International Day for Disaster Reduction is being observed on 13th October to raise awareness about disaster risk reduction. Disasters are normally classified by their origin; natural or man-made. People are becoming more and more vulnerable to disasters of all types, including earthquake, flood, cyclones, landslides, droughts, accidents, plane crash, forests fire, etc. The term Disaster means “A disaster is a natural or man-made event that negatively affects life, property, livelihood or industry often resulting in permanent changes to human societies, ecosystems and environment.”
Disaster is a very common occurrence to the human society. There is no country that is untouched from disaster, though susceptibility to disaster varies. Any type of disaster can disrupt essential services, such as health care, electricity, water, sewage/garbage removal, transportation and communications. Such disruption can seriously affect the health, social and economic networks of local communities and countries. Disasters have a major and long-lasting impact on people long after the immediate effect has been mitigated. Our country, due to its geographical locations and geological formations, is highly disaster prone. Naturally, there is a tremendous pressure on the natural resources, which directly or indirectly lead to the occurrence of disasters, namely floods, droughts, landslides, earthquakes, etc. So it is important that one must be prepared with a systematic disaster management plan.
Natural disasters happen all over the world and they can have an adverse effect on people’s lives and the environments in which they live. Natural disasters are caused by nature and there is nothing that we can do to prevent them occurring. However, there are different causes that lead to natural disasters and being aware of those enables us to remain prepared when such disasters are likely to occur anytime. Natural disasters can take many different forms, and the duration can range from an hourly disruption to days or weeks of ongoing destruction. We have witnessed huge natural disasters claiming large number of human lives but we normally have a bad habit of treating disasters in terms of statistics. More than 200 million people are affected by calamities every year. If we need to change anything, it has to start from our home. As we know that our family may not be together when all off a sudden a disaster strikes, it is important to create a plan in advance. One must find reliable information sources, warning systems and alert systems in advance to reduce causalties. We may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with us as we will have no time to search for the supplies we need or shop for them. Disaster can take place anywhere and at any time. It is important to know what to do and have a plan before a calamity occurs. Every family must take responsibility for their own disaster preparedness from their home itself. People talk about business continuity plan during a disaster, natural disaster insurance, socio-economic effects of a disaster, the preparedness on the national level, and so on. We all know that it is impossible to avoid calamities, but it isn’t impossible to plan ahead of time so that we can minimize the impact that any given disaster might have on us or on our family’s health, safety and property. One must remember that the future belongs to those who remain prepared.
Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)