Disaster management: This presentation is based on my experiences in disaster management after the earthquake in Kutch in 2001 and the
tsunami in 2004. What are disasters? It could be naturally occurring or man-made Natural calamities – floods, cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, hurricanes, avalanches, landslides etc. SOME SUDDEN WHILE SOME CAN BE PREDICTED AND MONITORED Grouping of natural calamities depending upon their potential to cause damage to human life and property. • While natural calamities like earth-quakes, droughts, floods and cyclones, forst fires, could be regarded as major, • hailstorms, avalanches, landslides, fire accidents, etc. whose impact is localised and intensity of the damage is much less can be categorised as minor calamities. At the outset I would like to point out that disaster mangement is a vry complex matter that spans from disaster forecasting to after-disaster procedures, steps and policies. • • • Disaster prevention/mitigation – vulnerability assessment and dissemnitaion; prevenive structural measures (eg. Earthquake prone zones); Early warning systems Disaster preparedness, mitigation and response Contingency plans to ameliorate the social, economic and environmental impacts of the calamity
To this end some of the steps that India has taken are: • National Disaster Management Framework • The Tenth Five Year Plan document has a detailed chapter on Disaster Management. Mitigation is being institutionalized into developmental planning. • Measures for flood mitigation were taken from 1950 onwards. As against the total of 40 million hectares prone to floods, area of about 15 million hectares have been protected by construction of embankments. • Drought Control: various programmes launched including Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP), National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA), Watershed Development Programme for Shifting Cultivation (WDPSC), Integrated Water Development Project (IWDP), Integrated Afforestation and Eco-development Project Scheme (IAEPS). • Flood preparedness and response - National Disaster Risk Management Programme in all the flood-prone States.
This project has also been given in-principle clearance by the Planning Commission and is being taken up with World Bank assistance. schools. developing/organizing the preparation of handbooks/pamphlets/type designs for earthquake resistant construction. training and education etc. providing advice and guidance to the States on various aspects of earthquake mitigation. water and power supply units. with an estimated cost of Rs. USAID and European Union. Landslide Hazard Mitigation: A National Core Group has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary. evolving systems for training of municipal engineers as also practicing architects and engineers in the private sector in the salient features of Bureau of Indian Standards codes and the amended byelaws. coastal shelter belt plantation in areas which are prone to storm surges. evolving a system of certification of architects/engineers for testing their knowledge of earthquake resistant construction. Review of building bye-laws and their adoption National Earthquake Risk Mitigation Project . provide advise and guidance to the State Governments on various aspects of landslide mitigation. and the Heads of Geological Survey of India and National Remote Sensing Agency for drawing up a strategy and plan of action for mitigating the impact of landslides. Secretary. National Core Group for Earthquake Risk Mitigation constituted consisting of experts in earthquake engineering and administrators assigned with the responsibility of drawing up a strategy and plan of action for mitigating the impact of earthquakes. This project envisages construction of cyclone shelters. airports/airport control towers. railway stations. The programme includes detailed evaluation and retrofitting of lifeline buildings such as hospitals. National Cyclone Mitigation Project: A project for Cyclone Mitigation (estimated cost Rs.An Earthquake Mitigation Project has been drawn up. the States are being assisted to draw up State.1132 crore. monitor the activities relating to landslide mitigation including landslide hazard zonation and to evolve early warning systems and protocols for landslides/landslide risk reduction. village disaster management plans are being developed in
Earthquake Risk Mitigation: A comprehensive programme has been taken up for earthquake risk mitigation. Department of Science and Technology. working out systems for assisting the States in the seismically vulnerable zones to adopt/integrate appropriate Bureau of Indian Standards codes in their building byelaws. bus stands and important administrative buildings in the States in seismic zones IV and V. telecommunication buildings. district and Block level disaster management plans. 1050 crore) has been drawn up in consultation with the cyclone prone States. Under this project. Disaster Risk Management Programme: A Disaster Risk Management Programme has been taken up in 169 districts in 17 multi-hazard prone States with the assistance from UNDP. strengthening of warning systems. evolving systems for training of masons and carry out intensive awareness generation campaigns. Road Transport & Highways. Border Management and comprising of Secretary.
relief coordination. 1. The definition of the affected people still has not been given a rational approach and there is a lot of confusion of who is primarily affected and secondarily affected and not affected.
Reality: Disaster management is a social process and hence mirrors all the biases and prejudices that operate in society. Some of the problems can be identified as: • The major problem that can be identified is the limited scope of the “affected person” definition by the state. presently. 4. farmers. In fact. 7. In many villages people who have totally lost their livelihood were told that the government officials told them that they are not entitled for relief since they were not affected.•
conjunction with the Panchayati Raj Institutions and disaster management teams consisting of village volunteers are being trained in various preparedness and response functions such as search and rescue. Disaster Awareness in School Curriculum: Disaster management as a subject in Social Sciences has been introduced in the school curriculum for Class VIII & IX. however. It has also not meant that these communities have been targeted with adequate relief. 8. it is these communities. Flaws in the government policy The many flaws in the approach of the State Government in its very approach to relief and rehabilitation have contributed substantially to the impending food scarcity. 9. 6. has not translated into an effective mitigation of the losses that have been suffered. first aid. 5. 2. While the initial approach was based on the innumerable lives lost and property damaged it was later rectified to a certain extent with the recognition of petty traders. etc as livelihood affected persons. Caste gender issues Identification of who is affected relief – when does it end and when does rehabilitation begin: assumption of linearity loss of livelihood collapse of economy trauma housing confidence building measures to restart livelihood – especially going back into the sea
. shelter management etc. especially the landless agricultural labourers who are facing a serious food scarcity. This is is never taken into account 1. 3. landless agricultural labourers. 10. Even with the identified categories this recognition.
which focused entirely on fishing villages and at that on the Meenavar community.( non fishing communities) except for those whose mandate is to work with these groups. the fisherpeople have received 60 kgs of rice while the landless agricultural labourers have received only 5 kgs. In Karaikal for example. Thus. The distribution of relief by the non-government agencies also suffer from this problem of having sidelined the other categories. Rehabilitation has been jumped into without relief being done properly. Unlike the Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat. The inexplicable stoppage of relief at a preliminary stage and jumping into so-called rehabilitation process can also be blamed for this food scarcity. This differential treatment has resulted in the landless. In Nagapattinam the distribution of relief was coordinated by the NGO Coordination Centre. facing a serious food crisis. then personally come to the Collectorate and submit the proposal. This when accepted by the administration would provide the people 7 kgs of rice and Rs 15/. The local administration's( Nagapattinam) opinion was that under this “special” scheme the affected people have to identify some suitable work. the Food for Work scheme suffers from over bureaucratization and lack of an imaginative approach. The local administration has viewed the affected persons as a “community” without being sensitive to the fact that the 'community' is not homogenous and there exist serious caste-cased divisions where the more powerful communities obviously dominate. Even before all categories of affected people were properly “identified” relief was stopped and thus those “identified” or rather accepted as affected the relief was stopped. This is inexplicable since both categories of people have lost their livelihoods to the tsunami. Thus the interests of the most marginalized are not taken care of despite the fact that they are as vulnerable as the rest if not more. There was no attempt made to assess the losses and needs in the villages where agricultural lands had been salinated. the fisherman having lost his boat / nets and thus the ability to fish while the landless agricultural labourer has lost his/her ability to get work on lands since these were salinated. the tsunami here has almost entirely obliterated the livelihoods of lakhs of people.•
The hierarchical prioritizing by the government wherein the fisherpeople are at the top and the landless somewhere at the bottom is a major flaw in terms of the constitutional mandate to substantive equality by the government. One reason for this being the incorrect assessment of the impact of the tsunami. This has combined with an inadequate monitoring of relief with the end result that whatever relief is supplied is cornered by dominant communities. unless the livelihoods are restored there is no way possible for the affected people to fend for themselves.as daily
. get it approved by the Ward Members or Panchayat President. mostly dalits. Given the reality of destroyed livelihoods and lack of earning opportunities of the affected populations.
The various categories of occupations that they are engaged in. they would receive 7 kgs of rice and Rs 15/-. Pointers towards a more inclusive approach The immediate need is for several policy decisions on issues that have some to the fore yet have not been given adequate attention by the government. disabled. National Family Benefit Scheme and the National Maternity Benefit Scheme must be activated . elders. Firstly towards understanding the impact on them and secondly aid in framing any kind of relief and rehabilitation policy for them Compensation Related F It is imperative that the government works out a compensation package for those not catered to yet. etc must be immediately announced and disbursed. if sanctioned. they would have to travel to the Collectorate and get the proposal approved. widows. would have to prepare a proposal and get it approved by the local administration. Firstly. after they get it attested by the Ward Members and Panchayat President. This could be worked out in such fashion so as to enable the families to purchase the livestock lost. This would necessarily imply compensation for loss of livestock as well. which amounts to a grand total that is less than the stipulated minimum wages. The point to note here is that the compensation must be announced in the names of the tillers i. Relief F Relief and rehabilitation must not be viewed as two mutually exclusive processes. the process that has been envisaged for the scheme requires people. 2. single mothers.wages. Instead the government should view these as parallel processes where the relief
What all the problems noted above indicate is the serious need for an inclusive livelihood rehabilitation policy for those sections of the affected societies who are economically and socially deprived and inevitably are either labourers in fishing industry and agriculture or marginal farmers. F The government must immediately announce and disburse an ex-gratia amount for the landless agricultural labourers working on lands that have been salinated.e. For all these efforts. yet to recover from the tsunami. Then. to the owner where s/he is the tiller or to the sharecropper / tenant where s/he is the tiller. This serves several purposes. F Pensions for destitude women. The National Old Age Pension Scheme. Enumerating the affected communities F The enumeration of the total populations affected by the tsunami is a necessary task without which it would be difficult to ensure their food security. also needs to be enumerated. It is also imperative that the government immediately announces a compensation package for the tillers where agricultural lands have been salinated.
the stoppage of relief is inexplicable. particularly for children. pregnant women. which would then result in the marginalization of the already marginalized sections of society. rendering old people increasingly vulnerable. F The Annapurna Scheme should also be immdiatley activated and food grains should be distributed to deistitute/Senior citizens covered under the National Old Age Pension Scheme. disabled people. etc. This is necessary as one needs to address the problem of nutritional security apart from mere food security . In the case of farmers and landless labourers for whom there is no rehabilitation plan or process initiated. This must be done in consultations and with the active participation of the panchayats. This form of relief outlined above must be continued until such time where the affected families obtain the capacity and the opportunity to resume normal livelihood activities. F The balwadis / anganwadis must be immediately restarted where they are yet to be so and this structure must be used for ensuring the nutrition of not only children but also of destitude women. Relief has to be continued till rehabilitation is completed and not stopped when the process of restoring livelihoods has just begun. F Interim livelihood rehabilitation Relief is only a temporary exercise but necessary until livelihood activities are resumed and to this extent the government must take several steps to ensure that the livelihood activities are resumed as soon as possible. It must be ensured that the relief that is distributed consists not only of cereals. CBOs and NGOs. This is a pressing need in view of the number of deaths in the tsunami affected areas . F The first step in this process is the distribution of relief cards to all affected families. Care must be taken to see that the caste biases do not mar this process. The government could provide loans to the SHGs to facilitate this thereby also providing some alternate livelihood option to few of the affected people. For the fisher-people where there is some semblance of rehabilitation processes set in motion too this holds true and relief has to be ensured till they are back in the sea. F Since the situation is fast approaching a crisis there must be an immediate round of distribution of foodgrain relief to all categories of affected people and not merely those who have got relief in the first round. § Announcement of special Food / Cash – for – work (FCW) scheme The government must declare the entire Nagapattinam and Karaikal districts as tsunami affected since the economic ramifications of the tsunami is far beyond just the immediately affected coastal villages and announce for immediate FCW
. the vegetables and fruits could be supplied through the village Self Help Groups (SHGs) at subsidized rates.part ends only when rehabilitation is complete. The Mid-day meal scheme needs to be extended to provide nutritious meals three times a day to these vulnerable sections of society. pregnant women and old people. While the foodgrains should be distributed through the PDS infrastructure. pulses and oil but also of vegetables and fruits.
1.The ordinary FCW schemes must be run for a minimum period of 15 days a month. It is imperative that the scheme is made
. milk diaries. it is undeniable that in any formulation of rehabilitation packages for livelihoods the people of the fishing and farming communities that do not own boats. non agricultural wage earners.§
schemes wherever demanded. there are currently surveys being carried out by the revenue departments of various districts to assess the extent of inundation and the degree of salination. marginal farmers. The focus as per the scheme should be on the rural poor ready to do manual and unskilled labour in and around the village habitat. This could include: F The government must declare a policy of providing agricultural land to landless dalits and adivasi agricultural labourers. nets or lands generally remain ignored. What is of grave concern is that these questions of livelihoods of those who are also affected by the tsunami. Thus low-rate loans for initial capital could be provided for establishment of such ventures. Be that as it may. In terms of the farming community that owns the agricultural lands that were inundated by sea waters. For instance. Once again the preference as per the scheme should be on agricultural wage earners. The Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana must be activated immediately. People could be trained in the initial phase receiving the food/cash as per the scheme until they are capable of running these ventures independently. with the active participation of the people. schemes for dalit and adivasi families. and do also form a part of the fishing community. To this extent the government must pass immediate orders for the activation of FCW schemes in the affected villages and the neighbouring villages as well. What is clear is that those who own no property and are merely dependent on those who do own property merit no attention in rehabilitation efforts. It is time for the government to shed its inertia and adopt a pro-poor policy in the tsunami-affected villages. There have been indications from the government that a clear policy will be formulated once the situation is properly assessed. Permanent rehabilitation The government in its orders has till now adopted a property-owner centric policy in addressing livelihood issues through rehabilitation packages and only recognized those who own boats and go out to sea as well as those who own and operate small shops in the villages. the work could be establishment of cooperatives for brick kilns. the tsunami affected areas must be allotted the money and grains immediately. etc. There already exists a scheme (TADHCO) whereby the government purchases 1 acre of land for dalit agricultural labourers. Since as per the scheme 5% of the funds and food grains should be retained in the Ministry and utilized in areas of acute distress arising out of natural calamities. has not yet been mentioned in any governmental policy. The government must envisage.
Other important issues: Trauma care and counseling: Child Care Centres: Livelihood and alternate employment issues: Housing and Reconstruction:
. which can be used to generate livelihood options such as livestock. etc. F Creation of assets. F Training and creation of employment opportunities for dalits and adivasis The government must also envisage and propose skill-training opportunities for dalits and adivasis. This has o be done in consultation with the communities.compulsory for all affected villages and a minimum acreage stipulated for purchase for such disbursal.