Disaster is any occurrence that causes ecological disruption, loss of human life, and
deterioration of health services on a scale sufficient to warrant an extraordinary response from
outside that affected to community or area. Disaster occurs suddenly and unexpectedly,
disrupting normal life and infrastructure of social services including health care system. For this
reason a country’s health system and public health infrastructure must be organized and kept
ready to act in any emergency situations as well as under normal conditions.
To meet the challenges of emergency and disaster situation, the government of India has
identified the nodel Ministries to earmark responsibilities to the various concerned
departments/and sectors and to coordinate the entire activities relating to specific types of
disaster and also support Ministry to develop sectoral contingency planning for implementation,
monitoring and evaluation.
DEFINATION OF HAZARD-
A hazard is a rare or extreme event in the natural or human-made environment that adversely
affects human life, property or activity to the extent of causing a disaster.
DEFINATION OF DISASTER-
A disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a society, causing widespread human,
material, or environmental losses which exceed the ability of affected society to copy using only
its own resources. Disaster are often classified according to their speed of onset (sudden or
slow), or according to their cause (natural or man made)
CAUSAL FACTORS OF DISASTER-
The magnitude of each disaster, measured in deaths, damage, or costs for a given
developing country increases with the increased marginalization of the population. This is caused
by a high birthrate, problems of land tenure and economic opportunity, and the lack or
misallocation of recourse to meet the basic human needs of an expanding population.
The most important single influence on the impact of a disaster. All other factors could
be lessened if the affected population were not also limited by poverty. Virtually all disaster
studies show that the wealthiest of the population either survive the disaster unaffected or
are able to recover quickly. Across the broad spectrum of disaster, poverty generally makes
people vulnerable to the impact of hazards. Poverty explains why people in urban areas are
forced to live on hills that are prone to landslides, or why people settle near volcanoes or
rivers that invariably flood their banks. Poverty explains why droughts claim poor peasant
farmers as victims an rarely the wealthy, and why famines more other than not are the result
of a lack of purchasing power to buy food rather than an absence of food.
There is an obvious connection between the increase in losses from a disaster and the
increase in population. If there are more people and structures where a disaster strikes, then
it is likely there will be more of an impact. The growth of population has been so
spectacular that it is inevitable that more people will be affected by disaster because more
will be forced to live and work in unsafe areas. Increasing numbers of people will be
competing for a limited amount of resources (such as, employment opportunities, and land)
which can lead to conflict.
Rapid population growth and migration are related to the major phenomenon of rapid
urbanization. This process is also accelerated in developing countries. It is chatagarised by the
rural poor or civilians in an area of conflict moving to metropolitan areas in search of economic
opportunities and security. These massive numbers of urban poor increasingly find fewer options
for availability of safe and desirable places to build their houses. Here again, competition for scare
resources, an inevitable consequence, can lead to human made disaster.
Transitions in cultural practices
Many of the inevitable changes that occur in all societies lead to an increase in the
societies, vulnerability to disaster.Obviously,all societies are constantly changing and in a
continual state of transition. These transitions are often extremely disruptive and uneven,
leaving gaps in social coping mechanisms and technology. These transitions include
nomadic populations that become sedentary rural people who move to urban areas, and both
rural and urban people who move from one economic level to another. More broadly, these
examples are typical of a shift from non-industrialized to industrializing societies.
Many disasters are either caused or exacerbated by environmental degradation.
Deforestation leads to rapid rain run off, which contributes to flooding. The destruction of
mangrove swamps decreases a coast line’s ability to resist tropical winds and storm surges.
Lack of awareness and information
Disaster can also happen because people vulnerable to them simply didn’t know how to
get out of harm’s way or to take protective measures. This ignorance may not necessarily be
a function of poverty, but a lack of awareness of what measures can be taken to build safe
structures on safe locations. Perhaps some people did not know about safe evacuation routes
and procedures. Other population may not know where to turn for assistance in times for
acute distress.Nevertheless; this point should not be taken as a justification for ignoring the
coping mechanisms of the majority of people affected by disaster. In most disaster prone
societies, there is wealth of understanding about disaster threats and responses. This
understanding should be incorporated into any efforts to provide external assistance.
War and civil strife
In this text war and civil strife are regarded as hazards that are extreme events that
produce disaster. War and civil strife often results in displaced people, a target population of
this training programme.The causal factors of war and civil strife include competition for
scarce resources, religious or ethnic intolerance, and ideological differences. Many of these
are also byproducts of the preceding six causal factors of disaster.
TYPES OF DISASTER
The discussion about disasters and emergencies resulting from natural and human
made hazards has been developed in general terms.However,each hazard has its own
charactristics.To understand the significance and implications of a particular type of disaster
we must have a basic understanding about the nature,casuses and efforts of each hazard
type. The list of hazard types is very long. Many occur infrequently or impact a very small
population. Other hazards, such as severe snowstorms, often occur in areas that are prepared
to deal with them and seldom become disaster.However, from the perspective of a disaster
victim it is not particularly useful to distinguish between minor and major disasters. Some
disasters are now of limited interest to the international community. These include
avalanches, fog, frost, hail, lightning, snowstorms and tornadoes. There are several hazard
types for which there is widespread concern. They can be categorized as follows:
Sudden onset hazards-(geological and climatic hazards) Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Floods,
Tropical storms, Volcanic eruptions, Landslides.
Slow onset hazards-(environmental hazards) Drought, Famine, Environmental degradation,
desertification, Deforestation, Pest infestation.
Industrial/Technological-System failures/accidents, Spillages, Explosions, Fires.
War and civil strife-Armed aggression, Insurgency, Terrorism and other actions leading to
displaced persons and refugees.
Epidemic-Water and/or food-borne diseases, persons-to-persons diseases (conduct and
respiratory spread), vector-borne diseases and complications from wounds.
Causal phenomena: Slippage of crusted rock along a fault or area of strain and rebound to
General characteristics and effect:
Shaking of earth caused by waves on and below the earth’s surface causing:
Predictability: Probability of occurrence can be determined but not exact timing. Forecasting is
based on monitoring of seismic activity, historical incidance, and observations.
Factors contributing to vulnerability:
Location of settlements in seismic areas.
Structures which are not resistant to ground motion.
Dense collections of buildings with high occupancy.
Lack of access to information about earthquake risks.
Typical adverse effects:
Physical damage-Damage or loss of structures or infrastructure. Fires, dam failures,
landslides, flooding may occur.
Casualties-Often high, particularly near epicenter or in highly populated areas or where buildings
Public health-Fracture injuries most widespread problem. Secondary threats due to flooding,
contaminated water supply, or breakdown in sanitary conditions.
Water supply-Severe problems likely due to damage of water systems, pollution of open wells
and changes in water table.
Possible risk reduction measures: Hazard mapping public awareness programs and training
assessing and reducing structural vulnerability land use control or zoning, building codes
Specific preparedness measures: Earthquake warning and preparedness programs.
EARTHQUAKE FACT SHEET
Learn about an earthquake’s causes and effects. Speak about them in a
calm and composed manner, not spreading anxiety about the phenomenon.
Keep a torch and a portable transistor radio handy.
Keep the corridors in the house clear of furniture and toys, making
Attach shelves, gas cylinders, vases and flowerpots to the walls of
Place heavy or bulky objects on the floor or on the lowest shelves.
Teach all members of your family how to turn off the electricity, water and
During an earthquake
Keep calm and help others do that.
If you are at home or inside a building
Do not rush to the doors or exits; never use the lifts; keep well away from
windows, mirrors, chimneys and furniture.
Protect yourself by staying under the lintel of an inner door, in the corner
of a room, under a table or even under a bed.
If you are in the street
Walk towards an open place in a calm and composed manner. Do not run
and do not wander round the streets.
Keep away from buildings, especially old, tall or detached buildings,
electricity wires, slopes and walls, which are liable to collapse.
If you are driving
Stop the vehicle away from buildings, walls, slopes, electricity wires and
cables, and stay in the vehicle.
After an earthquake
Keep calm, switch on the radio/TV and obey any instructions you hear on it.
Keep away from beaches and low banks of rivers. Huge waves may sweep in.
Expect aftershocks. Be prepared.
Turn off the water, gas and electricity.
Do not smoke and do not light matches or use a cigarette lighter. Do not turn on
switches. There may be gas leaks or short-circuits.
Use a torch.
If there is a fire, try to put it out. If you cannot, call the fire brigade.
If people are seriously injured, do not move them unless they are in danger.
Immediately clean up any inflammable products that may have spilled (alcohol,
If you know that people have been buried, tell the rescue teams. Do not rush and
do not worsen the situation of injured persons or your own situation.
Avoid places where there are loose electric wires and do not touch any metal
object in contact with them.
Do not drink water from open containers without having examined it and filtered
it through a sieve, a filter or an ordinary clean cloth.
Eat something. You will feel better and more capable of helping others.
If your home is badly damaged, you will have to leave it. Collect water
containers, food, and ordinary and special medicines (for persons with heart
complaints, diabetes, etc.)
Do not re-enter badly damaged buildings and do not go near damaged
Do not walk around the streets to see what has happened. Keep clear of the
streets to enable rescue vehicles to pass.
Causal phenomenon: Fault movement on sea floor, accompained by an
earthquake. A landslide occurring underwater or above the sea, and then
plunging into the water. Volcanic activity either underwater or near the shore.
Tsunami waves are barely perceptible in deep water and may measure
160km between wave crests.
May consist of ten or more wave crests.
Move up to 800km per hour in deep water of ocean, diminishing in speed as
the wave approaches shore.
May strike shore in crashing waves or may inundate the land.
Flooding effect depends on shape of shorelines and tides.
Predictability: Tsunami warning system in pacific monitors seismic activity and
declares watches and warnings. Waves generated by local earthquakes may
strike nearby shores within minutes and warnings to public may not be possible.
Factors contributing to vulnerability:
Location of settlements in low lying coastal regions.
Lack of tsunami resistant buildings.
Lack of timely warning systems and evacuation plans.
Unawareness of public to destructive forces of tsunami.
Typical adverse effects:
Physical damage-The force of water can raze everything in its path but the
majority of damage to structure and infrastructure results from flooding.
Withdrawal of the wave from shore scours out sediment and can collapse
ports and buildings and batter boats.
Causalities and public health: Deaths occur principally by drowning and
injuries from battering by debris.
Water supply: Contamination by salt water and debris or sewage may make
clean drinking water unavailable.
Crops and food supplies: Harvests, food stocks, livestock farm implements
and fishing boats may be lost. Land may be rendered infertile due to salt water
Possible risk reduction measures: Protection of buildings along coast,
houses on stilts, buildings barriers such as breakwaters.
Specific preparedness measures: Hazard mapping, planning evacuation routes, establish
warning systems, community education.
Causal phenomenon: Magma pushed upward through volcanic vent pressure and
effervescence of dissolved gases.
General Charactristics: Types of volcanoes are cinder cones, shield volcanoes, composite
volcanoes and lava domes. Magma flowing out onto surface is lava and all solid particles
ejected are tephra.Damage results from type of material ejected such as ash,pyroclastic
flows(blasts of gas containing ash and fragments),mud,debris,and lava flows.
Predictability: Study of the geological history of volcanoes mainly located in a clearly
defined volcanic belt, along with seismic activity and other observations may indicate an
impending volcano. No reliable indicator has been discovered and precursory signs do not
Factors contributing to vulnerability: Settlements on the flanks of volcanoes, settlements in
the historical paths of mud or lava lows, structure with roof designs not resistant to ash
accumulation, presence of combustible materials, lack of evacuation plan or warning
Typical adverse effects:
Causalities and public health: Death from pyroclastic flows, mud flows and possibly
lava flows and toxic gases. Injuries from falling rock, burns, respiratory difficulties
from gas and ash.
Settlements, infrastructure and agriculture: Complete destruction of everything in the
path of pyroclastic, mud or lava flows, collapse of structure under weight of wet ash,
flooding, blockage of roads or communication systems.
Crops and food supplies: Destruction of crops in path of flows, ash may break tree
branches, livestock may inhale toxic gas or ash, grazing lands may be contaminated.
Possible risk reduction measures: Land use planning for settlements around volcanoes,
protective struct Ural measures, National volcanic emergency plans.
Specific preparedness measures: Volcano monitoring and warning system, training for
government officials and community participation in search and rescue, fire fighting.
Causal phenomenon: Down slope transport of soil and rock resulting from naturally
occurring vibrations, changes in direct water content, removal of lateral support, loading
with weight and weathering or human manipulation of water courses and slope
General Charactristics: Landslides vary in types of movement (falls, slide, topples,
lateral spread, flows) and may be secondary effects of heavy storms, earthquake and
volcanic eruptions. Landslides are more widespread than any other geological event.
Predictability: Frequency of occurance, extent and consequences of landslides may
be estimated and areas of high risk determined by use of information on area
geology, geomorphology, hydrology and climatology and vegetation.
Factors contributing to vulnerability: Settlements built on steep slopes, softer soils.
Cliff tops, settlements built at the base of steep slopes, on mouths of streams from
mountain valleys, roads, communication lines in mountain areas, buildings with
weak foundations, buried pipelines, brittle pipes, lack of understanding of landslide
Typical adverse effects:
Physical damage-Anything on top of or in path of landslide will suffer damage.
Rubble may block roads, lines of communication or waterwayes.Indirect effects may
include loss of productivity of agricultural or forest lands, flodding, reduced property
Causalities-Fatalities have occurred due to slope failure. Catastrophic debris slides or
mudflows have killed many thousands.
Possible risk reduction measures: Hazard mapping, legislation and land use
Specific preparedness measures: Community education, monitoring, warning and
Causal phenomenon: Mixture of heat and moisture forms a low pressure centre over
oceans in tropical latitudes where water temperatures are over 26degrees c.Wind
currents spin and organize around deepening low pressure over accelerating toward
the center and moving along track pushed by trade winds. Depression becomes a
tropical cyclone when winds reach gale force or 117km per hour.
General Charactristics: When the cyclone strikes land, high winds, exceptional
rainfall and storm surges cause damage with secondary flooding and landslides.
Predictability: Tropical cyclones can be tracked from their development but accurate
landfall forecasts are usually possible only a few hours before as unpredictable
changes in course can occur.
Factors contributing to vulnerability: Settlements located in low lying coastal
areas(direct impact),settlements in adjacent areas(heavy rains and floods),poor
communication or warning systems, lightweight structures, older construction, poor
quality masonary,infrastructural elements, fishing boats.
Typical adverse effects:
Physical damage-Structure lost and damaged by wing force, flooding, storm surge
Causalities and public health: May be caused by flying debris or flooding,
contamination of water supplies may lead to viral outbreaks and malaria.
Water supplies-Ground water may be contaminated by floods water.
Crops and food supplies: High winds and rains can rain standing crops, tree
plantations and food stocks.
Possible risk reduction measures: Risk assessment and hazard mapping. Land use
control and flood plain management, reduction of structural vulnerability
improvement of vegetation cover.
Specific preparedness measures: Public warning systems, evacuation plans training
and community participation.
Dos and Don’ts
Listen to the radio for advance information and advice. Allow
considerable margin for safety. A cyclone may change direction, speed
or intensity within a few hours, so stay tuned to the radio for updated
If storm-force winds or severe gales are forecast for your area, then…
Store or secure loose boards, corrugated iron, rubbish tins or anything
else that could become dangerous.
Tape up large windows to prevent them from shattering.
Move to the nearest shelter or vacate the area if this is ordered by the
appropriate government agency.
When the storm hits…
Stay indoors and take shelter in the strongest part of your house.
Listen to the radio and follow instructions.
Open windows on the sheltered side of the house, if the roof begins to
Find shelter if you are caught out in the open.
Do not go outside or into a beach during a lull in the storm.
Causal phenomenon: Naturally occurring flash, river and coastal flooding from
intense rainfall or inundation associated with seasonal weather patterns, Human
manipulation of watersheds, drainage basins and floodplains.
Flash floods: Accelerated runoff, dam failure, breaks up of ice jam.
River floods: Slow buildup, usually seasonal in river system.
Coastal floods: Associated with tropical cyclones, tsunami waves, storm surges
factors affecting degree of danger: Depth of water, duration, velocity, rate of rise,
frequency of occurance, seasonality.
Predictability: Flood forecasting depends on seasonal patterns, capacity of
drainage basin, flood plain mapping, surveys of air and land. Warning possible
well in advance for seasonal floods, but only minutes before in case of storm
surge, flash flood or tsunami.
Factors contributing to vulnerability: Location of settlements on floodplains, lack
of awareness of flooding hazards, reduction of absorptive capacity of land, on
resistant buildings and foundations, high risk infrastructural elements, unprotected
food stocks and standing crops, livestock.
Typical adverse effects:
Physical damage-Structure damaged by washing a way, becoming
inundated,collapsing,impact of floating debris, landslide from saturated soils,
damage greater in valleys than open areas.
Causalities and public health: Deaths from drowning but few serious injuries,
possible outbreaks of malaria, diarrhea and viral infection.
Water supplies: Contamination of wells and groundwater possible. Clean water may
Possible risk reduction measures: Flood control (channels, dikes, dams, flood,
proofing, erosion control)
Specific preparedness measures: Flood detection and warning systems, community
participation and education, development of master plan for floodplain
Causal phenomenon: Immediate cause-Rainfall deficit, Possible underlying causes-
EI Nioo(incursion of warm surface waters into the the normally colder waters of
south American Pacific),human induced changes in ground surface and soil, higher
sea surface temperatures, increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide and greenhouse
General Charactristics: The reduction of water or moisture availability is temporary
and significant in relation to the norm, meteorological drought is the reduction in
rainfall and hydrological drought is the reduction in water resources. Agricultural
drought is the impact of drought on human activity influenced by various factor:
the presence of irrigation systems, moisture retention capacity of the soil, the
timing of the rainfall and adaptive behavior of the farmers.
Predictability: Periods of unusual dryness are normal in all weather systems.
Rainfall and hydrology data must be carefully analyzed with influencing factors in
predicting drought, however advance warning is usually possible.
Factors contributing to vulnerability: Location in an arid area where dry conditions
are increased by drought, farming on marginal lands, subsistence farming, lack of
agricultural inputs to improve yields, lack of seed reserves, areas dependent on
another weather systems for water resources. Areas of low soil moisture retention,
lack of recognition and allocation of resources to drought hazard.
Typical adverse effects: Reduced income for farmers, reduction of spending from
agricultural sector, increase in price of staple foods, increased inflation rates,
deterioration of nutritional status, famine, illness, death, reduction of drinking
water sources, migration, breakup of communities, and loss of livestock.
Possible risk reduction measures: Drought and famine early warning systems.
Specific preparedness measures: Development of inter-institutional response plan.
Causal phenomenon: Air pollution-pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen
dioxide, particulates, carbon monoxide and lead from industry and transport. Marine
pollution-Sewage, industrial effluents, marine litter, petroleum spills and dumped
radioactive sustances.Fresh water pollution-Discharge of human waste and domestic
wastewaters into lakes and rivers, industrial effluents, use of irrigation and
pesticides, run off of nitrogen from fertilizers. Increased run off from deforestation
causing sedimentation. Possible global warming-Accumulation of carbon dioxide
from combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation and methane from livestock. Ozone
depletion-Chloroflorocarbons (CFCs) released into the atmosphere deplete ozone
shield against ultraviolet light.
Predictability: Pollution is related to per capita consumption so; as countries develop
pollution will also tend to increase. Deforestation is increasing in some countries.
Factors contributing to vulnerability: High levels of industrialization and per capita
consumption, lack of regulation pollutants, insufficient resources to counter the
impact of pollution.
Typical adverse effects:
Air pollution: Damages agricultural crops, forests.aquatic systems, structural
materials and human health.
Water pollution: Spread of pathogens, injury to marine animals, spread of chemicals to
the environment effecting the health of humans, animala and sea life.
Global warming: Sea level rise, climate change, temperature rise.
Ozone depletion: Increase in skin cancer, cataracts, reduction in immune system
functions and damage to marine life.
Possible risk reduction measures: Set ambient air quality standards, set emission
limits for every pollutant, establish protection policies for water supplies, reduce
the use of pesticides by integrated management, reduce the rate of deforestation and
increase planting of trees, promote energy efficiency, regulate use of aerosols and
disposal of refrigeration units, prohibit manufacture and use of CFCs.
Specific preparedness measures: Establish a national environment safety and
protection plan; create education programs for environmental awareness, training of
government personnel as part of development programs.
Causal phenomenon: The spread of farming and grazing, firewood collection timber
General Charactristics: Contributes to other hazards by by removing root systems
which stabilize soil, acting as a filter and buffer, allowing percolation of water into
soil and retaining moisture in soil, removal of leaf biomass and forest products,
burning and decay of dead wood.
Predictability: An increase in global focus on the hazard is expanding data base
leading to an increased awareness of the problem and to identifying where the
problem exists.Overall, the global trend is deceasing as conservation measures are
enacted but destruction of forests is rising at alarming rates in some countries.
Factors contributing to vulnerability: Underdevelopment, dependence on wood for
fuel and income, unregulated logging and land clearance, rapid population growth,
rapid expansion of settled or industrialized areas.
Typical adverse effects: Deforestration results in loss of free products from the forest
such as fruits and medicine and decline in traditional cultures. It stresses economies
which import forest products and are dependent on wood products. It contributes to
other hazards such as flooding-Deforestation of watersheds can increase severity of
flooding, reduce stream flows, dry up springs in dry seasons and increase sediment
entering waterways. Drought-Removal of roots and leaf canopy can alter moisture
levels drying soil and decreasing percipitation.Famine-Decrease in agricultural
production due to erosion of topsoil and collapse of hillsides may lead to food
shortage. Environmental pollution-Increase contamination of soil and water and
reduces carbon dioxide absorption capacity, burning of forests and decay of trees
releases carbon dioxide to the air, possibly contributing to global warming.
Possible risk reduction measures: Protection of forests through management,
legislation, conservancies, reforestation.
Specific preparedness measures: Education of the communities, promoting alternatives
to fuel wood, soil conservation measures.
PHASES OF A DISASTER
Disasters can be viewed as a series of phases on a time continum.Identifying and
understanding these phases helps to describe disaster related needs and to
conceptualize appropriate disaster management activities.
Rapid onset disaster:
The definitions below correspond to the time sequence following the occurrence of
a rapid onset disaster.
The relief phase is the period immediately following the occurrence of a sudden
disaster(or the late discovery of a negated/deteriorated slow onset situation)when
exceptional measures have to be taken to search and find the survivors as well as
meet their basic needs for shelter,water,food and medical care.
Rehabilitation is the operations and decisions taken after a disaster with a view to
restoring a stricken community to its formar living conditions, while encouraging
and facilitating the necessary adjustment to the changes caused by the disaster.
Reconstruction is the action taken to reestablish a community after a period of
rehabilitation subsequent to a disaster. Actions would include construction of
permanent housing, full restoration of all services and complete resumption of the
Mitigation is the cooective term used to encompass all action taken prior to the
occurrence of a disaster(pre-disaster measures)including preparedness and long term
risk reduction measures.(Mitigation has been used by some institution or authors in a
narrow sense, excluding preparedness.)
Preparedness consists of activities designed to minimize loss of life and damage,
organize the tempory removal of people and property from a threatened location and
facilitate timely and effective rescue, relief and rehabilitation.
Slow onset disasters:
The sequence of a disaster continuum for slow onset disaster is similar in framework
but has important distinctions. The following terms and definitions reflect those
additions or modifications.
Early warning is the process of monitoring situations in communities or areas known
to be vulnerable to slow onset hazards. For example, famine early warning may be
reflected in such indicators as drought, livestock sales or changes in economic
conditions. The purposes of early warning are to enable remedial measures to be
initiated and to provide more timely and effective relief including through disaster
The emergency phase is the period during which extraordinary measures have to be
taken. Special emergency procedures and authorities may be applied to support
human needs, sustain livelihoods, and protect property to avoid the onset of disaster.
This phase can encompass pre-disaster, disaster alert, disaster relief and recovery
periods. An emergency phase may be quite extensive, as in a slow onset disaster
such as a famine. It can also be relatively short-lived, as after an earthquake.
Rehabilitation is the action taken after a slow onset disaster where attention must be
given to the issues of resettlement or returnee programmes, particularly for people
who have been displaced for reasons arising out if conflict or economic collapse.
The disaster management team-
One of the primary purposes of this overall training program is to introduce the
concept of managing disaster as a team. The objectives of disaster management
through teamwork include
A forum for communication, information exchange and developing consensus.
A format for co-ordination, eliminating duplication and reducing gaps in services.
The possibility of being more effective through pooled resources.
The UN Disaster Management Team
The United Nations General Assembly believes that the objectives of team
management are applicable to the UN agencies oriented to emergencies. They have
mandated that a standing, UN Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT) be formed in
each disaster prone country, convened and chaired by the UN resisdent coordinator.
The composition of the UN-DMT is determined by taking into account the types of
disaster to which the country is prone and the organizations present, but should
normally include a core group consisting of the country level representatives of
FAO, UNDP/UNDRO, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and where present, UNHCR.It may be
enlarged to include additional representatives or project personnel from other
relevant agencies when an emergency arises. The original and primary purpose of the
UN-DMT is to ensure a prompt, effective and concerted response by the UN system
at country level in the event of a disaster. The team should also ensure similar
coordination of UN assistance to the government in respect to post-disaster
rehabilitation and reconstruction and relevant disaster mitigation measures through
long term development programs. It should be emphasized that for all aspect of
disaster management the UN-DMT is in a support role of the government.
Country Disaster Management Team
Most disaster prone countries already have a formal or informal disaster management
team. It is typically headed by a national disaster focal point body. This body
function in liaison with the office of the president pr prime minister, with civil
defense organizations, key government ministeries, the red cross/red crescent and
other NGOs and major donors. The UN-DMT needs to interface with this team and
where practical to be a team member. Where national officials do not participate in
UN-DMT meetings or activities, the resident coordinator should ensure that they are
consulted and briefed on all relevant matters. In practice it is vital that the policies of
the DMT releate to those approved by the government even under the pressure of
Roles and resources of UNDP, UNDRO and other agencies
UNDP focuses primarily on the development related aspects of disaster risks and
occurrences and on providing technical assistance to institution building in realtion
to all aspect of disaster management.
a) Incorporating long term risk reduction and preparedness measures in normal
development planning and programes.including support for specific mitigation
measures where required.
b) Assisting in planning and implementation of post disaster rehabilitation and
reconstruction, including the definition of new development strategies that
incorporate risk reduction measures relevant to the affected area.
c) Reviewing the impact of large settlements of refugees or displaced persons on
development and seeking ways to incorporate the refugees and displaced persons in
d) Providing technical assistance to the authorities managing major emergency
assistance operations of extended duration (especially in relation to displaced
persons and possibilities for achieving durable solutions in such cases.)
e) In addition UNDP provides administrative and operational support to the resident
coordinator function, particularly at country level, but also at headquarters.
f) In the event of disaster,UNDP may grant a maximum of $50,000 from SPR funds to
provide immediate relief.UNDP is not otherwise involved in the provision of “relief
“using only of its own resources or other funds administrative by the program.
Where a major emergency substantially affects the whole development process
within a country, IPF resources may be used to provide technical assistance to plan
and manage the operation, with the agreement of the Government.
Disaster related roles of the core members of the UN-DMTs
Provides technical advice in reducing vulnerability and helps in the rehabilitation of
agriculture, livestocks and fisheries with emphasis on local food production.
Monitors food production, exports and imports and forecasts any requirements of
exceptional food assistance.
Promotes the incorporation of disaster mitigation in developing planning and funds
technical assistance for all aspects of disaster management.
Provides administrative support to the resident coordinator and UN-DMT.
Mobilizes and coordinates international emergency relief assistance, issuing
Assist in assessment and relief management is required. Provides advice and
guidance on risk assessments and in planning and implementing mitigation
Assures the protection of refugees and seeks durable solutions to their problems.
Helps to mobilize and assure the delivery of necessary assistance in the country of
asylum if it is a developing country.
Attends to the well-being of children and women, especially child health and
Assistance activities may include: social programs, child feeding(in collaboration
with WFP),water supplies, sanitation and direct health interventions(in collaboration
Provides related management and logistical support.
Role of other UN organizations and agencies
A number of other UN organizations and agencies have specific responsibilities,
organizational arrangements and capabilities relating to disaster mitigation and/or
relief or recovery assistance.UNDP, UNDRO NAD resident coordinators must
respect the mandates and skills of these agencies and seek to ensure that all work
together in harmony. All should use their expertise and resources to best effect in
helping people in disaster prone and disaster affected areas.
A. Prevention and mitigation
Personal Preparedness: Nurse assisting in disaster relief efforts must be as healthy as
possible, both physical as well as psychologically. She must be certified in first aid
and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Professional Preparedness: There should be disaster management team of nurses,
Psychiatric nurses, physicians, psychologist, surgeons, and social workers to be
active and alert at all time.
1. Nurse should know and understand citywide disaster management plan.
2. Nurse should update the disaster plan as per need.
3. She should develop and provide educational material relevant to disaster specific to
4. She should organize disaster drills with the help of government and non government
5. Community health nurse keeps up to date records of vulnerable population within the
6. Nurse should understand what the available community resources are and how the
community will work together when disaster strikes.
7. Man made disaster particularly preventable by enforcement of good building codes or
proper land and water management.
8. The disaster which are not preventable their impact can be mitigated by public
education to the peoples staying in disaster prone areas.
9. Community health nurse must involve in giving instructions regarding proper safety
precautions, proper storage of emergency supplies and basic first aid course for
injuries in the actual event.
10. Public communication systems and how people can obtain information in the event of
an actual disaster situation
e.g.Radio, Television etc.
B. Rescue and Emergency Medical Care
1. Locate the trapped victims and evacuate them to safe place.
2. Disaster service personnel and EMS personnel called to respond.
Triage or Sorting:
3. The goal of triage is to maximize the number of survivors by sorting the treatable from
the untreatable victims. It determines which client requires immediate treatment.
4. Triage must take place during every stage of operation from disaster scene to client
reaches to medical facility.
5. Many personnel are involved in the triage operation and each person must know their
6. Nurses and other emergency personnel are used as triage officers and physician are
administering emergency care to more critical victims.
C. Disaster Response
1. Nurse working as member of assessment team need to feedback accurate information
to relief managers to facilitate rapid rescue and recovery.
2. Assessment report should include following information.
Geographical extent of disaster impact.
Population at risk.
Presence of concurrent hazards.
Injuries and death
Availability of shelters.
Current level of sanitation.
Status of health care infrastructure.
3. Gather information: Through
Individual physical examination
Record(Census, Vital statistics, Disease reporting)
4. Shelter Management:
Although voluntary health agency is taking care of shelter
management but the nurse because of their comfort with delivering aggregate health
promotion, disease preventation and emotional support make ideal shelter
management as a team member.
5. Dealing with stress: Basic measures while working with victims dealing with
a) Listen carefully victims and retell their feelings related to disaster.
b) Encourage victims to share their feelings with one another if it is appropriate.
c) Help victims to take their own decision.
d) Delegate task to teenagers to avoid boredom.
e) Provide basic necessities e.g. food and water.
f) Provide basic dignity e.g. Privacy
g) Refer the patient to counselor e.g.Psychologist, Psychiatrists and Social worker.
h) Provide medical, nursing aid, first aid, meal serving keep records.
i) Ensure communication, transporation, safe environment.
1. The main objective of disaster management in this stage is to involve all agencies
and resources to restore the economic and civil life of the community e.g.
Construction of tempory as well as permanent house, economical support and
2. There is continuous threat of communicable diseases due to inadequate water
supply and crowed living condition. Nurses must remain vigilant in teaching
proper hygiene and making sure immunization record up to date.
3. Acute and chronic illnesses can become worse by prolonged effects of disaster.
Psychological stress of clean up and moving can cause feeling of severe
hopelessness, depression and grief. Referral services of mental health professional
should be continued as long as need exists.
4. Nurses need to be alert for environmental health hazards during recovery phase of
disaster. She must observe continuously faulty housing structure, lack of water
and electricity objects blown by flood may be dangerous must be removed. The
area should be assessed for live or dead animals, roadents that are harmful to a
5. In the end, all of the nurses and organizations in the world can only provide
partnership with the victims of a disaster. Ultimately; it is up to individual to
recovery on their own.
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Nineteenth edition, 2007, 650-57.
2. Stanhope M, Community health nursing, Mosby USA, 6th edition.
3. Health for the millions, disaster management, Feb-Mar 2006, vol 30, No 6.
4. Disaster preparedness, Nursing journal of Indis,March 2001,vol 24,
No 3, pg.50
5. Kishore’s.J, National health programs of India, century publications, New Delhi,
2007, 7th edition, 423-28.
6. Kandasamy M, Community health nurse in disaster management, the nursing
journal of India, vol 45, No 10, oct2007, 227-29.