A disaster can be defined as an occurrence causing widespread destruction and distress. It is a sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life.
Disasters can be either natural or human-made events and can include pandemics, technological disasters or environmental cataclysms.
Disaster types include the following: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Pandemics, Volcano Eruptions, Wildfires, Floods, Mass Shootings, Acts of Terror, Nuclear Explosions, Chemical Emergencies.
WHAT IS DISASTER MANAGEMENT?
Disaster Management is a collective term encompassing all aspects of planning for and responding to emergencies and disasters, including both pre- and post-event activities. It refers to the management of both the risk and the consequences of an event.
Disaster Management does not avert or eliminate the threats; instead, it focuses on creating plans to decrease the effect of disasters. Failure to create a plan could lead to damage to assets, human mortality, loss of revenue.
Disaster Management, also referred to Emergency Management, means preparing for potential calamities and responding to them as quickly, strategically and effectively as possible.
In essence, Disaster Management is more than just response and relief; it is a systematic process aimed at reducing the negative impact and/or consequences of adverse events.
GOALS OF DISASTER MANAGEMENT
- Proactive plans to mitigate various business risks.
- Minimizing loss via more effective preparedness and response.
- Creating more effective and durable recovery.
STEPS IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT PROCESS
- Conduct disaster risk assessments.
- Integrate broader social and environmental issues into business strategies and operations.
- Enact measures and systems that reduce risks.
- Develop plans for response and recovery.
FIVE STAGES OF DISASTER MANAGEMENT/EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CYCLE are:
- PREVENTION – This means identifying potential hazards and devising safeguards to mitigate their impact. Preventive measures are taken, 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.
- MITIGATION – Disaster Mitigation are those that eliminate or reduce the impacts and risks of hazards through proactive measures taken before an emergency or disaster occurs or by developing strategies and structural changes that can help mediate potential threats.
It aims to minimize the loss of human life that would result from a disaster. Both structural and Non-Structural measures may be taken.
- A structural measure means changing the physical characteristics of a building or an environment to curb the effects of a disaster.
- Non-Structural measures involve adopting or amending building codes to optimize safety for all future building constructions.
- PREPAREDNESS – This focuses on preparing equipment and procedures for use when a disaster occurs. This equipment and these procedures can be used to reduce vulnerability to disaster, to mitigate the impacts of a disaster or to respond more efficiently in an emergency.
- RESPONSE – The response phase of an emergency may commence with Search and Rescue but in all cases, the focus will quickly turn to fulfilling the basic humanitarian needs of the affected population.
Disaster Response refers to actions taken during and immediately after a disaster to ensure that its effects are minimized, and that people affected are given immediate relief and support. These include providing food, water, shelter, and medical aid, removing people from danger, among other outreach efforts.
- RECOVERY – This refers to the coordinated process of supporting disaster-affected communities in reconstruction of physical infrastructure and restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical well-being.
This phase starts after the immediate threat to human life has subsided and its goal is to bring the affected area back to normalcy as quickly as possible.
Disaster Risk is defined as ‘’the potential loss of life, injury, destroyed or damaged assets which could occur to a system, society or a community in a specific period of time, determined probabilistically as a function of hazard, exposure, vulnerability and capacity”.
In the technical sense, it is defined through the combination of three terms: Hazard, Exposure and Vulnerability.
DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT (DRM) is a system application of management policies, procedures and practices to the tasks of identifying, analyzing, evaluating, treating and monitoring risk.
The most effective Disaster Management Risk often happens before disasters occur, continues after a disaster and incorporates lessons learned, thus mitigating risks to future disasters.
DISASTER RISK REDUCTION (DRR) entails measures to curb disaster losses by addressing hazards and people’s vulnerability to them.
It is modifying hazards, reducing vulnerability and increasing capacity.