Disaster and Disaster Management(1)

A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event
that seriously disrupts the functioning of
a community or society and causes
human, material, and economic or
environmental losses that exceed the
community’s or society’s ability to cope
using its own resources. Though often
caused by nature, disasters can have
human origins
Disaster Management covers the range of
activities designed to maintain control over
disasters/emergency situations and to provide
a framework for helping people to avoid,
reduce the effects of or recover from impact of
a disaster. These activities may be related to
preparedness, mitigation, emergency
response, relief and recovery(reconstruction
and rehabilitation) and may be conducted
before, during or after a disaster.
Disasters can take many different forms, and
the duration can range from an hourly
disruption to days or weeks of ongoing
destruction. There are two types of disasters –
man made and natural which can affect a
Types of Natural Disasters
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of
energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic
waves. At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest
themselves by vibration, shaking and sometimes
displacement of the ground. The vibrations may vary
in magnitude. Earthquakes are caused mostly by
slippage within geological faults, but also by other
events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine
blasts, and nuclear tests. The underground point of
origin of the earthquake is called the focus. The point
directly above the focus on the surface is called
the epicenter. Earthquakes by themselves rarely kill
people or wildlife.
Volcanic Eruptions
Volcanoes can cause widespread destruction and
consequent disaster in several ways. The effects include
the volcanic eruption itself that may cause harm following
the explosion of the volcano or the fall of rock.
Second, lava may be produced during the eruption of a
volcano. As it leaves the volcano, the lava destroys many
buildings and plants it encounters. Third, volcanic
ash generally meaning the cooled ash - may form a cloud,
and settle thickly in nearby locations. When mixed with
water this forms a concrete-like material. In sufficient
quantity ash may cause roofs to collapse under its weight
but even small quantities will harm humans if inhaled.
Since the ash has the consistency of ground glass it
causes abrasion damage to moving parts such as
Volcanic Eruptions
Hydrological Disasters
It is a violent, sudden and destructive
change either in quality of earth's water
or in distribution or movement of water
on land below the surface or in
Types of Hydrological Disasters
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that
submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood
as a temporary covering by water of land not normally
covered by water.[In the sense of "flowing water", the
word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide.
Flooding may result from the volume of water within a
body of water, such as a river or lake, which overflows or
breaks levees, with the result that some of the water
escapes its usual boundaries. While the size of a lake or
other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in
precipitation and snow melt, it is not a significant flood
unless the water covers land used by man like a village,
city or other inhabited area, roads, expanses of farmland,
Limnic Eruptions
A limnic eruption occurs when a gas,
usually CO2, suddenly erupts from deep
lake water, posing the threat of
suffocating wildlife, livestock and
humans. Such an eruption may also
cause tsunamis in the lake as the rising
gas displaces water. Scientists
believe landslides, volcanic activity, or
explosions can trigger such an eruption.
Tsunamis can be caused by undersea
earthquakes as the one caused by the
2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake, or by
landslides such as the one which
occurred at Lituya Bay, Alaska.
Meteorological Disasters
Types of Meteorological Disasters
 Blizzards
Blizzards are severe winter
storms characterized by heavy snow
and strong winds. When high winds stir
up snow that has already fallen, it is
known as a ground blizzard. Blizzards
can impact local economic activities,
especially in regions where snowfall is
Cyclonic Storms
Types of Cyclonic Storms
Tropical Cyclones
Cyclone, tropical cyclone, hurricane,
and typhoon are different names for the same
phenomenon a cyclonic storm system that
forms over the oceans. The deadliest
hurricane ever was the 1970 Bhola cyclone;
the deadliest Atlantic hurricane was the Great
Hurricane of 1780which devastated
Martinique, St. Eustatius and Barbados.
Another notable hurricane is Hurricane
Katrina which devastated the Gulf Coast of the
United States in 2005.
Extra tropical Cyclones
Extra tropical cyclones, sometimes called midlatitude cyclones, are a group of cyclones defined as
synoptic scale low pressure weather systems that
occur in the middle latitudes of the Earth (outside the
tropics) not having tropical characteristics, and are
connected with fronts and horizontal gradients in
temperature and dew point otherwise known as
"baroclinic zones". As with tropical cyclones, they are
known by different names in different regions
(Nor'easter, Pacific Northwest windstorms, European
windstorm, East Asian-northwest Pacific
storms, Sudestada and Australian east coast
Drought is unusual dryness of soil,
resulting in crop failure and shortage of
water for other uses, caused by
significantly lower rainfall than average
over a prolonged period. Hot dry winds,
high temperatures and consequent
evaporation of moisture from the ground
can contribute to conditions of drought.
Hailstorms are falls of rain drops that
arrive as ice, rather than melting before
they hit the ground. A particularly
damaging hailstorm hit Munich,
Germany, on July 12, 1984, causing
about 2 billion dollars
in insurance claims.
Hail Storms
Heat Waves
A heat wave is a period of unusually and
excessively hot weather. The worst heat wave
in recent history was the European Heat Wave
of 2003.
A summer heat wave in Victoria, Australia,
created conditions which fuelled the
massive bushfires in
2009. Melbourne experienced three days in a
row of temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F)
with some regional areas sweltering through
much higher temperatures. The bushfires,
collectively known as "Black Saturday", were
partly the act of arsonists.
A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is
in contact with both the surface of the earth and
a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus
cloud. It is also referred to as a twister or a cyclone, although
the word cyclone is used in meteorology in a wider sense, to
refer to any closed low pressure circulation. Tornadoes come in
many shapes and sizes, but are typically in the form of a
visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the
earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most
tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour
(177 km/h), are approximately 250 feet (80 m) across, and
travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating.
The most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of more
than 300 mph (480 km/h), stretch more than two miles (3 km)
across, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (perhaps
more than 100 km).
Man Made disasters is a disaster
resulting from human intent, negligence
or error. The results are usually wide
scale destruction and high costs. Oil
spills and arson are examples of man
made disasters.
A bushfire is a fire that burns in grass,
bush or woodland and can threaten life,
property and the environment. These
can be due to arson or extreme climate.
Bushfires tend to occur when light and
heavy fuel loads in Eucalypt forests have
dried out. The potential for extreme fire
weather varies both in frequency and
severity. When potential extreme fire
weather is experienced close to populated
areas, significant loss is possible. Most
loss of life and economic damage occurs
around the fringes of cities where homes
are commonly in close proximity to
flammable vegetation.
The basic factors which determine whether
a bushfire will occur include the presence
of fuel, oxygen and an ignition source.
More specifically, fire intensity and the
speed at which a bushfire spreads will
depend on ambient temperature, fuel load,
fuel moisture, wind speed and slope angle.
Fuel load
The greater the fuel load, the hotter and more
intense the fire. Fuel which is concentrated
with adequate spacing will burn faster than
heavily compacted or scattered fuel sources.
Smaller pieces of fuel such as twigs litter and
branches burn quickly, particularly when they
are dry and loosely arranged. Some types of
grasses burn very rapidly, while larger fuels,
such as tree trunks, do not burn as easily. The
natural oil within Eucalypt trees promotes the
combustion of fuel.
Fuel moisture
Dry fuel will burn quickly, but damp or wet
fuel may not burn at all. As a consequence,
the time since rainfall and the amount of
rain received is an important consideration
in assessing bushfire danger. Often a
measure of the drought factor, or moisture
deficit, will be used as an indicator of
extreme bushfire weather conditions.
Wind speed
 Wind acts to drive a fire by blowing the
flames into fresh fuel, bringing it to
ignition point and providing a
continuous supply of oxygen. Wind also
promotes the rapid spread of fire by
spotting, which is the ignition of new
fires by burning embers lofted into the
air by wind.
Ambient temperature
 The higher the temperature the more
likely it is that a fire will start or
continue to burn. This is because the
fuel is closer to its ignition point at high
temperatures and pre-heated fuel loads
burn faster.
 Dry air promotes a greater intensity fire
than moist air. Plants become more
flammable at a low humidity because
they release their moisture more easily.
Slope angle
Fires pre-heat their fuel source through
radiation and convection. As a consequence of
these heat transfer effects, fires accelerate
when travelling uphill and decelerate travelling
downhill. The steepness of the slope plays an
important role in the rate of fire spread. The
speed of a fire front advancing will double with
every 10 degree increase in slope so that on a
20 degree slope, its speed of advance is four
times greater than on flat ground.
Bushfires happen every summer, they can
start suddenly and without warning. People
have been killed or seriously injured, and
homes destroyed during bushfires. The
devastating impact a bushfire has on a
community has a lasting affect and can
take years to recover from. Even if you live
in a metropolitan area near bushland, then
bushfire is a real threat to you, your family
and property.
You need to understand the bushfire risk to
your family and home so you can make
decisions now about what you will do if a
bushfire starts.
 Here you will find essential information and
advice to assist you to Prepare. Act. Survive.
 Prepare your family, home or business. Know
your bushfire risk and develop a bushfire
survival plan.
 Act on the fire danger ratings. Put your
preparations into action, do not wait and see.
 Survive by monitoring conditions if a fire
starts. Know the bushfire warning alert levels
and what you will do if you are caught in a fire.
Disaster Strikes: Andhra Pradesh the fifth largest
state of India, was severely battered by cyclonic
storm with a wind speed of over 200 Kmph on 15th
November, 1977 killing more than 10,000 lives and
leaving more than 50,000 people homeless. A
large number of people mainly the fishing
community lost their livelihood. The total
economic loss was around 3.78 billion rupees.
Emergency Response & Relief: Immediately after
government, community and NGO’s extended
relief to those affected. This included search and
rescue, provision of food, clothing, shelter and
medicine to those affected.
Rehabilitation and Reconstruction: Soon
after the initial response and relief phase,
rehabilitation and reconstruction initiatives
were taken up by the Government, NGO’s like
construction of houses, roads and bridges,
restoration of power and communication. This
also included economic rehabilitation through
livelihood support
Mitigation: Implementation of effective
preparedness and mitigation measure can
reduce the adverse impact of disasters.
Mitigation measures include promoting
mangrove plantation, relocation of villages to
safer lands, practicing and promoting cyclone
resistant construction techniques.
Preparedness: Soon after the cyclone, emphasis
was laid on community preparedness measures
which were carried out by the government/NGOs.
Village Disaster Management Teams were
formulated and trained and a large number of
cyclone shelters & mounds were constructed in
strategic locations so as to accommodate
villagers in case another cyclone strikes that area.
In 1990, Andhra Pradesh was struck by another
severe cyclone. Though the impact on the houses
were greater than 1977 due to increased
population, the number of casualties was far less
because of effective mitigation preparedness
These phases are normally carried out simultaneously after
a disaster. As soon as a disaster strikes a locality,
immediate response and relief activities are carried out
by the government, NGO’s, various religious bodies.
This includes search and rescue of those affected, First
Aid, provision of food, clothing, shelter, medicine to
those affected etc.
Soon after the initial response and relief phase,
rehabilitation and reconstruction initiatives are taken
up by the government, NGOs and various other
agencies which would help the affected community to
come back to normalcy. Roads, permanent houses,
power and communication networks are restored. This
phase of disaster management also includes economic
rehabilitation for those who have lost their livelihood.
As long term measures to reduce the impact of the
disasters, various structural and non-structural
initiatives are taken up. Some of the structural
measures include construction of disaster
resistant buildings, raising the river embankments
etc and some non-structural measures include
raising awareness and preparation of plans at the
community level for better preparedness. These
measures are termed as mitigation measures. If
effective preparedness measures are taken into
account, the impact of the disasters can be
reduced to a large extent and the community is
better equipped to combat disasters.
National Disaster Response
The National Disaster Response
Force (NDRF) is a disaster response agency
under National Disaster Management Authority
(NDMA) created by the Ministry of Home
Affairs, government of India. It was established
in 2009 in Delhi, for disaster management and
specialized response to natural and manmade disasters. Functioning at state and
central-level under the NDMA based in Delhi, it
consists of eight battalions of Indian Armed
forces, including two each of the

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