What is a DISASTER ? What is disaster management? How to manage disasters ? Disaster management initiative Disasters and Communities Community empowerment Community Based Disaster Management Case studies Village Disaster Management Committee Conclusion
A disaster is a natural or man-made hazardthat has come to fruition, resulting in anevent of substantial extent causing significantphysical damage or destruction, loss of life, ordrastic change to the environment. A disastercan be ostensively defined as any tragic eventwith great loss stemming from events such asearthquakes, floods, catastrophic accidents,fires, or explosions.
‘Disaster management can be defined asthe organization and management ofresources and responsibilities fordealing with all humanitarian aspects ofemergencies, in particular preparedness,response and recovery in order to lessenthe impact of disasters.
The local communities at the time of disaster or before thedisaster make groups for helping the people fromsuffering during the disaster. These groups include FirstAid group, Health group, Food and Welfare group, FederalEmergency Management Agency (FEMA) etc. They all arewell trained by some local community members. All thegroups are sent for helping any other local communitythat is suffering from a disaster. They also ask people tomove from the area affected from disaster to some othersafe regions. They are given shelter and every possiblefacilities by those local management communities. Someagencies also provide maps of potential disaster sites.Today, Government is also making effort to provide goodfacilities during the disaster. In Indian rural areas, thecommunity (group of families) are choosing a leader anddeveloping their Disaster management skills to protectthemselves and other local communities as well.
First responders – First responders are those peoplewho are the first to act as a response to a disastersituation . Community is the most importantcomponent in any disaster management initiatives asthe members are-1. First responders.2. Source of maximum information.3. People know local coping mechanism.4. Since the dependence on external resources is timeconsuming so self help is in self interest.
Disaster risk is on the rise throughout the world. Over thepast two to three decades, the economic losses and thenumber of people who have been affected by naturaldisasters have increased more rapidly than both economicand population growth. The physical, social andeconomic losses caused by these disasters are particularlyharsh for developing countries since they have a long-rangeeffect in the development process. The impacts of thedisasters are deeplyrelated with the socio economicconditions, tradition, culture, and climate of thecommunities.
While disasters can strike wide region or a nation, thatimpact is felt at the community level although it may hitone or several communities at once. It is thesecommunities that constitute what is referred to as“disaster fronts”. Being at the forefronts, communitiesneed to have capacity to respond to threats themselves.It is for While different community empowermentprogrammes related to disaster mitigation haveachieved their objectives, they are often short term, andissues on sustainability in these efforts are rarelyaddressed. Government, non-government andinternational organizations implement variousprogrammes before and after the disasters. Most ofthem are very successful during the project period, butgradually diminish as the years pass. may threaten their well-being.
Most of disaster response can be characterized as command andcontrol structure one that is top down and with logistic centreapproach. Because of this , we observe, lack of communityparticipation that results into failures in meeting the appropriateand vital humanitarian needs, unnecessary increase inrequirement for external resources, and general dissatisfactionover performance despite the use of exceptional managementmeasures. Recognizing these limitations, the Community BasedDisaster Management (CBDM) approach promotes a bottom-upapproach working in harmony with the top - down approach, toaddress the challenges and difficulties. To be effective, localcommunities must be supported into analyzing their hazardousconditions, their vulnerabilities and capacities as they seethemselves.
The CBDM approach provides opportunities forthe local community to evaluate their ownsituation based on their own experiencesinitially. Under this approach, the localcommunity not only becomes part of creatingplans and decisions, but also becomes a majorplayer in its implementation. Although thecommunity is given greater roles in the decision-making and implementation processes, CBDMdoes not ignore the importance of scientific andobjective risk assessment and planning. TheCBDM approach acknowledges that as manystakeholders as needed should be involved in theprocess, with the end goal of achieving capacitiesand transferring of resources at to thecommunity, which level who would assume thebiggest responsibility in over disaster reduction.
The United Nations Centre for Regional Development(UNCRD) has incorporated CBDM as its approach in disastermanagement planning under the overall organizational mandateof sustainable regional development and human security. TheUNCRD Disaster Management Planning Hyogo Office focusedon the community initiatives in the Asian region targetingdifferent stakeholders, from local government decision makersto schoolchildren. In all initiatives, attempts were made toensure that communities are engaged in disaster riskmanagement phases and are empowered to carry over them inlong term run.
Some case studies of UNCRD initiatives in this regard are-1. Sustainability in Community Based Disaster Management-In the Year 2002, UNCRD launched a three-year project ontitled “Sustainability in Community Based DisasterManagement”, to study the effectiveness of the grass - rootprojects and to suggest policy input for sustainability, whichwill be useful for the different communities to take futureactions. This was to help to understand the gaps in thecommunity initiatives, and to take corrective actions infuture.2. Afghan Training and livelihood Initiative-UNCRD HyogoOffice carried out “Afghan Training and LivelihoodInitiative (ALTI)” in Afghanistan from October 2002 to June2003. Under the need of the holistic rehabilitation after morethan two decades of conflict and strife, the urgent need wasto build houses of people. As Afghanistan is an earthquakeprone country, and is located in one of the most activeseismic belts of the world, seismic risk needs to beincorporated in its rehabilitation process. The ALTI focusedon developments of guidelines for earthquake safeconstruction practices, training of masons and engineers,and construction of model houses.
3.Patanka New Life (PNY) Plan –After the Gujarat earthquake of January 2001, PNY was initiated as jointinitiative of diverse organizations including government, non-government, academics and international organizations for communitybased effective rehabilitation. The aim of the initiative was to train andempower local masons and communities with proper earthquake-safertechnologies focusing on local tradition and culture. Emphasis was toensure confidence building and long-term use of traditionaltechnologies.4. School Earthquake Safety Initiative –The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) is,currently, promoting School Earthquake Safety Initiative through aproject “Reducing Vulnerability of School Children to Earthquakes”jointly with UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)in Asia-Pacific region. The project aims to make schools safe againstearthquakes and build disaster- resilient communities through self-help, cooperation and education. The project includes retrofitting ofschool building in a participatory way with the involvement of localcommunities, local governments and resource institutions, trainings onsafer construction practices to technicians, disaster education in schooland communities. These activities are carried out in Fiji Islands, India,Indonesia and Uzbekistan as demonstration cases which will bedisseminated throughout the respective geographical regions.
Village disaster management committee- It looks after thedisaster management in the village. The role of Village disaster management committee- is tocreate awareness and to guide the community in thepreparation of village disaster management society. Disaster Management team- Team that can respond to anemergency. The basic areas covered under DMT’s-1. Early warning and communication team.2. Evacuation and temporary shelter management team.3. Search and rescue team.4. Health and first-aid team.5. Relief co-ordination team.6. Water and sanitation team.
Disaster management is extremely important forthe human survival. Disaster management helpsus in managing disasters and be prepared fordisasters. Steps should be taken to make adisaster resilient society , some of them are-1. Hazard mapping of vulnerable areas and houses.2. Identification of vulnerable people.3. Identifying resources available for earlywarning system.4. Identification of safe places to reside when thedisaster strikes.5. Identifying human resources available-that willform the members of disaster management team.
We must not forget Quentin crisp whoquoted that-"You should treat alldisasters as if they weretrivialities but never treat atriviality as if it were adisaster"