Survive Disasters by janardan.prabhu1



 • Fire.

 • Flood.

In 1948, all the world’s governments made a firm
commitment – in the form of Article 3 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights – to
safeguard all people’s rights to life and security.
But for human rights to have meaning, it is not
enough for them simply to exist. In the aftermath
of conflicts and disasters, affected communities
are all too often left without the assistance
required to save life and protect livelihoods.

Geneva: India ranks second in the world for
natural disasters after China, a top UN official
has said. It was underlined that
• unplanned urbanization and
• failure to address the issue of climate change
   pose a grave threat worldwide.
The two rapidly growing countries in the world, China
and India, rank first and second in the number of
reported natural disasters. While China witnessed 22
natural disasters, India came second with 16.
A disaster is "a situation or
event which overwhelms
local capacity, necessitating
a request to a national or
international level of external
assistance" and "an
unforeseen and often
sudden event that causes
great damage, destruction
and human suffering."

              NATURAL DISASTERS:

• Disaster preparedness includes all of the activities
 that are carried out prior to the advance notice of a
 catastrophe in order to facilitate the use of available
 resources, relief, and rehabilitation in the best
 possible fashion.

• Disaster preparedness starts at the local community
 level; if local resources were insufficient, it would
 branch out to the national level, and if needed, the
 international level.                                    5
Many governments fail to cope with threats like
       storms, floods and earthquakes.
 They fail to act
• effectively enough in response to these events,
• to take preventative action to reduce
   unnecessary deaths and suffering.

  Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to
 happen to U. Explain what to do in each case to your
                      own group.

New Initiatives Taken By Government of India
1. National Disaster Management Framework
2. Home Secretary Letter to All Chief Secretaries 18.12.2002
3. Home Secretary Letter to All Chief Secretaries 26.05.2003
4. Deputy Prime Minister Letter to All Chief Ministers
REDUCTION PROJECT"                                       7
The Northridge earthquake occurred on Jan. 17, 1994, in
Reseda, a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, Calif.,
and lasted for about 10-20 seconds.
The quake resulted in more than 60 deaths and more
than 5,000 injuries. More than 25,000 people were left
homeless, according to the Federal Emergency
Management Agency.
In addition, the earthquake caused an estimated $25
billion in damage, making it one of the costliest natural
disasters in the U.S. history.

The Great Hanshin earthquake, or Kobe earthquake,
occurred on Jan. 17, 1995, in the southern part of Hyogo
Prefecture, Japan. The focus of the quake was located
16 km (10 miles) beneath its epicenter, 20 km (12 miles)
away from the city of Kobe. Measured at 6.8 magnitude,
the earthquake killed nearly 6,500 people, making it the
deadliest disaster in the world that year.
The Kobe quake caused about $100 billion in destruction,
but Japanese trade rebounded within a year, with
imports recovering fully and exports back to 85 percent
of normal levels.
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season
was one of the worst disasters in the U.S. history. It
made landfall along the Gulf Coast on Aug. 25, 2005.
At least 1,836 people died in the hurricane and in the
subsequent floods. Five years later, thousands of
displaced residents in Mississippi and Louisiana were still
living in temporary accommodations.
The total damage from Katrina is estimated at $81
billion (2005 U.S. dollars). It also generated the largest
single loss in the history of insurance - $41 billion,
according to the Insurance Information Institute.
The May 12, 2008, Sichuan earthquake was a
deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0
magnitude. The quake killed about 70,000
people and left more than 18,000 missing. The
epicenter was 80 km (50 miles) west-northwest
of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province,
where almost 4 million people resided.
Estimates put direct damage and losses from
the earthquake at $29 billion, with indirect
damage much higher.                             11
           LOSS OF PEOPLE & $

About 373 natural disasters killed over 296,800
people in 2010.
The estimated costs of natural disasters in 2010,
in which an earthquake in Haiti killed over
222,500 people and the Russian heat wave
caused around 56,000 fatalities, is around $ 110
Other than the Haiti earthquake and the heat
wave in Russia, other major disasters include the
earthquake in China (estimate number of
deaths 2,968), floods in Pakistan (1985 deaths),
landslides in China (1765 people killed) and
floods in China.
Floods, drought, earthquake, and extreme
temperatures are the major sources for rising
wave natural disasters.

White smokes rises from burning
houses in Yamadamachi in
Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan,
Saturday, March 12, 2011, one day
after a strong earthquake triggered a devastating
tsunami in the area. (AP Photo/Kenji Shimizu, The
Yomiuri Shimbun) The aftermath of the March 11
earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been
devastating. Meanwhile, the government struggled to
contain a nuclear crisis, which added to the country's
So far, 8,649 people dead and another 13,262 missing
since the 9.0-magnitude quake struck off the coast near
Sendai, Japan, on March 11, 2011. The damage caused
by the earthquake and resulting tsunami was enormous.
Failure of the cooling system at the Fukushima Nuclear
Power Plant intensified the situation, resulting in
evacuation of about 200,000 people residing around the
Japan's government had a estimate of $309 billion.
Estimate could go higher as it does not include losses in
economic activity from planned power outages.
   Indeed, the very actions of
• some governments and their
• national elites
place marginalised people at risk from disasters by
discriminating against them, like those who live in
flimsy slum housing easily destroyed by floods and
‘We didn’t ask them to be there. God help them.’
 Meet your family and discuss why you need
to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of
fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to
children. Plan to share responsibilities and work
together as a team.
            Disaster mitigation
It is the ongoing effort to lessen the impact
disasters have on people and property.
Fewer people and communities would be
affected by natural disasters with the use of this
Because of the varying degree of each natural
disaster, there are different mitigation strategies
for each.
Even in daunting economic times, the world can
afford to meet the humanitarian needs of every
person struggling to survive a disaster.
It is possible to reduce the threats from climate-
related catastrophes.
It is possible for governments to provide good-
quality aid to their citizens. The governments of
developing countries must take greater
responsibility for responding to disasters and
reducing people’s vulnerability to them.            18
              NATIONAL POLICY ON
India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to a large
number of natural as well as man-made
disasters. 58.6 per cent of the landmass is prone
to earthquakes of moderate to very high
intensity; over 40 million hectares (12 per cent of
land) is prone to floods and river erosion; of the
7,516 km long coastline, close to 5,700 km is
prone to cyclones and tsunamis; 68 per cent of
the cultivable area is vulnerable to drought and
hilly areas are at risk from landslides and
• Heightened vulnerabilities to disaster risks_ related to
 expanding population, urbanization and industrialization,
 development within high-risk zones, environmental
 degradation and climate change. The economically and
 socially weaker segments of the population are most
 seriously affected. Elderly persons, women rendered
 destitute and children orphaned on account of disasters
 and the differently abled persons are exposed to higher
 risks.                                                      20
On 23 December, 2005, the Government of India (GoI)
took a defining step by enacting the Disaster
Management Act, 2005, (hereinafter referred to as the
Act) which envisaged the creation of the National
Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the
Prime Minister, State Disaster Management Authorities
(SDMAs) headed by the Chief Ministers, and District
Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) headed by
the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy
Commissioner as the case may be, to spearhead and
adopt a holistic and integrated approach to DM.
There will be a paradigm shift, from the erstwhile
relief-centric response to a proactive prevention,
mitigation and preparedness-driven approach for
conserving developmental gains and also to
minimise losses of life, livelihoods and property.
VISION: To build a safe and disaster resilient India
by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster
oriented and technology driven strategy through a
culture of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and
response.                                              22
The growth in localised climate-related shocks will
hit people in developing countries hardest,
because their homes and livelihoods will be most
So developing countries will need to enable
regional authorities and civil society to respond
effectively. Whether or not there is sufficient will to
do this will be one of the defining features of our
age, and will dictate whether millions live or die.
Drought There are three types of droughts;
Meteorological drought is when the actual rainfall is
much less than the climatologically mean of the area.
Hydrological drought results from the depletion of
surface water and Agricultural drought resulting from
depletion of soil Moisture. India has been severely
affected by droughts over the past years. The agriculture
in India is dependent on rains, which when is not
adequate results in poor yielding of crops. Drought-
prone regions are southern/eastern Maharashtra,
northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat,
and Rajasthan.                                          24
In India, the National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (NREGA) has created 900 million
person-days of employment for rural people
living in poverty, the advent of social protection
mechanisms offers the hope that the cycle of
disaster and poverty can be broken. The state is
the principal guarantor of its citizens’ right to life.
And the impetus to make the state deliver better
lifesaving assistance is often the action of citizens
holding their governments to account.                25
The NREGA came about because Indian
national legislators had the political will to
challenge rural vulnerability.
With strong rights-based legislation and clear
mechanisms of accountability, the NREGA has
the potential to improve government services
so that they meet the demands of active and
empowered citizens.

The humanitarian challenge of the twenty-first
century is this:
•   an increasing total of largely local catastrophic events,
    increasing numbers of people vulnerable to them,
•   too many governments failing to prevent or respond to
    them, and
•   an international humanitarian system unable to cope.

• Humanitarian emergencies are caused by
    conflict, other human-made crises, and
    environmental hazards.
These cause immense suffering. For those who
do not immediately lose their lives, many will
lose loved ones, experience catastrophic
damage to their homes and livelihoods, witness
the destruction of their communities, and suffer
the dangers and humiliations of displacement
and destitution. For them, the aftermath of a
catastrophe becomes a daily struggle for
survival, for dignity and for a future.
As the twenty-first century progresses,
humanity will face a greater threat from
catastrophic events.
Let us estimate what is the growth in
humanitarian need between now and 2020.
Take a look at some of the reasons why so many
more people will feel the impact of these
catastrophic events in the coming decades.

In particular, let us look at how vulnerability,
defined by
• who one is,
• where one lives, and
• how one makes a living, will have a direct
  bearing on the chances of surviving the
  immediate effects or longer-term impact of
  catastrophes with health and livelihood
Ask what can realistically be done to help those affected
by the vast and seemingly overwhelming forces of climate
change, population growth, displacement, and
The necessary skills, knowledge, and financial resources
can be mobilised to radically reduce the numbers of
people who will die or be made destitute by catastrophes
For this to happen, all parties – governments, the UN, civil-
society organisations, and ordinary citizens – must
acknowledge and respond to the growing threat.

Mumbai is one of the world’s most populous cities. Built
on a narrow, low lying promontory jutting into the
Arabian Sea, it is also one of the most vulnerable cities in
the world to coastal and rainwater flooding.
• Some 54 per cent of the city’s population live in slums,
  many of them built on reclaimed swamp-land to the
  north and east of the centre.
• In July 2005, widespread flooding in Mumbai caused
  the deaths of around 900 people, most killed not by
  drowning but by landslips and collapsed buildings.

Mumbai …
The impact of unusually high rainfall was
compounded by failure to invest in replacing
Mumbai’s crumbling early twentieth-century
drainage network, the uncontrolled
development of the city’s poorer suburbs, and
the destruction of rainwater sinks (in particular,
the mangrove swamps that had once
surrounded the city).Mumbai- kars coped well.
Over 200 passengers of a ferry that capsized in the
Brahmaputra, near Medartary in lower Assam's Dhubri
district, during a cyclonic storm on 30 April are still missing.
Search made by divers of the National Disaster Response
Force (NDRF), the Army and the Border Security Force
(BSF) till Tuesday morning. According to the survivors,
more than 400 passengers, including women and
children, were on board when the tragedy occurred.
While about 350 tickets were issued to adult commuters,
there were many children without tickets.
 17 bodies were recovered, there were 10 injured and 35
were missing. About 100 people swam to safety or were
Alas, the Assam Transport Minister has now
promised to introduce a new and better ferry
service across the river.
Was the government sleeping so far?
Unfortunately, in our country, the administration
rises from its slumber only when a disaster strikes!
When will Indians get governments that acts
pro-actively ?
        _a commentator on the boat disaster.
    Two killed, two others injured, 1.000 houses
      damaged as wind, rain wreak havoc in
       Pathanamthitta [Kerala], April 24, 2012
A fierce whirl wind, accompanied by heavy summer
showers wreaked havoc in many parts of Adoor and
Kozhencherry taluks of Pathanamthitta (Kerala) on
Monday evening.
As per an official survey conducted by the Revenue
department, 403 houses partially damaged and 113
houses fully destroyed. The official survey has estimated
loss worth Rs 2.12 crore in the natural calamity.
Sudden shocks such as flooding and
earthquakes are not the only risks for poor
urban populations. Other risks are:
• People live close to each other,
• without adequate housing,
• water and sanitation,
• health services, or education,
leading to the increased risk of epidemics of
communicable disease.
• Governments must reinforce national and local
 capacity to respond in emergencies and to reduce
 people’s vulnerability; donor governments and
 others must substantially increase their support to
 help them do that;

• • Communities must be empowered to demand
 that governments and others fulfil their obligations to
 safeguard their lives, as well as to respond to and
 prepare for disasters themselves; and …..

• Continued…

• • The international community, including

 regional organisations, must use mediation
 and diplomacy far more robustly to press
 states to assist their own citizens.

Poor people in urban settings are often highly
vulnerable to conflict and violence too. In conflict as
well as disasters, civil-society organisations can
influence the way affected people are treated, and
support them in demanding that governments uphold
their rights. Humanitarian organisations, both local
and international, regularly demonstrate enormous
skill, commitment and courage in delivering essential
aid to those who need it most.
In rural areas, high population density, the
increasing stress on productive land, soil
degradation, and increasing aridity due to
climate change are making hundreds of millions
of rural livelihoods vulnerable.
People are being forced to eke out a precarious
living on land that is becoming more and more
arid and degraded, with the result that food is
getting harder and harder to come by.
People affected by emergencies deserve aid
that is more than just an empty gesture of
support. They deserve aid that:
1 Saves lives (that is relevant, good quality, and
2 is delivered impartially on the basis of need;
3 is accountable, with mechanisms to challenge
failure and abuse;
4 builds durable solutions; and
5 is sufficiently resourced.                         42
A continuous and integrated process of
planning, organizing, coordinating and
implementing measures which are necessary or
expedient for:
• Prevention of danger or threat of any disaster.
• Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or
  its severity or consequences.
• Capacity building including research and
  knowledge management.

•    Preparedness to deal with any disaster.
• Prompt response to any threatening
    disaster situation or disaster.
• Assessing the severity or magnitude of
    effects of any disaster.
• Evacuation, rescue and relief.
• Rehabilitation and reconstruction.

There is nothing inevitable about a future in
which greater numbers of people die and are
made destitute by natural hazards and conflict.
In a future of climate change, rising hazard and
a proliferation of disasters, the world can still
mitigate    threats      and   reduce   people’s
vulnerability to them.
Many governments, humanitarian organisations,
and communities are already doing this – but not
nearly enough.                                45
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for
Natural Disaster Reduction is annually observed
on the second Wednesday of October to raise
the profile of disaster risk reduction. It also
encourages people and governments to
participate in building more resilient communities
and nations.                                    46
             What do people do?

Activities for the International Day for Natural
Disaster Reduction usually include
• media announcements about launches for
  campaigns that center on the day's theme.
• Governments and communities also take
  part in the International Day for Natural
  Disaster Reduction

This is done through various events such as
• drawing, drama, essay or
• photography competitions that focus on
  making people aware of natural disaster
  reduction and
increasing their preparedness for such
situations. Other activities include:
• community tree planting; conferences, fairs
  and seminars; and street parades.
Natural disasters are not in themselves evil or a failure of
God. A classic example of this is earthquakes. An
earthquake causes massive damage to humans and can
result in extreme losses of life. The fact is, however, that
earthquakes are a part of the processes that keep the
earth living and suitable for life. Land masses wear down
with time because of rain, snow, freezing, heating,
glaciers, landslides, and gravitational forces. If there were
no forces that lift the land to replenish the worn away
parts, after a while all land on the earth would be under
Man's problem is that rather than understanding these
processes as natural and beneficial, we tend to worship
the forces and ignore the common sense lessons all
around us.
•   If you build your house in the mouth of a volcano you
    have no complaint when it erupts.
• People continue to ignore the warnings of nature and
    the lessons of the past. The results are frequently
    catastrophic. Draining wet-lands, building huge
    structures that alter climate, and placing massive
    structures over fault zones in the earth have resulted in
    tragedy for humans.                                    50

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