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Disaster Management

Disaster Management-II

  • 12 Jun 2019
  • 19 min read

Organisations related to Disaster Management Framework at Global level

  • In 1994 the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction was held in Yokohama, Japan.
    • The conference adopted the Yokohama strategy and declared the decade 1990-2000 as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR).
  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is the successor to the secretariat of IDNDR and was created in 1999 to implement UN Disaster Risk Reduction strategy.
  • The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) is a 10-year plan (2005-2015) to make the world safer from natural hazards. Priorities such as, Disaster risk reduction, identification, assessment through legal and policy frameworks, disaster preparedness and use of innovation was adopted.
  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework.
    • It is a non-binding agreement, which the signatory nations, including India, will attempt to comply with on a voluntary basis.
  • There are three international agreements within the context of the post- 2015 development agenda. These are:
    • The Sendai Framework.
    • Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030
    • The Paris agreement (COP 21) on Climate Change.
  • These three agreements recognize the desired outcomes in Disaster Risk Reduction as a product of interconnected social and economic processes, which overlap across the agendas of the three agreements.

Sendai Framework

Organisations an Policies related to Disaster Management Framework at National level

National Disaster Management Authority of India (NDMA)

  • It was established in 2005, under the Disaster Management Act 2005.
  • The objective of NDMA is, to build a safer and disaster resilient India by a holistic, proactive, technology driven and sustainable development strategy.
  • The NDMA is chaired by the Prime Minister of India and has a vice chairman with the status of Cabinet Minister and eight members with the status of Ministers of State.
  • The NDMA Secretariat is headed by a Secretary and deals with mitigation, preparedness, plans, reconstruction, community awareness and financial and administrative aspects.

National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP)

  • It was released in 2016, it is the first ever national plan prepared in the country for disaster management.
  • With National Disaster Management Plan (2016) India has aligned its National plan with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, to which India is a signatory.
  • The objective of the plan is to make India disaster resilient, achieve substantial disaster risk reduction. It aims to significantly decrease the losses of life, livelihoods, and assets in terms of economic, physical, social, cultural, and environmental. To maximize the ability to cope with disasters at all levels of administration as well as among communities.

State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)

  • At State level, State Disaster Management Authorities are established under Disaster Management Act 2005.
  • SDMA is chaired by the Chief Minister of the State and has not more than eight members who are appointed by the Chief Minister.
  • The SDMA prepares the state disaster management plan and implements the National Disaster Management Plan.

District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)

  • Under Disaster Management Act 2005, every State government shall establish a DDMA for every district in the State.
  • The DDM Authority shall consist of:
    • Chairperson - the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner act as Chairperson of DDMA.
    • Co-Chairperson - is the elected representative of the local authority. In the Tribal Areas, the Chief Executive Member of the district council of autonomous district is the co-chairperson.
  • There are not more than seven other members in DDMA.
  • The Disaster Management Committee governed under District Magistrate will formulate village level disaster management plans for concern villages.
  • The DDMA makes District Disaster Management Plan and implements the state Disaster Management Plan.

*Planning Commission no longer exists.

Government Initiatives

  • India is a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and is committed to achieve the priorities and objectives through systematic and institutional efforts.
  • With multi-dimensional initiatives and expertise, India is taking a leading role in strengthening regional cooperation among South Asian countries for reducing disasters.
  • India is one of the participating countries and works closely with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). India has been working closely with many countries for the exchange of ideas and expertise in disaster management.
  • National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) defines the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders including Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments, UT Administrations, District Authorities and local self Governments.
  • Primary responsibility of disaster management rests with the States. The Central Government conducts regular mock drill, community training and awareness programme to prepare the civilian populations for disasters.
  • National Disaster Management Services (NDMS) was conceived by NDMA during 2015-16 for setting up of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Network connecting MHA, NDMA, NDRF etc. to provide the failsafe communication infrastructure and technical support for Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) operations across the country.
  • NDMA has taken an initiative on Earthquake Disaster Risk Indexing (EDRI) for 50 important cities and 1 District in Seismic Zone IV & V areas.
    • This kind of indexing will be helpful in comparing the overall risk across large number of cities or region and also in prioritization of cities to implement appropriate disaster mitigation measures.
  • NDMA through Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) has prepared Upgraded Earthquake Hazard Maps and Atlases for the country for better planning and policies.
  • Leveraging the technology of geographic information system (GIS), NDMA have taken up a project for disaster risk management by establishing GIS Server and creation of database to integrate data obtained from various stakeholders to increase disaster preparedness, mitigation, damage assessment, response and relief management efforts.
  • Under the National School Safety Programme (NSSP), 8600 schools (with 200 schools in 43 districts in 22 States/UTs falling seismic zones IV and V) have been selected for providing training on school safety and disaster preparedness.
  • The Aapdamitra scheme of NDMA has provision for training 6000 community volunteers in disaster response in 30 most flood prone districts (200 volunteers per district) in 25 States.
  • The government has set up National Crisis Management Committee and Crisis Management Group.
  • The state governments have set up state crisis management groups headed by chief secretaries, institutes of relief commissioners and state/district contingency plans.
  • The disaster management policy of the government stresses on forecasting and warning using advanced technologies, contingency agricultural planning to ensure availability of food grains, and preparedness and mitigation through specific programmes.
  • Project on deployment of Mobile Radiation Detection Systems (MRDS) to handle Radiological Hazards in Metros/Capital Cities/Big Cities in India to detect unclaimed radioactive materials/substances and save public from its hazardous effects.
  • Landslide Risk Mitigation Scheme (LRMS) envisages financial support for site specific Landslide Mitigation Projects recommended by landslide prone States, covering disaster prevention strategy, disaster mitigation and R&D in monitoring of critical Landslides thereby leading to the development of Early Warning System and Capacity Building initiatives. The Scheme is under preparation.
  • Core Group has been formed for Preparation of Guidelines to avert Boat Tragedies in India.

Disaster Management in India: Success stories

  • The Indian government's "zero casualty" policy for cyclones and the pinpoint accuracy of the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) early warning system has helped reduce the possibility of deaths from cyclone Fani in Odisha.
  • India's policy of minimising fatalities from cyclones has been proven by past performances as in cyclone Phailin in 2013, when famously the casualty rate was kept to as low as 45 despite the intensity of the storm.
  • In August 2010 during the flash floods due to cloudburst in Leh in Ladakh region by the Indian Army. The Army's immediate search, rescue, and relief operations and mass casualty management effectively and efficiently mitigated the impact of flash floods, and restored normal life.
  • Bihar suffers from floods almost every year during the monsoon season, predominantly due to the Ganges and its tributaries. The State has successfully scaled up disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts since 2011.


  • There are significant gaps in preparedness on various aspects of risk management, particularly for catastrophic disasters like major earthquakes and floods.
    • Though all of India’s states have departments of disaster management or relief and rehabilitation, they are still poorly prepared to lend support in times of disasters, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
    • In a number of recent disasters, 2010 mudslides in Leh, Sikkim earthquake in 2011 and the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, the level of preparedness was inadequate, leading to high levels of mortality and displacement of people.
  • Facilities such as emergency operations centres, emergency communications, and search and rescue teams are being made available but these systems and facilities need to be strengthened.
  • In India Disaster management is yet to be seen as an essential part of good governance and integral to development planning.
  • The preparedness at various levels are not people-oriented.
  • India’s capacity to manage disaster risk is challenged by its size and huge population. The country is likely to have the greatest exposure of any nation in the world to extreme weather and natural disasters by 2030.
  • The northeast region is most at risk from earthquakes and lacks seismically secure infrastructure and buildings. It is also vulnerable to landslides, floods and erosion.
  • Flooding on the country’s plains is a regular occurrence, and although communities are resilient, the intensity of floods has reduced their capacity to adapt.
  • The local adaptation efforts driven solely by communities are no longer sufficient and additional, scientifically planned adaptation is needed, which will require government support.
  • The division of responsibilities under the Disaster Management Act is not very clear, resulting in its poor implementation. There also exists an overlap between the implementing agencies
  • Intense public and media scrutiny after disasters automatically leads to a higher priority being given to response, rather than risk reduction.
  • Furthermore, where risk-reduction activities are described, State Disaster Management Plans (SDMPs) does not institutionalise accountability mechanisms to ensure that departments follow these considerations in their own planning.
    • As a result, risk-reduction activities are driven by schemes and external projects, rather than by guidelines in SDMPs.
  • Because risk-reduction needs are locations specific, this gap is an opportunity for stronger, locally led risk-reduction planning by Strengthening disaster risk management in India


  • A clearer demarcation of national and state-level responsibilities is needed, especially regarding who is responsible for risk-reduction activities.
  • It is vital for state disaster management authorities to focus on the continued capacity-building of district disaster management authorities and CSOs that are responsible for managing disaster risk.
    • Capacity-building should support the planning and implementation of actions across the full disaster management cycle.
  • There is a need to revise the SDMPs to include a much greater emphasis on risk reduction, rather than just preparedness and response.
  • Existing rules and regulations that impede the inclusion of measures for risk reduction need to be amended.
  • Build partnerships with and draw lessons from forerunner states such as Bihar and Gujarat on how to include risk reduction in plans more effectively.
  • Accountability mechanisms need to be specified. This will ensure that departments follow disaster risk-reduction considerations in their own development planning.
  • There is an urgent need to put the National Disaster Mitigation Fund and state disaster management funds into operation. States such as Bihar, which are leading in this regard, should share lessons on how to realise this at the state level.
  • States should have decision-making power regarding whether state disaster management authorities control funds for risk reduction, or whether these are distributed to government departments.
  • Public-private partnerships should be looked at more seriously as alternative modes of financing. Models such as the Surat Climate Change Trust, a collaboration between the private sector and the urban local body in Surat, Gujarat, should be studied and, if suitable, replicated.
  • Risk-transfer mechanisms and insurance should be scaled up to support risk reduction.
  • States should include downscaled climate projections into SDMPs, so that future and evolving risks can be taken into account.
  • Using data that are already being uploaded onto platforms such as the Open Government Data Platform can help to synthesise a clearer understanding of vulnerability.
  • There is a need to expand capacity-building activities on disaster management within departments, so that they include all stages of the disaster cycle, rather than the current emphasis on emergency response.
  • It is important to ensure the participation of nodal officials from all key state government departments while revising SDMPs; working with technical institutions and NGOs to train nodal officials is also useful.
  • The needs of women and other marginalised groups must be considered across all types of disaster risk management activity, rather than only response and relief activities, as is currently the case.
  • Publicly available census data on sex, age and disability need to be included in vulnerability analyses.
  • Clearer guidelines need to be issued for the genuine participation of vulnerable communities in processes to develop district disaster management plans.
  • Officials from state disaster management authorities should be trained in gender-responsive budgeting and gender mainstreaming.
  • Collaboration with state and central scientific institutions would help state disaster management authorities to track changing risk and risk of losses through modelling, rather than only measuring disaster impacts.
  • The National Disaster Management Authority should prepare guidelines and/ or a framework to support subnational governments in aligning with the Sendai Framework.

Way Forward

  • Disasters are no longer to be considered as occurrences that are to be managed through emergency response services. So, there is a need to foster a culture of prevention and identification of the key issues to be addressed especially in the development process.
  • The path ahead for managing disasters is to bring in a people-centered development strategy.
  • Strategies for disaster management should be accompanied by strong political will, keenness and commitment on the part of all concerned actors involved in the exercise.
  • Educating people in Disaster Risk Reduction is the need of the hour and it can be done through decentralised planning, implementation and monitoring and control.
  • The major strategies which should get prominence are institutionalising national systems and capacities, strengthening governance mechanisms at local level, building community resilience, reducing the vulnerabilities of the communities at risk and public private people partnerships etc.
  • Disaster Management has to embark upon a strategy aimed at holistic human development integrating the sustainable development goals, policies and practices that harness people’s strengths instead of vulnerabilities.
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