A disaster is a situation wherein scarcity of resources comes in, which propels assistance from different levels of government depending on the severity of the disaster.
According to WHO, the range of threats imposed by the virtue of disaster is very broad and public health is constantly monitored. The various threats that can affect public health include infectious disease outbreaks, unsafe food, and water, Chemical and radiation contamination, natural and technical hazards, health consequences of climate change. To combat these challenges, countries are encouraged to strengthen their capacities for health emergencies and disaster management in order to incorporate measures for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
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Roles and Responsibilities during disaster management:
There should be some disaster management arrangements in order to provide support and assistance for the public:
- Disaster management groups: They generally operate on the local, district, and state levels and are responsible for the planning, organization, coordination, and implementation of all measures in order to prevent/mitigate disaster, preparation, response, and recovery from disaster situations.
- Coordination centers: At local, district, and state levels to support groups in disaster management for coordinating information, resources, and services necessary for disaster operations.
- Disaster management plans: In order to ensure appropriate measures for disaster prevention, preparation, response and recovery at local, district and state levels,
- Functional lead agencies: Disaster management functions and responsibilities of state government are managed and coordinated
- Hazard specific primary agencies: They are responsible for the management and coordination of combating specific hazards.
- Specific purpose committees: These committees are either temporary or permanent and they are established under the authority of disaster management groups for specific purposes relating to disaster management.
Prevention of disasters:
- Resilience: Disaster resilient teams are those that work together to understand and manage their risk. This is the responsibility of all sectors, including government, business, NGOs, and individuals.
- Disaster management: Various measures such as undertaking risk assessment and managing, supporting risk assessment and management, understanding residual risk management from risk management process, documentation and review of factors causing hazards and using risk assessment tools to inform mitigation, preparedness, response, continuity and recovery planning process can help in controlling disasters on substantial levels.
- Mitigation strategies: Various measures such as hazard-specific control activities, infrastructure design improvements, land use planning and design decisions, community awareness campaigns, capital works to reduce the impact of disasters can help in mitigation of disasters to a significant extent.
Preparedness for disasters:
Preparedness arrangements: Key considerations for disaster management planning includes:
- Understanding of hazardous exposures, vulnerabilities, and triggers.
- Community awareness, education, engagement, information, and warnings.
- Information sharing
- Interoperability and capability development.
- Plans within the disaster management environment:
- State Disaster Management Plan: All disaster events whether natural or caused by human acts should be managed according to SDMP.
- District disaster management plan: It includes making arrangements within the disaster district to provide whole government planning and coordination capability to support local governments in disaster management.
- Local Disaster Management Plans: The development of an LDMP should be based on the all-hazards approach to disaster management and steps to mitigate the potential risks as well as to identify appropriate response and recovery strategy.
- Sub plans: This includes communication plans, Resupply plans, Evacuation Plans, Transport Plans, Recovery Plans.
- Business Continuity plan: This includes incorporating stability for service delivery during events.
- Identify, Prevent, and Manage risks.
- Adapt the all-hazards approach.
- Expedite response and recovery if an accident or crisis occurs.
- Functional Plans: A functional plan is developed by lead agencies to address specific planning requirements attached to each function.
- Hazard Specific plans: It is developed by a state government agency with assigned lead responsibility and identifies appropriate actions to address the situation.
- Operational Plans: An operational plan is a response plan which outlines a problem/ concern/Vulnerability and identifies appropriate actions to address the situation.
- Contingency plans: Contingency plan is developed to assist with managing a gap in capability to ensure services are maintained.
- Education and engagement planning: Education, raising awareness, and engaging with the community to create collaboration to create collaboration, coordination, and understanding among all stakeholders.
Planning falls into 2 broad categories: Deliberate and immediate.
- Deliberate Planning: Deliberate planning addresses key risks by describing:
- Purpose of the plan
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Coordination of tasks
- Priorities for relevant areas based on identified risks
- Trigger and escalation point to enact sub-plans
- Resources required
- Communication, consultation, and collaboration required.
- Immediate Planning: Immediate planning is event-based and is based on the development of situational awareness. Immediate planning will identify worst-case scenarios by assessing actual or impeding events characteristics and projecting potential impacts and consequences.
- Activation and triggers: Activation and trigger procedures are informed by the risk management process based on potential hazards or disaster events occurring in that particular locality. In order to safeguard the lives of individuals during disaster events, special training is given to all members and all those people engaged in responsibilities for situational awareness activities.
- Disaster Coordination Centres: Disaster coordination centres bring together organisations to ensure effective disaster management before, during and after an event. The primary functions of disaster coordination centres are as follows:
- Forward Planning: Analysis of future requirements and preliminary investigations to aid response to potential requests for assistance.
- Resource Planning: Implementation of operational decisions of the disaster coordinator.
- Information management: Provision of prompt and relevant information across local, district and state levels concerning any disaster events.
- Financial Arrangements: Disaster management groups must plan financial services to support frontline response operations and ensure the appropriate management of financial arrangements.
- Communication and systems for public information and warnings:
- Local Communications: Effective use of communication channels such as SMS for mobiles, email, landline, fax, web, social media, broadcast media available for all stakeholders and community members in selected areas.
- Standard emergency warning systems: A special wailing siren sound can be used as an alert to be played on public media to draw attention to the emergency warning.
- Emergency Alert: A national telephone warning system is used to send voice messages to landlines and text messages to mobile phones within a defined area about likely or actual emergencies.
- Tsunami Notifications: In case of severe weather events and hazards, we can release notifications in the form of Tsunami bulletins, watches, warnings, cancellations, and event summaries.
- Media Management: Media management is essential for disaster management planning as it is engaged in informing about potential hazards to a large number of people, identifies preferred spokespersons for factual information such as evacuation measures, road closures, etc.
Evacuation and Shelter Arrangements:
Evacuation involves 5 stages:
Common logistics categories during disaster management involves:
- Managing requests for assistance (including offers of assistance):
- Financial donations for immediate financial relief and assistance.
- Volunteers: individuals, groups, or organizations that offer to assist a disaster-affected community.
- Goods and services offered by members of the public, community, businesses, organizations, and corporate entities.
- Corporate donations.
- Emergency supply: Appropriate disaster management planning, current supplier register helps in the acquisition and management of emergency supplies and services in support of disaster operations.
- Council to council arrangements: Needs of councils affected by natural disasters are fulfilled by the council to council arrangements and it helps to support unaffected councils and their colleagues during these events.
- Resupply operations: It is carried out in the following manner:
- Resupply for isolated communities
- Isolated rural property resupply
- Resupply of stranded persons.
The need for recovery arises from the range of disasters, often providing an opportunity to rebuild a stronger, more resilient community. The recovery process often begins during the response to an event and may continue long term. Recovery requires collaboration between all levels of disaster management arrangements, businesses, NGOs, and the community.