The global community has become increasingly concerned about the climate change and its disastrous impacts. This realization has given birth to regime of disaster management in the wake of calamities like earthquakes, floods and cyclones causing colossal damage to life and poverty throughout the world. This report by the Ministry of Home Affairs on disaster management in India is the outcome of an in-house compilation and analysis of information relating to disasters and their management. The perception about disaster and its management has undergone a change following the enactment of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. There was a long felt need to capture information about all such events occurring across the sectors and efforts made to mitigate them in the country and to collate them at one place in a global perspective. India’s geo-climatic conditions as well as its high degree of socio-economic vulnerability, makes it one of the most disaster-prone country in the world.

Disasters are sometimes classified according to whether they are “natural” disasters, or “human-made” disasters. The eleventh five year plan document of Government of India gave impetus to mainstreaming disaster risk reduction as one of the priority programmes in the development planning process and disaster management.
To achieve results in these key identified areas, the report suggests certain steps which should be integral to all stages of disaster management. Disaster Management is a system that embodies four phases during its cycle: response, recovery, relief and rehabilitation. The definition of disaster is now all encompassing, which includes not only the events emanating from natural and man-made causes, but even those events which are caused by accident or negligence. A disaster is an extreme disruption of the functioning of a society that causes widespread human, material, or environmental losses that exceed the ability of the affected society to cope with its own resources.

A more modern and social understanding of disasters, however, views this distinction as artificial since most disasters result from the action or inaction of people and their social and economic structures. The characteristic spiral banding of dense clouds and rains make cyclonic storms easy to identify. Linkages between environment, natural disasters and development need to be clearly established to mitigate disasters and to improve environment.(2) The main thrust should be shifted from Disaster Relief to Disaster Mitigation. All developmental projects in vulnerable areas should be linked with and used to the maximum extent possible for disaster mitigation.

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Rubric: Business Emergency Preparedness


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