Community Planning for Disaster Management
Disaster management should be a practical subject in school curriculum. Awareness and preparedness regarding disaster management should start in schools.
The Tenth Five Year Plan of the Government of India emphasises on:
• Planning for safer national development
• Training and education at all levels
• Disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness measures
• Capacity building
Structural and non-structural safety of school from natural hazards should be taken care of. Disaster Management Plans should be planned at the school level.
Community is the source of maximum information. Affected people can give the most comprehensive and up-to-date information about the disaster and the available resources to cope with it. Traditional coping mechanisms are already known to the local people. This would be the immediate response, though it could be improved through technical backing. Natural instinct of the people is to respond quickly. Over-dependence on external resources may be time-consuming and even ineffective.
For preparing a disaster plan, there is the involvement of as many volunteers as possible. Safe building structures are identified to provide accommodation to people when disaster strikes. There is an explanation of steps by the government officials, which are to be followed in preparing a plan.
The important teams to be formed by the Village Disaster Management Committee are:
• Early warning and communication Team
• Search and Rescue Team
• Evacuation and temporary shelter management Team
• Health and First Aid Team
• Relief Co-ordination Team
• Water and Sanitation Team, etc.
The committee then needs to act in accordance with the strategic plan. After implementation, monitoring, evaluation and updating have to be done by the committee. For this, the members need to:
• Distribute publicity materials to communicate progress and maintain the momentum
• Evaluate and update the strategic plan
The members of Disaster Management Teams should be trained to face disaster with confidence. They should establish a co-ordination with other villages for taking similar initiatives.