step to moderate or lessen the risk. So let’s start with some mitigation measures for different disasters. Preparedness
Preparedness – Preparedness is the phase in which effective measures is taken before a disaster strikes, so that efficient and effective response can be given to the impacts of the disaster. Preparedness is (needs to be, if not done) done at both of the levels, governmental level as well as public level. Both of them need to do it. While the people or the public does it to save themselves and others in a nearby area or in their locale, the government does it for a big area because almost all the people themselves are helpless, even they try to save too much, they can do only to a very short extent as compared to the government.
Having a first aid box also is a preparation measure, though small but important. The goal of emergency preparedness programs is to achieve a satisfactory level of readiness to respond to any emergency situation through programs that strengthen the technical and managerial capacity of governments, organizations, and communities. These measures can be described as logistical readiness to deal with disasters and can be enhanced by having response mechanisms and procedures, rehearsals, developing long-term and short-term strategies, public education and building early warning systems.
Preparedness can also take the form of ensuring that strategic reserves of food, equipment, water, medicines and other essentials are maintained in cases of national or local catastrophes. During the preparedness phase, governments, organizations, and individuals develop plans to save lives, minimize disaster damage, and enhance disaster response operations. Preparedness measures include preparedness plans; emergency exercises/training; warning systems; emergency communications systems; evacuations plans and training; resource inventories; emergency personnel/contact lists; mutual aid agreements; and public information/education.
As with mitigations efforts, preparedness actions depend on the incorporation of appropriate measures in national and regional development plans. In addition, their effectiveness depends on the availability of information on hazards, emergency risks and the countermeasures to be taken, and on the degree to which government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the general public are able to make use of this information. Humanitarian Action During a disaster, humanitarian agencies are often called upon to deal with immediate response and recovery.
To be able to respond effectively, these agencies must have experienced leaders, trained personnel, adequate transport and logistic support, appropriate communications, and guidelines for working in emergencies. If the necessary preparations have not been made, the humanitarian agencies will not be able to meet the immediate needs of the people. Response and Relief When a disaster strikes a locality, there is a need of immediate response and relief to the victims of the disaster.
Though the government helps the victims and many NGOs also join in, but the first responders are the people of that locale. They are the one who come to help first at the time when the disaster strikes. After that come NGOs and other governmental bodies. In this phase, very quick response to the victims is required so that fewer lives are lost and this is the time when the real-time management is required. As quickly the response and relief to the victims is given, the more number of lives will be saved from crossing the last breath.
The aim of emergency response is to provide immediate assistance to maintain life, improve health and support the morale of the affected population. Such assistance may range from providing specific but limited aid, such as assisting refugees with transport, temporary shelter, and food, to establishing semi-permanent settlement in camps and other locations. It also may involve initial repairs to damaged infrastructure. The focus in the response phase is on meeting the basic needs of the people until more permanent and sustainable solutions can be found.
Humanitarian organizations are often strongly present in this phase of the disaster management cycle. Recovery (Rehabilitation and Reconstruction) Rehabilitation and Reconstruction is the phase in which the damages, specially structural and infrastructural, are brought to their normalcy state that means that damaged buildings are repaired, communication is tried to restore and the victims are habituated temporarily to a place where they can live for a while until their original habitation gets risk free. As the emergency is brought under control, the affected population is capable of ndertaking a growing number of activities aimed at restoring their lives and the infrastructure that supports them. There is no distinct point at which immediate relief changes into recovery and then into long-term sustainable development. There will be many opportunities during the recovery period to enhance prevention and increase preparedness, thus reducing vulnerability. Ideally, there should be a smooth transition from recovery to on-going development. Recovery activities continue until all systems return to normal or better.
Recovery measures, both short and long term, include returning vital life-support systems to minimum operating standards; temporary housing; public information; health and safety education; reconstruction; counseling programs; and economic impact studies. Information resources and services include data collection related to rebuilding, and documentation of lessons learned. Community Participation and Team work Everything related to the safety or benefitting of the people of a community is not possible to be successfully ongoing without the participation of the people of that own community. We can’t get well if we don’t care to go and consult a good doctor. ” Similar is the situation in the case of disaster management. Government, Non-Government Organizations and some mere heroic people can’t be successful in making the planet safe for the public, if the public has nothing to do with this. People need to bring awareness to themselves first, so that they can bring a change to their thinking and participate in such projects. Community participation counts more than half of disaster management. All we need to do is to become a bit more enthusiast and everything will be done with great ease.
What can the community do? Well, it can do great heavens. The community will make a disaster management plan for itself which all community members will follow. So, what will the plan do, what will be done? This disaster management plan will consist of some important components and some steps will be needed to be followed. Mock Drill This is a very important or maybe the most important part of the whole plan. I will discuss more about this in the latter chapter. It is never possible to do things perfectly without the practice. Therefore mock drills are the ay to make one more confident and fearless during the time to act. Teams We will then need to have some teams, which will perform special allotted tasks. E. g. – Warning team, first-aid team, Search and rescue team, etc. Mapping Mapping is a very efficient step to guide oneself in the case of emergencies such as emergency evacuation and approach. This will not require too much people; even a single person who has beautiful hands in drawing and sketching can do this task. We need to have really important contents in this map, such as the evacuation routes, safe places, unsafe places etc. Awareness
Before doing anything, in any field, it is always considered necessary to know about and get acquainted to the subject, on which we need to work. It is necessary to bring awareness, starting first from our family members and then going to higher levels of awareness. We need to know the importance of disaster management and make our near and dear ones also know it. Committee and commitment For everything that we don’t know, we need to learn and have a guider. Similarly in a disaster management plan, we need to form a committee which will do works like bringing awareness, taking important decisions and explaining things to people.
It should be headed by a well regarded and experienced person, who can be a good manager of time as well as the things. The other members can be some other valued people like teachers and good students etc. Recognizing the risks As far the efficiency and accuracy is concerned, it is always good to concentrate the most obvious things. By this, it means that the people of that community should recognize and identify the main disasters that can strike a place. For example, Bihar is prone to floods; recently there was a great flood due to the change of course of the river Kosi.
Resources Resources are a big count in this plan. We need both types of resources, human as well as material. Human resource is obvious, and without it nothing is possible in disaster management. And in material resources, we may have like fire extinguishers in each storey of big buildings, ladders, ropes, etc. Now let’s know what the actual significance of teamwork here is. It’s not about cricket match; it’s about serious disaster management. This teamwork is also a part of community participation. As written in point number 6 above, these teams will perform special allotted task.
There shall be several types of teams, as follows Awareness Team This team shall bring out awareness to the other general community members, who don’t belong to this team. They should be creative, and they should be energetic, so that in times when they need to spread awareness through different media, they can do the tasks like making posters and banners as well as pamphlets. Children can be really active in this team in the guidance of some experienced person. Warning Team This team will require people who are alertest and quick in running.
This team will also require some persons with strong voices, even a single person who has a strong voice can be helping in shouting and announcing in the situation of too much emergency. This team shall warn people as soon as they get to know that there is some danger or risk of any upcoming disaster. First Aid Aid team shall provide first aid to people who get hurt or injured during the disaster. This team demands for some people like doctors or who can help the doctors or even people who are not doctors but who can provide the easy first – aid and are quick in this work.
Search and rescue Team It’s frequent to hear that during disasters many people get lost and get separated from their families. So, this search and rescue team shall search the people and rescue them from losing their lives. This team requires physically strong people and who can run fast and make many rescues when times needed. This is community preparedness. If we follow this, the risk of damage to property and life can be reduced to such an extent which we can’t even think without being serious and following the disaster management. Conclusion
It is evident from the above that Government alone cannot mitigate the challenges of disasters and other calamities. The public and community at large can work and join hands for reducing the severe hazards and loss due to these disasters. This can be done by spreading the awareness and providing the knowledge about the factors and controlling measures behind the disasters. The life of a person only depends what he does, how he cares, and values for his life. We should realize the important of disaster management. Each year many people die due to disasters and many lose their life, just because they took disaster management lightly.
Previously, like in 15th century and all, people did not have that much idea as well as resource, and due to lack of awareness, they could do nothing, and helplessly lost their life. But today, we are able to do all these. The only causes due to which still many people lose their lives are both poverty and unawareness about disaster management or only laziness. So according to this, we should remember that “People who are helpless due to unawareness are pitiable but people who are helpless even if they are acquainted with everything and still are helpless should be considered fools.
So, let us see whether this topic does anything or not to prove itself true to its words, but it will do this only if the kind readers will be able to motivate themselves. References 1. Yojana (June 2009), a monthly Magazine of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 2. National Disaster Management Agency Report. 3. Environmental health in emergencies and disasters: A practical guide. WHO, 2002. 4. Governance in Disaster Management & Response by Rajesh Kishore, convener, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, Gandhinagar 5. http://www. worldbank. org/html/fpd/dmf/risk_managemnt. htm 6. http://www. cred. be/centre/publi/155e