Types of Disasters:• There is no country that is immune from disaster, though vulnerability to
disaster varies. There are four main types of disaster.
• Natural disasters- These disasters include floods, hurricanes, earthquakes
and volcano eruptions that can have immediate impacts on human health,
as well as secondary impacts causing further death and suffering from
floods causing landslides, earthquakes resulting in fires, tsunamis causing
widespread flooding and typhoons sinking ferries
• Environmental emergencies- These emergencies include technological or
industrial accidents, usually involving hazardous material, and occur where
these materials are produced, used or transported. Large forest fires are
generally included in this definition because they tend to be caused by
• Complex emergencies- These emergencies involve a break-down of
authority, looting and attacks on strategic installations. Complex
emergencies include conflict situations and war.
• Pandemic emergencies- These emergencies involve a sudden onset of a
contagious disease that affects health but also disrupts services and
businesses, bringing economic and social costs.
• This is a coordinated multi-agency
response to reduce the impact of a
disaster and its long-term results.
Relief activities include rescue,
relocation, providing food and water,
preventing disease and disability,
repairing vital services such as
telecommunications and transport,
providing temporary shelter and
emergency health care.
• Once emergency needs have been met and the initial
crisis is over, the people affected and the communities
that support them are still vulnerable. Recovery
activities include rebuilding infrastructure, health care
and rehabilitation. These should blend with
development activities, such as building human
resources for health and developing policies and
practices to avoid similar situations in future.
• Disaster management is linked with sustainable
development, particularly in relation to vulnerable
people such as those with disabilities, elderly people,
children and other marginalized groups.
• Air India Express Flight 812 was a scheduled passenger service
from Dubai to Mangalore which at around 01:00 UTC on 22 May
2010, overshot the runway on landing, fell over a cliff and caught
fire, spreading wreckage across the surrounding hillside. Of the 160
passengers and six crew members on board, only eight passengers
• With its 158 fatalities, the accident was the third deadliest aviation
disaster in India, after the 1996 Charkhi Dadri mid-air
collision which killed 349, and the 1978 crash of Air India Flight
855, which killed 213. It marked the first major Indian aviation
accident since the July 2000 crash of Alliance Air Flight
7412 in Patna. At the time, the accident was the deadliest crash of a
737 aircraft (all series) and the eighth hull loss of a Boeing 737–
800 aircraft.The crash caused the highest number of aviation
fatalities in 2010 and was the second of the year to involve a 737–
800. It was also the second time that an aircraft had overshot the
runway at Mangalore
On 22nd of this month, it will be one year after the tragic crash of Air India Express IX-812 at
Mangalore that killed 158 people.
It seems the last major news break related to the accident was duly celebrated by the
media with the submission of the investigation report by the Court of Inquiry (COI) on 26
April 2011, 10 months after it was constituted. Thanks to the selective and somewhat
precisely scheduled leaking of certain parts of the report to the press, now everyone is
aware that the crash happened because the ‘Serbian’ commander of the aircraft was
asleep for the first 100 minutes of the flight.
Though the relatives and dependents of more than 100 dead passengers are yet get
compensation, the public already has accepted the crash as a well concluded story.
So there shouldn’t be much left to write an anniversary story.
But no news reporter who had followed the story from the beginning can leave it thus.
It never was something as simple as an expatriate pilot causing a horrific crash by simply
sleeping at the controls.
There were many, many things the public was never properly made aware of, about the crash.
The incomplete, erroneous way the court of inquiry conducted the investigation too should
have been laid bare before the people of India.
The aviation reporters of the country by now should already have asked themselves why the
manufacturer of the crashed craft was never questioned or investigated.
The media should also have investigated Capt. Zlatco Glusica in his home country.
Air India Express and Air India the parent airline too were never sufficiently subjected to
unbiased scrutiny of the mass media.
It was a phone call from a ‘law maker’, as they say, of the country, that made me to start
worry about the whole business of the COI which was appointed by the govenment of India
on 3 June 2010.
Soon after the COI was constituted, three of the members of the COI had flown to US to
‘decode’ the content of the two back boxes- the DFDR and CVR- at the facility of NTSB.
It was after two weeks of their return to India that I got the call.
That was in July.
He was very excited. He said one of the pilots had fallen asleep during the flight and his
snoring and all was there in the CVR. Loud and clear.
That sure was news.
But I had to be sure. Okay, how he came to know about it? Well, that was simple. It was a
fellow lawmaker, who happened to own a major private airline who revealed that to him.
One of the members of the COI was an employee of that particular airline and after hearing
the CVR in US, he right away told his boss all about the unbelievable content.
But the Associate Editor of the Daily where I was working was not that adventurous to print
this explosive exclusive straightaway.
No proof- he calmly pointed out. So let us wait.
And our wait prolonged well in to first week of September 2010.
Coinciding with the second hearing of COI at the national capital from September 6 to 9, this
particular info was leaked to the press. All channels broke the news for the whole day.
Dailies celebrated it on 8th.
Though many veteran pilots who testified in that session of the hearing told the COI
that sleeping in the cockpit, was not that alarming or dangerous, that never was got
prominently reported. Some commanders had even pointed out that it was a healthy
practice for the pilots to sleep taking turns under ‘controlled conditions’. A little sleep
would only raise the level of alertness.
On their part, the COI too seemed to be agreeing with those observations. Many of
the experts who attended the hearing too had noted that. It was a kind of
reassurance for them that the investigation was proceeding in a scientific, unbiased
But the fact remained that one of the members of the COI who was pledged to
secrecy, had way back revealed this sensitive info in a very callous manner to his boss
who was the owner of rival airline of Air India Express.
And the way the ‘sleep news’ was planted in to selected national media too was
reason to worry.
Especially because the taped conversation between the pilots of the aircraft and
Mangalore ATC too had found it way to some media as early as June 2 , well before
the COI’s first hearing at Mangalore airport from August 17-19.
None could fail to notice that leaked content of both the tapes were highly
incriminating Capt. Zlatco Glusica, the Commander of the crashed flight.
A pattern was beginning to emerge, for those who were closely watching the
Almost all the countries situated around the Bay of Bengal were affected by the
tsunami waves in the morning hours of 26 December 2004 (between 0900 – 1030 hrs
IST). The killer waves were triggered by an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter
scale that had an epicenter near the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. The first
recorded tsunami in India dates back to 31 December 1881. An earthquake of
magnitude 7.5 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter believed to have been under the
sea off the coast of Car Nicobar Island, caused the tsunami. The last recorded tsunami
in India occurred on 26 June 1941, caused by an earthquake with magnitude
exceeding 8.5. This caused extensive damage to the Andaman Islands. There are no
other well-documented records of Tsunami in India.
It was all quiet on the waterfront on the Sunday morning after Christmas in 2004 at
Kanyakumari, the famous Marina Beach in Chennai and elsewhere on the Kerala coast
and Andaman Nicober Islands. There was the excitement of a holyday with an offbeat
mood with swarms of people on the sea front: children playing cricket and man and
women on their morning work at the Marina. Elsewhere, fishermen were putting out
to sea for the day’s catch. Then all on a sudden, a curious thing happened. The
holidaymakers at Kanyakumari were awestruck when the sea receded from the
• In the present tsunami, India was the third country severely battered after
Indonesia and Srilanka. In India the State severely affected by tsunami are
Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Andaman and Nicober
Island. The following Table.1 shows the average scenario of tsunami
devastation in the respective areas.
• The state of Tamil Nadu has been the worst affected on the mainland, with a
death toll of 7,793. Nagapattinam district has had 5,525 casualties, with
entire villages having been destroyed. Kanyakumari district has had 808
deaths, Cuddalore district 599, the state capital Chennai 206 and
Kancheepuram district 124. The death tolls in other districts were Pudukkottai
(15), Ramanathapuram (6), Tirunelveli (4), Thoothukudi (3), Tiruvallur (28),
Thanjavur (22), Tiruvarur (10) and Viluppuram (47).
Those killed in Kanyakumari include pilgrims taking a holy dip in the sea. Of
about 700 people trapped at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial off
Kanyakumari, 650 were rescued. In Chennai, people playing on the Marina
beach and those who taking a Sunday morning stroll were washed away, in
addition to the fisher folk who lived along the shore and those out at sea. The
death toll at Velankanni in Nagapattinam district is currently 1,500. Most of
these people were visiting the Basilica of the Virgin Mary for Christmas, while
others were residents of the town. The nuclear power station at Kalpakkam
was shut down after sea water rushed into a pump station. No radiation leak
or damage to the reactor was reported
Area affected 790
• An earthquake of magnitude 7.5 on the
Richter scale, with its epicenter believed to
have been under the sea off the coast of Car
Nicobar Island, caused the tsunami.
• The World Bank has approved the Emergency Tsunami
Reconstruction Project to repair damaged houses and
provide for multi hazard resistant houses, reclaim
agricultural lands, strengthen fisheries infrastructure.
• About 57 new habitations have been formed in 18 Town
Panchayats through reputed NGOs and other organizations
with the overall supervision of the District administration.
These habitations have been provided with basic amenities
and infrastructure facilities such as internal and approach
roads, electricity house service connections, street lights,
storm water drains, public utility buildings such as
community halls, anganwadi buildings, buildings for Self
Help Groups (SHGs), cremation sheds, bus shelters and
• In order to ameliorate the loss caused by the aftermath of
Tsunami, various restoration and reconstruction works have
been taken up. Livelihood restoration, repairs and up
gradation of roads, buildings, water supply, sanitation and
solid waste management infrastructure have been taken up
under Tsunami Emergency Assistance Project (TEAP) and
basic amenities in the newly constructed Tsunami
habitations have been provided under ETRP at a total cost of
• TWAD Board has taken up construction of underground
sewerage systems under ETRP at the newly constructed
tsunami habitations adopting a Single Point Intermittent
Sand Filter (SPISF) Technology in 25 habitations,
Decentralized Waste Water Treatment (DEWATS) technology
in 20 habitations and Fluidized Bed Biological Reactor
(FBBR) Technology in 5 habitations comprising an
interceptor tank (collection from house-holds), a sewer grid
and a filter bed with an underground drainage system in 10
Town Panchayats. The works based on SPISF Technology
have been taken up in 8 habitations and are under
• Present status of Tsunami Warnings in India: There are no codal provisions
of tsunami warnings in India as yet. However, there is a good
seismological network in India to record any earthquake within the
country and its neighborhood. The need of a Tsunami Warning Centre
(TWC) in India is now being conceptualized at the Government of India
• The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is working on a proposal to
set up a real time earthquake monitoring system in India. The Department
of Ocean Development in collaboration with the Department of Space and
the IMD under the Department of Science and Technology is evolving a
plan of tsunami warning system in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
Data from observation points to Warning Centre's) will be sent through
satellite links, specific systems called Deep Ocean Assessment and
Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) using bottom pressure recorders, acoustic
modems, acoustic release systems, and battery packs bolted to platform
and float action and recovery aids will be deployed
• International Status of Tsunami Warning and Communication System:
There are a number of initiatives at the international level for setting up
Tsunami Warning Systems for the Indian Ocean region. Present techniques
of tsunami prediction are severely limited. The only way to determine
with certainty if an earthquake will lead to a tsunami is to note the
occurrence and epicenter of the earthquake and then detect the arrival of
the tsunami at a network of tide stations. While it is possible to predict
when a tsunami will arrive at coastal locations, it is not yet possible to
predict the wave height, number of waves, duration of the hazard, or the
force to be expected from such waves at specific locations.
• A tsunami warning system is based on the concept that tsunamis travel at
much slower velocity (500 to 700 km per hour or 0.20 km/sec) as
compared to seismic waves (6 to 8 km per second). Seismic waves
therefore move 30 to 40 times faster than tsunami waves. Thus, after the
occurrence of a damaging earthquake and quick determination of its
epicenter, warning time of a few minutes to 2 to 3 hours is available
depending upon the distance from the epicenter to the coastline. This
time can be utilized for warning the coastal community if quick detection
and rapid communication systems are established
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