Disaster Management: Responding to Disasters Notes 9th Social Science
9th Social Science Lesson 13 Notes in English
13. Disaster Management: Responding to Disasters
A disaster is “a catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life and property”.
- Disaster response entails restoring physical facilities, rehabilitation of affected population, restoration of lost livelihoods and reconstruction efforts to restore the infrastructure lost or damaged.
- The Response Phase focuses primarily on emergency relief: saving lives, providing first aid, restoring damaged systems (communications and transportation), meeting the basic life requirements of those impacted by disaster (food, water and shelter) and providing mental health and spiritual support and care.
Who are the first responders?
- No matter how large or small, local communities are expected to provide immediate disaster response.
- On a daily basis, police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians are a community’s first responders, whether during fire, flood or acts of terrorism.
- Mental health professionals and the community’s hospitals may also be activated in those early minutes and hours after disaster.
- Disaster management includes Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery.
- Disaster management involves all levels of government. Nongovernmental and community based organizations play a vital role in the process. Modern disaster management goes beyond post-disaster assistance.
- It now includes pre disaster planning and preparedness activities, organizational planning, training, information management, public relations and many other fields. Crisis management is important, but is only a part of the responsibility of a disaster manager.
- The traditional approach to disaster management has a number of phased sequences of action or a continuum.
- These can be represented as a disaster management cycle. We mainly focus on the way how the community should respond to disasters.
- An earthquake is a sudden vibration of the part of the earth caused by plate movements.
- It occurs along the plate boundaries. The place inside the earth where an earthquake originates is focus.
- The point on the earth’s surface above the called a focus is called an epicentre.
- The damage caused by the earthquake is the highest near the epicentre. The earthquake is measured by an instrument called a Seismograph.
- It is recorded in Richter scale. Let us now see how the communities can better respond to earthquakes.
What to do during an earthquake?
- Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur later.
- Minimize your movements to a few steps that reach a safe place nearby and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.
- DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there is no table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
- Protect yourself by staying under the lintel of an inner door, in the corner of a room, under a table or even under a bed
- Stay away from glass windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall (such as lighting fixtures or furniture)
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and go outside.
- Move away from buildings, trees, streetlights and utility wires.
- If you are in open space, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings at exits and alongside exterior walls. Most earthquake related casualties result due to collapsing walls, flying glass and falling objects.
If in a moving vehicle
- Stop as quickly as safety permits. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
- Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake
- A tsunami can kill or injure people and damage or destroy buildings and infrastructure as waves come forth and recede.
- A tsunami is a series of enormous ocean waves caused by earthquakes, underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions or asteroids.
- Tsunamis can travel 700-800 km per hour, with waves 1030 meter high.
- It causes flooding and disrupts transportation, power, communications, and water supply.
How to respond to Tsunami?
- You should find out if your home, school, workplace or other frequently visited locations are in tsunami hazard areas along the sea-shore
- Plan evacuation routes from your home, school, workplace, or any other place you could be, where tsunamis poses a risk.
- Use a weather radio or stay tuned to a local radio or television station to keep informed of local watches and warnings.
- Discuss tsunamis with your family. Everyone should be aware of what to do when tsunami strikes. Discussing tsunamis ahead of time will help reduce fear and save precious time in an emergency. Review flood safety and precautionary measures with your family.
What to do after a Tsunami?
- You should continue using a weather radio or staying tuned to a Coast Guard emergency frequency station or a local radio or television station for updated emergency information.
- Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.
- If someone needs to be rescued, call professionals with the right equipment to help
- Help people who require special assistance, like Infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
- Stay out of a building if water remains around it. Tsunami water, like floodwater, can undermine foundations, causing buildings to sink, floors to crack, or walls to collapse
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone outside quickly.
- Though riot may seem dramatic, an angry mob can be just as dangerous and unpredictable as just about any natural disaster.
- Thousands of people are killed in riots all over the world each year, and these riots erupt from a number of racial, religious, economic, political, or social causes that cannot be predetermined.
- As per Pew Research Center analysis of 198 countries on April 11, 2015.
- Syria tops in riot in the world followed by Nigeria, Iraq and India.
- If you’ve found yourself in the middle of a riot, you may not be able to run away immediately, but you can take some measures to protect yourself from harm. If you want to know how to survive a riot, just follow these steps.
Surviving a Riot
At Travel Destination: What to Do
- Keep abreast of the current news if you are in a volatile area
- If you come across a demonstration, don’t become inquisitive, just leave the area and find another route to your intended destination
- Void any place where police or security forces action is in progress.
If caught in a riot:
- If you find yourself caught up in a demonstration, keep to the edge of the crowd where it is safer. At the first opportunity, break away and seek refuge in a nearby building or find a suitable doorway or alley and stay there until the crowd passes
- When leaving the fringe of the demonstration, just walk away – don’t run as this will draw attention to you
- In the event that you are arrested by the police/military, do not resist. Go along peacefully and contact your law advisor to help you resolve your predicament
- If you are caught up in the crowd, stay clear of glass shop fronts, moreover, move with the flow
- If shooting breaks out, drop to the ground and cover your head and neck, and lie as flat as you can.
- Wildfires occur when vegetated areas are set alight and are particularly common during hot and dry periods.
- They can occur in forests, grasslands, bush and deserts, and with blowing wind, can spread rapidly.
- Fires can lead to the destruction of buildings, wooden bridges and poles, power, transmission and telecommunication lines, warehouses containing oil products and other fuel.
- It causes injury to people and animals. The most common causes of fires are lightning strikes, sparks during arid conditions, eruption of volcanoes and man-made fires arising from deliberate arson or accidents.
- A side-effect of wildfires which also threatens inhabited areas is smoke. Fires create large quantities of smoke, which can be spread far by wind and poses a respiratory hazard.
- On an average, in India, every year, about 25,000 persons die due to fires and related causes. Female accounts for about 66% of those killed in fire accidents. It is estimated that about 42 females and 21 males die every day in India due to fire.
Fire Safety Do’s and Don’ts
- Know your building’s evacuation plan
- Evacuate calmly and quickly, whenever a fire alarm or carbon monoxide alarm sounds.
- Before opening a door, feel it with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, do not open it
- If you encounter smoke during your evacuation, stay low to the floor
- Know the outside rally point for your building
- Know the locations of fire extinguishers, fire alarm pull stations and exits.
What you should do during a fire:
- Stay calm
- Pull the nearest fire alarm or call 112
- Give your name and location of the fire. Do not hang up until the police dispatcher tells you to do so
- Leave the building immediately
- Inform others as you pass them to leave the building immediately
- Walk—don’t run—to the nearest exit
- Never use elevators—an elevator may become a trap.
More to Know:
1. Japan is in a very active seismic area and it has the densest seismic network in the world.
2. Which country actually has the most number of earthquakes?
Indonesia is in a very active seismic zone also, but because it is larger than Japan, it has more earthquakes.
3. Which country has the most earthquakes per unit area?
This would probably be Tonga, Fiji or Indonesia, since they are all in extremely active seismic areas along subduction zones.
4. Tsunami-case study
- Shortly before 8 am on 26 December 2004, the cicadas fell silent and the ground shook in dismay.
- The Moken, an isolated tribe on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, knew that the Laboon, the ‘wave that eats people’, had stirred from his ocean lair.
- The Moken also knew what was next: a towering wall of water washing over their island, cleansing it of all that was evil and impure.
- To heed the Laboon’s warning signs, elders told their children, run to high ground. ‘If the water recedes after an earthquake, run immediately to high ground’ The tiny Andaman and Nicobar Islands were directly in the path of the tsunami generated by the magnitude 9.1 of earthquake off the coast of Sumatra.
- Final total put the islands’ death toll at 1,879 alone with another 5,600 people missing.
- The islanders who had heard the stories about the Laboon or similar mythological figures survived the tsunami essentially unscathed.
- Most of the casualties that occurred in the southern Nicobar Islands were outsiders, leaving them with no indigenous tsunami warning system to guide them to higher ground.