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Disaster Management - Dr Banda Seneviratne (2008)

Disaster Management - Dr Banda Seneviratne (2008)

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Published by Senaviratna
nature is striking back and disaster frequency is increasing. poor is affected more and more eroding their ability to save and have a better life
nature is striking back and disaster frequency is increasing. poor is affected more and more eroding their ability to save and have a better life

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Senaviratna on May 27, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Chapter 1IntroductionThe definition of the word "disaster", in this book is placed withinthe context of development and change. The book will usemethodologies from natural sciences, social and managementsciences and traditional belief systems, because this book is aimedspecially at investigating the status of disaster in the space andtime of the developing world.Disaster is an event that requires help from an outside source torecover as the immediate living environment of the affected hasbeen temporarily or permanently destroyed. It is an event that canoccur unexpectedly or due to negligence of governance. When itoccurs, a disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriouslydisrupts the functioning of a community or society and causeshuman, material, economic or environmental losses that exceed thecommunity's or society's ability to cope using its own resources.Though often caused by nature, disasters of human origin havebegun to kill many more people than natural disasters in thedeveloping world.
“For a disaster to be entered into the database of the UN's
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), at least oneof the following criteria must be met:a report of 10 or more people killeda report of 100 people affecteda declaration of a state of emergency by the relevantgovernmenta request by the national government for international
assistance “
) In the context of developing world where, democratic institutionsare not properly established and socio-political corruption leads tonon-adherence to scientific ways of development resulting incontinuing poverty, the identification of disaster has to be extendedbeyond the common understanding. In here the definitions utilisedby the developed world has to be extended to include the types of disasters of natural and societal origin present in the developingworld. This extended definition will account for the social disaster,
which is not considered within the general understanding of disaster in developed world.Therefore this book written specially for the use of students of SriLanka, will present the extended concept of disaster, which addsfollowing criteria to the ISDR definition(http://www.irinnews.org). In addition to ISDR definition of disaster, this book includesevents resulting from negligence due to failure to establishdemocratic institutions, socio-political corruption and non-adherence to scientific ways of development as disasters. This isbecause the problems of development are today considered a resultof lack of freedom (Sen, 1999) and non-utilisation of capabilities.For example, poverty of the farming population in Sri Lanka isrelated to inability of the nation to find a market for theiragricultural products, increase efficiency in agriculture and lack of new vision on diversification of production. The farmer economyrelated media reports indicate that there are serious problems in thedistribution of fertiliser, irrigation management and cropdiversification. A survey conducted between 2005 January 1
and2006 January 1
revaled that there were 413 different cases of reported corruption in four daily newspapers in Sri Lanka. Furtherthere were 216 cases of political and administrative corruptionreported in media during the same period. Political andadministrative corruption is recorded in about 12,000 web sites andWorld Bank, Asian development Bank and Japan InternationalCooperation Authority have warned of high level of corruption ingovernment tender procedures.The effect of this inefficiency and unscientific approach results inpoor quality roads, public transport, and traffic congestion whichleads to a massive destruction of resources of fuel, property andlife amounting to about 10 to 12 billion Rupees annually making itthe second most damaging disaster after war. Most recent reports(LMD, 2006) indicate that 71 percent of the population believe thatgovernment sector is corrupt and the level of efficiency of publicservices is about 15 percent. A survey conducted in about 120government offices between 2004 and 2006 by a group of MBAstudents indicate that they are highly inefficient with long delays inattending to revenue collection and road repair.About 200 (Seneviratne, 2003) surveys on poverty conducted byvarious authors since 2000 indicate that corruption is one of themajor social disasters in Sri Lanka, which leads to an annual loss
of about 600 to 1000 billion Rupees. The situation in most of theother developing countries is not much different from the situationin Sri Lanka and these countries are poor mainly due to financialcorruption in them. Therefore, in the context of developing worldcorruption and related anti-social activities have to be treated asdisasters, because they lead to poverty of their people and in turnpoverty reduces the ability of the society to plan and implementdisaster management systems.Social construct of disasterThe social construct of disaster can be personal and communal, butthe damage can be explained within the domains of scientificdefinition of disaster. It is clear that it is the effect not the scale of disaster which is important in the social construct of disaster in thedeveloping world. This is because that the effect of disaster in thedeveloping world has only a limited and temporary support fromthe institutional or any other system in them. Therefore,immediately after the clearance of the first impact of the disaster,people (communally or individually) have to find avenues of recovery by themselves. Long term recovery depends totally onthe ability of the people (communally or individually) to findsolutions to the problems associated with recovery. This isbecause decision making in disaster management in developingcountries are not conducted within the principles of disastermanagement. Therefore person, extended family and communityhave to gather help and support the victims. Therefore thedefinition of disaster has to be extended to include many disasterswhich are not considered to be disasters in the developed world.The following life experiences show the effect of disaster onpeople (communally or individually) in the developing world.Some of the incidents report less than 10lives lost and do notrequire outside help if they have occurred in the developed world,where social and insurance support is available. Therefore thisbook includes many types of disasters which are not listed asdisasters in the books written in the developed world.
have lived here for three generations, we never knew that
there will be a disaster like this” A plantation worker commenting
on Beragala Land Slide, which killed 13 people. Property damagewas estimated at 2 million Rupees at 1966 value.
the paddy fields are gone, our livelihoods are totally
destroyed” a farmer at Kolonne, Sri Lanka, after a mudslide
destroyed about 20 hectares of Paddy. 7 people lost their lives andproperty damage was about 10 million Rupees (1966 Rupee value).

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