WHAT IS A DISASTER?
*A DISASTER is a natural or man-made hazard that
has come to fruition, resulting in an event of
substantial extent causing significant physical
damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic
change to the environment.
are seen as the consequence of
inappropriate risks. These risks are the product
of a combination of both hazard/s and
countries suffer the greatest costs
when a disaster hits – more than 95 % of all deaths
caused by disasters occur in developing
countries, and losses due to natural disasters are
20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in
developing countries than in industrialized
WHAT IS DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Disaster Management is a strategic process, and not
a tactical process, thus it usually resides at the Executive
level in an organization. It normally has no direct
power, but serves as an advisory or coordinating function
to ensure that all parts of an organization are focused on
the common goal. Effective Emergency Management relies
on a thorough integration of emergency plans at all levels
of the organization, and an understanding that the lowest
levels of the organization are responsible for managing the
emergency and getting additional resources and assistance
from the upper levels.
The most senior person in the organization administering
the program is normally called an Emergency Manager, or a
derived form based upon the term used in the field (e.g.
Business Continuity Manager).
WHAT IS VULNERABILITY?
community, structure, service or geographic area
is likely to be damaged or disrupted by the impact
of particular disaster hazard.
Vulnerability is the propensity of things to be
damaged by a hazard
TYPES OF DISASTERS
There are two types of disasters:
• A natural disaster is a consequence when a natural
calamity affects humans and/or the built environment.
financial, environmental, or human impact. The resulting
loss depends on the capacity of the population to support
or resist the disaster: their resilience. This understanding
is concentrated in the formulation: "disasters occur when
hazards meet vulnerability". A natural hazard will hence
never result in a natural disaster in areas without
• Various disasters like earthquake, landslides, volcanic
eruptions, flood and cyclones are natural hazards that
kill thousands of people and destroy billions of dollars of
habitat and property each year. The rapid growth of the
world's population and its increased concentration often
in hazardous environment has escalated both the
frequency and severity of natural disasters.
hazards, earthquakes, landslides, floods and cyclones are the
major disasters adversely affecting very large areas and
population in the Indian sub-continent. These natural
disasters are of
(i) geophysical origin such as earthquakes, volcanic
eruptions, land slides and
drought, flood, cyclone, locust, forest fire.
Though it may not be possible to control nature and to stop
the development of natural phenomena but the efforts could
be made to avoid disasters and alleviate their effects on
frequency, amplitude and number of natural disasters and
attendant problem coupled with loss of human lives
prompted the General Assembly of the United Nations to
proclaim 1990s as the International Decade for Natural
Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) through a resolution 44/236 of
December 22, 1989 to focus on all issues related to natural
disaster reduction. In spite of IDNDR, there had been a
string of major disaster throughout the decade.
Nevertheless, by establishing the rich disaster management
related traditions and by spreading public awareness the
IDNDR provided required stimulus for disaster reduction. It
is almost impossible to prevent the occurrence of natural
A natural disaster is the effect
of a natural
Thus a natural hazard will not
hazard (e.g., flood, tornado,
result in a natural disaster
in areas without
eruption, earthquake, heat
vulnerability, e.g. strong
wave, or landslide). It leads
earthquakes in uninhabited
to financial, environmental
areas. The term natural has
or human losses. The
consequently been disputed
resulting loss depends on
because the events simply
the vulnerability of the
are not hazards or disasters
affected population to resist without human
the hazard, also called
A concrete example of the
If these disasters continue it
division between a natural
would be a great danger for
hazard and a natural
the earth. This
disaster is that the 1906 San
Francisco earthquake was a
concentrated in the
earthquakes are a hazard.
occur when hazards
TYPES OF NATURAL DISASTERS
During World War I, an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 soldiers died as
a result of avalanches during the mountain campaign in
the Alps at the Austrian-Italian front, many of which were caused
by artillery fire.
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in
the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. At the Earth's
surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by vibration, shaking and
sometimes displacement of the ground. The vibrations may vary in
magnitude. Earthquakes are caused mostly by slippage within
geological faults, but also by other events such as volcanic
activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.
The underground point of origin of the earthquake is called the focus.
The point directly above the focus on the surface is called
the epicenter. Earthquakes by themselves rarely kill people or
wildlife. It is usually the secondary events that they trigger, such as
building collapse, fires, tsunamis (seismic sea waves) and
volcanoes, that are actually the human disaster.
Volcanoes can cause widespread destruction and consequent disaster
through several ways. The effects include the volcanic eruption itself
that may cause harm following the explosion of the volcano or the
fall of rock.
Second, lava may be produced during the eruption of a volcano. As it
leaves the volcano, the lava destroys many buildings and plants it
Third, volcanic ash generally meaning the cooled ash - may form a
cloud, and settle thickly in nearby locations. When mixed with water
this forms a concrete-like material. In sufficient quantity ash may
cause roofs to collapse under its weight but even small quantities
will harm humans if inhaled.
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges
land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary
covering by water of land not normally covered by water. In the
sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow
of the tide. Flooding may result from the volume of water within a
body of water, such as a river or lake, which overflows or breaks
levees, with the result that some of the water escapes its usual
boundaries. While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary
with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt, it is not a
significant flood unless such escapes of water endanger land areas
used by man like a village, city or other inhabited area. let us take an
example the thunderstorm which attacked Tamil Nadu.
If a particular area has no rainfall or less rain than normal for a
long period of time is called drought. it is not only lack of rainfall
that causes drought. Hot dry winds, very high temperature and
evaporation of moisture from the ground can result in conditions
Tsunamis are caused by undersea earthquakes. Tsunamis generally
consist of a series of waves with periods ranging from minutes to
hours, arriving in a so-called "wave train".
Wave heights of tens of metres can be generated by large events.
Although the impact of tsunamis is limited to coastal areas, their
destructive power can be enormous and they can affect entire ocean
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was among the deadliest natural
disasters in human history with over 230,000 people killed in 14
countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is
in contact with both the surface of the earth and
a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus
They are often referred to as a twister or a cyclone, although
the word cyclone is used in meteorology in a wider sense, to
name any closed low pressure circulation.
Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but are typically in
the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end
touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud
of debris and dust.
Anthropogenic hazards or man-made hazards can come to
fruition in the form of a man-made disaster. In this
case, "anthropogenic" means threats having an element of human
intent, negligence, or error; or involving a failure of a man-made
Airplane crashes and terrorist attacks are examples of man-made
disasters: they cause pollution, kill people, and damage property.
MANAGEMENT OF DISASTERS
• The local communities at the time of disaster or before the
disaster make groups for helping the people from suffering
during the disaster.
• These groups include First Aid group, Health group, Food
and Welfare group, Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) etc. They all are well trained by some local
• All the groups are sent for helping any other local
community that is suffering from a disaster. They also ask
people to move from the area affected from disaster to some
other safe regions.
• They are given shelter and every possible facilities by those
local management communities. Some agencies also provide
maps of potential disaster sites.
• Today, Government is also making effort to provide good
facilities during the disaster.
• In Indian rural areas, the community (group of families) are
choosing a leader and developing their Disaster management
skills to protect themselves and other local communities as
• To reduce the impact of disasters by adopting suitable disaster mitigation
strategies. Disaster mitigation mainly addresses the following:
• minimize the potential risks by developing disaster early warning strategies
• prepare and implement developmental plans to provide resilience to such
• mobilize resources including communication and tele-medicinal services
• to help in rehabilitation and post-disaster reduction.
• Disaster management, on the other hand involves:
• pre-disaster planning, preparedness, monitoring including relief management
• prediction and early warning
• damage assessment and relief management.
• Expanding on the above steps:
• A set of warning systems should be thought of, so that people are warned to take
safety measures. Thus, more loss of life and property can be avoided. The warning
systems may include: radio, television, loudspeakers, personal messages, beating
of drums, bells, etc.
• The people must be educated to cope with a disaster. They should be taught to
keep a survival kit.
• On the practical side, mock drill training and practice should be undertaken.
Emergency contact and operation centres should be opened.
Help the injured and the needy.
Involve local people at all levels of activities.
Temporary shelters should be provided for the affected.
Medical camps should be set up.
Rescue teams should be deployed to look for those who are
water, transport, electricity, etc., should be restored.
• The people should be taught hot to follow healthy and safety
• The victims should be provided with temporary
• Those who have lost their family members should be
• If there is a danger of epidemics, vaccination programme
should be undertaken.
• The land use has to be so planned as to reduce the loss of life and
• Buildings should not be constructed in risk zones.
• Mobilizing support of different co-ordinating agencies such as
the local government, voluntary organisation, the insurance
companies, etc., to ensure co-ordination at the time of a disaster.
• All buildings should be earthquake and landslide resistant.
• The local community should be involved in making and
implementing safety norms.
• Disaster reduction is a systematic work which involves with
different regions, different professions and different scientific
fields, and has become an important measure for human and
nature sustainable development.
• For surviving in and after a disaster, people should carry a
survival kit which contains the following supplies: 1. First aid
kit. 2. Essential medicines. 3. Water - at least 9 litres per person
for 3 days. 4. Food - enough for three days. 5. A torch and a radio.
6. Personal hygiene items like toothbrush, soap, etc. 7. Baby and
pet supplies, toilet paper, etc.
planning, managing, organizing, training, equipping, exercisi
ng, creating, evaluating, monitoring and improving activities
to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of
capabilities of concerned organizations to prevent, protect
against, respond to, recover from, create resources and
mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of
terrorism, and other man-made disasters
• Personal preparedness focuses on preparing equipment and
procedures for use when a disaster occurs, i.e., planning.
Preparedness measures can take many forms including the
construction of shelters, installation of warning devices, creation of
back-up life-line services (e.g., power, water, sewage), and
rehearsing evacuation plans.
• Two simple measures can help prepare the individual for sitting out
the event or evacuating, as necessary. For evacuation, a disaster
supplies kit may be prepared and for sheltering purposes a
stockpile of supplies may be created. The preparation of a survival
kit such as a "72-hour kit", is often advocated by authorities. These
kits may include food, medicine, flashlights, candles and money.
Also, putting valuable items in safe area is also recommended.
72 HOUR KIT
• The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), recommends
the following for a disaster preparedness kit: one gallon of water
per person per day for three days, non-perishable food for each
person for three days, battery powered or hand crank radio and
extra batteries, flashlights for each person and extra batteries, first
aid kit, whistle, filter mask or a cotton t-shirt for each
person, moist towlettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties, wrench or
pliers, manual can opener, plastic sheeting and duct tape, important
family documents, daily prescription medicine, other things include
diapers/formula for babies and special need items.
• Typically a three day supply of food and water is the minimum
recommendation, having a larger supply means longer survival
(Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA), n.d.).
• Small comfort items can be added like a few toys for children, a
candy bar, or a book to read.
RESPONSE TO DISASTERS
necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area.
This is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, such as
fire-fighters, police and ambulance crews.
• When conducted as a military operation, it is termed Disaster Relief
Operation (DRO) and can be a follow-up to a Non-combatant evacuation
operation (NEO). They may be supported by a number of secondary
emergency services, such as specialist rescue teams.
• A well rehearsed emergency plan developed as part of the preparedness
phase enables efficient coordination of rescue. Where required, search
and rescue efforts commence at an early stage.
• Depending on injuries sustained by the victim, outside temperature, and
victim access to air and water, the vast majority of those affected by a
disaster will die within 72 hours after impact.
• The response phase of an emergency may commence with search and
rescue but in all cases the focus will quickly turn to fulfilling the basic
humanitarian needs of the affected population. This assistance may be
provided by national or international agencies and organisations.
• Effective coordination of disaster assistance is often crucial, particularly
when many organizations respond and local emergency management
agency (LEMA) capacity has been exceeded by the demand or diminished
by the disaster itself.
• Organizational response to any significant disaster – natural or terroristborne – is based on existing emergency management organizational
systems and processes: the Federal Response Plan (FRP) and the Incident
Command System (ICS). These systems are solidified through the
principles of Unified Command (UC) and Mutual Aid (MA)
• There is a need for both discipline (structure, doctrine, process) and
agility (creativity, improvisation, adaptability) in responding to a
disaster There is also the need to on-board and build an effective
leadership team quickly to coordinate and manage efforts as they grow
beyond first responders.
disciplined, iterative set of response plans, allowing initial coordinated
responses that are vaguely right, adapting to new information and
changes in circumstances as they arise.
Health disasters causing during
An epidemic is an outbreak of a contractible disease that
spreads through a human population. A pandemic is an epidemic whose
spread is global. There have been many epidemics throughout
history, such as the Black Death. In the last hundred years, significant
¤ The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, killing an estimated 50 million people
¤ The 1957-58 Asian flu pandemic, which killed an estimated 1 million
¤ The 1968-69 Hong Kong water flu pandemic
¤ The 2002-3 SARS pandemic
¤ The AIDS pandemic, beginning in 1959
¤ The H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Pandemic 2009-2010
¤ Other diseases that spread more slowly, but are still considered to be
global health emergencies by the WHO, include:
¤ XDR TB, a strain of tuberculosis that is extensively resistant to drug
¤ Malaria, which kills an estimated 1.6 million people each year
¤ Ebola hemorrhagic fever, which has claimed hundreds of victims in
Africa in several outbreaks
Some common diseases causing
During Natural Disasters
Hepatitis A and E
Acute respiratory infections(ARI)
Dead bodies and the risk of
overwhelmingly caused by blunt trauma,
crush-related injuries or drowning. The sudden presence of large
numbers of dead bodies
in the disaster-affected area can fuel fears of outbreaks . There is
no evidence that
dead bodies pose a risk of epidemics following natural disasters .
When death is directly due to the natural disaster, human
remains do not pose a risk for
outbreaks; the source of infection is more likely to be the
survivors than those killed by
the natural disaster . Even when death is directly due to
pathogenic organisms do not survive long in the human body
following death . Dead
bodies pose health risks only in a few situations requiring
specific precautions, such as
deaths from cholera or hemorrhagic fevers .
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