Natural Disaster- The Proactive Approach is the need of hour - Seeker's Thoughts

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Natural Disaster- The Proactive Approach is the need of hour

The Cost of Natural Disasters

Global economic losses from natural disasters rose from an annual average of about US $50 billion in the 1980s to approximately $200 billion each year in the 2000s. 

Failure of Governments

Disaster can be natural or man- made. However, the devastation shows the collective failure of governments.  The investment in building a climate resilient is low, as there is less attention in this issue except few countries. 

There are potentially vulnerable places, and the hazards are ignored, safety norms are not followed while building factories and infrastructure facilities have been constructed in areas that are potentially vulnerable to natural hazards like floods.

After natural disasters like Kerala flood again there were a lot of questions and criticism directed at preparedness practices. Often disaster management plans exist on paper, but implementation remains a challenge.

The government has always relief – centric approach which causes a huge dissatisfaction among people, costs higher in terms of economics and shows the incapability’s and lethargic approach of government.

The Proactive Approach – The need of the hour

There has to be a better understanding of the region and natural hazard related to that area in advance, not only in papers.

There has to be ecological balanced approach while creating dams etc as flood through dams caused more harm. Therefore, the height of dams should be kept into concern while making it as well as, underground dams can be better using various canals.

Early warning is vital.  In Kerala, there was no timely forecast from national weather services. The State needs a reliable flood forecasting systems.

There needs to be tougher implementation of logging and mining regulations in fragile ecologies.

There should be increase in forest cover as deforestation has worsened the effects of Kerala’s floods and mudslides.  .

There is an urgent need of different stakeholders to come together for mapping risks, vulnerabilities, and resources, and engage in regular preparedness actions like drills and capacity building. They need to develop and update emergency plans, as well as check the availability of resources at the local level and act upon early warning intimations.

The Role of Civil Society

While the government works towards strengthening systems and mechanisms for preparedness and response, civil society has a major role to play, at the community level, for disaster preparedness.

There is a need for investing in disaster preparedness and mitigation across the country, irrespective of whether any state has been hit by a disaster or not.

India needs to adopt a collaborative approach, where the roles of the government, corporations, academia, civil societies and communities are recognised,

The Disaster Recovery Framework

Disaster recovery frameworks must be robust in terms of pre- and post-disaster initiatives requiring cross-sector collaborations between communities, local, state and central governments, private sectors, religious and social non-governmental organisations. 

An additional factor that must be added diligently to disaster recovery is the integration of the health sector into pre- and post-recovery strategies and decisions.

Any policies and strategies to enhance India’s pre- and post-disaster resilience must also consider natural and built environments and socioeconomic systems.

All implementations of these strategies must leverage the pre-disaster planning to drive rapid post-disaster return to healthy, resilient and sustainable communities.

A shared vision of healthier, more resilient and sustainable communities must also identify the knowledge, data and research needs for assessment of hazard anticipation, risk, vulnerability, and resilience.

Models, metrics and indicators for measuring progress towards resilience must drive an iterative learning process to better anticipate and manage disasters at short, intermediate, and long-terms to ensure resilient, healthy and sustainable communities with measurable reductions in vulnerability to disasters.

The Community Engagement

National disaster recovery framework needs to facilitate community engagement at all levels with proper information and training that is simple and accessible to all. Such a framework must leverage existing social networks and enhance the sense of community before, during and after disasters.

The Culture of Resilience

A culture of resilience needs to be inculcated across all sectors so that the roles and responsibilities of governmental and non-governmental organisations and the public are clearly defined with codes, standards and guidelines explicitly established, risk-based insurance pricing in place along with a national resource of disaster-related data to constantly improve disaster recovery and enhance resilience.