Question – Disaster preparedness is the first step in any disaster management process. Explain how hazard zonation mapping will help disaster mitigation in the case of landslides. – 18 August 2021
Disaster preparedness refers to the measures taken to mitigate the effects of disasters, i.e., predicting and preventing disasters, mitigating their impact and facing and responding effectively to their consequences. These are achieved through programs that strengthen the technical and managerial capacity of governments, organizations and communities.
According to the United Nation of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), vulnerability can be defined as conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes that affect the efficacy of an individual, community, assets or systems.
Components of disaster preparedness:
Disaster preparedness is a continuous and integrated process, resulting from a wide range of risk reduction activities and resources. It is considered the first step in any disaster management process as it includes:
- Risk assessment (to indicate what measures to implement) and early warning systems.
- Life-saving equipment, for example, cyclone shelters.
- Maintaining resources and emergency kits, emergency rosters and evacuation plans, emergency information and communication systems in anticipation of need.
- Training to ensure adequate emergency response capacity, maintenance of preparedness levels, public education and preparedness campaigns.
Landslides and Disaster Preparedness in India:
More than 12% of the area is prone to landslides in India. Zonal mapping is a process in which dangerous places are identified so that steps can be taken to deal with any disaster.
Role of Zonal Mapping in Reducing Landslides:
Identification of Vulnerable Areas: Zonal mapping of landslide areas will certainly allow the authorities to identify the places which are vulnerable to landslides. By focusing on these areas, authorities can be well prepared to deal with a sudden crisis. Example: Mountain slopes with no vegetation are most vulnerable to landslides. In addition, high rainfall leads to landslides.
Human settlement transfer: Saving human life is at the core of disaster mitigation practice. In such a situation, the role of preparedness becomes very important. Human populations vulnerable to landslides can be relocated to safer areas. Example: Houses on hill slopes need to be moved to protect them from landslides.
Creating awareness: The menace of disasters like landslides cannot be controlled by the authorities alone. Citizens’ participation will ensure that they are not immediately affected by the landslide. In this regard, the authorities have to make people aware of the danger and the techniques to protect themselves.
Capacity Building: The infrastructure should be built well in advance to deal with any emergent calamities. The people operating should be trained to deal with any kind of crisis. Usage: rescue operation training.
Landslides and their consequences are still a major problem for many countries, especially in India due to the rapidly growing population. The most recent example is from Kerala. For this reason, landslide hazard zoning mapping serves as one of several components in an integrated disaster management plan.