`crisis’ may be defined as an emergency situation arising out of natural or human activity which poses a threat to human life and property or leads to large scale disruption of normal life
While the frequency of calamities may have remained unchanged, increasing population densities and urbanization have resulted in greater impact on human lives and property.
The scourge of terrorism has created new types of crises and increasing dependence on communications and computer networks have increased the threat of newer emergencies in case these are disabled by accident or design.
Types of Crises
Crises caused by acts of nature.
Crises caused by environmental degradation and disturbance of the ecological balance;
Crises caused by accidents
industrial and nuclear mishaps and are related accidents;
Crises caused by biological activities:
Crises caused by hostile elements:
Crises caused by disruption/failure of major infrastructure facilities
Crises caused by large crowds getting out of control.
A crisis situation may be labeled as local, sub- district, district, state or national level.
A `Welfare State’ entails wider responsibilities meaning thereby that in addition to the traditional responsibilities of relief and immediate rehabilitation
Phases of Crisis/Disaster Management :
steps taken for preventing and mitigating the crisis and preparing for actual occurrence.
like construction of embankments
adopting water shed management
Crisis can also be mitigated through various short term measures, which either reduce or modify the scale and intensity of the threat or improve the durability and capacity of the elements at risk,
For different types of disasters, mitigation measures may vary but what needs to be emphasized is the priority and importance to be attached to various measures
During Crisis – Emergency Response
it require a speedy response to alleviate and minimize suffering and losses
Distinction between Hazard and Disaster
A disaster takes place when a community is affected by a hazard the impact of the disaster is determined by the extent of a community’s vulnerability to the hazard.
Elements of Crisis Management
crisis management strategy should aim at:
Creating appropriate legal and organizational framework
Government organizations at all levels aware of the risk of potential natural and man-made hazards
Meticulous long and short term planning for crisis management
Building resilience of the communities to face crises and ensuring their full participation
Building and maintaining capabilities (human and institutional)
Developing and disseminating knowledge for effective crisis management.
Shift to Disaster Risk Reduction :
Reviews of the global scenario carried out in the 1990s in the wake of the Yokohama Declaration
Disaster risk reduction (disaster reduction) has been defined as the `systematic development and application of policies, strategies and practices to minimise vulnerabilities, hazards and the unfolding of disaster impacts throughout a society, in the broad context of sustainable development’
World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, Yokohama, 1994 Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World
Disaster Risk Reduction Framework
Policy towards Risk Management
Assessment of Risk including Hazard Analysis and Vulnerability
Risk Awareness and Preparation of Plans for Risk Mitigation
Implementation of the Plan
Early Warning Systems
Use of Knowledge
India’s Key Hazards, Vulnerabilities and the Crisis Response Mechanism
Almost 85% of the country is vulnerable to single or multiple disasters and about 57% of its area lies in high seismic zones.
Approximately 40 million hectares of the country’s land area is prone to flood, about 8% of the total land mass is vulnerable to cyclone and 68% of the area is susceptible to drought Industrial Disasters
chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical or other process failures in an industrial plant due to accident or negligence – Methyl Iso-cynate gas leak in 1984
Epidemics – the major sources of epidemics can be broadly categorized as follows :
Water-borne diseases like cholera
Vector-borne (often mosquito-borne) epidemics
Person to person transmission of diseases
Air-borne diseases like influenza and measles
Epidemics often take place due to poor sanitary conditions leading to contamination of food and water or due to inadequate disposal of human or animal carcasses in post- disaster situations.
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has been identified as the nodal agency in the country in respect of man made radiological emergencies in the public domain.
Nuclear facilities in India have adopted internationally accepted guidelines for ensuring safety to the public and environment
Other Disasters – Slow Onset Disasters
climate change (global warming), desertification, soil degradation, and droughts, would fall under the category of slow onset disasters.
Droughts – More than 80% of rainfall is received in less than 100 days during the South-west monsoon and the geographic spread is uneven.
Inadequacy of rains coupled with adverse land-man ratio compels the farmers to practice rain-fed agriculture in large parts of the country.
Per capita water availability in the country is steadily declining.
About 8.6 million hectares of India’s land area is afflicted with the twin problems of alkalinity and salinity coupled with water-logging
Sea Erosion – The landward displacement of the shoreline caused by the forces of waves and currents is termed as erosion. Coastal erosion occurs when wind, waves and long shore currents move sand from the shore and deposit it somewhere else.
Crisis/Disaster Response Mechanism in India
Till late 1960s the necessity for famine relief work declined and a holistic drought management programme was taken up in the form of the Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP).
Very few laws regarding disaster management till 2005
Structure Prior to NDMA, 2005
Most of the states have Relief Commissioners who are in charge of the relief and rehabilitation measures.
The Relief Commissionerate is usually an adjunct of the Revenue Department whose main job is to administer land ownership, land revenue and tenurial conditions in rural areas
Every state has a Crisis Management Committee under the chairpersonship of the Chief Secretary, consisting of secretaries in charge of concerned departments, which reviews crisis situations on a day-to-day basis at the time of crisis, coordinates the activities
At the ministers’ level, a Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities under the chairpersonship of the Chief Minister
The District Magistrate/Collector has the responsibility for the overall management of disasters in the district.
NDMA, 2005 – Disaster management with reference to rapid onset disasters was moved from the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry of Agriculture retains the responsibility for droughts, pest attacks and hailstorms;
State Governments were advised to reorganize their Relief & Rehabilitation Department into a separate Disaster Management Department;
State Governments were further advised to constitute State Disaster Management Authority under the Chairmanship of State Chief Minister
A specialized force comprising eight battalions to be named as National Disaster Response Force to be constituted
An advanced fail-proof disaster communication network would be set up through Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) at national, state and district levels;
The National Institute of Disaster Management was set up at Delhi for training, capacity building, research and documentation on different aspects of disaster management in the country;
A community based disaster risk management programme to be launched in multi-hazard districts throughout the country.
Legal and Institutional Framework
`Disaster Management’ as a subject is not mentioned in any of the three lists.
However, by practice and convention the primary responsibility for managing disasters rests with the State Governments.
National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRCW) to recommend insertion of an entry on the subject in the Concurrent List
Recommendations – A new entry, Management of Disasters and Emergencies, natural or man- made, may be included in List III (Concurrent List) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
Evolution of Legal Framework
The Factories Act, 1948 amended after the Bhopal tragedy to include the right to information; along with the EPA ,1986 which lays down rules for the protection of land, water and air
Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989
Chemical Accident (Prevention and Preparedneess) Rules, 1996;
The Atomic Energy Act combined with Rules notified under the Environment Protection act, 1986 (EPA)
State Essential Services Maintenance Acts (ESMA)
Coastal Zone Regulations, Building Codes, Fire Safety Rules etc;
State Public Health Acts;
The Army Act, which empowers civil administration to seek help of army during crisis
What should a law on crisis management provide?
The laws needs the following points
require strengthening of the existing legal framework,
removal of loopholes, wherever they exist,
ensuring an effective coordination mechanism and
an administrative structure with unity of command and well defined responsibilities at all levels.
A totally centralized or totally decentralized mechanism would be ineffective.
Immediate rescue and relief should be the responsibility of the level of government closest to the affected population.
Disaster management planning requires wider perspective and expertise. (More role for the Centre)
Thus, the legislation for disaster/crisis management needs to create agencies/ authorities at local/district/state and national levels.
A warning about a looming disaster, received well in time, can avert huge loss of human lives. Analysis of the Disaster Management Act, 2005
The Disaster Management Act, 2005 defines disaster as natural or man made event that cause substantial loss to life, property and environment.
NDMA would be chaired by the Secretary to the Government of India in charge of the Ministry or Department of the Union Government having administrative control of disaster management
This body has extensive powers and functions including laying down guidelines and giving directions to the concerned ministries or departments
The Role and Functions of a National Disaster Management Organisation
The following are the role for the organization
Provide a coherent approach to disaster management across all phases from preparedness and mitigation to response and recovery.
Provide a common framework
Allocate responsibilities clearly.
Provide a framework for coordinated response
International practices also do not normally involve setting up centralized authorities with command and control functions to deal with disasters.
in the US, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency that operates under the control of the Department of Home Land Security for the purpose of overseeing federal government assistance in domestic disaster preparation, training of first responders and coordination of the government’s disaster response efforts.