[Polity] 2nd ARC: Disaster Management (3rd Report) Gist of Chapter 1 to 3

Disaster Management: EarthQuakes

[Polity] 2nd ARC: Disaster Management (3rd Report) Gist of Chapter 1 to 3

  • More than 8000 km of coastline in the east and the west face the hazards of tropical cyclones,
  • A ‘super cyclone’ hit x Orissa in  1999
    • caused extensive damage killing about 10,000 people and lakhs of livestock population.
    • The economy, infrastructure and environment were devastated
  • An effective cyclone disaster prevention and mitigation plan requires
  • efficient cyclone forecast – and warning services
  • rapid dissemination of warnings to the government agencies, particularly marine interests like ports, fisheries and shipping and to the general public
  • construction of cyclone shelters in vulnerable areas, a ready machinery for evacuation of people to safer areas and community preparedness


How Tsunami works?

  • Tsunamis are large waves generated by sudden movements of the ocean floor that displace a large volume of water.
  • Tsunamis are usually associated with earthquakes
  • But tsunamis can also be triggered by other phenomena like submarine or terrestrial landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions or even bolide (e.g, asteroid, meteor, comet) impacts.
  • Tsunamis have the potential to strip beaches, uproot plantations, and inundate large inland tracts and extensively damage life and property in coastal area.
  • The tsunami in December 2004 caused severe damage to life and property in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Islands,
    • The confirmed death toll in India was 12,000+ while 5,640 people are still unaccounted for.
    • The total estimated value of damages is Rs.11,000+ crores (Approx US $2.56 billion)


How to prevent Flood Damage?

  • The term flood is generally used when the water-flows in rivers, streams and other water bodies cannot be contained.
  • Floods occur regularly in India affecting about 10% of area.
  • According to the estimates of the National Flood Commission (1980), commonly known as the Rashtriya Barh Ayog, Assam and Bihar are the States worst affected by floods followed by U.P. and West Bengal.
  • In many cases, the natural process of flooding is aggravated by man-made due to
    • unplanned or unauthorized construction activities;
    • Increasing pace of urbanization,
  • The incidence of floods in recent times in urban areas such as Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara and other places is symptomatic of this trend and is the direct result of unauthorized construction activities.
  • poor urban planning and implementation,
  • lack of investment in storm water drainage and sewerage
  • The country has to shift towards efficient management of flood plains, disaster preparedness, response planning, flood forecasting and warning
  • There should be strict regulation of settlements and economic activity in the flood plain zones along with flood proofing, to minimise the loss of life and property on account of floods.
  • Flood forecasting activities should be modernized



  • Landslides are mass movements of rocks, debris or earth, down mountain slopes or riverbanks. Such movements may occur gradually, but sudden sliding can also occur without warning.
  • They often take place in conjunction with earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions
  • Prolonged rainfall causing heavy landslides block the flow of rivers for quite some time, which on bursting can cause havoc to human settlements downstream
  • hilly terrains of India, particularly in the Himalayas and the Western Ghats, are most vulnerable to landslides.
  • In contrast, the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills are geologically stable
  • regulate settlements in hazard prone area
  • construction of retaining walls against steep slopes


  • sliding down of snow cover on mountain slope causes avalanches
  • Avalanches create various crisis situations for the local administration;
  • road traffic may be blocked and communication links to vital areas may be disrupted
  • winter sports may be disturbed stranding tourists in places with scant facilities.
  • Small rivers may be blocked creating danger of down stream flooding.
  • Avalanches may sometimes hit or bury human settlements down the slopes
  • Solution
    • remove snow deposits on slopes by blasting,
    • predicting avalanches and evacuating people from vulnerable areas.

Industrial Disasters

  • Among the man made disasters, probably the most devastating (after wars) are industrial disasters.
  • These disasters may be caused by chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical or other process failures in an industrial plant due to accident or negligence,
  • But they also cause widespread damage within and/or outside the plant
  • worst example = Methyl Iso-cynate gas leak in 1984 from the Union Carbide Factory in Bhopal (known as the Bhopal Gas Tragedy) which has
  • so far claimed more than 20,000 lives and injured several lakh persons

Reforms after Bhopal Gas tragedy

  • In the pre-Bhopal Gas Tragedy era, industrial safety was governed by legislations like the Factories Act, 1948 and the Explosives Act, 1884.
  • These laws proved to be inadequate to provide safety to workers as well as to the people living in the surrounding areas
  • So, The Environment Protection Act, 1986 was enacted.
  • Stringent environmental protection laws have prevented major industrial disasters after Bhopal, but minor disasters do take place on and off site and also during transportation of hazardous materials, which claim a number of lives each year besides creating environmental problems.
  • With rapid industrialization, the threat of industrial disasters has increased.
  • However, in spite of the existence of a large number of laws, their enforcement has left much to be desired


In India, the major sources of epidemics can be broadly categorized as follows

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