Disaster and Its Management
• A natural hazard is an unexpected or uncontrollable natural event of unusual intensity that threatens people's lives or their activities. It is an issue of great concern. Three major natural hazards that occur very commonly are earthquake, tsunami and volcanic eruption. A natural hazard becomes a natural disaster when it:
a. Affects people
b. Officially causes more than 10 deaths
c. Injures more than 100 people
d. Causes US $16,000,000 of damage
• Earthquake is the violent shaking or jolt of the earth's surface due to movements originating from deep underground, which can cause a lot of damage. The occurrence of an earthquake is detected by an instrument called seismograph.
• Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area and are often destructive. They are usually accompanied by violent storms and bad weather. The air circulates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
• Floods refer to huge amount of water reaching land in a short span of time, causing land surface to be submerged under water – at places, where, land surface is usually not covered with water. Flood is a socio-natural disaster. Flooding in an area can take place because of:
a. Heavy rain, which is a natural phenomenon
b. Lack of proper drainage facility, a result of human negligence.
• When an area gets less than normal amount of rain for months or even years, the area is said to be affected by drought. Drought can become dangerous to people and other animals; causing famine and even creating deserts. Human activities like deforestation, diversion of rivers or emptying lakes can also trigger drought in an area.
• Tsunami is a gigantic wave or series of waves that smash into the shore, caused by an earthquake, volcanic eruptions or landslides under the sea. Most tsunamis happen within the Pacific Ocean’s ‘Ring of Fire,’ a geologically active area where tectonic shifts make volcanoes and earthquakes common. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was among the deadliest natural disasters in human history with at least 230,000 people killed or missing in 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
• Disaster management covers the range of activities designed to maintain control over the losses due to disasters. Trained disaster management personnel can rescue people effectively at the time of floods, major fires, building collapses, and so on. Disaster management is linked with sustainable development, particularly in relation to vulnerable people like disables, elderly people, children, etc. Disaster management aims to:
a. Reduce, or avoid, the potential losses from hazards
b. Assure prompt and appropriate assistance to the victims of disaster
c. Recovery activities include rebuilding infrastructure, health care and rehabilitation.