Disaster management deals with the preparedness and effectiveness of measures taken while tackling disasters and emergency scenarios that strike a given place at one particular stretch of time. The main aim of disaster management is to ensure that the maximum number of lives and property can be saved at the time of emergency. Disaster management practices encompass a huge range of issues starting from natural disasters such as floods, storms, tsunami, earthquake and humanmade ones like fire accidents, biohazards, etc. India is no stranger no natural disasters thanks to its unique geographical location that is often affected by extreme climatic conditions.
India faces a plethora of floods, earthquakes and drought-related issues every year. Sometimes epidemic has also spread all across the subcontinent. About 60 percent of our landmass is susceptible to earthquakes, and more than half of our land is prone to flooding during the monsoon seasons. Eight percent of the total regions, mostly the ones lying near the Bay of Bengal face cyclones every year, and around 69 percent of the entire arable lands have faced drought over the past couple of years. It has been duly reported that the damage to personal and public assets have been tremendous.
While scientific research and strides have made life more comfortable, however, the damage caused by natural disasters has not decreased substantially. Due to various changing climatic conditions and global warming have contributed to higher rates of destruction being wrought by disasters and the economic expense has been tremendous. Between the years of 1990-2000, the United Nations declared the International Decade for Natural Disaster to help cope with this changing global dynamics. The main objective of this was to reduce the damage imparted on lives and property with a lot of special aid and emphasis being put on developing countries.
Various measures have been taken by the Government of India to ensure maximum preparedness during the time of an emergency or when disaster strikes. The government has introduced a National Disaster Framework strategy that helps to address issues related to disaster management. This framework covers various aspects ranging from disaster prevention strategy, early warning and prediction system, disaster mitigation, inducing awareness and educating the populace with the important know-how. The government has initiated a series of structured road plans in case of evacuation and disaster mitigation. Most of the State governments and the Central government have been in lieu with this road map and different have advised devising their own take at improving the scenario at a broader level.
India has learned its lesson from past experiences owing to the super cyclone that hit Orissa during 1999, the Gujrat earthquakes, the tsunami which ravaged the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Tamil Nadu and most recently the series of storms that hit the coastlines. Though India has shown tremendous improvement when it comes to planning ahead and mitigating disasters, a lot is yet to be accomplished to ensure that states are fully equipped to deal with any disaster, whether they are manmade or natural.