Understanding people and terrainIn context to Sikkim:> mountainous terrain, rainfall, temperature> loamy (water retentive) soil: possibility of aquifers> religions and faiths
‘What to do when disaster strikes?’Everybody needs to be resilient and always prepared for a disaster. Disaster preparedness includeseffective mitigation against disasters prone to that area. Last minute decisions, during a disaster are basedon presumptions of disaster. Simulations for disaster preparedness should be as close to reality aspossible for effective communication.
Methods of alerting peopleMaking alert signals more comprehensive for greater perception.Numerical data as a source for warning is not readily comprehended, example saying that a 6.5 richterscale earthquake hit the town does not show its impact to the people. Perhaps this quantitative datashould be supported by comparitive damage for people to realise its graveness.Identifying the most impactful locations for sending out disaster alertness messages.
Assistance for evacuation and rescueThe first people to assist in rescue and evacuation are the community members.Local NGO’s should become the representatives of victims in the face of disaster. They have the followingresponsibilities :Potray a clear picture about the extent of the disaster and it’s effects.Communicate with the outside world about resources required for the disaster, give suggestions andprepare people who need to reach to the place of disaster. example: make maps and routes for doctorscoming to aid, make a list of things required by people.Assist in establishing a smooth communication between victim and aid provider.
Identifying and equipping vulnerableNo one who witnesses a disaster is untouched by it. However it is important to recognize that due tovarious factors, there are certain groups of people who are more vulnerable and need greater attention.Women, children, aged and disabled are the main vulnerable groups who need special attention and care.
Immediate needsIt is one of the most critical phase to curb cascading hazards.It is that point of time when empathy level among everybody towards disaster victims is at it’s peak.Everybody is willing to extend a helping hand.The victim’s approach to handling situations at this stage can help in saving human lives. It is essentialthat victim remains vigillant and prepared rather than becoming complacent thinking that the disasterhas been averted and there shall be no more damage now. // Anticipated damage
Organised data sourceInformation obtained from stakeholders and community members pre disaster is both quantitative andqualitative data. What is essential then is to ensure that this analysed data is compiled into informationthat is presented in a language, style and format which will ensure that the intended audience will be ableto absorb its messages in entirety.
Design for traumaEmotional reactions such as guilt, fear, shock, grief, vigilance, numbness, intrusive memories, and despairare universal responses in all people experiencing unforeseen disastrous events beyond their copingcapacity.
Immediate sheltersCommunity shelters should be the best equipped with communication and resources during theearthquake as they are one of the primary immediate shelters.It needs to be one of the most accessible place during the disaster.If there is a need for immediate shelters to be constructed, it needs to be easy, quick to construct/install.
CommunicationLack of accessibility makes the area more vulnerable to disaster damage.Outside help takes some time to reach a disaster location, during this course of time it is the communitythat comes forward to start disaster rescue. Knowing your neighbours and surroundings is probably oneof the easiest methods of ensuring aid during a disaster.
Prototyping and execution ofpost disaster kitsThere is a need for some immediate supplies, which need to be compact and easily distributableAnd there is a need for long term supplies that will help them cope up with their lives in temporaryshelters and also assist them in bringing their lives back to normal.
Temporary shelterIt is a representation of how the village would look like. Temporary shelter ideas need to look at weatherconditions of the terrain. They need to look into materials that can be easily supplied to that place. Mostof these shelters need to last for atleast 8-10 months.
Shelter developmentTemporary shelters must be executed with the following concerns in mind> with basic facilities i.e. electricity, source of illumination> some sort of connection to outside world> modularity and personalisation of spaceTemporary shelters should be tested by sociological and economical needs of the people and thephysiological impacts of the environment
Methods of data collectionIt is to do with how can the data be organised and classified so as to provide most accurate and detailedinformation about the extent of damage by deploying people from the community. Data collection alsoensures proper fund and resource allocation.
Methods of managing fundsIt is about establishing a link betweenWho is giving - What is given - Who is recievingLong term planning of the funds needs to also keep maintainence in mind while building anddistributing resources.
Alternative employmentThere is a disruption in the social fabric and a breakdown of the traditional forms of social support in theaffected communities. There is a high rate of unemployment due to the loss of primary livelihood.What is needed post disaster is secondary livelihood sources related to the loss of infrastructure andalternative occupational availability to revitalise the economic conditions.
Proofing hardware against disastersOur systems are already crippled by poor human governance are prone to disasters, with naturalphenomena only acting as the tipping point.It is about understanding the degree of structural resilience we can create, what it costs and what are theways to mitigate against whatever hazards concern our terrain.Most building codes and most safety standards in general, address life safety: sufficient structural
Bringing back normal lifeIts about ensuring a a complete restoration and building a better mitigation system for the future safe-keeping of the community. It means the community springs back stronger and better recovered.
Sources• Action Aid• Echo Stream• NDTV News• The Telegraph• Times of India• Indian Express• National Gepgraphic• Sikkim Times• Sikkim Now