CHAPTER 1 DISASTER MANAGEMENT An Introductory
1.1 Disasters – The Indian Scenario India supports one-sixth of the world’s population on just 2% of its landmass. It suffers heavily from natural disasters of every shade and description hits the poorest of the poor and which is why the considerations of disaster safety deserves prime attention. A High Powered Committee (HPC) of the Government of India, in its report submitted to the Government of India in October 2001, outlined the huge scope for Disaster Management by listing some three dozen different types of disasters India must prepare for [see Annexure I]. Of these, earthquakes, floods, cyclones and landslides rank among the most fear disasters in India, and the fear is naturally heightened in the areas affected by multiple hazards. Nearly 59% of India’s land area is prone to earthquakes of moderate to high hazard, nearly 12% is flood prone, about 8% is cyclone prone, 2% is landslide prone and a long coastline is exposed to tsunamis and storm surges. Drought, regarded as disaster in slow motion, affect as much as 68% of India’s land area. Of the 35 states and union territories, as many as 27 are disaster prone. And if the perceived threats due to other disasters such as chemical and terrorist attacks are added, every square inch of India is vulnerable, calling for immediate attention and sustained effort. These disasters along with others occur with unfailing regularity and the losses caused by them continue to mount year after year. This fact emphasizes the importance of protecting our buildings from hazards to prevent disastrous situations. 1. 2. Focus of Thinking in India With the recurrent earthquakes; Uttarkashi (1991), Latur (1993), Jabalpur (1997) and the supercyclone in Orissa (1999), the Government of India constituted a High Power Committee (HPC) on Disaster Management in 1999, the scope of which was enlarged in April 2000 to cover manmade disasters as well. In January, 2001, the devastating earthquake of M 7.7 occurred in Kachchh, Gujarat, which virtually shook the whole Government system. The HPC submitted its report to the Government of India in October 2001 following a “participatory approach at the national, state and district levels involving all concerned government ministries, departments, scientific, technical, research and development organizations, social science institutions.” The HPC recommended multi-hazard approach to disaster management. The HPC echoed the IDNDR view that earthquake disaster mitigation efforts in
2 the country were mostly reactive and highlighted the need to “proceed from hazard assessment to vulnerability analyses and ultimately estimation of earthquake risk, and Risk Mitigation. The Government of India subsequently setup a National Committee on Disaster Management which considered the recommendations of the HPC for implementation, and recommended formation of an independent Disaster Management Authority at the national level and also to shift the Disaster Management Division from Ministry of Home Agriculture to Ministry of Home Affairs. Subsequently the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), constituted a Core Group on Earthquake Mitigation in 2003, which helped in identifying the most significant mitigation and preparedness measures. 1. 3. National Disaster Management Act 2005 A committee was constituted on 11 January 2005 by the Government of India to draft the Disaster Management Bill. The Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on the 11 May, 2005. It was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for examination and report. The report was presented to the GoI on 25th August 2005. Rajya Sabha passed the Bill with amendments on 28 November 2005 and Lok Sabha did so on 12 and 13 December 2005. President of India signed the Bill on the 23 December 2005 and the Bill become the National Disaster Management Act. The Act brings about a paradigm shift in India’s approach to disaster management. The centre of gravity...
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