Planning & Mitigation | VOL.15, ISSUE 90 May-June 2015

Developing a Disaster Management Strategy

The April 25 Nepal disaster is yet another reminder for us to develop a sound policy for disaster preparedness strategy for the central Himalayan region. Being vulnerable to both floods and earthquakes, this region requires special attention. Special efforts need to be mounted to develop hazard scenarios and models using land zonation maps. Today’s computing packages can balance demands with sustainability and provide optimum scenarios within acceptable levels of risk. A realistic mitigation strategy should be based on a blueprint that strikes a balance between development, acceptable levels of risk and economics. This can not only popularise land use planning, but also encourage people to adopt building codes (minimum construction standards) effective for reducing disaster losses. Most low income groups in disaster prone areas live in poor quality houses. We need to provide incentives to change the local outlook towards disaster management and preparation. It is thus necessary to improve upon traditional construction practices and architectural preferences and put them into practice. The impact of natural disasters can be reduced through two basic approaches—mitigation, and response. Mitigation involves action taken, by applying scientific and technological inputs—before, during and after the occurrence of a natural event, which can minimise the impact of the event/disaster. A realistic mitigation strategy includes— Demarcating areas that are prone to hazards; Indicating the nature of hazards; Identifying populations and structures vulnerable...

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