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IMD launches India’s 1st weather hazard & vulnerability atlas

IMD launches India’s 1st weather hazard & vulnerability atlas

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  • GS 3 || Disaster Management || Disaster Management || Preparedness & Response

Why in the news?

  • Recently, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) launched India’s 1st Climate Hazards and Vulnerability Atlas.

About

  • It is developed by the scientists at the Climate Research and Services (CRS) office of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune.
  • It is based on 14 extreme weather events and the risks they pose to the local population, livelihoods, and economy of each district.
    • The atlas features extreme rainfall, drought, cold-wave, heat-wave, dust storms, hail storms, thunderstorms, cyclones, snowfall, lightning, winds, and fog. 
  • The hazards and vulnerability values have been calculated utilizing the Met department’s historical climate data.
  • Each weather phenomenon’s month-wise hazard levels posed to the respective district has been enlisted in this one-of-its-kind atlas.The atlas mapping would help reduce the impact of disasters and mitigation of disasters thereby helping in Disaster management.

Disaster Management

  • As per the Disaster Management Act, 2005, “disaster management” means a continuous and integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating, and implementing measures that are necessary or expedient for
    • Prevention of danger or threat of any disaster
    • Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences;
    • Capacity-building;
    • Preparedness to deal with any disaster;
    • Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster;
    • Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster; evacuation, rescue, and relief
    • Rehabilitation and reconstruction;
  • Disaster management includes seven administrative decisions and operational activities that involve-
    • Prevention
    • Mitigation
    • Preparedness
    • Response
    • Recovery
    • Rehabilitation

Three Phases of Disaster Management

  • Pre – Disaster-Before a disaster reduce the potential for human, material, or environmental losses caused by hazards and ensure that these losses are minimized when the disaster strikes.
    • Prevention and Mitigation
      • Mitigation embraces all measures taken to reduce both the effects of the hazard itself and the vulnerable conditions to reduce the scale of a future disaster.
      • Aimed at reducing the physical, economic, and social vulnerability to threats and the underlying causes for this vulnerability.
    • Preparedness
      • Preparedness includes, for example, the formulation of viable emergency plans, the development of warning systems, the maintenance of inventories, public awareness and education, and the training of personnel.
    • Early Warning
      • This is the process of monitoring the situation in communities or areas known to be vulnerable to slow-onset hazards and passing the knowledge of the pending hazard to people in harm‟sway.
    • During Disaster: It is to ensure that the needs and provisions of victims are met to alleviate and minimize suffering.
      • Response
        • Include setting up control rooms, putting the contingency plan in action.
        • The emergency relief activities are undertaken during and immediately following a disaster, which includes immediate relief, rescue, and the damage needs assessment and debris clearance.
      • Post Disaster: After a disaster to achieve rapid and durable recovery which does not reproduce the original vulnerable conditions.
        • Recovery is used to describe the activities that encompass the three overlapping phases of emergency relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
        • Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation includes the provision of temporary public utilities and housing as interim measures to assist long-term recovery.
        • Reconstruction: Reconstruction attempts to return communities to improved pre-disaster functioning. It includes such as the replacement of buildings; infrastructure and lifeline facilities so that long-term development prospects are enhanced rather than reproducing the same conditions, which made an area or population vulnerable in the first place.
        • Development: Longterm prevention/disaster reduction measures for example construction of embankments against flooding, irrigation facilities as drought-proofing measures, increasing plant cover to reduce the occurrences of landslides, land use planning, construction of houses capable of withstanding the onslaught of heavy rain/wind speed and shocks of earthquakes are some of the activities that can be taken up as part of the development plan.
        • The Odisha government has received Central assistance for a meager one-sixth (₹31,945.80 crores) of the losses incurred in eight different cyclones that visited after the Super Cyclone 1999.

Government Initiatives for Disaster Management

  • Sendai Framework –India is a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reductionand is committed to achieving the priorities and objectives through systematic and institutional efforts.
  • With multi-dimensional initiatives and expertise, India is taking a leading role in strengthening regional cooperation among South Asian countries for reducing disasters.
  • UNISDR- India is one of the participating countries and works closely with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). India has been working closely with many countries for the exchange of ideas and expertise in disaster management.
  • National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP)defines the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders including Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments, UT Administrations, District Authorities, and local self-government.
  • The primary responsibility of disaster management rests with the States.The Central Government conducts regular mock drills, community training, and awareness programme to prepare the civilian populations for disasters.
  • National Disaster Management Services (NDMS)was conceived by NDMA during 2015-16 for setting up of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Network connecting MHA, NDMA, NDRF, to provide the failsafe communication infrastructure and technical support for Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) operations across the country.
  • NDMA has taken an initiative on Earthquake Disaster Risk Indexing (EDRI) for 50 important cities and 1 District in Seismic Zone IV & V areas. This kind of indexing will be helpful in comparing the overall risk across a large number

Recent initiatives

  • The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) organized the 1st International Conference on “Landslides Risk Reduction and Resilience” in November 2019 in New Delhi.
  • Hosted the South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMEx) and the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR).
  • India has also offered its expertise and capabilities in DRR such as the South Asia satellite, GSAT-9, and the Tsunami Early Warning Centre to other countries.
  • Disaster Management was one of the important Agenda items the BIMSTEC leaders deliberated upon during the Goa BRICS Summit in October 2016 where BIMSTEC leaders were the Special Invitees.
    • The second BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise was conducted in February 2020 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

India’s Disaster Management Success Stories

  • The “zero casualties” policy of the Indian government for cyclones, as well as the pinpoint accuracy of the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) early warning system, have helped to minimize the risk of deaths from cyclone Fani in Odisha.
  • Past performances, like as cyclone Phailin in 2013, where the death rate was famously maintained to as low as 45 despite the storm’s ferocity, have demonstrated India’s policy of minimizing cyclone fatalities.
  • The Indian Army was deployed in August 2010 at Leh, Ladakh, after flash floods caused by the
  • Flash floods were promptly and efficiently reduced by the Army’s early search, rescue, and relief operations, as well as mass casualty management.
  • During the monsoon season, Bihar is flooded practically every year, primarily due to the Ganges and its tributaries. Since 2011, the state has successfully increased catastrophe preparedness and mitigation activities.

Way forward

  • There is a need of harmonizing the national and local level disaster-resilient bylaws, land-use zoning, resource planning, early warning system establishments, and technical competence.
  • The government should take commonalities from success stories and institutionalize them. For example,the Built Back Better Program of the Gujarat government after the 2001 earthquake.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction should be an important aspect of global poverty reduction initiatives.
  • Mitigation and increasing resilience
    • The government must work towards crafting policies to improve disaster mitigation abilities and to increase resilience among communities.
    • Climate-proofing lives and dwellings must be a high priority for vulnerable areas.
    • This would warrant a multi-sectoral approach that would involve building sturdy homes of suitable design, creating adequate storm shelters, and ensuring financial protection against calamities through insurance for property and assets.
  • Accountability mechanisms need to be specified. This will ensure that departments follow disaster risk-reduction considerations in their own development planning.
  • There is an urgent need to put the National Disaster Mitigation Fund and state disaster management funds into operation.States such as Bihar, which are leading in this regard, should share lessons on how to realize this at the state level.

Conclusion

  • Nature is unpredictable. Nothing in the world can withstand its fury. Natural disaster comes without warning. India should prepare to mitigate and deflect the destruction caused by Cyclones. India needs to employ more technology, strict following of command structure, and most importantly the participation and cooperation of local communities in the affected area.

Mains model question

  • In recent years, strong cyclones have been developing in the Arabian Sea more frequently than earlier. Discuss

References