Disasters and Disaster Management in India - A Summary

Human beings have experienced different kinds of disasters form time long past.  But in the present times their frequency and intensity have increased.  Even with the progress of technology we are unable to avert disasters.  Better preparedness is the only way to reduce the impact of disasters.  So we need a disaster management policy and mechanism.

India is highly prone to disasters due to geographical and geological reasons.  The snow capped mountains and the high seismic zones of the northern region can cause landslides, flash floods, earthquakes and soil erosion.  The western region experiences droughts and wind erosion along with the other disasters.  The topography of the southern region with its long coastline is vulnerable to cyclones, floods and sea erosion.

There are also some man-made tragedies like the Bhopal gas tragedy, road accidents, and riots.

The direct impacts of disasters are damage, destruction and death.  The indirect impacts like loss of income, psychological trauma and the poor quality of life are also considerable.

In some disasters, it is the building structure which becomes the cause of destruction and death.  So it is important to make sure that laws are followed strictly.  Good quality building materials should be used.  Constructions should also adhere to a master plan.  A regular mechanism to assess the stability of existing structures in disaster prone area is also necessary.

During the times of disasters, a coordinated action from different departments and authorities should be ensured.  State governments should play their major role while the central government should provide all support. Instead of following regular procedures, non-routine responses are necessary at these times.

We cannot avoid disasters completely.  But with proper disaster management measures, we can mitigate their impact.

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