Disaster Management

A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins. Disaster Management can be defined as the organization and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies, in particular preparedness, response and recovery in order to lessen the impact of disasters. Disaster management Is a systematic process of planning, organizing, and leading in order to effectively manage the after-effects of a disaster. It aims to reduce the negative impact or consequences of adverse events.

Types of disasters

Disasters can be classified as natural, man-made and human-induced.

Ex. of natural disasters :

Ex. of man-made disasters :
Nuclear leaks
Chemical leaks / spills
Terrorist activities
Structural collapse

Ex. of human-induced disasters :
Global warming
Large scale deforestation
Large scale biological warfare

Disaster Management Cycle

Disaster management is an enormous task. Disasters are not confined to any particular location, neither do they disappear as quickly as they appear. Therefore, it is essential that there is proper management to optimize efficiency of planning and response. Due to limited resources, collaborative efforts at the governmental, private and community levels are necessary.

Disaster Management, and Methodology

Disaster management is a cyclical process; the end of one phase is the beginning of another Timely decision making during each phase results in greater preparedness, better warnings, reduced vulnerability and/or the prevention of future disasters.
Mitigation: Measures put in place to minimize the results from a disaster.
Examples: building codes and zoning; vulnerability analyses; public education.
Preparedness: Planning how to respond.
Example: preparedness plans, emergency exercises/training; warning systems.
Response: Initial actions taken as the event takes place. It involves efforts to minimize the hazards created by a disaster.
Examples: evacuation, search and rescue; emergency relief.
Recovery: Returning the community to normal. Ideally, the affected area should be put in a condition equal to or better than it was before the disaster took place.
Examples: temporary housing; grants; medical care.


Disaster prevention
These are activities designed to provide permanent protection from disasters. Not all disasters, particularly natural disasters, can be prevented, but the risk of loss of life and injury can be mitigated with good evacuation plans, environmental planning and design standards. In January 2005, 168 Governments adopted a 10-year global plan for natural disaster risk reduction called the Hyogo Framework. It offers guiding principles, priorities for action, and practical means for achieving disaster resilience for vulnerable communities.

Disaster preparedness
These activities are designed to minimise loss of life and damage – for example by removing people and property from a threatened location and by facilitating timely and effective rescue, relief and rehabilitation. Preparedness is the main way of reducing the impact of disasters. Community-based preparedness and management should be a high priority in physical therapy practice management.

Disaster relief
This is a coordinated multi-agency response to reduce the impact of a disaster and its long-term results. Relief activities include rescue, relocation, providing food and water, preventing disease.

Disaster management in India

In order to manage the various kinds of disasters occurring sporadically in various parts of India, The Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for the constitution of the following institutions at national, state and district levels.
National Disaster Management Authority
State Disaster Management Authorities
District Disaster Management Authorities
National Institute of Disaster Management and
National Disaster Response Force