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Disaster Preparedness and Response

by | Apr 18, 2022 | Disaster Management

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster preparedness refers to a collection of actions done by governments, organizations, communities, and people to better respond to and cope with the immediate event of a catastrophe, whether it is caused by humans or natural disasters.

The goal of disaster preparedness and response is to attempt to decrease the causalities and people’s livelihoods. Simple measures, such as search and rescue training, the establishment of early warning systems, the development of contingency plans, and the stockpiling of equipment and supplies, may go a long way. Disaster preparedness is crucial in helping communities become more resilient.

A rising number of people and assets are vulnerable to catastrophes as a result of population increase, unplanned development, climate change, environmental degradation, and pervasive poverty. Furthermore, many of these occurrences take place in fragile or war-affected governments, adding to the complexity of crises and overburdening countries dealing with violent conflict or shaky governance.

Improved practice and reaction procedures, on the other hand, save lives and boost nations’ and communities’ abilities to mitigate catastrophe damage. Understanding the occurrence and frequency of natural disasters, as well as the risks, vulnerabilities, and possible effects on people and assets, may help you plan better.

Rather than focusing just on emergency response, international initiatives should focus on assisting governments and communities in better understanding threats and developing preparedness capacity for proactive and early response. Preparedness for disasters is cost-effective and saves money for disaster relief.

Disaster Preparedness and Response

Disaster Preparedness Plan

Essential services may be disrupted immediately during an event, and local relief efforts and government authorities may be unable to reach your town. As a result, learning how to protect yourself, your family, and your belongings is critical. A disaster preparedness plan should be developed by each business or individual.

For individuals concerned in disaster management, the notion of preparation planning is critical. A quick and effective response is essential in the event of a genuine emergency. This activity is frequently contingent on the creation and implementation of preparation strategies. Lives may be lost unnecessarily, if necessary, action is not taken or if the reaction is delayed.

Even if the details of a disaster are unknown, a preliminary plan can identify emergency shelter locations, identify emergency water supplies, design and publicize evacuation routes, establish command and communication chains, and educate people about what to do in an emergency with the help of trained staffs. All of these response methods will help to improve the quality plan, less time taken, and effectiveness of disaster response.

Identifying organizational resources, assigning roles and responsibilities, developing rules and procedures, and planning preparedness actions are all part of disaster preparedness planning. The goal is to provide timely catastrophe preparation and successful emergency response.

The real planning process is preliminary in nature, and it is carried out in an unknown condition until an emergency or tragedy arises. The goal of preparation planning is to define assignments and specific actions that cover organizational and technological challenges in order to guarantee that disaster response systems work properly.

Role of Different Organizations / Institutions

Although the state government in question bears primary responsibility for crisis management, the Union Government provides critical support in terms of physical and financial resources, as well as complementary measures like early warning and coordination of all union ministries, departments, and organizations’ efforts. A Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities evaluates the crisis situation at the highest level.

National crisis management committee: The NCMC is led by the Cabinet Secretary, who is the senior executive officer. NCMC members include secretaries of related ministries and departments, as well as heads of other organizations. The NCMC has the authority to instruct any ministry, department, or organization to take a particular action in response to a crisis.

The Crisis Management Group (CMG): CMG is made up of nodal officers from many ministries with a stake in the outcome. Apart from CMG, the National Executive Committee, led by the Home Secretary, is responsible for the DM Act’s statutory coordination and duties.

State Government and District Administration: The relief and rehabilitation efforts are overseen by Relief Commissioners in the majority of states. The ultimate handling of catastrophes in the district falls to the District Magistrate/Collector. Under the rules of the General Financial Rules/Treasury Codes, he has the authority to mobilize the response apparatus and has been given financial authorization to draw money.

NGO/Media/Civil society: In a democracy, NGOs, civil society, and the media all play an active role as pressure organizations, allowing any government inaction to be detected and corrected. As a result, the general people and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should keep a careful eye on how the government handles disasters and act as watchdogs.

Know more about different governing bodies:

Disaster Response

The mitigating effect of the response is instantaneous. Effective government and civil society responses can help to reduce disaster losses to a great extent. The sheer magnitude of catastrophes’ impact on human life and property validates the need for reaction.

Natural Disasters are responsible for almost 80% of all disaster victims worldwide. Natural catastrophes are estimated to account for 85 percent of all insured catastrophic losses worldwide, according to the insurance industry.

Restoration of physical facilities, rehabilitation of impacted communities, restoration of lost livelihoods, and rebuilding attempts to replace infrastructure lost or destroyed are all part of disaster response. When it comes to disaster response, there are several significant lessons to be learned. In retrospect, it reveals weaknesses in policy and planning initiatives relating to infrastructure placement and type, as well as social programs aimed at improving the social situation of the impoverished, particularly in terms of access to resources.

The goal of emergency response is to give rapid aid in order to keep people alive, improve their health, and boost their morale. Providing particular but limited support, such as assisting refugees with transportation, temporary shelter, and food, to creating semi-permanent settlements in camps and other sites, are examples of such assistance.

It may also entail making preliminary repairs to damaged infrastructure. During the reaction phase, the focus is on providing for people’s fundamental needs until more permanent and long-term solutions can be developed. During this stage of the crisis management cycle, humanitarian groups are frequently present.

Disaster Response Plan

Setting up control centers, implementing the contingency plan, issuing warnings, coordinating evacuations, transporting people to safer regions, and providing medical assistance to the needy are all examples of disaster response actions. During an emergency, responders must additionally deal with response-generated demands such as the need for coordination, communications, continuing situation assessment, and resource mobilization.

Pre-disaster, during-disaster, and post-disaster are the three stages of disaster response. As soon as information about an imminent disaster is obtained, pre-disaster response actions begin. Setting up control centers, evacuating people, and other measures are all aimed at reducing the impact of a disaster on human life and property.

During a disaster, response operations are designed to guarantee that victims’ requirements and provisions are satisfied to alleviate and minimize suffering. The goal of post-disaster recovery is to achieve speedy, long-term, and sustainable recovery. We will cover why we need a response plan, response plans at the federal, state, and local levels, and the involvement of other agencies in the response plan in this unit.

The politico-social environment and the public administration system have an impact on any response strategy. Because India is a quasi-federal state, duties are shared by both the central government and the state governments. However, the state government in question bears primary responsibility in the case of a disaster.

Psychological Response and Management

Natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes and floods, as well as human-caused disasters, such as wars, and pandemics, all have a significant psychological impact on populations throughout the world.

The research demonstrates that PTSD has a significant impact on those who have been exposed to catastrophes. According to research published in 2015 in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine Trusted Source, the prevalence of mental health disorders is two to three times greater in disaster-affected areas than in the general population.

Both the crisis period and the post-disaster period are extremely stressful and distressing. People lose their balance in such conditions, and their behaviour becomes weird.

Sufferers generally undergo a spectrum of psychological and physiological reactions during and after a tragedy, the severity and kind of which are dependent on several circumstances.

During a disaster, economic loss is also a huge setback in the victim’s life. Earthquakes, floods, fires, landslides, and other disasters interrupt the lives of victims, and the victim’s economic situation plays a crucial part during the catastrophe. The tragedy had a significant impact on economically vulnerable groups, including laborers, rickshaw-pullers, and shopkeepers. Their funds may be totally wiped out by tragedy, pushing them farther into poverty and maybe famine.

A disaster is an unwelcome event that is never given notice before it occurs. People generally suffer a range of psychological and physiological reactions when confronted with an unusually stressful situation, such as a tragedy. Although these sentiments may not stay long, it is possible to experience distressing reactions for months following an occurrence. The crucial fact is that both catastrophe victims and rescue professionals have emotional responses. It is extremely difficult for survivors to live with the grief of losing a loved one, as well as the loss of riches and houses as a result of the calamity.

How to deal with disaster psychological response?



  • Sigma Earth

    The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.


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