Showing posts with label DISASTER MANAGEMENT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DISASTER MANAGEMENT. Show all posts

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Annual Conference of Relief Commissioners/Secretaries, Department of Disaster Management of States/UTs Held

A. K. Mangotra, Secretary, Border Management in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) inaugurated today the Annual Conference of Relief Commissioners/ Secretaries, Department of disaster Management of States/ UTs in New Delhi to review the status of preparedness of South-West Monsoon, 2013. On this Occasion, Mangotra said the capacities of Early Warning Systems have been strengthened. He emphasized the need to augment multi-sectoral approach in dealing with disasters. He also informed that an inventory of relief materials will be set up at the Centre level. Secretary, Border Management further informed that the Government has started National School Safety Programme in 8600 schools of 43 districts in 22 States in the country. 

Joint Secretary, Disaster Management in the MHA, Shri GVV Sarma made a presentation on the issues related to Disaster Management in the county. 

Other agencies i.e. India Meteorological Department, National Institute of Disaster Management, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, National Disaster Management Authority, Central Water Commission, Geological Survey of India, National Disaster Response Force and Ministry of Defence also made presentations relating to the role of their organization for preparedness and further enhancement of the capacity to deal with disasters. Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority Dr. Shyam S. Agrawal, Relief Commissioners from States/UTs and senior officers of MHA and NDMA attended the meeting. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Prime Minister to Inaugerate National Platform of Disaster Risk Reduction

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the First Session of National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in New Delhi at the Vigyan Bhawan on 13th May 2013. Union Home Minister Shri Sushilkumar Shinde will also be present on the occasion. The whole range of stakeholders from Government, Parliamentarians, Media, International Orgnaisations, NGOs, local community representatives, scientific and academic institutions and corporate businesses etc., will participate in this two day conference. The theme of the Conference is “Mainstreaming DRR in Development: From Risk to Resilience”. The Conference will help in sharing of experiences, views and ideas, present findings of research and action and explore opportunities for mutual cooperation in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction. 

The First Session of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction will enable the decision makers, partners, experts and practitioners of DRR to come together to deliberate initiatives, share information, promote campaigns and provide useful suggestions relating to Disaster Risk Reduction. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre

The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) established at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Sciences, (INCOIS - ESSO) Hyderabad, autonomous body under Ministry of Earth Sciences, is being upgraded continuously to provide tsunami advisories for the events occurring in the global oceans, though it has been recognized as one of the best systems in the world. The major upgradation work would be Standardization of the Operating Procedures, bulletin formats and terminologies with warning centres operating in other global basins. To achieve this, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC of UNESCO) has set up a task team comprising of experts from tsunami warning centres of all ocean basins, with India as the Chair. The ITEWC encompasses a real-time seismic monitoring network of 17 broadband seismic stations to detect tsunamigenic earthquakes, a network of real-time sea-level sensors with 4 Bottom Pressure Recorders (BPR) in the open ocean and 25 tide gauge stations at different coastal locations monitor tsunamis and a 24 X 7 operational tsunami warning centre to provide timely advisories to vulnerable community. It also receives earthquake data from all other global networks to detect earthquakes of M>6.5. The state-of-the-art early warning centre at INCOIS - ESSO is operational since October 15, 2007 with all the necessary computational and communication infrastructure that enables reception of real-time data from seismic & sea-level sensors, analysis of the data, tsunami modeling, and dissemination of tsunami advisories guided by a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). A host of all available communication technology options have been employed for timely dissemination of advisories to various designated authorities to deal with effective emergency response actions as appropriate. The centre is capable of detecting tsunamigenic earthquakes occurring in the whole of Indian Ocean region as well as in the Global Oceans within 10 minutes of their occurrence and disseminates the advisories to the concerned authorities within 20 minutes through various modes of communication like email, fax, SMS, GTS and website. Since its inception in October 2007 to till date, ITEWC has monitored 339 earthquakes of M > 6.5 out of which 63 are in the Indian Ocean region. ITEWC also acts as one of the Regional Tsunami advisory Service Provider (RTSP) along with Australia & Indonesia for the Indian Ocean region. As the oceans on the earth are interconnected, the tsunami waves generated due to any great earthquakes in the global oceans can affect the Indian Coasts. In order to protect our coasts from tsunamis up-grading the present system is very essential. Up-gradation of ITEWC will also enhance its capability to provide tsunami advisories to the other needy countries in the world. The basic infra-structure and the necessary computational facilities are established while setting up the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre and hence no major hardware upgradations are proposed. The maintenance of the entire early warning system is carried out with a budget allocation of Rs. 17.00 Crores per annum. Model simulations required for global operations would be run as part of this itself. Additional data required for the enhancement of ITEWC for global operations can be obtained by collaborations with centres operating in other countries.

Currently, there are 1800 coastal forecast points covering coastal areas of the entire Indian Ocean region. The necessary actions have been initiated to upgrade the same for covering other the coastal regions.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Education for Disaster Management

On the recommendation of 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission contained in its 3rd Report titled “Crisis Management from Despair to Hope” regarding introduction of “Disaster Management” as a subject in ‘Management and Public Administration’, the University Grants Commission(UGC) constituted an Expert Committee consisting of subject experts in Disaster Management. The Expert Committee framed the syllabus for an optional paper on Disaster Management at the Undergraduate level and syllabus for a short-term training course for UG teachers to be used by Academic Staff Colleges. The Commission considered the report of the Expert Committee on Disaster Management and approved the introduction of an optional paper on Disaster Management at the Undergraduate level across the universities/colleges. The Commission further decided that Disaster Management be introduced as one of the topics in Orientation and Refresher Courses offered by the Academic Staff Colleges. The Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU) is also running various courses in Disaster Management at Post Graduate and Doctoral level programmes. Similarly, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also introduced the topic of Disaster Management as a part of the school curriculum in Social Science.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hurricane Sandy hits U.S. Coast

Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, as well as the second costliest Atlantic hurricane, only surpassed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The eighteenth named storm and tenth hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Sandy devastated portions of the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States in late October 2012. Sandy is estimated in early calculations to have caused damage of at least $20 billion (2012 USD). Preliminary estimates of losses that include business interruption surpass $50 billion (2012 USD), which, if confirmed, would make it the second-costliest Atlantic hurricane in history, behind only Hurricane Katrina.

Sandy developed from a tropical wave in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, quickly strengthened and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Sandy six hours later. Sandy moved slowly northward toward the Greater Antilles and gradually intensified. On October 24, Sandy became a hurricane, made landfall near Kingston, Jamaica, a few hours later, re-emerged into the Caribbean Sea and strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. On October 25, Sandy hit Cuba, then weakened to a to Category 1 hurricane. Early on October 26, Sandy moved through the Bahamas. On October 27, Sandy briefly weakened to a tropical storm and then restrengthened to a Category 1 hurricane. Early on October 29, Sandy curved north-northwest and then moved ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Storm Scales

A storm in the Atlantic is called a hurricane, in the Indian Ocean it is a cyclone, while around the Philippines and the Pacific Ocean it is known as a typhoon. While these three form over water, tornadoes (or twisters) form over land and are smaller in size and intensity. Though similar in many ways, hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are measured on different scales. For hurricanes there is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Depending upon wind speed, hurricanes are classified under Categories 1-5. For a storm to be called a Category 1 hurricane it has to have wind speeds ranging 119-153 kmph; 252 kmph and above are slotted under Category 5. India's Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre's classification of cyclone ranges from depression (51 kmph) to super cyclones (222 kmph).

The Tempest and Other Stories
Storms and imagination go hand in hand. Krishna fights storms sent by Indra. So does Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. Shakespeare's plays are full of storms. Remember that wonderful scene in King Lear? Edgar Allan Poe ("A Descent into the Maelstrom") and Joseph Conrad (Typhoon) continue the tradition. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger is a nuanced thriller.
But then storms are all about drama and devastation. And what better medium than films? John Ford filmed lashing waves and swaying palms for the climax of The Hurricane in a Hollywood sound stage. More effective were the billowing curtains and shattering windows in John Huston's classic noir Key Largo. Trouble the Water is a documentary worth repeated viewing.
Musicians weren't far behind. Check out Vivaldi's "Summer" (from The Four Seasons). For the black tee-and-distressed-jeans lot there is, of course, the Scorpions' "Rock you like a hurricane". And jholawallahs and meaning-seekers can tune into Bob Dylan and his "Hurricane".

The Naming Game
Until 1978, storms were only given women's names! But then US weathermen decided to become politically correct and so now we have men's names too attached to hurricanes. It's "Sandy season" now but watch out for Tony, Valerie and William. And next year the hurricane season will start with Andrea, Barry and Chantal.

In days gone by, hurricanes were named after saints. Then latitude and longitude positions were used and during World War II the US military named them after their wives and girl friends. Now it is the job of the World Meteorological Organization, based in Geneva, to get out an alphabetical list of names at its annual meeting. The lists are rotated every six years. Some names from the previous years are "retired", if they have been devastating.

Some That Made Waves:

Great Hurricane of 1780
Though exact figures are unavailable, it is considered to be the deadliest Atlantic hurricane. Between October 10 and 16, over 22,000 lives were lost in eastern Caribbean. Experts conjecture that it was a Category 5 hurricane with speed touching 320 kmph.

Galveston Hurricane
Now forgotten, this Category 4 hurricane nearly wiped out Galveston, Texas' biggest city then. With wind speed touching 233 kmph, it slammed southern US on September 8, 1900. The toll is estimated to be 8,000 fatalities. It is considered to be the most deadly hurricane to strike the US.

Cyclone Bhola
Probably the worst tropical cyclone ever, with reports of nearly half a million deaths in Bangladesh. With wind speed crossing 200 kmph and storm surges of 30 feet, the cyclone caused extensive flooding. It came after five earlier storms had hit the country that year, 1970.

Andhra Pradesh Cyclone
One of the worst cyclones to hit the Indian coast. Touched the Andhra shore line on November 19, 1977 and left in its wake nearly 15,000 dead and damages worth $500 million.

Hurricane Mitch
One of the strongest to hit Honduras and Nicaragua, Mitch brought along torrential rain that caused flooding and mudslides. For over 10 days in October-November 1998, it caused havoc, leaving over 10,000 dead, many thousands missing. Damage was estimated at $6 billion.

Hurricane Katrina
The deadliest and most destructive storm in the 2005 hurricane season. It is also the costliest natural disaster in the US. Over a million people were displaced and 1,800 killed as the Category 5 hurricane hit Louisiana and Mississippi on August 25.

Cyclone Nargis
Hit Myanmar on May 2, 2008. Considered to be the country's worst natural disaster; caused damages worth $10 billion and nearly 150,000 deaths.

Hurricane Ike
In 14 days (September 1-14, 2008), this Category 4 hurricane left large swathes in Cuba, Haiti, Bahamas and US devastated. Close to 200 people died and damages have been estimated to be close to $40 billion. It is considered to be the second costliest hurricane to hit the US.

Cyclone Nilam

Cyclonic Storm Nilam  was worst tropical cyclone to directly affect south India since Cyclone Jal in 2010. Originating from an area of low pressure over the Bay of Bengal on October 28, the system began as a weak depression 550 km (340 mi) east-northeast of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Over the following few days, the depression gradually intensified into a deep depression, and subsequently a Cyclonic Storm by October 30. It made landfall near Mahabalipuram on October 31 as a strong Cyclonic Storm with peak winds of 45 knots (85 km/h).

The cyclonic storm Nilam that has hit the eastern coast of India was christened as ‘Nilam’ by Pakistan as per the cyclone naming procedure.

Tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are being named since 2004. 'Nilam' means land in Hindi.

According to an IMD release,“The practice of naming storms was adopted because it was proved that short names are easier to remember than numbers and other technical terms.”

IMD (Indian Meteorological Dept) has the mandate to provide weather advisories to seven countries -- Bangladesh, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka besides India.
The IMD says the practice of naming storms (tropical cyclones) was adopted years ago to help identify them so that people could be informed about their arrival quickly.
This decision, to give names to the cyclones that form over the North Indian Ocean region, was taken unanimously by eight countries — Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand — in the year 2000.
IMD has list of 64 names contributed by eight countries of the Indian sub continent-- Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
While India gave names like Agni, Akash, Bijli, Jal, Lehar, Megh, Sagar, Vayu; Bangladesh gave Onil, Ogni, Nisha, Giri; Maldives gave Goni;  Myanmar gave Pyarr,  Phyan, Thane; Oman gave – Baaz, Sidr, Murjan; Pakistan gave Fanoos, Nargis, Laila, Nilam, Nilofar; Sri Lanka gave Mala, Rashmi, Bandu, Priya and Thailand gave Mukda, Phet.
Each country gave eight names for the cyclones. Thus a list of 64 names was prepared. It was also decided that the 8 countries will take turns to name the cyclones.

Sunday, August 5, 2012



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Five reasons why a drought in India won't matter

Droughts are those creeping sorts of natural disasters that grab us unawares. Or are they? The south-west (June-September) monsoon, that gives almost 75% of India's annual rainfall, is erratic in one out of four years.
With wide variations in agro-climatic zones, drought is guaranteed somewhere in the country each year, affecting about 50 million people.

Changing weather patterns have accelerated drought attacks. There were six between 1900 and 1950 and 12 in the following 50 years. We have already faced three droughts between 2000 and 2009.

So, if this monsoon produces droughts in some areas - we are nowhere close to that possibility right now - do we have to worry? Not really. There are five reasons for this.


After the 2002-03 drought, the government developed a standard operating procedure on how to tackle water shortage for humans, cattle and crops. Once a drought is officially declared, several things happen at once. The Central government starts rescheduling farm loans, moving water and fodder by rail, hiking food allocation to poor families, creating more jobs. A ministerial task force is set up to take rapid decisions.

Drought-declared states are monitored individually by the Centre. The Essential Commodities Act is used to prevent hoarding, and states get cash for relief programmes. The upshot of these moves is that even though the majority of India's poor families live in rain-fed areas, destitution from loss of farm income is considerably less.


Even a 20% drop in rice production this year will not impact supply after the record harvest last season. The government is holding enough rice and wheat to supply ration shops for three years. This puts a ceiling on consumer foodgrain prices. A sugar shortage is unlikely because sugarcane is grown on irrigated land. Besides, India has plenty left over from last season that can be diverted from exports to the domestic market.

Punters may be betting on a shortage in edible oils and pulses. But the summer's production loss can be compensated by a good winter crop of oil-rich mustard seed and chickpea, India's largest pulse crop. As almost half the edible oils and a fifth of the pulses consumed annually are imported, price and availability are anyway decided by international markets.

Importing a tad extra won't send the market into frenzy. Even coarse grain, mostly fed to livestock and chickens, may eventually not be scarce as more land is being planted with these hardy crops. But consumers will feel the pinch of more expensive green vegetables as fewer farmers in rain-fed areas would be willing to invest in these high-value crops. Milk and meat will also become dearer as fodder prices rise.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Disaster Profile 
The Indian subcontinent is among the world's most disaster prone areas. Almost 85% of India’s area is vulnerable to one or multiple hazard. Of the 28 states and 7 union territories, 22 are disaster-prone. It is vulnerable to wind storms spawned in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, earthquakes caused by active crustal movement in the Himalayan mountains, floods brought by monsoons, and droughts in the country's arid and semi-arid areas. Almost 57% of the land is vulnerable to earthquake (high seismic zones III–V), 68% to drought, 8% to cyclones and 12% to floods. India has also become much more vulnerable to tsunamis since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Of the earthquake-prone areas, 12% is prone to very severe earthquakes,18% to severe earthquakes and 25% to damageable earthquakes. The biggest quakes occur in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Kutch, Himachal and the North-East. The Himalayan regions are particularly prone to earthquakes.. The last two major earthquakes shook Gujarat in January 2001 and Jammu and Kashmir in October 2005. Many smaller-scale quakes occurred in other parts of India in 2006. All 7 North East states of India - Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Megalaya; Andaman & Nicobar Islands; and parts of 6 other states in the North/North-West (Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Bihar) and West (Gujarat), are in Seismic Zone V.

About 30 million people are affected annually. Floods in the Indo–Gangetic–Brahmaputra plains are an annual feature. On an average, a few hundred lives are lost, millions are rendered homeless and several hectares of crops are damaged every year. Nearly 75% of the total rainfall occurs over a short monsoon season (June – September). 40 million hectares, or 12% of Indian land, is considered prone to floods. Floods are a perennial phenomenon in at least 5 states - Assam, Bihar, Orissa , Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. On account of climate change, floods have also occurred in recent years in areas that are normally not flood prone. In 2006, drought prone parts of Rajasthan experienced floods.
About 50 million people are affected annually by drought. Of approximately 90 million hectares of rain-fed areas, about 40 million hectares are prone to scanty or no rain. Rainfall is poor in nine meteorological subdivisions out of 36 subdivision (each meteorological sub division covers a geographic area of more than ten revenue districts in India). In India annually 33% area receive rainfall less than 750 mm (low rainfall area) and 35 % area receive between 750 to 1125 mm rainfall Medium rainfall) and only 32percent falls in the high rainfall (>1126 mm) zone.
About 8% of the land is vulnerable to cyclones of which coastal areas experience two or three tropical cyclones of varying intensity each year. Cyclonic activities on the east coast are more severe than on the west coast. The Indian continent is considered to be the worst cyclone-affected part of the world, as a result of low-depth ocean bed topography and coastal configuration. The principal threat from a cyclone are in the form of gales and strong winds; torrential rain and high tidal waves/storm surges. Most casualties are caused due to coastal inundation by tidal waves and storm surges. Cyclones typically strike the East Coast of India, along the Bay of Bengal, ie. the states of West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, but also parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat at the Arabian Sea West Coast.
Landslides occur in the hilly regions such as the Himalayas, North-East India, the Nilgiris, and Eastern and Western Ghats. Landslides in India are another recurrent phenomenon. Landslide-prone areas largely correspond to earthquake-prone areas, i.e. North-west and North-East, where the incidence of landslides is the highest.
Drought is another recurrent phenomenon which results in widespread adverse impact on vulnerable people’s livelihoods and young children’s nutrition status. It typically strikes arid areas of Rajasthan (chronically) and Gujarat states. Drought is not uncommon in certain districts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, etc. Although a slow onset emergency, and to an extent predictable emergency, drought has caused severe suffering in the affected areas in recent years, including effects on poverty, hunger, and unemployment.
Cold waves:
Cold waves are recurrent phenomenon in North India. Hundreds if not thousands of people die of cold and related diseases every year, most of them from poor urban areas in northern parts of the country.
According to India’s Tenth Five Year Plan, natural disasters have affected nearly 6% of the population and 24% of deaths in Asia caused by disasters have occurred in India. Between 1996 and 2001, 2% of national GDP was lost because of natural disasters, and nearly 12% of Government revenue was spent on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction during the same period. As per a World Bank study in 2003, natural disasters pose a major impediment on the path of economic development in India

Hazard Profile
 India, due to its, physio-graphic and climatic conditions is one of the most disaster prone areas of the world. It is vulnerable to windstorms from both the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. There are active crustal movements in the Himalaya leading to earthquakes. About 58.7 % of the toatal land mass is prone to earthquake of moderate to very high intensity. The region was hit by Uttarkashi Earthquake (1991), Killari Earthquake (1993), Koyana Earthquake (1997), Chamoli Earthquake (1999), and Bhuj earthquake (2001), Jammu & Kashmir Earthquake (2005). The Himalayas being a fairly young mountain range is undergoing constant geological changes resulting in landslides. Floods brought about by heavy rain and drought in arid and semi arid areas. About 12 % of the o f the total land mass is flood prone and 68 % of the arable land is vulnerable to drought. The Western region of the country is represented by the Thar Desert and the central India by the Deccan Plateau face recurring droughts due to acute shortage of rainfall. India has increasingly become vulnerable to Tsunamis since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. India has a coastline running 7600 km long; as a result is repeatedly threatened by cyclones.
The table below shows major disasters in the known history of India:
SR. NO. Name of Event Year Fatalities
1. Maharashtra Earthquake 1618 2,000
2. Bengal Earthquake 1737 300,000
3. Bengal Cyclone 1864 60,000
4. The Great Famine of Southern India 1876-1878 5.5 million
5. Maharashtra Cyclone 1882 100,000
6. The Great Indian famine 1896-1897 1.25 million to 10 million
7. Kangra earthquake 1905 20,000
8. Bihar Earthquake 1934 6,000
9. Bengal Cyclone 1970 500,000 (include Pakistan and Bangladesh also)
10. Drought 1972 200 million people affected
11. Andhra Pradesh Cyclone 1977 10,000
12. Drought in Haryana & Punjab 1987 300 million people affected
13. Latur Earthquake 1993 7,928 death and 30,000 injured
14. Orissa Super Cyclone 1999 10,000
15. Gujarat Earthquake 2001 25,000
16. Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004 10,749 deaths 5,640 persons missing
17. Kashmir Earthquake 2005 86000 deaths (include Kashmir & Pakistan)
18. Kosi Floods 2008 527
19. Cyclone Nisha of Tamil Nadu 2008 204

Identifying the hazards:

Natural disasters
Earthquake: India is having a high risk towards Earthquakes. More than 58 per cent of India’s land area is under threat of moderate to severe seismic hazard. During the last 20 years, India has experienced 10 major earthquakes that have resulted in more than 35,000 deaths. The most vulnerable areas, according to the present seismic zone map of India include the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions, Kutch and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Depending on varying degrees of seismicity, the entire country can be divided into the following seismic regions: Of the earthquake-prone areas, 12% is prone to very severe earthquakes, 18% to severe earthquakes and 25% to damageable earthquakes.

Though the regions of the country away from the Himalayas and other inter-plate boundaries were considered to be relatively safe from damaging earthquakes, the presence of a large number of non- engineering structures and buildings with poor foundations in these areas make these regions also susceptible to earthquakes. In the recent past, even these areas also have experienced earthquake, of lower magnitude than the Himalayan earthquakes. The North-Eastern part of the country continues to experience moderate to strong earthquakes. On an average, this region experiences an earthquake with magnitude greater than 5.0 every year. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are situated on an inter-plate boundary and therefore are likely to experience damaging earthquakes frequently. The increase in earthquake risk in India in recent times is caused due to a spurt in developmental activities driven by urbanization, economic development and the globalization of India’s economy. The increase in the use of high-technology equipment and tools in manufacturing and service industries have also made them susceptible to disruption due to relatively moderate ground shaking.

Flood and drought: The country receives an annual precipitation of 400 million - hectare meters. Of the annual rainfall, 75% is received during four months of monsoon (June- September) and, as a result, almost all the rivers carry heavy discharge during this period. The flood hazard is compounded by the problems of sediment deposition, drainage congestion and synchronization of river floods with sea tides in the coastal plains. The area vulnerable to floods is 40 million hectares and the average area affected by floods annually is about 8 million hectares. About 30 million people are affected by flood every year. Floods in the Indo–Gangetic–Brahmaputra plains are an annual feature. On an average, a few hundred lives are lost, millions are rendered homeless and several hectares of crops are damaged every year Around 68% arable land of the country is prone to drought in varying degrees. Drought prone areas comprise 108. 11 million hectares out of a total land area of 329 Million hectares. About 50 million people are affected annually by drought. Of approximately 90 million hectares of rain-fed areas, about 40 million hectares are prone to scanty or no rain.

Cyclone: India’s long coastline of 7,516 kilometer is exposed to nearly 10 per cent of the world’s tropical cyclones. Of these, the majority has their initial genesis over the Bay of Bengal and strike the east coast of India. On an average, five to six tropical cyclones form every year, of which two or three could be severe. Cyclones occur frequently on both the coasts (The west coast - Arabian Sea; and the east coast - Bay of Bengal). More cyclones occur in the Bay of Bengal than in the Arabian Sea and the ratio is approximately 4:1. An analysis of the frequency of cyclones on the east and west coasts of India  between 1891 and 1990 shows that nearly 262 cyclones occurred (92 severe) in a 50 km wide strip on the east coast. Less severe cyclonic activity has been noticed on the west coast, with 33 cyclones occurring in the same period, out of which 19  of these were severe. In India, Tropical cyclones occur in the months of May-June and October-November. The cyclones of severe intensity and frequency in the north Indian Ocean are bi-modal in character, with their primary peak in November and secondary peak in May.  The disaster potential is particularly high at the time of landfall in the north Indian Ocean (Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea) due to the accompanying destructive wind, storm surges and torrential rainfall.  Of these, storm surges are the greatest killers of a cyclone, by which sea water inundates low lying areas of coastal regions and causes heavy floods, erodes beaches and embankments, destroys vegetation and reduces soil fertility.

Landslide: In the hilly terrain of India including the Himalayas, landslides have been a major and widely spread natural disasters that often strike life and property and occupy a position of major concern. One of the worst tragedies took place at Malpa Uttarkhand (UP) on 11th and 17th August 1998 when nearly 380 people were killed when massive landslides washed away the entire village. This included 60 pilgrims going to Lake Mansarovar in Tibet. In 2010 Cloudburst led flash mudslides and flash floods killed 196 people, including six foreigners and injured more than 400 and swept away number of houses, sweeping away buildings, bus stand and military installations in trans Himalaya Leh town of Jammu and Kashmir. Giving due consideration to the severity of the problem various land reform measures have been initiated as mitigation measures. Landslides occur in the hilly regions such as the Himalayas, North-East India, the Nilgiris, and Eastern and Western Ghats.

Avalanche: Avalanches are river like speedy flow of snow or ice descending from the mountain tops. Avalanches are very damaging and cause huge loss to life and property. In Himalayas, avalanches are common in Drass, Pir Panijat, Lahaul-Spiti and Badrinath areas. As per Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), on an average around 30 people are killed every year due to this disaster in various zones of the Himalayas. Beside killing people, avalanches also damage the roads and others properties and settlements falling in its way.
Area Prone to Avalanches
  • Avalanches are common in Himalayan region above 3500m elevation.
  • Very frequent on slopes of 30-45°.
  • Convex slopes more prone to this disaster.
  • North facing slope have avalanches in winter and south facing slopes during spring.
  • Slopes covered with grass more prone to this hazard.

Forest Fire: Forest or bush fire, though not causing much loss to human life, is a major hazard for forest cover in the country. As per Forest Survey of India report, 50 per cent of the forest cover of the country is fire prone, out of which 6.17 per cent is prone to severe fire damage causing extensive loss to forest vegetation and environment. Average annual physical loss due to forest fire in the country is estimated to worth Rs. 440 crores. The major loss due to forest fire is caused to the environment which gets adversely affected by this calamity. The degradation of climate, soil and water quality, loss of wildlife and its habitat, deterioration of human health, depletion of ozone layer, etc. along with direct loss to timber are the major adverse impact of forest fires. The coniferous forests in the Himalayan region are very susceptible to fire and every year there are one or more major fire incidences in these areas. The other parts of the country dominated by deciduous forest are also damaged by fire up to an extent. It is worth mentioning that in India 90 per cent of the forest fires are man­-made (intentionally or unintentionally).

Disaster Management Framework  

The institutional and policy mechanisms for carrying out response, relief and rehabilitation after disasters in India had been well-established since Independence. The increasing frequency and ferocity, the rising extent and sweep as well as the mounting human and economic toll due to disasters necessitated a reappraisal of institutional and policy frameworks and development of new frameworks for holistic disaster management of disasters.Heralding this paradigm shift in public policy, the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2007-12) stated:

The traditional perception relating to the management and mitigation of natural disasters has been limited to the idea of “calamity relief,” which is seen essentially as a non-plan item of expenditure. However, the impact of major disasters cannot be mitigated by the provision of immediate relief alone, which is the primary focus of calamity relief efforts. Disasters can have devastating effects on the economy; they cause huge human and economic losses, and can significantly set back development efforts of a region or a State. With the kind of economic losses and developmental setbacks that the country has been suffering year after year, the development process needs to be sensitive towards disaster prevention and mitigation aspects. There is thus a need to look at disasters from a development perspective as well.

The Plan also laid down a blue-print for the future:
The future blue-print for disaster management in India rests on the premise that in today’s society while hazards, both natural or otherwise, are inevitable, the disasters that follow need not be so and the society can be prepared to cope with them effectively whenever they occur. The need of the hour is to chalk out a multi-pronged strategy for total risk management, comprising prevention, preparedness, response and recovery on the one hand, and initiate development efforts aimed towards risk reduction and mitigation, on the other. Only then can we look forward to “sustainable development. Based on this philosophy, a holistic National Disaster Management Framework was developed in 2004, which highlights the interdependence of economy, environment, and development. This framework also links the issues of poverty alleviation, capacity building, community empowerment and other structural and non-structural issues of prevention and preparedness, response and recovery for effective disaster risk mitigation and management.
A comprehensive legal and institutional framework for disaster management has been set up through the Disaster Management Act passed by the Indian Parliament in 2005 and the National Policy on Disaster Managementthat was approved in 2009.

The Disaster Management Act 2005 has provided the legal and institutional framework for disaster management in India at the national, state and district levels. In the federal polity of India the primary responsibility of disaster management vests with the State Governments. The Central Government lays down policies and guidelines and provides technical, financial and logistic support while the district administration carries out most of the operations in collaboration with central and state level agencies.
In the Central Government there are existing institutions and mechanisms for disaster management while new dedicated institutions have been created under the Disaster Management Act of 2005.
The Cabinet Committee on Management of Natural Calamities (CCMNC) oversees all aspects relating to the management of natural calamities including assessment of the situation and identification of measures and programmes considered necessary to reduce its impact, monitor and suggest long term measures for prevention of such calamities, formulate and recommend programmes for public awareness for building up society's resilience to them. The Cabinet Committee on Security.(CCS) deals with the matters relating to nuclear, biological and chemical emergencies
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the Cabinet Secretary oversees the Command, Control and Coordination of the disaster response.
The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has created new institutions at the national, state, district and local levels. The new institutional framework for disaster management in the country is as under:
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The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister is the apex body responsible for laying down policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management and for coordinating their enforcement and implementation throughout the country. The policies and guidelines will assist the Central Ministries, State Governments and district administration to formulate their respective plans and programmes. NDMA has the power to approve the National Plans and the Plans of the respective Ministries and Departments of Government of India. The general superintendence, direction and control of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are vested in and will be exercised by the NDMA.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) is mandated to assist the NDMA in the discharge of its functions and further ensure compliance of the directions issued by the Central Government. The NEC comprises of the Union Home Secretary as the Chairperson, and the Secretaries to the GOI in the Ministries/Departments of Agriculture, Atomic Energy, Defence, Drinking Water Supply, Environment and Forests, Finance (Expenditure), Health, Power, Rural Development, Science and Technology, Space, Telecommunications, Urban Development, Water Resources and the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee as members. Secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs, Earth Sciences, Human Resource Development, Mines, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Secretary, NDMA are special invitees to the meetings of the NEC. The National Executive Committee is responsible to prepare the National Plan and coordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Policy and the guidelines issued by NDMA.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Central Government has the overall responsibility for disaster management in the country. For a few specific types of disasters the concerned Ministries have the nodal responsibilities for management of the disasters, as under:

Drought Ministry of Agriculture
Epidemics & Biological Disasters Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Chemical Disasters Ministry of Environment & Forests
Nuclear Disasters Ministry of Atomic Energy
Air Accidents Ministry of Civil Aviation
Railway Accidents Ministry of Railways
The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has the mandate for human resource development and capacity building for disaster management within the broad policies and guidelines laid down by the NDMA. NIDM is required to design, develop and implement training programmes, undertake research, formulate and implement a comprehensive human resource development plan, provide assistance in national policy formulation, assist other research and training institutes, state governments and other organizations for successfully discharging their responsibilities, develop educational materials for dissemination and promote awareness among stakeholders in addition to undertake any other function as assigned to it by the Central Government

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is the specialized force for disaster response which works under the overall supervision and control of the NDMA.
At the State Level the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), headed by the Chief Minister, lays down policies and plans for disaster management in the State. It is also responsible to coordinate the implementation of the State Plan, recommend provision of funds for mitigation and preparedness measures and review the developmental plans of the different departments of the State to ensure integration of prevention, preparedness and mitigation measures.
The State Disaster Management Department (DMD) which is mostly positioned in the Revenue and relief Department is the nodal authoiry
In the district level the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is headed by the District Magistrate, with the elected representative of the local authority as the Co-Chairperson. DDMA is the planning, coordinating and implementing body for disaster management at district level. It will, inter alia prepare the District Disaster Management Plan and monitor the implementation of the National and State Policies and the National, State and the District Plans. DDMA will also ensure that the guidelines for prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response measures laid down by the NDMA and the SDMA are followed by all departments of the State Government at the district level and the local authorities in the district.

The Local Authorities both the rural local self governing institutions (Panchayati Raj Institutions) and urban local bodies (Municipalities, Cantonment Boards and Town Planning Authorities) These bodies will ensure capacity building of their officers and employees for managing disasters, carry out relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the affected areas and will prepare DM Plans in consonance with guidelines of the NDMA, SDMAs and DDMAs

Disaster Management Act 2005

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 came into the statute book on 26 December 2005 by a Gazette notification, exactly on the first anniversary of the devastating tsunami of 2004, which killed nearly 13,000 people in India alone and affected 18 million people. The Act provides a legal and institutional framework for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” It provides for establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) at the National, State and District levels with adequate financial and administrative powers and creation of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) with the mandate of undertaking training and capacity building, Develop Training Modules on various aspects of Disaster management, Undertake Research and Documentation, Formulate and implement comprehensive HRD Plan covering all aspects of DM, Provide assistance in national level policy formulation and Provide assistance to state governments and State Training Institutions. The act also provides guidelines for creation of National Disaster Response Fund, National Mitigation Fund, Establishment of funds by State Government and Allocation of funds by Ministries and Departments for Emergency procurement. The act also provides for establishment of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
  • National Policy on Disaster Management 2009
    The National Policy on Disaster Management was approved by the Government in November 2009. This comprehensive policy document lays down policies on every aspect of holistic management of disasters in the country. The policy has thirteen chapters as under:
    1. Preamble
    2. Approach and Objectives
    3. Institutional and Legal Arrangements
    4. Financial Arrangements
    5. Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness
    6. Techno-Legal Regime
    7. Response
    8. Relief and Rehabilitation
    9. Reconstruction and Recovery
    10. Capacity Development
    11. Knowledge Management
    12. Research and development
    13. Road Ahead
    Salient Features of India’s National Policy on Disaster Management: India’s National Policy on Disaster Management was approved by the Union Cabinet of India on 22nd October, 2009 with the aim to minimize the losses to lives, livelihoods and property, caused by natural or manmade disasters with a vision to build a safe & Disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, integrated, Multi-disaster oriented and technology driven strategy. With this national Policy in place in India, a holistic and integrated approach will be evolved towards disaster management with emphasis on building strategic partnerships at various levels. The themes underpinning the policy include Community based Disaster Management, Capacity development in all spheres, Consolidation of past initiatives and best practices and Cooperation with agencies at National and International levels with multi-sectoral synergy.
    The Policy is also intended to promote a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through knowledge, innovation and education. It encourages mitigation measures based on environmental sustainability. It seeks to mainstream disaster management into the developmental planning process and provides for Institutional and Financial arrangements at national, State, and District-levels for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness and Response as it ensures adequate budgeting for disaster mitigation activities in all Ministries and Departments.

  • State Policies on Disaster Management
    The States of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala have formulated State Disaster Management Policies. policies. Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh, Uttranchal, Meghalaya, Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi, Orissa and West Bengal have prepared draft policies.

  • State Relief Codes/ DM Codes
    Many States have manuals and codes for management of drought, floods etc. Now many states are in the process of changing their State Relief codes into Disaster Management Manuals.

Guidelines of NDMA:

SOURCE: India Disaster Knowledge Network (IDKN)