Disasters have been an integral part of human history right from the dawn of civilization. In the early days, individuals and communities would lead the response to disasters. However, with the emergence of globalization, urbanization, large-scale migrations of human population, the nature of disasters has increased both in magnitude and complexity. The frequency of disaster may have remained unchanged, increasing population densities and urbanization has resulted in greater impact on human lives and property, thereby rise in vulnerabilities.
Disaster is “a serious disruption of the functioning of a society, causing widespread human, material, or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources. ” A disaster is the product of a hazard such as earthquake or flood with a vulnerable situation which might include communities, cities or villages. Without vulnerability or hazard there is no disaster. A disaster occurs when hazards and vulnerability meet. Disaster Management Disaster Management” is a continuous and integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary or expedient for: a)Prevention of danger or threat of any disaster; b)Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences; c)Capacity-building; d)Preparedness to deal with any disaster; e)Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster; f)Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster; g)Evacuation, rescue and relief; )Rehabilitation and reconstruction Phases in Disaster Management a)Pre – Disaster Phase: Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness. b)Response Phase: Preparedness, Search, Rescue, Medical Aid, Assessment, Relief and Temporary Rehabilitation c)Recovery Phase: Permanent Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Disaster Management Cycle Disaster management can be defined as the body of policy and administrative decisions and operational activities which pertain to the various stages of a disaster at all levels.
Response is the first stage of the disaster management cycle, when a disaster has occurred or is imminent, those affected by it require a speedy response to alleviate and minimize suffering and losses. Disaster Response Disaster response activities include setting up control rooms, putting the contingency plan in action, issue warning, action for evacuation, search and rescue, taking people to safer areas, rendering medical aid to the needy .
Responders also need to cope with response-generated demands such as the need for coordination, communications, ongoing situation assessment and resource mobilization during the response period, followed by provision of basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, medicines and other necessities essential to bring the life of the affected community back to a degree of normalcy. There are three phases in responding –pre, during and post disaster. Pre-disaster response activities are launched as soon as the information about an impending disaster is received. The activities like setting up control rooms, evacuation of people, etc. re intended to reduce the impact of disaster on the life and property, Response activities during disaster are meant to ensure that the needs and provisions of victims are met to alleviate and minimize suffering. Post disaster response tries to achieve rapid, durable and sustainable recovery. A timely response can reduce the magnitude of loss of life and property, For timely and adequate response, a mechanism is prerequisite, These are useful for issue of warnings, serve as guide to officials at the critical time by assisting them useful for issue of warnings, serve as guide to official at the ritical time by assisting them take immediate action. Disaster Response Mechanism Response Mechanism is influenced by the politico-socio milieu and the public administration system, India is a quasi-federal state and consequently, the responsibility are shared by both the central Government as well as the state government, though the primary responsibility in the event of a disaster is that of the concerned state government. The response to disasters in India, in most cases, had been spontaneous and supply driven.
India is vulnerable to all kinds of natural disasters and manmade disasters, as the administrative units in a country are found in three layers, the response mechanism can be discussed at Centre, State and District level. Disaster Response Mechanism in India has evolved over the years. It has existed in a scattered and disjointed form; the concrete shape started taking place in mid nineties when Government of India (GOI) established National Centre for Disaster Management (NCDM) in 1995 to bring various stakeholders on one platform. Disaster Management Act, 2005 was a watershed.
Disaster Response Mechanism is in an ancient stage in our country. Disaster Management Act, 2005, Nation Policy on Disaster Management, 2009, Disaster specific guidelines by NDMA, financial provisions through Finance and Planning Commission, Five year plans, Annual Budget makes Response, a complex phase. Disaster Response Mechanism is a multi-dimensional subject of Policy, Administration, Finance, Health Services, Medical Preparedness, Relief Logistics, Role of International agencies and NGO’s have important role to play. Policy, Administration and Finance are the most important aspects which influence all dimensions of Response Mechanism.