Tag Archives: Awareness generation

Engineering Preparedness for Disaster Mitigation

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INSTITUTION OF ENGINEERS INDIA J&K STATE CENTRE
SRINAGAR
(ENGINEERS DAY- 15th September
2011)

ENGINEERING PREPAREDNESS FOR DISASTER
MITIGATION

From
the studies of the decade of Environmental Disasters of 1990’s, the tally of
catechism including the northern Iran, Latur, Tehri, Gujarat and Muzaffarabad
earthquakes, volcanic eruptions in Philippines, Alaska, flooding along Trinity,
Red Arkansas, Texas and Perennial floods in Bangladesh followed by recent
earthquakes, Gulf wars, Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Pentagon and World Trade
Centre demolishing disasters, Mumbai terror attack, Palestine and Kashmir
Conflict insurgency, last year’s cloud burst in Leh district of J&K State, recent
damage to nuclear power stations in Japan, current famine in Somalia and
studying the glimpses of the widespread environmental degradation at Global
level, hurricanes, famines, wind storms and other extreme events are becoming
more frequent. Some important records of past historical Tsunamis are:

1st
November 1755-Earthquake cause Tsunami destroyed Lisbon killing over 60,000
people.

27th
August 1883-Volcanic eruption created Tsunami from the Karakota Volcano drowning
36000 people.

15th
June 1986- Tsunami in japan killed over 27000 people.

December
26th 2004-Tsunami has beaten all previous records being deadliest
one till date killing more than one lakh and rendering several lakhs homeless.
The strange observation made on the most-hit island of Indonesia was, that
animals had migrated from the affected area and the aquatic life was not much
damaged in Indian Ocean. Same thing happened during the Tehri- Gharwal earthquake,
where most of the wild animals had migrated from the affected areas. This is
Nature’s check and balance system. Similarly the past world records show that
the death toll of the top ten Natural Disasters from 1945 to 2000 has ranged
from 30,000 to 07 lakhs in different countries-the last being the 1967
earthquake in China. Again the ten Industrial and Chemical accidents show
steady increase from 1947-Texas City explosion of Ammonium Nitrate to Bhopal
accident in 1984 and Radio activity explosion in Chernobyl Russia in 1986 and
Natural gas explosion in Acha Russia in 1989 ranging death toll from 317 to
3849. The  number of major catastrophic
events over the decade from 1990-2000 has increased three fold in comparison
with the 1960’s.The rate of economic losses has also increased almost 9 times
over the same period. 50% of the total population of the least developed
countries is at great risk. Ironically more than 50 % of all natural disasters
during the decade occurred in developing countries, in which more than 75% of
all killed, hailed from these places and only 2% were shared by the highly
developed countries.

As
per IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross)-2001 report, on an average for
every 22.5 person’s death in highly developed countries due to natural
disasters, there is a figure of 145 deaths in developed countries. Notably
Global warming, climate change to a great extent is influencing occurrence of
storms, hurricanes, floods, draughts, land sliding and also intensity to great
damage El-Nino, ozone depletion, extinction of biodiversity, rise of sea level,
greenhouse effect etc. Only the El-Nino toll reached to 24,000 during 1997-98
due to high winds, floods, storms and surges, more than 10 million people were
affected and 6 million displaced. However there is constant identification of
hazards and response to hazard events. We have to learn lessons from the past
to be ever ready to face the unwarranted consequences of the disasters and rise
to the occasion both at the individual, state, national and International
level.  Certain provision in the
organizations like UNDHA,UNDP,UNDRO,UNEP,UNESCO,UNOCHA,USCR and many other
International agencies are actively working for disaster management and relief
rehabilitation.

Disasters
have been broadly categorized as: Natural, Man-made and Epidemic quarantine.The
classification made by scientists is: (a)Climate-related, (b)Climate and water-related,(c)Earth-related,(d)Ocean-related,(e)Space-related,(f)Temperature-related.

The
Natural Disasters covered in climate and wind related are as wind storms, hail
storms, snow storms, cyclones, tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves, typhoons,
willy willies, blizzards, fogs etc.

The
climate and water related disasters cover : floods, erosion, dam-bursting,
levee failure, cloud bursts, flash floods, heavy excessive rains, glaze stones,
droughts, snow falls, cold waves, hail, frost etc.

The
earth related also called geological include: earthquakes, tsunamis,
avalanches, landslides, volcanic eruptions, rock falls, mud slides, subsidence,
shifting sand etc.

The
ocean related includes ocean currents.

The
space related includes asteroid collisions, lightening etc.

The
temperature related cover heat waves, white outs, forest fires.

The
man-made disasters include wars, battles, hostile enemy actions, arson,
sabotage, internal disturbance, riots, crowd violence, accident of vehicles,
trains, aircrafts, ships, traffic accidents, transport accidents, industrial
accidents, nuclear leaks or explosions, air pollutions, ecological famines, excess
grain hoarding, food crises, epidemics, land degradation, toxic hazards, ozone
depletion, contamination, HIV AIDS, population explosion, poverty, drugs, terrorism
etc.

The
epidemics inverting through inadequate quarantine, vector borne diseases,
plague, water borne diseases, food poisoning, person to person diseases, wound
complications etc.

The
various aspects of disasters are:
Geographical,Sociological,Developmental,Epidomological, Human or Cultural,
Ecological and Technical.

The
technical aspect focuses on scientific and technical requirement of the disasters.
The major thrust areas are seismology, volcanology, and geomorphology and geo-physical
approaches.

After
the Muzaffarabad earthquake in October 2005, the US geologists RB Bilan and
K.Wallace confirmed in a conference in India that the Kangra region like other
parts of the Himalayas are vulnerable to a future large earthquake of magnitude
8, despite having experience of 100 years ago. Scientists warned that since the
population of Indo-Gangetic basin in India and Pakistan is larger than at any
time in the history any future massive earthquake in Himalayas could have much
greater impact on population than the Tsunami of 2004.International
seismologists have warned that the western Himalayas may be on a stress state
similar to that of Andaman plate boundary prior to 2004. The view is however
refuted according to their research and evidences by H. Gupta and Negi -former
directors.

THE PLANNED STRATEGY:

The Yokohama message
emanating from the international decade for natural disaster reduction in May
1994 underlined the need for an emphatic shift in the strategy for disaster
mitigation. It was inter-alia stressed that disaster prevention, mitigation,
preparedness and relief are four elements which contribute to and gain, from
the implementation of the sustainable development policies. These elements
along with environmental protection and sustainable development, are closely
inter related. Therefore, nations should incorporate them in their development
plans and ensure efficient follow up measures at the community, sub-regional,
regional, national and international levels. The Yokohama Strategy also
emphasized that disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness are better
than disaster response in achieving the goals and objectives of vulnerability
reduction. Disaster response alone is not sufficient as it yields only
temporary results at a very high cost. Prevention and mitigation contribute to
lasting improvement in safety and are essential to integrated disaster
management.

The Government of India has
adopted mitigation and prevention as essential components of their development
strategy. The Tenth Five Year Plan document has a detailed chapter on Disaster
Management. The plan emphasizes the fact that development cannot be sustainable
without mitigation being built into developmental process. Each State is
supposed to prepare a plan scheme for disaster mitigation in accordance with
the approach outlined in the plan. In brief, mitigation is being
institutionalized into developmental planning.

The Finance Commission makes recommendations with regard to
devolution of funds between the Central Government and State Governments as
also outlays for relief and rehabilitation. The earlier Finance Commissions
were mandated to look at relief and rehabilitation. The Terms of Reference of
the Twelfth Finance Commission have been changed and the Finance Commission has
been mandated to look at the requirements for mitigation and prevention apart
from its existing mandate of looking at relief and rehabilitation. A Memorandum
has been submitted to the Twelfth Finance Commission after consultation with
States. The Memorandum proposes a Mitigation Fund.

The Government of India has
issued guidelines that where there is a shelf of projects, projects addressing
mitigation will be given a priority. It has also been mandated that each
project in a hazard prone area will have disaster prevention/mitigation as a
term of reference and the project document has to reflect as to how the project
addresses that term of reference.

Measures for flood mitigation were taken from 1950 onwards.
As against the total of 40 million hectares prone to floods, area of about 15
million hectares has been protected by construction of embankments. A number of
dams and barrages have been constructed. The State Governments have been
assisted to take up mitigation programs like construction of raised platforms
etc. Floods continue to be a menace however mainly because of the huge quantum
of silt being carried by the rivers emanating from the Himalayas. This silt has raised the bed level
in many rivers to above the level of the countryside. Embankments have also
given rise to problems of drainage with heavy rainfall leading to water logging
in areas outside the embankment. To evolve both short-term and long-term
strategy for flood management/erosion control, Government of India has recently
constituted a Central Task Force under the Chairmanship of Chairman, Central
Water Commission. The Task Force will examine causes of the problem of
recurring floods and erosion in States and region prone to flood and erosion;
and suggest short-term and long-term measures. The Task Force was to submit its
report by December 2004.

Due to erratic behavior of monsoons, both low and medium
rain fall regions, which constitute about 68% of the total area, are vulnerable
to periodical droughts. Our experience has been that almost every third year is
a drought year. However, in some of the States, there may be successive drought
years enhancing the vulnerability of the population in these areas. Local
communities have devised indigenous safety mechanisms and drought oriented
farming methods in many parts of the country. From the experience of managing
the past droughts particularly the severe drought of 1987, a number of programs
have been launched by the Government to mitigate the impact of drought in the
long run. These programmes include Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP), Desert
Development Programme (DDP), National Watershed Development Project for Rain
fed Areas (NWDPRA), Watershed Development Programme for Shifting Cultivation
(WDPSC), Integrated Water Development Project (IWDP), Integrated Afforestation
and Eco-development Project Scheme (IAEPS).

Flood preparedness and response

In
order to respond effectively to floods, Ministry of Home Affairs have initiated
National Disaster Risk Management Programme in all the flood-prone States.
Assistance is being provided to the States to draw up disaster management plans
at the State, District, Block/Taluka and Village levels. Awareness generation
campaigns to sensitize all the stakeholders on the need for flood preparedness
and mitigation measures. Elected representatives and officials are being
trained in flood disaster management under the programme. Bihar Orissa, West
Bengal, Assam and Uttar Pradesh are among the 17 multi-hazard prone States
where this programme is being implemented with UNDP. USAID and European
Commission.

Earthquake Risk Mitigation

A
comprehensive programme has been taken up for earthquake risk mitigation.
Although, the BIS has laid down the standards for construction in the seismic
zones, these were not being followed. The building construction in urban and
suburban areas is regulated by the Town and Country Planning Acts and Building
Regulations. In many cases, the Building regulations do not incorporate the BIS
codes. Even where they do, the lack of knowledge regarding seismically safe
construction among the architects and engineers as well as lack of awareness
regarding their vulnerability among the population led to most of the
construction in the urban/sub-urban areas being without reference to BIS
standards. In the rural areas, the bulk of the housing is non-engineered
construction. The mode of construction in the rural areas has also changed from
mud and thatch to brick and concrete construction thereby increasing the
vulnerability. The increasing population has led to settlements in vulnerable
areas close to the river bed areas which are prone to liquefaction. The
Government have moved to address these issues.

National
Core Group for Earthquake Risk Mitigation

A National Core Group for Earthquake Risk
Mitigation
has been constituted consisting of
experts in earthquake engineering and administrators. The Core Group has been
assigned with the responsibility of drawing up a strategy and plan of action
for mitigating the impact of earthquakes; providing advice and guidance to the
States on various aspects of earthquake mitigation; developing/organizing the
preparation of handbooks/pamphlets/type designs for earthquake resistant
construction; working out systems for assisting the States in the seismically
vulnerable zones to adopt/integrate appropriate Bureau of Indian Standards
codes in their building byelaws; evolving systems for training of municipal
engineers as also practicing architects and engineers in the private sector in
the salient features of Bureau of Indian Standards codes and the amended
byelaws; evolving a system of certification of architects/engineers for testing
their knowledge of earthquake resistant construction; evolving systems for
training of masons and carry out intensive awareness generation campaigns.

Review of
building bye-laws and their adoption

Most
casualties during earthquakes are caused by the collapse of structures.
Therefore structural mitigation measures are the key to make a significant
impact towards earthquake safety in our country. In view of this the States in
earthquake prone zones have been requested to review, and if necessary, amend
their building bye-laws to incorporate the BIS seismic codes for construction
in the concerned zones. Many States have initiated necessary action in this
regard. An Expert Committee appointed by the Core Group on Earthquake Risk
Mitigation has already submitted its report covering appropriate amendments to the existing Town & Country
Planning Acts, Land Use Zoning Regulation
,
Development Control Regulations & Building Bylaws, which could be used by
the State Governments & the local bodies there-under to upgrade the
existing legal instruments. The Model Building Bylaws also cover the aspect of
ensuring technical implementation of the safety aspects in all new
constructions & upgrading the strength of existing structurally vulnerable
constructions. To facilitate the review of existing building byelaws and
adoption of the proposed amendments by the State Governments & UT
administrations, discussion workshops at regional level in the country are
being organized. It is expected that all planning authorities and local bodies
will soon have development control regulations and building byelaws which would
include multi-hazard safety provisions.

Development and Revision of Codes

There are Bureau of Indian Standard
(BIS) codes which are relevant for multi-hazard resistant design and
construction. These codes have to be regularly updated. An action plan has been
drawn up for revision of existing codes, development of new codes and documents/commentaries,
and making these codes and documents available all over the country including
on-line access to these codes. An Apex committee consisting of representatives of Ministry of
Consumer Affairs, BIS and MHA
has been constituted
to review the mechanism and process of development of codes relevant to
earthquake risk mitigation and establish a protocol for revision by BIS.

Hazard
Safety Cells in States

The States have been advised to
constitute Hazard Safety Cells (HSC) headed
by the Chief Engineer (Designs), State Public Works Department with necessary
engineering staff so as to establish mechanism for proper implementation of the
building codes in all future Govt. constructions, and to ensure the safety of
buildings and structures from various hazards. The HSC will also be responsible
for carrying out appropriate design review of all Government buildings to be
constructed in the State, act as an advisory cell to the State Government on
the different aspects of building safety against hazards and act as a
consultant to the State Government for retrofitting of the lifeline buildings. Rajasthan,
West Bengal and Chhatisgarh
have already constituted these cells and other States are in the process.

National
Programme for Capacity Building of Engineers and Architects in Earthquake Risk
Mitigation

Two
National Programmes for Capacity Building in Earthquake Risk Mitigation for Engineers and Architects respectively, have been approved to assist the
State Govts in building capacities for earthquake mitigation. These two
programmes are being implemented for training of 10,000 engineers and 10,000
architects in the States in seismically safe building designs and related
techno-legal requirements. Assistance is being provided to the State/UTs to
build the capacities of more than 125 State Engineering Colleges and 110 Architecture
Colleges to be able
to provide advisory services to the State Govts to put in place appropriate
techno-legal regime, assessment of building and infrastructures and their
retrofitting. These institutions will function as State Resource Institutions.
Twenty-one National level Engineering and Architecture Institutions have been
designated as National Resource Institutes to train the faculty members of
selected State Engineering and Architecture colleges. 450 engineering faculty
members and 250 architecture faculty members of these State Resource
Institutions will be trained during the current year.

Training
of rural masons

A programme to assist the States/UTs
in training and certification of 50000 masons has been formulated in consultation
with Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and the Ministry of
Rural Development. The training module for masons to include multi-hazard
resistant construction has also been prepared by an expert committee, and
revised curriculum will be introduced in the vocational training programme of
Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Earthquake
Engineering
in Undergraduate
Engineering/Architecture Curricula

The role
of engineers and architects is crucial in reducing earthquake risks by ensuring
that the construction adheres to the norms of seismically safety. In view of
this, the elements of earthquake engineering are being integrated into the
undergraduate engineering and architecture courses. The model course curricula for adoption by various technical institutions and
universities have been developed and circulated to the Universities and
Technical Institutions for adoption in the under graduate curricula. Ministry
of Home Affairs is working with All India Council of Technical Education
(AICTE) and Council of Architecture (COA) for introduction of revised curricula
for engineering and architecture course from 2005-2006.

Hospital
Preparedness
and Emergency Health Management in
Medical Education

Hospital preparedness is crucial to
any disaster response system. Each hospital should have an emergency
preparedness plan to deal with mass casualty incidents and the hospital
administration/ doctor trained for this emergency. The curriculum for medical
doctors does not include Hospital Preparedness for emergencies. Therefore
capacity building through in-service training of the current heath managers and
medical personnel in Hospital Preparedness for emergencies or mass causality
incident management is essential. At the same time, the future health managers
must acquire these skills systematically through the inclusion of health
emergency management in the undergraduate and post graduate medical curricula.
In consultation with Medical Council of India(MCI), two committees have been
constituted for preparation of curriculum for introduction of emergency health
management in MBBS curriculum, and preparation of in-service training of
Hospital Managers and Professionals
. Rajiv Gandhi University of Health
Sciences Karnataka have been identified as the lead national resource
institution for the purpose.

Retrofitting
of Lifeline
buildings

While
these mitigation measures will take care of the new constructions, the problem
of unsafe existing buildings stock would still remain. It will not be possible
to address the entire existing building stock, therefore the life line
buildings like hospitals, schools or buildings where people congregate like
cinema halls, multi-storied apartments are being focused on. The States have
been advised to have these buildings assessed and where necessary retrofitted.
The Ministries of Civil Aviation, Railways, Telecommunication, Power and Health
and Family Welfare have been advised to take up necessary action for detailed
evaluation and retrofitting of lifeline buildings located in seismically
vulnerable zones so as to ensure that they comply with BIS norms, Action plan
have been drawn up by these Ministries for detailed vulnerability analysis and
retrofitting/ strengthening of buildings and structures. The Ministry of
Finance have been requested to advise the financial institutions to give loans
for retrofitting on easy terms. Accordingly the Ministry of Finance had advised
Reserve Bank of India to issue suitable instructions to all the Banks and Financial Institutions
to see that BIS codes/bye laws are scrupulously followed while
financing/refinancing construction activities in seismically vulnerable zones.

National
Earthquake Risk
Mitigation Project

An Earthquake Mitigation Project has
been drawn up, with an estimated cost of Rs.1132 crore. The project has been
given in-principle clearance by the Planning Commission. The programme includes
detailed evaluation and retrofitting of lifeline buildings such as hospitals,
schools, water and power supply units, telecommunication buildings,
airports/airport control towers, railway stations, bus stands and important
administrative buildings in the States in seismic zones IV and V. The programme
also includes training of masons in earthquake resistant constructions. Besides,
assistance will be provided under this project to the State Governments to put
in place appropriate techno legal regime. Startup activities for implementation
of this project have already been initiated.

Acceleration
Urban
Earthquake Vulnerability Reduction
Programme

An accelerated urban earthquake vulnerability reduction programme has
been taken up in 38 cities in seismic zones III, IV & V
with population of half a million and above. 474 Orientation programmes have
been organized for senior officers and representatives of the local planning
and development bodies to sensitize them on earthquake preparedness and
mitigation measures. The training programme for engineers and architects are
being organized to impart knowledge about seismically safe construction and
implementation of BIS norms. So far 1088 engineers and 825 architects have been
trained. For enhanced school safety, education programmes have been organized
in schools, colleges and other educational institutions. This programme will be
further extended to 166 earthquake prone districts in seismic zones IV & V.
Awareness generation programmes, community and neighbourhood organizations have
been started in these cities. These cities are also being assisted to review
and amend their building bye-laws to incorporate multi hazard safety
provisions. City Disaster Management Plans are being developed under the
project. Nine Cities have prepared city Disaster Management Plans.

Mainstreaming
Mitigation
in Rural Development Schemes

Rural
housing and community assets for vulnerable sections of the population are
created at a fairly large scale by the Ministry of Rural Development under the
Indira Awas Yojna(IAY) and Sampooran Grameen Rojgar Yojna(SGRY). About 250
thousand small but compact housing units are constructed every year, besides
community assets such as community centres, recreation centres, anganwadi
centres etc. Technology support is provided by about two hundred rural housing
centres spread over the entire country. The Ministry of Home Affairs is working
with the Ministry of Rural Development for changing the guidelines so that the
houses constructed under IAY or school buildings/community buildings
constructed under SGRY are earthquake/cyclone/flood resistant; as also that the
schemes addressing mitigation are given priority under SGRY. Ministry of Rural
Development are carrying out an exercise for this purpose. This initiative is expected to go a long way in
popularization of seismically safe construction at village/block level .

National Cyclone Mitigation Project

A project for Cyclone
Mitigation
(estimated cost Rs. 1050 crore)
has been drawn up in consultation with the cyclone prone States. This project
envisages construction of cyclone shelters, coastal shelter belt plantation in
areas which are prone to storm surges, strengthening of warning systems,
training and education etc. This project has also been given in-principle
clearance by the Planning Commission and is being taken up with World Bank
assistance.

Landslide
Hazard Mitigation

A National Core Group has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Border
Management and comprising of Secretary, Department of Science and Technology,
Secretary, Road Transport & Highways, and the Heads of Geological Survey of
India and National Remote Sensing Agency for drawing up a strategy and plan of
action for mitigating the impact of landslides, provide advise and guidance to
the State Governments on various aspects of landslide mitigation, monitor the
activities relating to landslide mitigation including landslide hazard zonation
and to evolve early warning systems and protocols for landslides/landslide risk
reduction. The Government have designated Geological Survey of India (GSI) as
the nodal agency responsible for coordinating/ undertaking geological studies,
landslides hazard zonation, monitoring landslides/avalanches, studying the
factors responsible and suggesting precautionary and preventive measure. The
States/UTs have been requested to share the list of habitation close to
landslide prone areas in order to supplement GSI’s on going assessment of such
areas based on the Survey of India’s Toposheet and their existing data base on
landslide for the purpose of landslide hazard zonation being carried out by
them. A national strategy for mitigating landslide hazard in the country is
being drawn up in consultation with all the agencies concerned.

Disaster Risk Management Programme

A Disaster Risk Management Programme has been taken up in 169 districts in 17
multi-hazard prone States with the assistance from UNDP, USAID and European
Union. Under this project, the States are being assisted to draw up State,
district and Block level disaster management plans; village disaster management
plans are being developed in conjunction with the Panchayati Raj Institutions
and disaster management teams consisting of village volunteers are being
trained in various preparedness and response functions such as search and
rescue, first aid, relief coordination, shelter management etc. Equipment needs
for district and State Emergency Operation Centres have been identified by the
State nodal agencies and equipment is being provided to equip these EOCs.
Orientation training of masons, engineers and architects in disaster resistant
technologies have been initiated in these districts and construction of model
demonstration buildings will be started soon.

Under this programme Disaster
Management Plans have been prepared for 8643 villages, 1046 Gram Panchayat, 188
blocks and 82 districts. More than 29000 elected representatives of Panchayati
Raj Institutions have already been trained, besides imparting training to
members of voluntary organizations. About 18000 Government functionaries have
been trained in disaster mitigation and preparedness at different levels. 865
engineers and 425 architects have been trained under this programme in
vulnerability assessment and retrofitting of lifeline buildings. 600 master
trainers and 1200 teachers have already been trained in different districts in
disaster preparedness and mitigation. Disaster Management Committees consisting
of elected representatives, civil society members, Civil Defence volunteers and
Government functionaries have been constituted at all levels including
village/urban local body/ward levels. Disaster Management Teams have been
constituted in villages and are being imparted training in basic functions of
first aid, rescue, evacuation and related issues. The thrust of the programme
is to build up capabilities of the community since the community is invariably
the first responder. During the recent past, it has been experienced that the
capacity building of the community has been very helpful even in normal
situations when isolated instances of drowning, burns etc. take place. With the
creation of awareness generation on disaster mitigation, the community will be
able to function as a well-knit unit in case of any emergency. Mock drills are
carried out from time to time under the close supervision of Disaster
Management Committees. The Disaster Management Committees and Disaster
Management Teams have been established by notifications issued by the State
Governments which will ensure that the entire system is institutionalized and
does not disintegrate after the conclusion of the programme. The key points
being stressed under this programme are the need to ensure sustainability of
the programme, development of training modules; manuals and codes, focused
attention to awareness generation campaigns; institutionalization of disaster
management committees and disaster management teams, disaster management plans
and mock-drills and establishment of techno-legal regimes.

Awareness
generation

Recognizing that awareness about vulnerabilities is a sine qua
non for inducing a mindset of disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness,
the Government has initiated a nation-wide awareness generation campaign as
part of its overall disaster risk management strategy. In order to devise an
effective and holistic campaign, a steering committee for mass media campaign
has been constituted at the national level with due representation of experts
from diverse streams of communication. The Committee has formulated a campaign
strategy aimed at changing peoples’ perception of natural hazards and has
consulted the agencies and experts associated with advertising and media to
instill a culture of safety against natural hazards.

Apart from the use of print and electronic media, it is
proposed to utilize places with high public visibility viz. hospitals, schools,
railway stations and bus terminals, airports and post offices, commercial
complexes and municipality offices etc. to make people aware of their
vulnerabilities and promote creation of a safe living environment.

A novel method being tried is the use of government
stationery viz. postal letters, bank stationery, railway tickets, airline
boarding cards and tickets etc. for disseminating the message of disaster risk
reduction. Slogans and messages for this purpose have already been developed
and have been communicated to concerned Ministries/agencies for printing and
dissemination. The mass media campaign will help build the knowledge, attitude
and skills of the people in vulnerability reduction and sustainable disaster
risk management measures.

Disaster
Awareness
in School Curriculum

Disaster
management as a subject in Social Sciences has been introduced in the school
curriculum for
Class VIII & IX. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which has introduced the curriculum runs a very
large number of schools throughout the country and the course curriculum is
invariably followed by the State Boards of Secondary Education. Teachers are
being trained to teach disaster management Syllabus for Class X is being
finalized and will be introduced in the course curriculum soon. The State
Governments have been advised to take similar steps vis-à-vis their school
boards. Several Provincial Governments have already introduced the same
curriculum in Class VII. Ministry is working with the Council of Board of
School Education (COBSE) to facilitate inclusion of disaster management in
public education in all 39 School Boards in the country.

Information,
Education and Communication

In order to assist the State
Governments in capacity building and awareness generation activities and to
learn from past experiences including sharing of best practices, the Ministry
of Home Affairs has compiled/prepared a set of resource materials developed by
various organisations/institutions to be replicated and disseminated by State
Governments based on their vulnerabilities after translating it into the local languages.
The voluminous material which runs in about 10000 pages has been divided into 4
broad sections in 7 volumes. These sections cover planning to cope with
disasters; education and training; construction toolkit; and information,
education and communication toolkit including multi-media resources on disaster
mitigation and preparedness. The Planning section contains material for
analyzing a community’s risk, development of Preparedness. Mitigation and
disaster management plans, coordinating available resources and implementing
measures for risk reduction. The model bye-laws, DM Policy, Act and model
health sector plan have also been included. Education and Training includes
material for capacity building and upgradation of skills of policy makers, administrators,
trainers, engineers etc. in planning for and mitigating against natural
disasters. Basic and detailed training modules in disaster preparedness have
been incorporated along with training methodologies for trainers, for community
preparedness and manuals for training at district, block, panchayat and village
levels. For creating a disaster-resistant building environment, the
Construction Toolkit addresses the issue of seismic resistant construction and
retrofitting of existing buildings. BIS Codes, manuals and guidelines for RCC,
Masonry and other construction methodologies as also for repair and
retrofitting of masonry and low-rise buildings have been included.

IEC material seeks to generate
awareness to induce mitigation and preparedness measures for risk reduction.
Material and strategies used by various States and international organizations,
including tips on different hazards, have been incorporated along with
multi-media CDs on disasters. The material has been disseminated to all the
State Governments/UT Administrations with the request to have the relevant
material, based on the vulnerability of each district, culled out, translated
into local languages and disseminate it widely down to the village level.

Special
Focus
to Northeastern States

A special focus is being given to
North-Eastern States and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The North-Eastern Council has been
made the nodal agency for the NE States. The NEC has been provided with a
resource person/advisor in disaster management. A detailed presentation on the
vulnerabilities of the NE region and the need for comprehensive disaster
management plan has been made in the Governing Body of NE Council. An action
plan has been drawn up by NEC and a declaration namely “Shillong Declaration”
has been adopted by States in the NE region for integrating disaster management
with development planning. 140 officials and non-officials have been trained in
disaster management to act as resource persons for the NE region. State and
district level sensitization and training programmes are being carried out.

The various prevention and
mitigation measures outlined above are aimed at building up the capabilities of
the communities, voluntary organisations and Government functionaries at all
levels. Particular stress is being laid on ensuring that these measures are
institutionalized considering the vast population and the geographical area of
the country. This is a major task being undertaken by the Government to put in
place mitigation measures for vulnerability reduction. This is just a
beginning. The ultimate goal is to make prevention and mitigation a part of
normal day-to-day life. The above mentioned initiatives will be put in place
and information disseminated over a period of five to eight years. We have a
firm conviction that with these measures in place, we could say with confidence
that disasters like Orissa cyclone and Bhuj earthquake will not be allowed to
recur in this country; at least not at the cost, which the country has paid in
these two disasters in terms of human lives, livestock, loss of property and
means of livelihood.

Presented by:

Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili FIE
(Retd. Chief Engineer.)