Disaster & Disaster Management

Previous Year Questions in Mains On Disaster Management

How important are vulnerability and risk assessment for pre-disaster management? As an administrator, what are key areas that you would focus in a disaster management.

Drought has been recognized as a disaster in view of its spatial expanse, temporal duration, slow onset and lasting effects on vulnerable sections. With a focus on the September 2010 guidelines from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), discuss the mechanisms for preparedness to deal with likely El Nino and La Nina fallouts in India.

The frequency of earthquakes appears to have increased in the Indian subcontinent. However, India’s preparedness for mitigating their impact has significant gaps. Discuss various aspects.

With reference to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines, discuss the measures to be adopted to mitigate the impact of recent incidents of cloudbursts in many places of Uttarakhand.


On December 2004, Tsumani brought havoc in 14 countries including India. Discuss the factors responsible for the occurrence of Tsunami and its effects on life and economy. In the light of guidelines of NDMA (2010) describe the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events.  


Describe various measures taken in India for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) before and after signing ‘Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030)’. How is this framework different from ‘Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005’?


Vulnerability is an essential element for defining disaster impacts and its threat to people. How and in what ways can vulnerability to disasters be characterized? Discuss different types of vulnerability with reference to disasters.

Disaster preparedness is the first step in any disaster management process.Explain how hazard zonation mapping will help in disaster mitigation in the case of landslides.

A disaster can be defined as an event that occurs when a hazard affects a vulnerable population or area.

What is a Hazard?

Hazards come in a number of forms:

A. Natural hazards. These include

  • Hydrological (e.g. cyclones, floods),
  • Geophysical (e.g. earthquakes, volcanoes) and
  • Biological (e.g. epidemics, locust swarms).

B. Technological hazards (e.g. gas leaks, industrial accidents, bridge or building collapses).

C. Climatological hazards (e.g. sea level rise, desertification, climate change).

A hazard alone will not cause a disaster. Hazards have to impact on a population or area before they can have disastrous effects.  

For example, a tsunami traveling over open-ocean is not a disaster, but when it strikes a population located on a coastline, the results can be disastrous.

Hazard Profile of India:

(a) India is one of the ten worst disaster-prone countries of the world. The country is prone to disasters due to number of factors; both natural and human induced, including adverse geo climatic conditions, topographic features, environmental degradation, population growth, urbanisation, industrialization, non-scientific development practices etc. The factors either in original or by accelerating the intensity and frequency of disasters are responsible for heavy toll of human lives and disrupting the life supporting system in the country.

The basic reason for the high vulnerability of the country to natural disasters is its unique geographical and geological situations. As far as the vulnerability to disaster is concerned,

the five distinctive regions of the country i.e. Himalayan region, the alluvial plains, the hilly part of the peninsula, and the coastal zone have their own specific problems. While on one hand the Himalayan region is prone to disasters like earthquakes and landslides, the plain is affected by floods almost every year. The desert part of the country is affected by droughts and famine while the coastal zone susceptible to cyclones and storms.

(b) The natural geological setting of the country is the primary basic reason for its increased vulnerability. The geo-tectonic features of the Himalayan region and adjacent alluvial plains make the region susceptible to earthquakes, landslides, water erosion etc. Though peninsular India is considered to be the most stable portions, but occasional earthquakes in the region shows that geo- tectonic movements are still going on within its depth.

(c) The tectonic features, characteristics of the Himalaya are prevalent in the alluvial plains of Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra too, as the rocks lying below the alluvial pains are just extension of the Himalayan ranges only. Thus, this region is also quite prone to seismic activities. As a result of various major river systems flowing from Himalaya and huge quantity of sediment brought by them, the area is also suffering from river channel siltation, resulting into frequent floods, especially in the plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

(d) The western part of the country, including Rajasthan, Gujarat and some parts of Maharashtra are hit very frequently by drought situation. If Monsoon worsens the situation spreads in other parts of the country too. The disturbance in the pressure conditions over oceans, results into cyclones in coastal regions. The geo tectonic movements going on in the ocean floor make the coastal region prone to tsunami disaster too.

(e) Along with the natural factors discussed in the preceding text, various human induced activities like increasing demographic pressure, deteriorating environmental conditions, deforestation, unscientific development, faulty agricultural practices and grazing, unplanned urbanisation, construction of large dams on river channels etc. are also responsible for accelerated impact and increase in frequency of disasters in the country.

What is vulnerability?

A population or area being affected by a hazard has to be vulnerable for a disaster to occur. The vulnerability of a population relates to how susceptible it is to the effects of hazards and its ability to cope when struck. Vulnerability is influenced by factors such as location, state of housing, and colonial set up level of preparedness and ability to evacuate and carry out emergency operations. Different populations have different levels of vulnerability; this is one reason why hazards of a similar type and intensity can have quite varied effects on different populations.

The root causes of vulnerability have a deeper origin, however, and to see why a population is vulnerable we must look at issues such as poverty, lack of access to resources, environmental and social conditions. In this way vulnerability has a direct relationship to the social, political and economic situation and the status of human rights.

Populations suffering from high levels of poverty are often more vulnerable to hazards due to the fact that people’s resources are focused towards day-to-day survival rather than preparing for the possibility of future disasters. This is reflected in the fact that it is the poorest countries who are the hardest hit by hazards as they are often the most vulnerable.

Disasters are often portrayed using the following equation:

India due to its geo-climatic and socio-economic condition is prone to various disasters. During the last thirty years’ time span the country has been hit by 431 major disasters resulting into enormous loss to life and property.

According to the Prevention Web statistics, 143039 people were killed and about 150 crores were affected by various disasters in the country during these three decades. The disasters caused huge loss to property and other infrastructures.

Factors contributing to vulnerability of a disaster:

Disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a society causing widespread human material or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society or community to cope using only its own resources. Disasters are often classified according to their speed of on set (slow or sudden) or according to their cause (natural, manmade or complex).

Disasters may take many forms and occur as a result of one or made wide range of events both natural and man induced. The duration of these events may range from a few seconds to many years the security of the effects of a degree to which man has creates an environment susceptible to damage that is environments in which life and property are at risk. Common causal factors play a large role in determining the severity and magnitude of a disaster.

The following usual factors are general in nature and they may be contributing to determining the vulnerability of a society to disasters.

1. Poverty: Poverty and risk to disasters are inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing. The poor section of the society is worst affected in case of disaster. The situation further aggravates due to the compulsion of the poor to exploit environmental resources for their survival, increasing the risk and exposure of the society to disasters, in particular those triggered by flood, drought and landslides.

Poverty also compels the poor to migrate and live at physically more vulnerable locations, often on unsafe land and in unsafe shelters. These inhabitations of the poor at such locations are either due to the fact that there is no other land available at reasonable cost or it is close to the employment opportunities. The inhabitations of the poor people on marginal land are prone to all types of disasters. The type of construction of these houses further deteriorates the condition. These dwellings made up of low-cost material without giving much consideration to technical aspect are easy targets of various hazards.

2. Ungoverned Population Growth: Ungoverned population growth can lead to settlement in hazardous areas susceptibility to disease competition for scarce resources and civil strife. Disaster losses are significantly reduced when the people of any given society are organized with effective laws and controls to protect the pollution from potentially hazardous areas, access to public utilities, medical care education and economic resources.

Vulnerability to disaster increases when a nations capacity to govern does not consider the impact and trends in population growth in potentially hazardous areas. Even in the most climates rapid urbanization can create slowly evolving time bombs which could lead to disaster vulnerability.

 3. Rapid urbanization and Migration: Rapid population growth and migration are related to the major phenomenon of rapid urbanization. It is characterized by the rural poor or civilians in an area of conflict moving to Metro Politian areas in search of economic opportunities and security. These massive numbers of urban poor increasingly find fewer options for availability of safe and desirable placed to build their houses. Here again competition for scarce resources an inevitable consequence of rapid urbanization can lead to manmade disasters. Many landslides or flooding disasters are closely linked to rapid and unchecked urbanization forcing low income families to settle on the slopes of steep till sides or ravings or along the banks of flood prone rivers. Many earthquakes victims in urban areas have been impoverished families where the physical location vice the structure of their houses was hazardous as evidenced by landslides on to the house or out from under it.

4. Transitions in Cultural Practices: Many of the inevitable changes that occur in all societies leads to an increase in society vulnerability to disasters obviously, all societies are in a continual state of transition and change. These transitions are often extremely disruptive and uneven, leaving gap in social coping mechanism and technology. These transitions include nomadic populations that become centenary rural people who more too urban areas, and both rural and urban people who more from one economic level to another more broadly, these examples are typical of a shift from non- industrialized to industrializing societies.

One example of the impact of these transitions is the introduction of new constructions materials and building design in a society that is accustomed to traditional designs and materials this often results in new materials being used incorrectly. In disaster prone areas, inadequate use of new constructions techniques earth quakes or wind storm. Compounding the problem is the formation of post disaster communities of survivors who find themselves without social support systems or networks to assist relief and recovery Traditional coping mechanisms may not exist in new settlement and the population becomes increasing dependent on outside intervention for assistance conflicting cultural practices can also lead to civil conflict and strife examples include events leading to violence triggered by religious intolerances.

5. Environmental degradation: Many disasters are either caused or exacerbated by environment degradation deforestation leads to rapid rain runoff which contributes to flooding. The destruction of mangrove swamps decreases the coastlines ability to resist tropical winds and storm surges the creation of drought conditions and the relatives severity and length of time the drought lasts is mainly or natural phenomena man–made contribute to drought conditions include, poor cropping patterns overgrazing the stripping of top soil poor conservation techniques depletion of both the surface and subsequences water supply and to an extent unchecked urbanization.

6. Lack of awareness and information: Disaster can also occur when people who are vulnerable have not been educated on how to get out of harm’s way or take protective measures at the inset of a disaster event this ignorance may not necessarily be a function of poverty but a lack of awareness of what measures can be taken to build safe structures on safe building sites. People may be unaware of safe evacuation routes and procedures others may be unaware on where to turn for assistance in times of acute disaster.

Nevertheless, this point should not be taken as a justification for ignoring the coping mechanisms of the majority of people affected by disaster. In most disaster-prone societies there is a wealth of understanding about disaster threats and responses this understanding should be incorporated into external assistance initiatives and planning.

7. War and Civil Strife: War and civil strife are regarded as hazards or extreme events that produce disaster war and civil strife often cause the displacement of the population the causal factors of war and civil strife include completion for scarce resources religious or ethnic intolerance and ideological differences.

8. Climate Change and disaster: There is clear evidence that the observed change in surface temperature, rainfall, evaporation and extreme events and climate change is a significant environmental challenge. The main impact of global climate change will be felt due to changes in climate variability and weather extremes. Observations during the last decade and projections indicate that extreme events i.e. heat waves, cold waves, more floods, more droughts, more intense cyclones and flash floods will increase. Extreme rainfall has substantially increased over large areas, particularly over the west coast and west central India. There is thus an urgent need for a paradigm shift in disaster management, especially under changing climate.

Major Disasters in India

Major disasters that strike India from time to time is being discussed in the paragraphs below.

  1. Droughts

The primary cause of any drought is deficiency of rainfall and in particular, the timing, distribution and intensity of this deficiency in relation to existing reserves. A prolonged period of relatively

dry weather leading to drought is a widely recognized climate anomaly. Drought can be devastating as water supplies dry up, crops fail to grow, animals die, and malnutrition and ill health becomes widespread. The environmental effects of drought, including salinization of soil and groundwater decline, increased pollution of freshwater ecosystems and regional extinction of animal species. In India around 68 percent of the country is prone to drought in varying degrees.

National Rainfed Area Authority in the Ministry of Agriculture has been set up to address the issue of drought mitigation on a long-term basis. It comprises experts who provide knowledge

inputs regarding systematic upgradation and management of the country’s dryland and rainfed agriculture.

The Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperation has also undertaken some other measures to address the drought management including:

• Implementation of water harvesting conservation, artificial recharge of ground water, traditional water harvesting and conservation, water saving technologies like drip and sprinkler irrigation systems, improved water saving farm practices, long term irrigation management etc.,

• Working towards convergence of lessons learnt from studies carried out by multiple institutions working in related fields such as Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture (CRIDA),

International Crop Research for Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and Indian Council for Agricultural Research

(ICAR), etc.,

• Exploring practices such as harvesting cereal crops for fodder, supplemental irrigation if feasible, and ensuring availability of seeds when alternative crops are beneficial with logistic support from state and district machineries.

• Maximising efficient use of available surface and groundwater in drought prone areas i.e. to resort to drip and sprinkler practices wherever possible, particularly for commercial crops including fruit orchards,

• Undertaking construction of water shed structures at the right place to enhance water recharge for life saving irrigation at critical stages of crop growth and during drought situations, and

• Using optimally the services of Village Resources Centre established by Indian Space Research Organisation, ICAR, State Agriculture University and other organisations towards management of drought.

  • Floods

Flood destructions have always brought miseries to numerous people, especially in rural areas. Flood results in the outbreak of serious epidemics, specially malaria and cholera. Simultaneously, scarcity of water also arises. It has a drastic effect on agricultural produce. Sometimes, water remains standing over large areas for long span of time hampering the Rabi crops.

India is one of the most flood prone countries in the world. The principal reasons for flood lie in the very nature of natural ecological systems in this country, namely, the monsoon, the

highly silted river systems and the steep and highly erodible mountains, particularly those of the Himalayan ranges. Most of the floods occur during the monsoon period and are usually associated with tropical storms or depressions, active monsoon conditions and break monsoon situations.

Twenty-three of the 35 states and union territories in the country are subject to floods and 40 million hectares of land, roughly one-eighth of the country’s geographical area, is prone to floods.

The National Flood Control Program was launched in the country in 1954. Since then sizeable progress has been made in the flood protection measures. By 1976, nearly one third of the flood prone area had been afforded reasonable protection; considerable experience has been gained in planning, implementation and performance of flood warning, protection and control measures.

Floods occur in almost all rivers basins in India. The main causes of floods are heavy rainfall, inadequate capacity of rivers to carry the high flood discharge, inadequate drainage to carry away the rainwater quickly to streams/ rivers. Ice jams or landslides locking streams; typhoons and cyclones also cause floods. Flash floods occur due to high rate of water flow as also due to poor permeability of the soil. Areas with hardpan just below the surface of the soil are more prone to, floods as water fails to seep down to the deeper layers.

Vulnerability to floods and other natural disasters is caused by the high population density, widespread poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, enormous pressure on rural land, and an economy traditionally dominated by agriculture. Children and women are particularly vulnerable. Eighty-five percent of the deaths during disasters are of women and children (Centre for Research on

the Epidemiology of Disasters).

Presently there is an inadequate level of protection in the country against floods. Though non-structural measures improve the preparedness to floods and reduce losses, the necessity of structural measures would always remain to reduce the extent of physical damage caused by floods. In future, programme, flood control and management planning along with climate change need to be integrated into development planning for the country.

National Flood Risk Mitigation Project (NFRMP): NFRMP has been envisaged for mitigation or reduction in risk, severity or consequences of floods. It aims at ensuring that arrangements are in place to mobilise the resources and capability for relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery from disasters besides creating awareness among vulnerable communities. NDMA has been entrusted to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on Flood Risk Mitigation Project.

Flood Management Programme: The state governments are engaged in flood management work since the independence of the country. Management of water resources is primarily the responsibility of the state governments. The schemes for Flood Control and Protection are therefore, to be planned, funded and executed by the state governments.

  • Tropical Cyclones

The major natural disaster that affects the coastal regions of India is cyclone and as India has a coastline of about 7516 kms, it is exposed to nearly 10 percent of the world’s tropical cyclones.

About 71 percent of this area is in ten states (Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal). The islands of Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep are also prone to cyclones. On an average, about five or six tropical cyclones form in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea and hit the coast every year. Out of these, two or three are severe.

When a cyclone approaches to coast, a risk of serious loss or damage arises from severe winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges and river floods. The effect of a storm surge is most pronounced in wide and shallow bays exposed to cyclones such as in the northern part of Bay of Bengal. On an average, five or six tropical cyclones occur every year, of which two or three could be severe.

National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) Initiative: Recurrent cyclones account for a large number of deaths, loss of livelihood opportunities, loss of public and private property, and severe damage to infrastructure, thus reversing the developmental gains whenever disasters occur. In order to reduce the loss of life and properties in the events of future calamities, the NCRMP has been launched by MHA in three phases in the cyclone prone coastal states and Union Territories, keeping in view the vulnerability of the states and their readiness with investment


  • Heat Wave

Extreme positive departures from the normal maximum temperature result in a heat wave during the summer season. The rising maximum temperature during the pre-monsoon months often continues till June, in rare cases till July, over the north-western parts of the country. In recent years, heat wave induced casualties have increased.

Decrease in the Diurnal Temperature Range (DTR) due to urbanisation is a new factor leading to human mortality and discomfort. Increased minimum temperatures in summer do not allow the necessary nocturnal cooling to neutralize the high maximum temperature during a heat wave


  • Cold Wave and Fog

Occurrences of extreme low temperature in association with incursion of dry cold winds from north into the sub-continent are known as cold waves. The northern parts of India, specially the hilly regions and the adjoining plains, are influenced by transient disturbances in the mid latitude westerlies which often have weak frontal characteristics. These are known as western disturbances. The cold waves mainly affect the areas to the north of 20°N but in

association with large amplitude troughs, cold wave conditions are sometimes reported from states like Maharashtra and Karnataka as well.

In recent years due to deterioration of the air quality in urban locations of India the deaths and discomfort from cold waves have been substantial. UP and Bihar rank the highest in terms of casualties from cold wave and this could be due to poor level of development and lack of shelters to the outdoor workers and farmers.

  • Thunderstorm, Hailstorm and Dust Storm

As winter season transforms into spring, the temperature rises initially in the southern parts of India, giving rise to thunderstorms and squally weather which are hazardous in nature. While the southernmost part of the country is free from dust storms and hailstorms, such hazardous weather affects the central, north-eastern, north and north-western parts of the country. The hailstorm frequencies are highest in the Assam valley, followed by hills of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Vidarbha Maharashtra. However, thunderstorms also occur in Kolkata, Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Tornadoes are rare in India but some of them are quite devastating.

  • Earthquakes

Globally, earthquakes result in a loss of about 50,000 lives every year. Massive earthquakes generally occur near the junction of two tectonic plates, e.g., along the Himalayan range, where the Indian

plate goes below Eurasian plate. The Indian sub- continent situated on the boundaries of two continental plates is very prone to earthquakes. Some of the most intense earthquakes of the

world have occurred in India. Fortunately, none of these have occurred in any of the major cities. According to latest seismic zoning map brought out by the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), over 65 percent of the country is prone to earthquake of intensity Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MSK) VII or more.

The following measures have been initiated for prevention and mitigation of such disasters:

National Earthquake Risk Mitigation Project (NERMP): Understanding the importance of the management of such hazardous situations caused by the earthquake, the Government

of India has taken a national initiative for launching a project of ‘National Earthquake Risk Mitigation Project’ (NERMP). The proposed project aims at strengthening the structural and non-structural earthquake mitigation efforts and reducing the vulnerability in the high-risk districts prone to earthquakes. Necessary risk mitigation measures are proposed to be put in place in the highly seismic zones. NDMA, tasked with this project has prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) which is under consultation with all the stakeholders. The proposed components of the project include techno-legal regime, institutional strengthening, capacity building and public awareness etc.

National Building Code (NBC): The National Building Code of India (NBC), a comprehensive building code, is a national instrument providing guidelines for regulating the building

construction activities across the country. The NBC was first published in 1970 at the instance of Planning Commission and was revised in 1983. Thereafter three major amendments, two in

1987 and the third in 1997 were issued. Considering a series of further developments in the field of building construction, including the lessons learnt in the aftermath of number of natural

calamities like devastating earthquakes and super cyclones, a project for comprehensive revision of NBC was taken up under the aegis of National Building Code Committee. The salient features of the revised NBC include meeting the challenges posed by natural calamities and reflecting the state-of-the-art and contemporary applicable international practices.

  • Landslides

Landslides mainly affect the Himalayan region and the western ghats of India. Landslides are also common in the Nilgiri range. It is estimated that 30 percent of the world’s landslides occur in the Himalayas. The Himalayan mountains, which constitute the youngest and most dominating mountain system in the world, are not a single long landmass but comprises a series of seven curvilinear parallel folds running along a grand arc for a total of 3400 kilometers. Due to its unique nature, the Himalayas have a history of landslides that has no comparison with any other mountain range in the world. Landslides are also common in western ghats.

  • Industrial and Chemical Disasters

Industrial disasters include events that occur due to mishaps or failures in industry or related activities and also the disasters that affect the industrial functions, property and productivity. ‘Chemical Disasters’ and ‘Industrial Disasters’ are terms often used interchangeably but are actually a sub-category of the other. A chemical disaster may occur due to both, natural or human-made sources, however, in view of growing chemical usage and industrial development worldwide, the pre-disaster prevention and mitigation of chemical (industrial) disasters is a

serious concern.

Industrial disaster: Industrial disasters are disasters caused by chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical or other process failures due to accident, negligence or incompetence, in an industrial plant which may spill over to the areas outside the plant or with in causing damage to life, property and environment.

Chemical disaster: Chemical disasters are occurrence of emission, fire or explosion involving one or more hazardous chemicals in the course of industrial activity (handling), storage or transportation or due to natural events leading to serious effects inside or outside the installation likely to cause loss of life and property including adverse effects on the environment.

Chemical accident or emergency can result in extensive damage to the environment with considerable human and economic costs. Chemical and industrial emergencies may arise in a number of ways, such as –

• Explosion in a plant

• Accidents in storage facilities of chemicals

• Accidents during the transportation of chemicals, misuse of chemicals

• Improper waste management

• Accidents in treatment plants

• Technological system failures

• Failures of plant safety design

• Arson and sabotage

• Human error

  1.  Tsunami

Tsunamis and earthquakes happen after centuries of energy build up within the earth. Seismicity generated tsunamis are result of abrupt deformation of sea floor resulting vertical displacement of the overlying water. Earthquakes occurring beneath the sea level, the water above the reformed area is displaced from its equilibrium position. The release of energy produces tsunami waves which have small amplitude but a very long wavelength (often hundreds of kilometres long). It may be caused by non-seismic event also such as a landslide or impact of a meteor.

For Tsunami to hit the Indian coast according to INCOIS, it is necessary that the earthquake of magnitude more than 7.0 on Richter scale should normally occur. The possible zones for such an event to occur are Andaman – Sumatra or Makran (Pakistan). Not all the major earthquakes are Tsunamigenic.

  1.  Nuclear Emergencies

Nuclear emergency /Disaster is caused due to an extraordinary release of radioactive material or radiation either in the operation of nuclear reactors or other nuclear events like explosion of a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) or Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) or explosion of a nuclear weapon. It is accompanied with sudden release of harmful radiations or radioactive materials or both together in to the environment.

Nuclear emergency may be encountered in the following situations:

(i) Intentional use of nuclear weapons in the event of war: Nuclear attacks may make use of nuclear weapons, which are extremely destructive and powerful enough to destroy an entire city. With the advancement of scientific research in the world, several countries have acquired the technology to produce nuclear weapons, which are more destructive and harmful than the atom bomb used more than half a century ago against Japan during the Second World War.

(ii) Accidents in nuclear power project: The nuclear Power Plants take care of safety by Engineered safety features by design and redundancy in safety systems to prevent any mal-operations and to bring the system to a safe shut down in case of any abnormalities. However, in case of a major malfunction, there is a remote possibility of release of radioactivity/ radiation to the environment. The area affected would depend on the amount of the release, and wind direction, speed and weather conditions.

(iii) Accidents in handling radiation sources: Other accidental exposure of radiation could be due to accident with the radioactive material during transportation, wrong/faulty practices, failure of machinery of a radiation facility etc., Radiation releases due to any reason can be devastating – Chernobyl is a good example.

With modern reactor design, a catastrophic release of radiation is highly unlikely, but nevertheless, possible. This can happen due to factors beyond the control of the operating agencies e.g., human error, system failure, sabotage, earthquake, cyclone, flood and tsunami etc.,

  1.  Epidemics

Infectious diseases are a major public health problem in India. While many infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria are endemic, some of them occasionally attain epidemic proportion. An epidemic refers to an increase, often sudden, in number of cases of a disease in a community clearly in excess of what is normally expected in that population.

Epidemics are public health emergencies which disrupt routine health services and are major drain on resources. Epidemics include viral infections disease (mengitis, measles, dengue, polio, typhoid fever etc.) and Bacterial infectious diseases (cholera, diarrheoa etc.) The main causes for epidemic are non-availability of clean and hygienic drinking water contamination of drinking water sources, lack of awareness about sanitation, unhygienic food, overcrowding, biological conditions in addition to ecological factors. Besides direct costs in epidemic control measures and treatment of patients, the indirect costs due to negative impact on domestic and international tourism and trade can be significant.

Several factors related to microbes, environment and host susceptibility contribute to the occurrence of epidemics. Because of prevalence of these factors, developing countries including India are frequently affected by epidemics/ outbreaks which result in high morbidity and mortality and affect the public health and economy adversely.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is instrumental and responsible for implementation of various programmes on a national scale in the areas of prevention and control of major

communicable diseases and promotion of traditional and indigenous systems of medicines.

This ministry also assists states in preventing and controlling the spread of seasonal disease outbreaks and epidemics through technical assistance. It is actively involved in disease diagnosis

during epidemics and outbreaks, operational research, manpower development, advisory role and other multifarious activities towards prevention and control of a cascade of epidemic

prone disease of larger public health importance in collaboration with National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) and external organisations and institutes.

Post-disaster management of health, sanitation and hygiene services is crucial to prevent an outbreak of epidemics. The draft Public Health (Prevention, Control and Management of Epidemics, Bio-terrorism and Disasters) Bill prepared by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is under consideration for enactment.

National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP) is the key programme for prevention/control of outbreaks/ epidemics of malaria, dengue, chikungunya etc., vaccines administered to reduce the morbidity and mortality due to diseases like measles, diphtheria, pertussis, poliomyelitis etc. Two key measures to prevent/control epidemics of water-borne diseases like cholera, viral hepatitis etc. include making available safe water and ensuring personal and domestic hygienic practices are adopted.

It is impossible to always prevent epidemics, but its impact can always be mitigated by anticipating them and by being prepared. Epidemic preparedness and response is a multi-sectoral and multi-agency activity. Health sector plays a lead role in preparing and executing the epidemic preparedness plan but need the expertise and support of other disciplines/sectors also. Planning process will inter alia require extensive review of health infrastructure, disease surveillance and response system, availability of laboratories, trained professionals, drugs, vaccines and equipment in the country, communication system, coordinating mechanism between different sectors and between the national and international agencies and legal issues.

Accordingly, Govt. of India launched Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) in November 2004 to strengthen capacity at state/district levels to detect and respond to the epidemics in early rising phase. Under the project, the district and states have been strengthened by providing additional technical manpower (epidemiologists, microbiologists, entomologists),

training of rapid response teams for outbreak investigation and control, strengthening of laboratories for detection of organisms causing epidemic prone diseases, and establishment of IT network for data compilation, dissemination and analysis. The states are at varying stages of implementation.

Impacts of Disasters:

  1. Physical Impacts of Disasters: The Physical impacts of Disaster include causalities earths and injuries and property damages and both vary substantially across hazard agents. It is difficult to say that how many of the deaths and injuries occurs due to a disaster. In some cases, it is possible to say how many persons are missing and if so whether this is due to death or because of not proper maintenance of records. Also are important measures of physical impacts include damages people, society, and health, to cropland and wood lands.
  2. Social Impacts: Social impacts, which include psychosocial socio demographic, socio economic and socio-political impacts can develop over a long period of time, can be difficult to assess when they occur. Despite the difficult in measuring these social impacts it is nonetheless important to minor them because they can cause significant problems from the long – term functioning of specific types of households and business in an affected community. A better understanding of disaster is social impacts can provide a basis for pre impacts predication and the development of contingency plans to prevent adverse consequences from occurring.
  3. Psychosocial Impacts: One type of social impacts not measured by certain data consists of psychosocial impacts. Such as fatigue, gastro intestinal upset and tiles as well as cognitive signs such as confusion, impaired concentration impacts include emotional signs such as anxiety depression and grief as well as behavioral effects such as sleep and appetite changes such as sleep and appetite charges ritualistic, behavior and substance abuse.
  4. Socio Demographic Impacts: Perhaps the most significant socio demographic impact of a disaster on a stricken community is the destruction of household dwellings such an event initiates what can be a very long process of disaster recovery from some population segments
  5. Socio economic Impacts: The property damage caused by disaster impact causes direct economic losses that can be thought of as a loss in asset value, the Ultimate economic impact of a disaster depends upon the disposition of the damage assets some of these assets are not replaces and so their loss causes a reduction in consumption and thus a decrease in quality of life or a reduction in investments and thus a decrease in economic productivity other assets are replaced either through in kind donations. E.g., Food and clothing or commercial purchases.

In the latter case, the cost of replacement must come from some source of recovery funding, which generally can be characterized an either inter temporal transfer to the present time from part savings or future from one group to another at a given time.

  • Political Impacts: There is substantial evidence that disaster impacts can cause social, economic damages, these activities resulting in political disruption especially during the period of disaster recovery and rehabilitation. Some of the catastrophic disasters in recent times have led to changes in disaster management policy and creation of new organization. Policy changes include the enactment of disaster management Act 2005 and development of the national disaster management response frame work.

Disaster Risk Management

The term ‘Disaster Risk Management’ (DRM) is often used in the same context and to mean much the same thing: ‘a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing risks of all kinds associated with hazards and human activities’.

Representatives from 168 countries participated in the global conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in January 2005 in Kobe, Japan. The Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA) was adopted to work globally towards sustainable reduction of disaster losses in lives and in the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries. The framework set three strategic goals and five priority action areas given as under:

Three Strategic Goals: Followings are the goals as agreed to under the HFA-

(i) The more effective integration of disaster risk reduction into sustainable development policies, planning and programming at all levels, with a special emphasis on disaster prevention,

mitigation, preparedness and vulnerability reduction.

(ii) The development and strengthening of institutions, mechanisms and capacities at all levels in particular at the community level that can systematically contribute to building resilience to hazards.

(iii) The systematic incorporation of risk reduction approaches into the design and implementation of emergency preparedness, response and recovery programmes in the reconstruction of the affected communities.

Five Priority Action Areas: Under the HFA the following priority areas have been identified for the countries to concentrate in their efforts for making the countries disaster resilient.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda and provides Member States with concrete actions to protect development gains from the risk of disaster.

It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), and advocates for:

The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.

It recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

Phases of Disaster Management:

There are four main phases (depicted in the diagram below) in any disaster management plan:

  1. Preparedness
  2. Response
  3. Recovery
  4. Mitigation

1. Preparedness:

Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning organizing, training, equipping, exercising evaluation and improvement activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capacities to prevent, protect against respond to recover from and mitigate the effect of natural disasters acts of terrorism and other manmade disaster. In the preparedness phase, emergency managers develop plans of action to manage and counter their risks and take action to implement such plans common preparedness measures include:

• Communication plans with easily under and able terminology and methods.

• Proper maintenance and training of emergency services, including mass human resources such as community emergency response teams.

• Development and exercise of emergency population warning methods combined with emergency shelters and evacuation plans.

Another aspect of preparedness is casualty prediction the study of how many deaths or injuries to expect for a given kind of event, this gives planners an idea of what resources need to be in place to respond to a particular kind of event.

2. Response: 

The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and final responding in the disaster area. This is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, Such as Fire, Fighters, Police and Ambulance crews. A well emergency plan development as part of the preparedness phase enables efficient co- ordination of rescue, where required search and rescue efforts commence at an early stage. Organizational response to any significant disaster natural or terrorist borne is based on existing emergency management organizational systems and processes. These systems are solidified through the principles of unified command (UC) and Mutual Aid (MA).

There is a need for the both discipline (Structure, Doctrine, Process) and ability (Creativity, Improvisation, Adaptability) in responding to a disaster, combining that with the need to on board and build a high functioning leadership team quickly to co- ordinate and manage efforts as they grow beyond first responders indicates the need for a leader and his or her team to craft and implement a disciplined iterative set of response plans. This allows the team to move forward with co- originated disciplined responses that are vaguely right and adopt to new information and changing circumstances along the way.

3. Recovery: 

The aim of the recovery phase is to restore the affected area to its previous state, it differs from the response phase in its focus recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property re- employment and the repair of other essential infrastructure. Efforts should be made to “Build Back Better” aiming to reduce the pre- disaster risks interest in the community and infrastructure. An important aspect of effective recovery efforts is taking advantage of a window of opportunity, for the implementation of mitigate measures that might otherwise citizens of the affected area are more likely to accept more mitigate change when a recent disaster is in fresh memory.

4. Mitigation/Disaster Risk Reduction:

Mitigation also known as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is an important process. It is a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It aims to reduce socio-economic vulnerabilities to disaster as well as dealing with the environmental and other hazards that trigger them: here it has been strongly influenced by the mass of research on vulnerability that has appeared in print since the mid-l970s.It is the responsibility of development and relief agencies alike and it should be an integral part of the way such organizations do their work, not an add-on or one-off action.

DRR is very wide-ranging, therefore. Its scope is much broader and deeper than conventional emergency management. There is potential for DRR initiatives in just about every sector of development and humanitarian work.

Some issues and challenges in DRR:


It is unrealistic to expect progress in every aspect of DRR: capacities and resources are insufficient. Governments and other organizations have to make what are in effect ‘investment decisions’, choosing which aspects of DRR to invest in. This is made more complicated by the fact that many of the interventions advocated are developmental rather than directly related to disaster management. Most existing DRR guidance sidesteps this issue. One way of focusing is to consider only actions that are intended specifically to reduce disaster risk. This would at least distinguish from more general efforts towards sustainable development. The concept of invulnerable development’ attempts this: in this formulation, invulnerable development is development directed towards reducing vulnerability to disaster, comprising ‘decisions and activities that are intentionally designed and implemented to reduce risk and susceptibility, and also raise resistance and resilience to disaster.

Partnerships and inter-organizational co-ordination:
No single group or organization can address every aspect of DRR. DRR thinking sees disasters as complex problems demanding a collective response. Coordination even in conventional emergency management is difficult, for many different organizations may converge on a disaster area to assist. Across the broader spectrum of DRR, the relationships between different types of organization and between different sectors (public, private and non-profit, as well as communities) become much more extensive and complex. DRR requires strong vertical and horizontal linkages (central-local relations become important). In terms of involving civil society organizations, it should mean thinking broadly about which types of organization to involve (i.e. not just conventional NGOs but also such organizations as trades unions, religious institutions, amateur radio operators as in the USA and India, universities and research institutions).

Communities and their organizations:

Traditional emergency management/civil defense thinking makes two misleading assumptions about communities, first, it sees other forms of social organization (voluntary and community-based organizations, informal social groupings and families) as irrelevant to emergency action. Spontaneous actions by affected communities or groups (e.g. search and rescue) are viewed as irrelevant or disruptive, because they are not controlled by the authorities. The second assumption is that disasters produce passive ‘victims’ who are overwhelmed by crisis, or dysfunctional behavior (panic, looting, self-seeking activities). They therefore need to be told what to do, and their behavior must be controlled – in extreme cases, through the imposition of martial law. There is plenty of sociological research to refute such myths.

 An alternative viewpoint, informed by a considerable volume of research, emphasizes the importance of communities and local organizations in disaster risk management. The rationale for community-based disaster risk management that it responds to local problems and needs, capitalizes on local knowledge and expertise, is cost-effective, improves the likelihood of sustainability through genuine ‘ownership’ of projects, strengthens community technical and organizational capacities, and empowers people by enabling them to tackle these and other challenges. Local people and organizations are the main actors in risk reduction and disaster response in any case.

Technology in Disaster Management:

Integrated use of space technology applications such as satellite communication satellite-based positioning satellite meteorology and remote sensing is increasingly being adopted in the region for established of the necessary infrastructure and operational systems for natural disaster mitigation. The most important application of space technological is in detecting and delivering early warnings of impending disasters and in disseminating this information to people likely to be affected.

Use of satellite meteorology has been triggered by the need to improve weather and climatologically information and to initiate a close weather watch over a region vulnerable to natural disasters. The use of data from geostationary meteorological satellites has been triggered to provide real time or near real time information on cyclones and to assist in forecasting the movement of tropical cyclones 24- 48 hours in advance.

While more than 30 countries in the region have ground reception facilities with such infrastructure mush countries in the region in the application of metrological satellite data.

An effective flood control system relies on timely availability of accurate information on rainfall, cloud cover and other data, in many cases over inaccessible areas. Data from satellites have been widely used to improve rainfall estimated in China, India, Mongolia and the Central Asian republics using remote sensing data.

Remote sensing data have also been used to identify and map flood risk areas as well as to assess flood damage. There are several areas of possible cooperation in enhancing the use of space technology for disaster management. Early warning and high-speed communications, together with effective and efficient satellite communications technologies facilitated by regional cooperation, are vital for disaster prevention, preparedness and response operations for floods, earthquakes, droughts and desertification.

The presently available wealth of space assets indicates the potential for sharing data among the users. However, there is an unfilled component in terms of a terrestrial infrastructure comprising low-cost systems as well as appropriate protocols that will permit the linking of existing space resources in support of disaster prevention, preparedness.

An initiative called the “global observation information network” currently exists between the United States and Japan for sharing earth science information through high-speed networks. There are efforts to expand this information networking to include countries in the Asia and specific region initially and other regions subsequently.

It should be noted that, with developments in space technology, opportunities have become greater for disadvantaged countries to have access to the data and information necessary for disaster mitigation and prevention. Greater regional and international cooperation in using space technology for disaster management could further improve and expand these opportunities.

Evolution of Disaster Management in India:

Disaster management in India has evolved from an activity-based setup to an institutionalized structure; from single faculty domain to a multi-stakeholder setup; and from a relief-based approach to a ‘multi-dimensional approach for reducing risk’. The beginnings of an institutional structure for disaster management can be traced to the British period following the series of disasters such as famines of 1900, 1905, 1907 & 1943, and the Bihar-Nepal earthquake of 1937.

Over the past century, the disaster management in India has undergone substantive changes in its composition, nature and policy. This was an activity-based setup which was functional only in the post-disaster scenarios. The policy was relief-oriented and activities that were initialized as part of this setup included designing the relief codes and initializing food for work programs.

Post-independence, the task for managing disasters continued to rest with the Relief Commissioners in each state, who functioned under the Central Relief Commissioner, with their role limited to delegation of relief material and money in the affected area. Frequent occurrence of floods and droughts in the country further limited the scope of disaster issues in India to the two hazards. Since both floods and droughts had a direct impact on the agriculture sector, disaster management in India came to be associated with agriculture and related issues.

The emergence of a permanent and institutionalized setup began in the decade of 1990s. Further, India witnessed series of disasters such as Latur Earthquake (1993), Malpa Landslide (1994), Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Bhuj Earthquake (2002) which reoriented the policy action and led to the shift from financing relief to a holistic approach for addressing disaster management. Consequently, the disaster management division was shifted under the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2003 and a hierarchical structure for disaster management evolved in India.

Shifting from relief and response mode, disaster management in India started to address the issues of early warning systems, forecasting and monitoring setup for various weather related

hazards. A structure for flow of information, in the form of warnings, alerts and updates about the oncoming hazard, also emerged within this framework. Some of the ministries were designated as the nodal authorities for specific disasters.

National Disaster Management Act, 2005:

Disaster management came to be identified as “continuous and integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing measures required for preventing disasters, mitigating the risk, capacity building, increasing the preparedness levels, response actions, disaster assessments, evacuation, rescue and relief and rehabilitation”.

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 facilitated mainstreaming disaster management in many ways;

firstly, by mandating the involvement of various development related sectors in the disaster management framework, and

secondly, by directing them to prepare and execute disaster management plans in their respective sectors of functioning,

thirdly, by making provisions for separate resource allocation for managing disasters, in form of the Disaster Mitigation Funds, and

fourthly by facilitating training of persons for disaster management through the National Institute for Disaster Management. 

Organisation setup:

The Act provides for setting up of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) under the Chairmanship of the Chief Ministers, District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) under the Chairmanship of Collectors/District Magistrates/Deputy Commissioners. The Act

further provides for the constitution of different Executive Committee at national and state levels. The Act also provides specific roles to local bodies in disaster management.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

In this structure, National Disaster Management Authority is the nodal authority for all disaster management actions in the country. Following enactment of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the NDMA was formally constituted with Prime Minister as its Chairperson and nine other members, and one such member to be designated as Vice-Chairperson. It is the policy making body that frames broad guidelines for the other ministries at the Centre and authorities at the state level. The state authorities further lay down the guidelines for ministries and departments at the state level and the districts falling in their respective jurisdictions. Similarly, district authorities direct the civil administration, departments and local authorities such as the municipalities, police department and civil administration. The Executive Committees at each level are responsible for execution of the tasks envisaged by the Authorities. Under its aegis, the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) for capacity building and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for response purpose have been set up. It also mandates the concerned Ministries and Departments to draw up their own plans in accordance with the National Plan. The Act further contains the provisions for financial mechanisms such as creation of funds for response, National Disaster Mitigation Fund and similar funds at the state and district levels for the purpose of disaster management.

National Executive Committee (NEC)

National Executive Committee is constituted to assist the National Authority in the performance of its functions. NEC consists of Home Secretary as its Chairperson, ex-officio, with other Secretaries to the Government of India in the Ministries or Departments. The Chief of Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, ex-officio, is also its Members.

State level Institutions

  1. State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)

SDMA is headed by the Chief Minister of the state, and lays down policies and plans for disaster management in the state. It approves the state plan in accordance with the guidelines laid down by NDMA, coordinates implementation of the state plan, and recommends provision of funds for mitigation and preparedness measures. SDMA also reviews the developmental plans of the different departments of the state to ensure integration of prevention, preparedness and mitigation measures.

  • State Executive Committee (SEC)

The State Executive Committee (SEC) assists SDMA in the performance of its functions and was headed by the Chief Secretary to the State Government. SEC coordinates and monitors the implementation of national policy, national plan and state plan.

District level Institutions

  1. District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)

DDMAs were headed by the District Collectors with the elected representative of local authority as the Co-Chairperson. DDMAs act as planning, coordinating and implementing bodies for disaster management at the district level. It was to prepare the District Disaster Management Plan and monitor implementation of the policy and disaster management plans

2. District Advisory Committee

In each district, the apex body for disaster management was called District Advisory Committee. The Committee was headed by the District Collector and the District Revenue Officer was Vice-Chairman. The main function of the District Advisory Committee was to co-ordinate the activities of various departments during the times of emergency in the district. Similarly, the Revenue Divisional Officer and the Sub Collector were responsible for relief operation at the division level. Local bodies too played an important role in disaster relief measures at local levels.

Issues with implementation:

  1. The State Disaster Management Plans (SDMP) demonstrate a high degree of sophistication when it comes to disaster response. However, there is potential for further clarity on roles and responsibilities regarding disaster risk management at the national level.
  2. There is a need for disaster risk reduction to be presented more prominently in the SDMPs. Disaster resilience is not a key feature of the plans, but a few state plans are making strides in this regard, placing a greater focus on learning and working in partnership.
  3. Equal legal importance is given to financing for disaster response and risk reduction at the national level, but there are limited funds for risk reduction across states, despite legal and legislative mandates for this.
  4. There is scant evidence of public–private partnerships and risk-transfer mechanisms being used.
  5. A lot of data needed for comprehensive vulnerability assessments are already being collected, but there is a need to layer existing scientific data with socioeconomic data for a composite analysis of how hazard exposure interacts with vulnerability.
  6. The SDMPs largely overlook climate change concerns; there is scope for using robust climate data or models.
  7. Capacity-building on emergency response is seen as the main tool for mainstreaming disaster risk management across different sectors. There is a need to expand these mainstreaming activities so that they include all stages of the disaster management cycle.
  8. All the SDMPs make explicit reference to considering the needs of women and marginalized groups, but their needs are considered primarily in the context of disaster response. 
  9. There is wide recognition of the need for community participation across all the SDMPs, but there is scope for greater clarity on what this means operationally.
  10. Social inclusion concerns need to be taken into account through village-level disaster management committees, which comprise representatives from marginalized groups.
  11. To a large extent, the state disaster management authorities only collect data after a disaster has happened; the systematic collection of data on pre-disaster conditions would help them to measure states’ ability to anticipate, absorb and adapt to shocks and stresses.

What can be done?

1. Clarify the division of responsibility among nodal institutions. Currently, responsibility for research, capacity-building and setting minimum standards for disaster relief are shared between the National Disaster Management Authority, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Institute of Disaster Management.

2. Revise the SDMPs to include a much greater emphasis on risk reduction, rather than just preparedness and response. Existing rules and regulations that impede the inclusion of measures for risk reduction need to be amended.

3. Build partnerships with and draw lessons from forerunner states such as Bihar and Gujarat on how to include risk reduction in plans more effectively. It is also important to mainstream risk reduction across the key state level development plans overseen by different government departments, not just state disaster management authorities.

4. Accountability mechanisms need to be specified. This will ensure that departments follow disaster risk-reduction considerations in their own development planning.

5. General guidelines and broad recommendations in many SDMPs need to be refined. They can be made into sharper prescriptions and directives

6. There is an urgent need to put the National Disaster Mitigation Fund and state disaster management funds into operation. States such as Bihar, which are leading in this regard, should share lessons on how to realize this at the state level.

7. States should have decision-making power regarding whether state disaster management authorities control funds for risk reduction, or whether these are distributed to government departments. Either way, state disaster management authorities should have some funds for demonstration projects, awareness-raising and training.

8. Public–private partnerships should be looked at more seriously as alternative modes of financing. Models such as the Surat Climate Change Trust, a collaboration between the private sector and the urban local body in Surat, Gujarat, should be studied and, if suitable, replicated.

9. Risk-transfer mechanisms and insurance should be scaled up to support risk reduction. Models such as the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute’s pilot initiative on hazard-indexed insurance in Guwahati, Assam, should be studied and, if suitable, replicated.

10. Revised SDMPs must demonstrate a better understanding of the social, economic and political factors that drive vulnerability, rather than focusing solely on the hazard exposure of particular geographic areas.

11. States should include downscaled climate projections into SDMPs, so that future and evolving risks can be taken into account; triangulate the vulnerability assessments in state action plans on climate change with those in SDMPs, specifically in terms of exposure, sensitivity and sectoral economic impacts; and undertake training on climate-smart disaster management for state and district-level authorities, focusing on practical actions that contribute to building resilience to climate extremes (drawing on the climate change risk-reduction measures recommended in state action plans on climate change, where relevant).

12. Using data that are already being uploaded onto platforms such as the Open Government Data Platform can help to synthesize a clearer understanding of vulnerability.

13. States should solicit advice from state-level and central scientific institutions (e.g. the Indian Institutes of Technology, think tanks and universities) on how to derive and deploy climate projections to inform disaster risk reduction, preparedness and response plans.

14. States should scale up efforts to mainstream climate change within district disaster management plans. Revised SDMPs should be more closely integrated with state climate change action plans, especially actions concerning adaptation and resilience-building.

15. Clearer guidelines need to be issued for the genuine participation of vulnerable communities in processes to develop district disaster management plans

Despite the emphasis on a paradigm shift to a preparedness approach by the government, most parts of the country continue to follow a relief-centric approach in disaster management, rather than a proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness path. 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 recognized, and all actors work hand-in-hand towards achieving disaster resilience.