Essays On Disaster Management In India

Disaster Management in India: Classification, Policies and other Details!

Losses due to disasters have shown growing trend in terms of lives and property throughout the world due to urbanization, increasing population and increasing degradation of environment. The global efforts to manage disasters are not matched with the frequency and magnitude of disasters.

However, for the last 15 years or so some new thinking on disaster management has emerged at global level which pleads for a proactive and preventive approach and integrates disaster management with ongoing development activities that is sustainable development.

According to World Disaster Report 2009, hydro meteorological event, linked to climate change – floods, storms, heat waves and drought together accounted for nearly 60 percent of Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). In Myanmar alone, cyclone Nargis claimed some 1, 38,000 lives last years.

Earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province killed some 88,000 people, affected 46 million people; a major US flood 11 million and a drought in Thailand 10 million. But there were fewer disasters worldwide in 2008 than in any other year of the preceding decade; 326 natural and 259 technological disasters.

India’s Disaster Profile:

The Indian subcontinent is among the world’s most disaster prone areas. Almost 85% of India’s area is vulnerable to one or multiple hazard. Of the 28 states and 7 union territories, 22 are disaster-prone.

It is vulnerable to wind storms spawned in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, earthquakes caused by active crustal movement in the Himalayan mountains, floods brought by monsoons, and droughts in the country’s arid and semi-arid areas.

Almost 57% of the land is vulnerable to earthquake (high seismic zones lll-V), 68% to drought, 8% to cyclones and 12% to floods. India has also become much more vulnerable to tsunamis since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.


Of the earthquake-prone areas, 12% is prone to very severe earthquakes, 18% to severe earthquakes and 25% to damageable earthquakes. The biggest quakes occur in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Kutch, Himachal and the North-East. The Himalayan regions are particularly prone to earthquakes.

The last two major earthquakes shook Gujarat in January 2001 and Jammu and Kashmir in October 2005. Many smaller-scale quakes occurred in other parts of India in 2006. All 7 North East states of India – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya; Andaman & Nicobar Islands; and parts of 6 other states in the North/North-West (Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, and Bihar) and West (Gujarat), are in Seismic Zone V.


About 30 million people are affected annually. Floods in the Indo-Gangetic-Brahmaputra plains are an annual feature. On an average, a few hundred lives are lost, millions are rendered homeless and several hectares of crops are damaged every year.

Nearly 75% of the total rainfall occurs over a short monsoon season (June – September). 40 million hectares, or 12% of Indian land, is considered prone to floods. Floods are a perennial phenomenon in at least 5 states – Assam, Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

On account of climate change, floods have also occurred in recent years in areas that are normally not flood prone. In 2006, drought prone parts of Rajasthan experienced floods.


About 50 million people are affected annually by drought. Of approximately 90 million hectares of rain-fed areas, about 40 million hectares are prone to scanty or no rain. Rainfall is poor in nine meteorological subdivisions out of 36 subdivision (each meteorological sub division covers a geographic area of more than ten revenue districts in India).

In India annually 33% area receive rainfall less than 750 mm (low rainfall area) and 35 % area receive between 750 to 1125 mm rainfall Medium rainfall) and only 32 percent falls in the high rainfall (>1126 mm) zone.


About 8% of the land is vulnerable to cyclones of which coastal areas experience two or three tropical cyclones of varying intensity each year. Cyclonic activities on the east coast are more severe than on the west coast.

The Indian continent is considered to be the worst cyclone-affected part of the world, as a result of low-depth ocean bed topography and coastal configuration. The principal threats from a cyclone are in the form of gales and strong winds; torrential rain and high tidal waves/storm surges.

Most casualties are caused due to coastal inundation by tidal waves and storm surges. Cyclones typically strike the East Coast of India, along the Bay of Bengal, i.e. the states of West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, but also parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat at the Arabian Sea West Coast.


Landslides occur in the hilly regions such as the Himalayas, North-East India, the Nilgiris, and Eastern and Western Ghats. Landslides in India are another recurrent phenomenon. Landslide-prone areas largely correspond to earthquake-prone areas, i.e. North-west and North-East, where the incidence of landslides is the highest.


Drought is another recurrent phenomenon which results in widespread adverse impact on vulnerable people’s livelihoods and young children’s nutrition status. It typically strikes arid areas of Rajasthan (chronically) and Gujarat states.

Drought is not uncommon in certain districts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, etc. Although a slow onset emergency, and to an extent predictable emergency, drought has caused severe suffering in the affected areas in recent years, including effects on poverty, hunger, and unemployment.

Cold Waves:

Cold waves are recurrent phenomenon in North India. Hundreds if not thousands of people die of cold and related diseases every year, most of them from poor urban areas in northern parts of the country. According to India’s Tenth Five Year Plan, natural disasters have affected nearly 6% of the population and 24% of deaths in Asia caused by disasters have occurred in India.

Between 1996 and 2001, 2% of national GDP was lost because of natural disasters, and nearly 12% of Government revenue was spent on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction during the same period. As per a World Bank study in 2003, natural disasters pose a major impediment on the path of economic development in India

Classification of Disasters:

The classification of disaster differs as per the criterion of classification. For example, on the basis of their origin, they are classified as natural and manmade. If we take into account their severity, they may be classified as manor and minor disasters.

However, a high powered committee constituted in Aug. 1999 by the Government of India, under the Chairmanship of J.C. Pant adopted origin as the criterion for the classification of disaster.

The fundamental task of the committee was to prepare comprehensive model plans for disaster management at district, state and national level. The committee has identified 30 disasters and categories them in the following five groups.

1. Water and Climate Disaster:

Such as flood, cyclones, hailstorms, cloudburst, heat and cold waves, snow avalanches, droughts, sea erosion, thunder and lightning.

2. Geological Disaster:

Such as landslides and mud flows, earthquakes, mine fires, dam failures and general fires.

3. Biological Disaster:

Such as epidemics, pest attacks, cattle epidemic and food poisoning.

4. Nuclear and Industrial Disaster:

Such as chemical and industrial disasters and nuclear accidents.

5. Accidental Disaster:

Such as urban and forest fires, oil spill, mine flooding incidents, collapse of huge building structures, bomb blasts, air, road and rail mishaps, boat capsizing and stampede during congregations.

At central level, an administrative ministry has been identified as nodal agency for each disaster to coordinate the activities of disaster management operations at different levels.

Disaster Management – A New Approach:

Disaster Management is an effort to inquire into the process of a hazard turning to disaster to identify its causes and rectify the same through public policy. Therefore disaster management is a policy issue concerned with minimizing and preventing the damaging impact of a natural or manmade hazard.

Some of the policy and administrative factors relevant to disaster management are such as poor and weak or overcrowded buildings in earthquake prone zone, poor land use planning in flood prone areas, inadequate and faulty laws regulating various processes and facilities, general low risk perception towards among people etc.

The above description of disaster management underlines the difference between the hazard and the disaster. A hazard is a natural or manmade damaging event which is beyond the effective control of human being, whereas the disaster is the sum total of consequences of natural hazard due to vulnerability of people or regions subject to hazard.

Thus same natural hazard may produce different amount of disastrous impact on different group of people or regions. The new approach to disaster management evolved gradually in 1990s beginning with the declaration of 1990-2000 by UN General Assembly as the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction.

The major disasters such as tsunami in Asia in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in U.S. in 2005 and Muzaffarabad Earthquake in 2005 and underlined the importance of the new approach across the world. The United Nation Report titled “Living with risk” claims that though there has been decline in the number of losses to human lives from disaster the occurrence of disaster is rising.

The Yakohama Strategy for disaster management was renewed at the world conference on Disaster Reduction held at Hyogo (Japan) in Jan. 2005. The conference laid emphasis on some crucial but neglected aspects of disaster management such as governance and policy framework, risk identification and early warning, knowledge management, reducing risk factors and preparedness for effective response and recovery.

The Hyogo conference adopted the framework of Action, 2005-2015 called “Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster.”

As panic swept across India’s eastern coast in the aftermath of the massive 8.6 magnitude earthquake off the Indonesian coast on 12 April, 2012, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) set off the biggest disaster drill the country has seen since the body was created.

The alert brought back memories of the devastating tsunami of 2004, in which 2.4 lakh people were killed worldwide. Before that, among the major quakes India has seen was the one on April 4, 1905, an 8.25 rocker that hit the Kangra region in Himachal. It had killed around 20,000 people. Then there were two very large magnitude earthquakes in Bihar (1934) and Assam (1950).

Through these earthquakes and the authorities’ response to those, a “quake philosophy” has been evolving continuously. Till the end of last century, the essential administrative approach was, “Earthquakes cannot be predicted.”

This attitude experienced a thaw sometime after the disastrous Bhuj earthquake of magnitude 8.0 on January 26, 2001. The administration started considering how to save lives and manage disaster. Various state governments were requested to set up a disaster management office. At the Government of India level, two institutes were set up in New Delhi — the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The aim was to mitigate the damage potential of natural disasters in future.

For once, the subject of disaster management had been taken seriously at the governmental level. However, subsequent earthquakes proved that the organisations were not able to check disasters. After Bhuj, there were two major seismic events — the Andaman (Sumatran) earthquake-cum-tsunami of 26 December, 2004, and the Kashmir earthquake of October 8, 2005.

The disaster management bodies were not able to do anything to prevent deaths. Even a moderate earthquake of magnitude 6.8 on September 18, 2011, in Sikkim was a disaster. Most disaster management plans have thus far focused on the post-seismic period of rescue, rehabilitation and reconstruction (RRR). In a typical scenario, seismic shaking of moderate to large earthquakes lasts 35-45 seconds.

If that time is divided into three parts of 12-15 seconds, then during the first part, disaster managers are highly excited watching the terrain shake. During the second part, they are in awe to see the collapse of structures. The third part has them near tears, seeing the horrific deaths and destruction.

After the shaking stops, they rush to affected sites with stretchers, medicine, rescue equipment, etc. All this amounts to rescue, not prevention. Tragically, this is all that disaster management is about at present. There is no activity during the pre-seismic and co- seismic period.

The problem has attained severe dimensions. The Geological Survey of India (GSI), in a report presented to the Uttarakhand Government in July 2007, observed that the probability of occurrence of a large magnitude earthquake — more than magnitude 8.0 — in Uttarakhand was as high as 0.98%.

In seismological lexicon, one may say that as the magnitude of the probabilistically predicted earthquake is very large, the statement is equally applicable to Himachal Pradesh. Such an earthquake could severely affect an area of about 200 km radius or more.

It could be said that the probability of occurrence of a large-magnitude earthquake in the conglomerate of Uttarakhand and Himachal is as high as 0.98%.

Plan in Advance:

Under such unforeseen conditions, our managers need to plan some activities during the pre-seismic period and also discuss what should be done during the co-seismic period. Take every section of society in confidence and explain to them the limits of earthquake prediction and how the administration plans to overcome the odds.

It is a fact that the subject of earthquake prediction has not reached perfection. It is difficult to predict earthquakes. On the other hand, if the administration predicts an earthquake, and it does not occur, the administration has to face public criticism.

The best way for disaster management offices is to create seismic awareness, inform people about reliable seismic precursors events and indicators that may be noted ahead of an impending earthquake.

National Disaster Management Act 2005:

National Disaster Management Act, 2005 defines events that cause substantial less of life, prosperity and environment. It read, “Disaster means catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from nature or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence which result in substantial loss of life, of human suffering or damage to, and destruction of property, or damage to, or degradation of environment, and is of such nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of affected areas.”

About 60 percent of landmass in India is prone to earthquakes of various intensities, over – 40 million hectares is prone to floods, about 8 percent of the total area is prone to cyclones and 68 percent of area is susceptible to drought.

Disaster management Act, 2005 defines Disaster Management as, a continuous cycle and integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary or expedient for-

(i) Prevention of danger or threat of any disaster;

(ii) Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences;

(iii) Capacity-building;

(iv) Preparedness to deal with any disaster;

(v) Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster;

(vi) Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster;

(vii) Evacuation, rescue and relief;

(viii) Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Disaster Management Amendment Bill, 2006 aims at broadening the meaning of Disaster in Disaster Management Act.

Main Provisions of National Disaster Management Act, 2005:

The Act provides for three tier mechanism for Disaster Management that includes National Disaster Management Authority, State Disaster Management Authority and District Disaster Management Authority.

National Disaster Management Authority:

Its chairperson is the Prime Minister. Not more than nine other members can be there. Vice Chairpersons is appointed from amongst members by the Chairperson. Executive Committee is chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry entrusted with the work of the Disaster Management.

State Disaster Management Authority:

Its Chairperson is the Chief Minister of the concerned State. Other members not exceeding eight are there. And in addition, Chairperson of the State Executive Committee (who is Chief Secretary) is also included. Vice Chairperson is appointed by Chair­persons from amongst members. Chairperson of the State Executive Committee is the Chief Executive Officer. State Executive Committee is chaired by the State Chief Secretary.

National Disaster Response Fund:

To be constituted by the Central Government for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation.

National Disaster Management Fund:

To be constituted by the Central Government for the projects exclusively of mitigation.

Under Constitutional Position, Union List includes:

Atomic Energy, Railways etc. State List includes – Public Order, Public Health, Agriculture, Water etc. Concurrent List includes – Environment, Social Security, prevention of the extension from one State to another of infectious or contagious diseases, etc.

Through State Legislative Enactments some function has been given to local government also, more so after 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act.

Union Government:

Supportive role is there in matters of research and development, finances, etc. There is Cabined Committee on Management Act, 2005 provides for the National Disaster Management Authority under Prime Minister’s already functional. A committee of Union government looks after issue of financial support from National Calamity contingency Fund.

There is Central Relief Fund. Biological and Chemical Emergencies are coordinated by Cabinet committee on security. National Crisis Management by Cabinet Committee on Security.

National Crisis Management committee (NCMC) is headed by the Cabinet Secretary. Union Ministries looking after disasters are : Ministry of Home Affairs – natural and man-made Disasters; Ministry of Agriculture – Drought, Ministry of Civil Aviation – Air Accidents; Ministry of Railways – Railway Accidents; Ministry of Environment – Chemical Disaster; Ministry of Health – Biological Disasters; Department of Atomic Energy – Nuclear Accidents; etc. Crisis Management Group (CMG) is chaired by Central Relief Commissioner in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

State Government:

Primary responsibility of relief operations is of the States. National Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for the state Disaster Management Authority under the Chief Minister. At top political level, there is, normally Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities under the Chief Minister.

There are Crisis Management Committees chaired by the Chief Secretaries. Relief commissioners – functionaries of State Revenue Department are used. They look after issues of Natural Disasters.

They work under Crisis Management committee headed by the Chief Secretary. State Revenue Secretaries also have some responsibilities. Overall responsibility at the District Level, rests with the District Collector/ District magistrate.

District Collector / District Magistrates:

National Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for the district Disaster Management Authority under his/her chairpersonships (co-chairpersons is elected member of local authority). Overall co-ordination between various departments at district level is achieved.

Under General Financial Rules/Revenue Codes, there are powers to draw money. If there are armed forces units available locally, their assistance can be requested. Coordination with civil society is achieved.


The Disaster Management Act 2005 has provided the legal and institutional framework for disaster management in India at the national, state and district levels. In the federal polity of India the primary responsibility of disaster management vests with the State Governments.

The Central Government lays down policies and guidelines and provides technical, financial and logistic support while the district administration carries out most of the operations in collaboration with central and state level agencies.

In the Central Government there are existing institutions and mechanisms for disaster management while new dedicated institutions have been created under the Disaster Management Act of 2005.

The Cabinet Committee on Management of Natural Calamities (CCMNC) oversees all aspects relating to the management of natural calamities including assessment of the situation and identification of measures and programmes considered necessary to reduce its impact, monitor and suggest long term measures for prevention of such calamities, formulate and recommend programmes for public awareness for building up society’s resilience to them.

The Cabinet Committee on Security. (CCS) deals with the matters relating to nuclear, biological and chemical emergencies

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the Cabinet Secretary oversees the Command, Control and Coordination of the disaster response. The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has created new institutions at the national, state, district and local levels. The new institutional framework for disaster management in the country is as under:

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister is the apex body responsible for laying down policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management and for coordinating their enforcement and implementation throughout the country.

The policies and guidelines will assist the Central Ministries, State Governments and district administration to formulate their respective plans and programmes. NDMA has the power to approve the National Plans and the Plans of the respective Ministries and Departments of Government of India. The general superintendence, direction and control of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are vested in and will be exercised by the NDMA.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) is mandated to assist the NDMA in the discharge of its functions and further ensure compliance of the directions issued by the Central Government. The NEC comprises of the Union Home Secretary as the Chairperson, and the Secretaries to the GOI in the Ministries/ Departments of Agriculture, Atomic Energy, Defence, Drinking Water Supply, Environment and Forests, Finance (Expenditure), Health, Power, Rural Development, Science and Technology, Space, Telecommunications, Urban Development, Water Resources and the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee as members.

Secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs, Earth Sciences, Human Resource Development, Mines, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Secretary, NDMA are special invitees to the meetings of the NEC.

The National Executive Committee is responsible to prepare the National Plan and coordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Policy and the guidelines issued by NDMA.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Central Government has the overall responsibility for disaster management in the country. For a few specific types of disasters the concerned Ministries have the nodal responsibilities for management of the disasters, as under:


Ministry of Agriculture

Epidemics & Biological Disasters Chemical Disasters Nuclear Disasters Air Accidents Railway Accidents

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Ministry of Environment & Forests Ministry of Atomic Energy Ministry of Civil Aviation Ministry of Railways

The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has the mandate for human resource development and capacity building for disaster management within the broad policies and guidelines laid down by the NDMA.

NIDM is required to design, develop and implement training programmes, undertake research, formulate and implement a comprehensive human resource development plan, provide assistance in national policy formulation, assist other research and training institutes, state governments and other organizations for successfully discharging their responsibilities, develop educational materials for dissemination and promote awareness among stakeholders in addition to undertake any other function as assigned to it by the Central Government.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is the specialized force for disaster response which works under the overall supervision and control of the NDMA.

At the State Level the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), headed by the Chief Minister, lays down policies and plans for disaster management in the State. It is also responsible to coordinate the implementation of the State Plan, recommend provision of funds for mitigation and preparedness measures and review the developmental plans of the different departments of the State to ensure integration of prevention, preparedness and mitigation measures.

The State Disaster Management Department (DMD) which is mostly positioned in the Revenue and relief Department is the nodal authority. In the district level the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is headed by the District Magistrate, with the elected representative of the local authority as the Co-Chairperson.

DDMA is the planning, coordinating and implementing body for disaster management at district level. It will, inter alia prepare the District Disaster Management Plan and monitor the implementation of the National and State Policies and the National, State and the District Plans.

DDMA will also ensure that the guidelines for prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response measures laid down by the NDMA and the SDMA are followed by all departments of the State Government at the district level and the local authorities in the district.

The Local Authorities both the rural local self governing institutions (Panchayati Raj Institutions) and urban local bodies (Municipalities, Cantonment Boards and Town Planning Authorities) These bodies will ensure capacity building of their officers and employees for managing disasters, carry out relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the affected areas and will prepare DM Plans in consonance with guidelines of the NDMA, SDMAs and DDMAs.

National Policy on Disaster Management 2009:

(a) The National Policy on Disaster Management was approved by the Government in November 2009. This comprehensive policy document lays down policies on every aspect of holistic management of disasters in the country.

Salient Features of India’s National Policy on Disaster Management: India’s National Policy on Disaster Management was approved by the Union Cabinet of India on 22nd October, 2009 with the aim to minimize the losses to lives, livelihoods and property, caused by natural or manmade disasters with a vision to build a safe & Disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, integrated, Multi-disaster oriented and technology driven strategy.

With this national Policy in place in India, a holistic and integrated approach will be evolved towards disaster management with emphasis on building strategic partnerships at various levels.

The themes underpinning the policy include Community based Disaster Management, Capacity development in all spheres, Consolidation of past initiatives and best practices and Cooperation with agencies at National and International levels with multi-sectoral synergy.

(b) The Policy is also intended to promote a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through knowledge, innovation and education. It encourages mitigation measures based on environmental sustainability.

It seeks to mainstream disaster management into the developmental planning process and provides for Institutional and Financial arrangements at national, State, and District-levels for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness and Response as it ensures adequate budgeting for disaster mitigation activities in all Ministries and Departments.

(c) State Policies on Disaster Management % The States of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala have formulated State Disaster Management Policies. Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh, Uttranchal, Meghalaya, Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi, Orissa and West Bengal have prepared draft policies.

(d) State Relief Codes/ DM Codes: Many States have manuals and codes for management of drought, floods etc. Now many states are in the process of changing their State Relief codes into Disaster Management Manuals.

A Matter of Concern:

Yokhama Declaration exposed that economic loss was increasing due to various disasters. The intergovernmental Panel on that worldwide the frequency and magnitude of all types of natural disasters are increasing. Increasing tendency of droughts in some areas more vulnerability of forest fires.

Disasters affect: one, as they derail development process. Two, affects resource availability for future development. Mere narrow approach temporary relief and involves more cost. There is need to link Disaster management and Development, relief and reconstruction.

Some disasters – say flood-have much post disaster complication. Man made inhumane disasters increase. Planned Development finance for Disaster Management Plans. Then there is targeted revenue difficult elimination issue. Over-exploitation of natural resources is leading towards environmental degradation.

That may lead to nation increases much but public safety common sense and awareness in community lacks. In many instance lack of preparedness is converting hazards into disasters. Flaws in intelligence are causing some disasters, say, terrorism, strikes, social tensions, etc.

Public Health infrastructure is inadequate but health hazards increase. Women and Children are usually most affected during disasters. More attention is needed to be given to this issue. Even camp managing Committee lack sufficient number of women, to take care of women, in relief and rehabilitation Apprehensions of misuse of science and technological advancements exist. Drought affects rural areas more and water supply infrastructure remains weak in rural areas.

As normal procedures are difficult to follow, due to urgency corruption problems are there. Ineffectiveness in water management Policies creates problems in drought management and flood relief. Study and Research in Disaster Management is still deficient. In fact, there is need to introduce the Disaster management and Public Administration.

Traditionally, even in legal framework, meaning of disaster has been taken narrowly. Enforcement of Public Safety Regulations is not effective Low income and Poverty creates problems in matters of preparedness. Professional skills for field machinery in matters of disaster management still lack.

Still there are deficiencies in taking up the issue of Geographical Information System (GlS) as a plan scheme. Community participation in vulnerability analysis lacks. Media use for bringing mass awareness is not paid sufficient attention. Digital dissemination of information by Disaster Management Authorities is still inadequate.

Much gap exists between disaster research and community capacity building. There are instances of policy makers lacking the Disaster Management experience. Potential of ex-servicemen available in between country is not used well. International or bilateral cooperation in Disaster management is not up to the mark.

What can be done?

Life cycle of crisis management can be broadly divided in three phases – pre crisis, during crisis and post- crisis. Sustainable Development preparedness can reduce hazard. There is need to link disaster management and development plans. Planned improvement in legal framework in needed.

Bringing community consciousness will help. Short term and long terms planning need integration. More effective international cooperation and use of it is need for disaster warning system.

As, normally, community response is the first in case of disaster, there is need for community capacity building. Policy of Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) at national, state and district level should be effectively implemented.

Subject of Disaster management is not mentioned specifically, in any of the three lists of the Seventh Schedule of the constitution. National Commission of the Constitution (NCRWC) suggested its inclusion in Concurrent List. Best Practices guidelines should be laid down.

Meaning of Disaster in National Disaster Management Act, 2005 is narrow it should be broadened. Capacity building in local government is needed. In Japan local governments have a role to play in such matters.

2nd ARC recommends, in larger cities (say with population, exceeding 2.5 million) the Mayor, assisted by the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation and the Police Commissioner should be directly responsible for Crisis management.

Initiatives – Calamity relief Fund (CRF) exists, Various related rules exist, say, Hazardous Waste (management and Handling Rules) 1989, The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and control) Rules, 2000 etc.

National Institute of Disaster Management is set up at Delhi., Coastal Zone Regulations, Building Codes, Fire Safety Rules etc. some States have gone for State Disaster Management Acts, say : Act, 2003, Bihar Disaster management Act, 2004, Uttrakhand Disaster Mitigation, Management and Prevention Act, 2005; Uttar Pradesh Disaster Management Act, 2005 etc. Uttarakhand has set up a separate department of Disaster Management.

Vulnerability Atlas of India was brought in 1998. Seismic Zone of India has been standardized. Of late, Five Year Planning had been giving high priority to such issues. National Building Code 3 was brought in 2005.

India Disaster Resources network Disaster Management A web enabled centralized data base. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are there which guide the operations in case of crisis. Civil Defence Act was brought in 1968 and Civil Defence Regulations, 1968 exist.

SAARC Disaster Management Centre it was set up in October 2006. It is in the premises of National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi.

A disaster is an extreme disruption in the functioning of a habitat that causes widespread human, material, or environmental losses that exceed the ability of the affected population to cope with its own resources. Landslides, earthquakes, tsunami, cyclones, droughts, floods etc are some of the examples of disasters. Disaster management is the discipline by which human beings continuously make effort to mitigate the harm caused by the disasters.

Essays on disaster management

Disaster management is a topic on which students are generally asked to write essays. We are providing below essays on the same with different words limit, so the respective essay could be picked up by the students as per their requirements.

Disaster Management Essay 1 (100 words)

Disaster refers to the mishap, calamity or the grave occurrence from the natural or man-made reasons which can’t be stopped or tackled immediately by the affected community. Earthquakes, cyclones, droughts, floods etc are some of the natural disasters resulting into huge loss of lives and properties. The direct or indirect impacts of disasters, either natural or man-made are colossal damage, destruction and death.

The disaster management is the discipline by which human beings continuously makes efforts to reduce the harm caused by the disasters. India has set up many departments and organizations for the same such as national disaster management authority (NDMA). But we are yet to achieve satisfactory progress with regard to timely management of disasters. This can be done by raising adequate awareness about the ways to cope with disasters and greater co-ordination between the centre and state agencies.

Disaster Management Essay 2 (200 words)

A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disturbs the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope with using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origin as well such as major fire or leakage in a nuclear plant due to human negligence.

Disaster management is a well-planned strategy for making efforts to reduce the hazards caused by the disasters. Disaster management though does not avert or eliminate the threats; it focuses on formulating plans to decrease the effect of disasters. In India, national disaster management authority (NDMA) has been set up to coordinate responses to natural or man-made disasters across the country. NDMA runs various programs for mitigation and responsiveness for specific situations.

These include the national cyclone risk management project, school safety project, decision support system etc. But going by the lack of preparedness exposed by the outbreak of recent disasters in the country, the NDMA needs to make more organized and effective efforts to mitigate the losses caused by disasters. In fact, the society as a whole must make efforts to co-operate with the central and state agencies in coming out with a collective response to deal with disasters.

Disaster Management Essay 3 (250 words)

Disaster is a catastrophic situation in which normal pattern of life or ecosystem gets disturbed and extraordinary emergency interventions are required to save and preserve lives or environment. India is one of the most disaster prone zones in the world due to its peculiar geographical characteristics as well as the poor social conditions in which the communities live which exposes them to the frequent destruction caused by the hazards.

For India, the major hazards are earthquakes, landslides, drought, cyclones, floods, forest fires, fire accidents etc. Rapid growth in the population rate has certainly triggered the level of disasters. Natural disasters can only be mitigated but the man-made disasters can be prevented to a certain limit. India has taken many steps and has formed many organizations in order to mitigate, reduce and avoid the hazards of the disasters.

In India, the role of emergency management falls within the jurisdiction of the national disaster management authority of India (NDMA), which is doing a great job in reducing the hazardous impacts of the disaster and is operating from a government-centered approach to decentralized community participation.

But it needs much more sustained efforts to come out with a well-thought out strategy and response to minimize the colossal damage caused by disasters whenever a calamity has struck, for instance tsunami and Uttarakhand floods in recent times. We have not been able to mount adequate rescue and rehabilitation efforts to effectively deal with the situation.

Disaster Management Essay 4 (300 words)


A disaster is a serious disruption in the functioning of a community and society as a fall-out of widespread human, material, or environmental losses that exceed the ability of the affected population to cope with its own resources.

India is a disaster prone country. In fact, there is no country which is immune from disasters which can be classified as-

Types of Disasters

There are two majorly two types of disasters:

  1. Natural disasters
  2. Man-made disasters

Natural disasters are the disasters caused due to natural reasons which are beyond the control of humans including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcano eruptions that have immediate impacts on human lives.

Man-made disasters also known as the complex emergencies are the disasters caused due to major accidents like fires, the breakdown of authority, looting and attacks, including conflict situations and war.

Disaster management is a continuous phenomenon of mitigating the impact of the disasters. Disaster management calls for collective and co-ordinated efforts. A number of activities need to be undertaken in the event of disaster. These include co-ordination, command and control, rapid assessment of damage, restoration of power, tele-communication and surface transport, deployment of search and rescue teams, medicals and Para-medical teams, arrangements for drinking water and food material, setting up of temporary shelters, sanitation and hygiene identification and earmarking of resources, last but not the least, maintenance of law and order is equally important.

The most vulnerable sections in these disasters are the poor. Hence it is necessary to mobilize them towards preparedness for any emergency. Quick and timely response is the essence in providing immediate relief and rescue operations, to save human lives and mitigate miseries as soon as possible.

India has set up many departments and organizations for the same i.e. National disaster management authority (ndma), national remote sensing centre (nrsc), central water commission (cwc) etc. And due to the presence of so many authorities it is not feasible for all of them to take steps in a single direction.


Disaster management has assumed great importance in recent times. To handle any unforeseen situation efficiently, we need to be well-equipped with latest technologies. It cannot avert the outbreak of disaster, but can mitigate its impact to a large extent.


Disaster Management Essay 5 (400 words)


God has created everything including land, water, air etc. Nature has several manifestations – benign as well as hostile. Sometimes, it is soothing, sometimes it is ferocious. Whenever it turns to be in its bad temper, it can bring about devastation which is known as disaster.


A catastrophic situation in which normal pattern of life and or ecosystem gets disturbed and extraordinary emergency interventions are required to save and preserve lives or environment can be termed as a disaster. Natural disasters are the manifestation of nature and they can take place anywhere anytime.

Classification of disasters:

The disasters can be classified as-

Natural disasters: A natural hazard is a natural process or phenomenon that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage. Various disasters like earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, tsunamis, and cyclones are all natural disasters.

Human instigated: Human-instigated disasters are the consequence of technological hazards. Examples include fires, transport accidents, oil spills and nuclear explosions/radiation. War and terrorist attacks may also be put in this category.

Disasters in India: well, there is no country which is completely free from disasters and so is India. India, due to its geographical locations & geological formations, is a highly disaster prone country.

India has faced a number of disasters, ranging from flood, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunami, drought, landslides. A few recent disasters faced by India include floods in Uttarakhand, cyclone “vardah” in Chennai, recurring earthquakes in northern India, chama earthquake in Gujarat, super cyclone in Orissa in 1999, bhuj earthquake in Gujarat in 2001, tsunami in 2004 and Mumbai-Gujarat flood in 2005. Besides, India has had to suffer technology-related tragedy in the form of gas tragedy in Bhopal in 1984. India also faced the problem of plague in Gujarat.


The direct or indirect impact of the disasters has always been deadly, destructive and damaging. They cause loss of life to the humans as well as livestock.

Disaster management

Disaster management is the management of resources and responsibilities in order to lessen the impact of disasters.

Disaster management in India

In India, a lot of forums, funds and organizations are functioning to mitigate the effects of the disasters like national disaster management authority (NDMA), national remote sensing centre (NRSC), Indian council of medical research (ICMR), central water commission (CWC) etc. A separate fund called as “national disaster management fund” (NDMF) is also there for exclusive mitigation.

Sometimes, due to lack of co-ordination between the central and state government as well as the absence of correct resources; the concerned forums, organizations are unable to provide the apt rehabilitation.


To handle the situation efficiently, we need to be well-equipped with latest technologies. Disaster management cannot avert the situation, but can mitigate its impact to lessen sufferings of humans, plants and animals.


Disaster Management Essay 6 (800 words)

About disaster

Land, water, air etc are some of the beautiful creations of the almighty. Nature has several manifestations – smooth as well as hostile. Sometimes, it is soothing while sometimes it is ferocious. Whenever it turns to be in its bad temper, it can bring about devastation or destruction which is known as a “disaster”.

Literal interpretation

Literally, disaster refers to the mishap, calamity or the grave occurrence from either the natural or man-made reasons which can’t be stopped or tackled immediately by the affected community.

India, being very much prone to disasters due to its geographical location, earthquakes, landslides, drought, cyclones, floods, forest fires, and fire accidents are some of the major calamities that keep occurring, inflicting colossal damage. Rapid growth in the population rate and urbanization has mostly triggered the level of the disasters.

Types of disasters

The disasters can be broadly classified into two major categories:

  • Natural disasters
  • Man made / human instigated disasters

Natural disaster is a natural process that may cause loss of huge lives, injuries or other health impacts, property damages, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruptions or massive environmental damage. Various disasters like earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, tsunamis, and cyclones are covered under the scope of the term natural disaster. Human instigated disaster is also known as the complex emergency and is the disaster caused due to major happenings such as fires, oil spill, breakdown of authority, looting, wars etc.

Disasters in India over a decade-at a glance

India has faced some of the most destructive disasters in past decade which can be named as under:

Name of the eventYearArea
Cyclone “vardah”2016Chennai
Cyclone “hud hud”2014Andhra Pradesh
Odessa floods2013Odessa
Cyclone phailin2013Odessa & Andhra Pradesh
Floods & landslides2013Uttarakhand & HP
Cyclone mahasen2013Tamil Nadu
Cyclone nilam2012Tamil Nadu
Uttarakhand floods2012Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand & Baageshwar
Assam floods2012Assam
Cyclone thane2011Tamil Nadu
Sikkim earthquake2011Sikkim, West Bengal & Bihar
Cloudburst2010Leh & Ladakh
Drought2009More than 10 states
Kosi floods2008North Bihar
Maharashtra floods2005Maharashtra
Tsunami2004Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry, Andaman & Nicobar islands

Effects of disasters in India:

The impact of natural as well as human instigated disasters is colossal death, destruction, injuries, huge loss of the lives of humans and livestock.

The impact of human activities on natural disasters:

Since a long for now, it has been noticed that modernization is leading to grave ignorance towards the environment. Environmental bylaws are being neglected by industries. Due to over-exploitation of nature, we humans have created such a situation where events like earthquakes, landslides are increasingly being elevated to the extent that they are causing massive loss in terms of human life and property.

It’s not that, every one of us is being ignorant about the environment. There are a lot of people who are very much concerned about the nature and the environment. Even, there are many NGOs which are taking the issue of global warming and pollution publically by taking out rallies and organizing several campaigns to save environment and such initiatives need to be appreciated.

Disaster management

Disaster management is the creation of primary and secondary plans through which people’s vulnerability to hazards can be reduced so that they can cope up with disasters. The mechanism does not avert or eliminate the threats; instead, it focuses on creating the strategies to decrease the effect of disasters.

Disaster management in India

National disaster management authority (NDMA) is the apex body which is mandated to lay down the policies and guidelines for disaster management to ensure timely an effective response towards disasters. A separate fund called as “national disaster management fund” (NDMF) is also there for exclusive mitigation.

NDMA mostly performs the following functions:

  • Administration
  • Policies formation for disaster management
  • Mitigation of disasters
  • Approval of the plans laid down
  • Formation of funds for the purpose of mitigation of disasters etc
  • Running various programs and imparting guidelines

Prevention & control

The natural disasters are inevitable, even if we have measures to predict/ forecast the disasters we can’t stop them from happening. The best which can be done is to avoid the practices which are hazardous for the environment which are leading towards environmental degradation, while preparing plans for our disaster management.

Once a disaster strikes it leads to a massive destruction and loss of life. In case of the disasters like earthquakes, floods etc. Where a number of humans are displaced and post disaster there are a number of causalities. This is the time when the actual emergency preparedness comes into effect by giving first aid to the injured ones, providing rescue and relief operations to the victims.


To handle the situation efficiently, we need to be well-equipped with latest technologies. Also, it is of utmost importance to be prepared with a proper disaster management team which can take charge as soon as possible when the disaster strikes.

Related Information:

Speech on Disaster Management

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