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Phases of Disaster Management
Feb 17, 2014

India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disasters on account of its unique geo-climatic conditions. Floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and landslides have been recurrent phenomena. About 60% of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of various intensities; over 40 million hectares is prone to floods; about 8% of the total area is prone to cyclones and 68% of the area is susceptible to drought.

The phases for disaster management have been discussed below:

  • Pre-Crisis: Preparedness

This is the period when the potential hazard risk and vulnerabilities can be assessed and steps taken for preventing and mitigating the crisis and preparing for actual occurrence. These include long-term prevention measures like construction of embankments to prevent flooding, creating or augmenting irrigation facilities and adopting water shed management as drought proofing measures, increasing plantations for reducing the occurrence of landslides, construction of earthquake resistant structures and sound environment management.

Crisis can also be mitigated through various short term measures, which either reduce or modify the scale and intensity of the threat or improve the durability and capacity of the elements at risk, for example, better enforcement of building codes and zoning regulations, proper maintenance of drainage systems, better awareness and public education to reduce the risks of hazards etc.

For different types of disasters, mitigation measures may vary but what needs to be emphasized is the priority and importance to be attached to various measures. In order to do that, an appropriate legal and operational framework is essential.

  • During Crisis - Emergency Response

When a crisis actually occurs, those affected by it require a speedy response to alleviate and minimize suffering and losses. In this phase, certain ‘primary activities’ become indispensable. These are, evacuation, search and rescue, followed by provision of basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, medicines and other necessities essential to bring the life of the affected community back to a degree of normalcy.

  • Post-Crisis

Recovery: This is the stage when efforts are made to achieve early recovery and reduce vulnerability and future risks. It comprises activities that encompass two overlapping phases of rehabilitation and reconstruction. It includes actions taken to return to a normal or an even safer situation following an emergency.  Recovery includes getting financial assistance to help pay for the repairs.  Recovery activities take place after an emergency.

Rehabilitation: Includes provision of temporary public utilities and housing as interim measures to assist long term recovery.

Reconstruction: Includes construction of damaged infrastructure and habitats and enabling sustainable livelihoods.



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