A Guideline for Disaster Preparedness

Prof. Anil K Gupta

(Prof. Anil K Gupta's talk at Ahmedabad Management Association, AMA laid down an approach for relief and rehabilitation. Further a seven point disaster management proposal was worked out, with a vision to create a Disaster Management Information System, DMIS)

I am focusing on preparing a template for disaster management including following seven issues:

a)Database: on various resources, skills, and services required for relief at short notice. It will have information on safety equipments, oxygen cylinders and various other equipments, skills and other information required to deal with emergency.

b)Logistics: One of the most difficult problems to be handled is the organization of supply chain for relief. Several colleagues at IIMA also developed logistics system for Collectorate at Bhuj. This system could not be integrated with the GIS system so that supplies could be tracked right upto the village. This needs to be done. Likewise, other elements of logistics need to be put in place.

c) Technological Needs: Whole range of technical questions regarding buildings, cutting concrete slabs, rescue and relief emerged which needed to be solved on the spot. The best practices have to be put in use.

d) Self Reliance: The community self-reliance, lot of aid led to excessive inventory at the household level leading to reduced incentives for work and self-help. Likewise, there were areas where communities came together to help each other. The lessons of community self-help need to be put together. A database of volunteers who can move at short notice will need to be developed.

e) Communication Infrastructure: This is a serious problem and has to be resolved once for all. It will require network of ham radios, use of All India Radio, setting up help lines, etc. We will also have to create information dissemination system and develop mechanism for capacity building.

f) Emergency Preparedness: Drills will have to be organized to keep society prepared for dealing with such emergencies. One will have to learn from the experience of other similar drills.

g) Forecasting: Wherever possible, disasters which can be anticipated over time or space need to be looked into. For instance, buildings erected on land fill areas which were wet lands or low lying areas were more likely to get damaged, as was borne out by the recent evidence.