Disaster/emergency management is the method of dealing with and avoiding risks. It involves preparation and ways to deal with a disaster before it happens, disaster response (e.g. safe evacuation, mass confinement, and sanitization, etc.), and not only supporting but also guiding and rebuilding society after natural or human-made disasters have occurred.
Disaster Management is a process of preparation, management, planning, and implementing of measures before or during a disaster. These measures are important to
- Reduce and prevent any kind of threats during a disaster
- Implement proper research and planning to sustain any disaster
- Prompt response in any threatening situation
- Evacuation and rescue missions to be carried out efficiently
- Rehabilitation for the affected people
Classification of Disasters
Disasters are classified based on severity i.e having a major or minor impact on the affected region. It can also be classified if it is a natural or a man-made disaster. Examples of natural disasters include Earthquakes, Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and more.
There are several man-made disasters as well including oil spills, transportation accidents, fires, mining accidents, and more.
Causes of Disasters
Based on the type of disaster, natural or man-made, the causing agent changes. Generally, natural disasters are caused by shifts in air pressure, abnormal seismic activity, soil erosion, and others. While the majority of manmade disasters are due to human negligence. Some of the major causes of Disasters are
Political Issues – Enmity between countries often creates friction leading to wars and famine among the people which led to severe starvation and death. These issues can be avoided by accepting and finding a solution through steady cooperation.
Industrialization – Due to the rapid use of products by humans on a large scale, the consumption of resources has increased which has also increased waste production. This has led to various diseases and a scarcity of valuable resources.
Environment Degradation – Due to the increase in development activities, humans have degraded the environment through mining, and deforestation, which has increased the danger of earthquakes, and floods.
Effects of Disasters
Here are some of the effects of Disaster management –
- Disasters affect people physically (diseases, disability, or death) as well as psychologically (stress, PTSD, anxiety )
- It can cause a shortage of essential items like food and clean water
- It forces people in the affected region to relocate which comes with a new set of challenges like poverty and a clean environment
- Likewise, it also draws a heavy load on a country’s economy
- Extinction of different biodiversities like flora and fauna is possible because of disasters
Disaster Management Cycle
The Disaster Management Cycle concept combines isolated efforts by various government and non-government actors to reduce vulnerability or mitigate disasters within the encompassing domain of disaster management, as phases occurring at different times in the disaster management continuum, but essentially relating to/comprising disaster management.
This has made it easier to take a planned approach to disaster management, as post-disaster recovery and pre-disaster mitigation planning are now seen as linked rather than separate tasks. Thus, in the Disaster Management Cycle, prevention, mitigation, and readiness are pre-disaster phases, whereas response and recovery are post-disaster phases.
Disaster Management Cycle
- Prevention: Activities that are aimed at trying to prevent future disasters, such as planting trees on slopes to prevent landslides or a dam to control flooding.
- Mitigation: Activities that are aimed at trying to reduce/minimize the impact of a disaster if prevention is not possible, such as earthquake-resistant buildings according to the earthquake-prone zones.
- Preparedness: Emergency drills or pre-stocking relief materials in logistic hubs are examples of activities aimed at attempting to prepare communities for a calamity.
- Response: The response phase consists of the mobilization of the necessary emergency services, logistical support, and first responders in the disaster area like the community and local government. This includes core emergency services, such as firefighters, police, and healthcare services like ambulances, doctors, etc.
- Recovery: The recovery phase’s goal is to return the afflicted area to its pre-disaster condition. Recovery activities differ from response efforts in that they focus on challenges and decisions that must be made after immediate needs have been met. Actions such as rebuilding the devastated property, re-employment, and the repair of other critical infrastructure are at the forefront of recovery efforts.
- Recovery may be further segregated as –
- Rehabilitation: It includes the provision of temporary public utilities like shelters, food, and health facilities as interim measures as reconstruction is a long-term process.
- Reconstruction: It includes the construction of damaged infrastructure like houses, roads, electricity lines, and sewage lines and enabling sustainable livelihoods of the disaster-affected community.
Disaster management is an important tool for a government to work on affected regions with a structured approach faster and reach maximum people. The disaster management cycle helps in mitigating disasters faster by prevention and preparedness towards any future disaster. These protocols are useful for proper planning during a disaster.