Disaster Mitigation and Management

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M. Mayur,
Siddharth Institute of Engineering and Technology,
India is one of the most disaster prone
countries of the world. It has had some of
the world’s most severe droughts, famines,
cyclones, earthquakes, chemical disasters,
mid-air head-on air collisions, rail accidents,
and road accidents. Disaster is a sudden,
calamitous event bringing great damage,
loss, and destruction and devastation to life
and property. In simple terms we can define
disaster as a hazard causing heavy loss to
life, property and livelihood. This paper
deals with types of disasters and mitigation
and management methods at and after the
time of disasters. Vulnerability, Hazards and
Risk reduction are the main key points
involved in Disasters. This paper deals with
main aspects involved in each and every
type of disaster for managing and mitigating
their effects. GIS also plays an important
role in management of Disasters. The paper
deals with role of GIS in it and awareness
programmes required for public to save
themselves from disasters and importance of
GIS in Disaster Management.

The earth has been an unstable proposition
throughout its existence. Man who entered
the scene has been exploring during his
short existence to unravel the various
mysteries which are mysteries till date.
These mysteries have been understood by
and confined to the intellectual community.

But, when the victims of the mysteries are
the people then they need to know what the
mysteries are and the impact the mysteries
can have on them.
This paper discusses how disaster can be
managed through awareness and suggests a
methodology to design an awareness
program with the help of the spatial
component. But before discussing this let us
discuss what a disaster is? What disaster
management is? How disasters can be
managed by spreading awareness about
disasters? And what is the role of GIS in
disaster management?

What is a Disaster?
According to each, disaster is defined as
many ways, so, there is no particular
definition for a Disaster.
Overall, disaster is defined as:
 Disaster is a sudden, calamitous
event bringing great damage, loss,
and destruction and devastation to
life and property.
 WHO defines Disaster as "any
occurrence that causes damage,
ecological disruption, loss of human
life, deterioration of health and
health services, on a scale sufficient
to warrant an extraordinary response
from outside the affected community
or area”.


But as a Civil Students, we can say as:
It is a natural accident, which causes great
damage to life, property and Structures
which cannot be reused.
It may also be termed as “a serious
disruption of the functioning of society,
causing widespread human, material or
environmental losses which exceed the
ability of the affected society to cope using
its own resources.”

This influences the mental, socio-economic,
political and cultural state of the affected
A disaster may have the following main

Uncertainty and

Vulnerability, Hazards and Risk are the
main key points when ever disaster
mitigation and management is considered.

Types of Disasters:
Disasters are simply defined as any over
helming ecological disruption which
disturbs environmental and economical
Disasters are mainly divided as two types:

Damages by Disasters:
Damages done by disasters are inevitable
and they cannot be reduced and predicted
and only method is to manage them and
mitigate them. The damage caused by
disasters is immeasurable.
The damage caused by disasters depends on:

Geographical location of place,
Climate of the place,
Type of Surface of Earth and
Degree of Vulnerability.

Natural Disasters and

Artificial Disasters.

Artificial Disasters are also called as Man
Made Disasters.
Natural Disasters:
Disasters that are caused by Natural causes
are called as Natural Disasters.
 Earthquakes,
 Landslides,
 Floods,
 River erosion,
 Cyclones,


 Tsunami,
 Forest Fires etc…

opens. If we can’t predict earthquakes,
then let’s learn to live safely with them.”
The main safeties behind Earthquakes are:

Artificial Disasters:

 We should know safe spot in each
and every room of our house,

These are the disasters that are occurred due
to man made changes over the surface of the

 Decide where your family will
reunite if separated,

 Nuclear Disasters,
 Chemical Disasters,
 Mine Disasters,

 Maintain emergency food, water,
medicine, first aid kit, tools, and
During an Earthquake:
 Take cover. Go under a table or
other sturdy furniture; kneel, sit,
or stay close to the floor. Hold on
to furniture legs for balance. Be
prepared to move if your cover
 If no sturdy cover is nearby,
kneel or sit close to the floor next
to a structurally sound interior
wall. Place your
hands on the
floor for balance.

 Biological Disasters.
These are an example of manmade disasters.
Natural Disasters:
Earthquakes are nothing but any sudden
movement over the surface of the Earth
which shakes Earth vigorously that destroys
the structures resting on the Earth.

Cyclone is defined as:
Rapid inward
circulation of air masses about a low
pressure centre; circling counter clockwise
in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in
the southern.

“We are not about to predict
earthquakes. As one door closes, another

Keep watch on weather and listen to
radio or TV. Keep alert about the
community warning systems –
loudspeakers, bells, conches, drums
or any traditional warning system.


Get to know the nearest cyclone
shelter / safe houses and the safest
route to reach these shelters,
Prepare a first aid kit, emergency
tools for saving ourselves, dry food.

During a Landslide:

During a Cyclone:

Disconnect all electrical appliances
and turn off gas.
If the building starts crumbling,
protect yourself with mattresses, rugs
or blankets under a strong table or
bench or hold on to a solid fixture
(e.g. a water pipe)
Listen to your transistor radio for
updates and advice.


All your family members should
know the safe route to nearest
shelter/ raised pucca house.
If your area is flood-prone, consider
alternative building materials. Mud
walls are more likely to be damaged
during floods. You may consider
making houses where the walls are
made of local bricks up to the
highest known flood level with
cement pointing.

During Floods:

Drink boiled water.
Keep your food covered, don’t take
heavy meals.
Use raw tea, rice-water, tender
coconut-water, etc…

Stay alert and awake. Many debrisflow fatalities occur when people are
sleeping. Listen to a Weather Radio
or portable, battery-powered radio or
television for warnings of intense
rainfall. Be aware that intense, short
bursts of rain may be particularly
dangerous, especially after longer
periods of heavy rainfall and damp
If you are in areas susceptible to
landslides and debris flows, consider
leaving if it is safe to do so.
Remember that driving during an
intense storm can be hazardous. If
you remain at home, move to a
second story if possible. Staying out
of the path of a landslide or debris
flow saves lives.

After the Landslide:
Stay away from the slide area. There
may be danger of additional slides.
 Check for injured and trapped
persons near the slide, without
entering the direct slide area. Direct
rescuers to their locations.
 Help a neighbor who may require
special assistance - infants, elderly
people, and people with disabilities.
Elderly people and people with
disabilities may require additional
assistance. People who care for them or
who have large families may need
additional assistance in emergency


Disaster management means:
Emergency management is the discipline
of dealing with and avoiding risks. It is a
discipline that involves preparing for
disaster before it occurs, disaster response
(e.g., emergency evacuation, quarantine,
mass decontamination, etc.), and supporting,
and rebuilding society after natural or
human-made disasters have occurred. In
general, any Emergency Management is the
continuous process by which all individuals,
groups, and communities manage hazards in
an effort to avoid or ameliorate the impact of
disasters resulting from the hazards.
Effective Emergency Management relies on
thorough integration of emergency plans at
all levels of government and nongovernment involvement.
Disaster management involves a cycle
namely Emergency Cycle.
Experts, such as Cuny, have long noted that the
cycle of Emergency Management must include
long-term work on infrastructure, public
awareness, and even human justice issues.

The process of Emergency Management
involves four phases:


This is named as Emergency Management
Cycle since it works in a cyclic process.

Mitigation efforts attempt to prevent
hazards from developing into disasters
altogether, or to reduce the effects of
disasters when they occur. The mitigation
phase differs from the other phases because
it focuses on long-term measures for
reducing or eliminating risk.
Mitigative measures can be structural or
non-structural. Structural measures use
technological solutions, like flood levees.
Non-structural measures include legislation,
land-use planning and insurance. Mitigation
is the most cost-efficient method for
reducing the impact of hazards; however it
is not always suitable. Mitigation does
include providing regulations regarding
evacuation, sanctions against those who
refuse to obey the regulations (such as
mandatory evacuations), and communication
of potential risks to the public. Some
structural mitigation measures may have
adverse effects on the ecosystem.
A precursor activity to the mitigation is the
identification of risks. Physical risk
assessment refers to the process of


identifying and evaluating hazards. The
hazard-specific risk (Rh) combines both the
probability and the level of impact of a
specific hazard. The equation below states
that the hazard multiplied by the
populations’ vulnerability to that hazard
produces a risk Catastrophe modeling. The
higher the risk, the more urgent that the
hazard specific vulnerabilities are targeted
by mitigation and preparedness efforts.
However, if there is no vulnerability there
will be no risk, e.g. an earthquake occurring
in a desert where nobody lives.

Preparedness is a continuous cycle of
planning, organizing, training, equipping,
exercising, evaluation and improvement
activities to ensure effective coordination
and the enhancement of capabilities to
prevent, protect against, respond to, recover
from, and mitigate the effects of natural
disasters, acts of terrorism, and other manmade disasters.
In the preparedness phase, emergency
managers develop plans of action to manage
and counter their risks and take action to
build the necessary capabilities needed to
preparedness measures include:

Communication plans with easily
understandable terminology and
Proper maintenance and training of
emergency services, including mass
human resources such as community
emergency response teams.
Development and exercise of
methods combined with emergency
shelters and evacuation plans.

stockpiling, inventory, and maintain
disaster supplies and equipment [8]
Develop organizations of trained
populations. Professional emergency
workers are rapidly overwhelmed in
mass emergencies so trained;
organized, responsible volunteers are
extremely valuable.

Eg: Community Emergency Response
Teams, Red Cross, Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA).
Another aspect of preparedness is casualty
prediction, the study of how many deaths or
injuries to expect for a given kind of event.
This gives planners an idea of what
resources need to be in place to respond to a
particular kind of event.

mobilization of the necessary emergency
services and first responders in the disaster
This is likely to introduce:

5. Non combatant evacuation
6. Special rescue teams
at the site of the disaster prone areas.
A well rehearsed emergency plan
developed as part of the preparedness
phase enables efficient coordination of
rescue. There is a need for both


discipline (structure, doctrine, process)
and agility (creativity, improvisation,
adaptability) in responding to a disaster.

The aim of the recovery phase is to
restore the affected area to its previous state.
It differs from the response phase in its
focus; recovery efforts are concerned with
issues and decisions that must be made after
immediate needs are addressed.
Recovery efforts are primarily concerned
with actions that involve rebuilding
destroyed property, re-employment, and the
repair of other essential infrastructure.
Efforts should be made to "build back
better", aiming to reduce the pre-disaster
risks inherent in the community and
An important aspect of effective recovery
efforts is taking advantage of a ‘window of
for the implementation of mitigative
measures that might otherwise be unpopular.
In the United States, the National Response
Plan dictates how the resources provided by
the Homeland Security Act of 2002 will be
used in recovery efforts.
It is the Federal government that often
provides the most technical and financial
assistance for recovery efforts in the United

In India, the role of emergency management
falls to National Disaster Management
Authority of India, a government agency
subordinate to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In recent years there has been a shift in
emphasis, from response and recovery to
strategic risk management and reduction,
and from a government-centered approach
to decentralized community participation.
An agency within the Ministry of Science
and Technology is also playing a role in this
field, through bringing the academic
knowledge and research expertise of earth
scientists to the emergency management
Recently the Government has formed the .
This group represents a public/private
partnership, funded primarily by a large
India-based computer company , and aimed
at improving the general response of
communities to emergencies, in addition to
those incidents which might be described as
disasters. Some of the groups' early efforts
involve the provision of emergency
management training for first responders (a
first in India), the creation of a single
emergency telephone number, and the
establishment of standards for EMS staff,
equipment and training.

4Rs is a term used to describe the
emergency management cycle locally.
In New Zealand the four phases are
known as:


Reduction = Mitigation
Readiness = Preparedness


Risk Assessment

contingency plans are reviewed
and amended, training and
community preparedness
programs conducted and
community lifelines.

The evaluation of risk for a tropical cyclone
is a relatively straightforward process. A
hazard map should be prepared for any
given year. The following information could
be used to estimate the probability of storms
of cyclones of various intersections that may
strike different parts of the county.

Analyses of climatologically
records to determine how often
tropical cyclones have strucktheir intensities and locations.

History of wind strengths,
frequencies, height and location
of storm surges frequencies of

Information about tropical
cyclone occurrences in the past
50-100 years over the ocean
adjoining the part of the country
in question.

b) Public Warning System
The three main objectives in a tropical
cyclone warning are:

To alert the people to the danger
by announcing the existence of a
threat due to a cyclone.

To identify the areas where
people will be actively threatened
by cyclone and where
communities should monitor
further warning announcements,

To call the people to action by
recommending specific
preparedness activities, which
may be part of, and integrated
warning/response plan to protect
vulnerable resources.

a) An Integrated Warning/Response
Specific preparedness measures to counter
the impact of tropical cyclones may be
classified into two categories:

Those of long term or seasonal
nature, which need to be planned,
implemented and operationally
tested and co-coordinated by
means of simulation exercise well
before a seasonal threat
commences. Among these are
pre-season co-ordination meetings
at headquarters, district and local
levels, at which operational

Those of a short-term nature,
which relate to a state of readiness
to cut in once a contemporary
cyclone threat is announced.
Among these are domestic,
vocational and animal husbandry
arrangements to safeguard the
survival, property assets and
livelihoods of individual families
and communities.


Disaster management Team Cycle:





We cannot predict any of the disasters, but we can prevent them by mitigation and
management techniques.
So, to keep INDIA safe from all the disasters, we should have minimum knowledge about
disasters and their mitigation and management techniques.
Save greenery and Mother India from all the disasters.

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