In India, Natural calamities such as floods, droughts, cyclones and earthquakes have caused widespread damage and disruption. Disaster management emphasizes the need for incorporating multi-functional, multi-disciplinary and sectoral approach involving engineering, social and financial processes. Unfortunately, India does not have a good record on the front of disaster management.
Natural disasters cannot be prevented from occurring. Because they are part of the natural environment in which we live. But what we can do, as far as possible, is to take precautionary measures at different levels of society to minimize the impact of these Natural Calamities on the people and their properties.
Natural Calamities means a sudden occurrence causing extensive havoc – physical damage, loss of life and property. This situation is unfavourable to human, physical, environmental and social functioning; it causes human suffering, harm to property and environmental degradation on a massive scale. The incident often is more frightening than the capacity of the people living in the affected area to withstand it.
Types of Natural Disasters
- Water and climate-related disasters: Cyclone, whirlwind and storm, hailstones, cloud bursts, heat and cold waves, avalanches, drought, thunder and lightning.
- Land-related disasters: Landslides, mud flows, earthquakes, dam failure, mine fire.
Natural Disasters Since old times
The worst storm in the old world had come in 1201 in Egypt. And Syria in which 10 million people were killed. In early 1556, 8.50 million persons were killed immediately in the earthquake in China. In India, the worst earthquake occurred in Calcutta in 1737 in which 3 million casualties were reported. The most earthquake-prone countries include Russia, China, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Java, Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Mexico, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Greece, Indonesia and Colombia. The Himalayan region is extremely sensitive to earthquake because the inner rocks of the Earth in this area are steadily shifting to the north. There are 10 dangerous volcanoes in the world which can destroy vast areas of the Earth.
According to UN International Disaster Mitigation Strategy (UNISDR), India is second only to China in the case of Natural Calamities. In India, disasters determined mainly. The framework of geo-climatic conditions and their underlying weaknesses. Because of the intensity of these causes, various disasters keep recurring on a regular basis. In terms of effects and uncertainties, the frequency of climate-induced disasters, is the highest in the country.
Disaster-prone areas in India
Nearly 59 percent of the territory of India is prone to earthquakes. Himalayas and its surrounding area, the Northeast, the region of Gujarat and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are extremely seismically sensitive areas.
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Bihar figure in top 10 states in terms of damage to human life, livestock, houses and damage to crops. In Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal cattle suffer the most in calamities. The highest damage to human life occurs in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and West Bengal. Damage to houses and crops are also highest in these four states.
The super cyclone in Odessa in 1999 and earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 were most destructive in terms of the severity of the damage in the last decade of the century. On December 26, 2004 earthquake struck in the coastal areas of India which created tsunami waves that caused extensive loss of life and property of high magnitude in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This was India’s experience of the tsunami disaster for the first time.
Recent Instances of Natural Disasters in India
- In 2005, flood shook the whole of Mumbai, India’s commercial capital.
- Floods caused by inundation of river Kosi in Bihar in 2008, hundreds of villages were submerged.
- Flood caused by cloudburst in Leh in Jammu and Kashmir in August 2010 killed nearly 113 people.
- In 2004, Tsunami had shaken the Indian Ocean by a 9.3-magnitude earthquake
- Cloudbursts in Uttarakhand in 2013 caused tragedy of unprecedented magnitude, resulting in the death of thousands of people.
Man-made causes of Calamities
Projects are going on indiscriminately in the name of development and urbanization. All this is causing unimaginable damage to the environment. The hills are damaged in the name of electricity, water, tourism and development. Deforestation is going on in plateau areas. Nature overexploited for extraction of minerals. Massive tree-cutting is going on in the plains.
Disaster Management in India
Disaster Management Bill approved. The Parliament on 28 November 2005 to combat calamities in the country. To reduce them and to rehabilitate the victims under a deprived institutional mechanism. It enacted into an Act on December 23, 2005. Under there is a provision to establish the National Management Authority headed by the Prime Minister, the State Disaster Management Authority headed by Chief Ministers, and District Disaster Management Authority under the Chairmanship of District Judges. It also has a provision to prepare National Disaster Management Plan by the concerned ministries and departments. It also seeks to form a National Disaster Response Force for emergency action the National Disaster Management Institute for training and capacity building. The Act also has the provision to constitute a National Disaster Response Fund and the National Disaster Mitigation Fund and similar funds at state and district levels.
Despite all these measures by the government, awareness is the first condition of effective disaster management and relief agencies should have immediate access to the affected region. If people do not have the awareness of the disaster, the terrible destruction poses a problem in relief. If possible, giving basic information to rescue people. In disaster areas can used to reduce. The damage caused by the disaster. The disaster management planning, proper communication, honest and effective leadership, coordination, etc are very important.
Also Check :- World Tsunami Awareness Day 2023 – Theme