Current Developments Regarding Disasters
CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING DISASTERS
To prepare for DISASTERS AND THEIR MANAGEMENT for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about Current Developments Regarding Disasters. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Governance syllabus (GS-III.). Current Developments Regarding Disasters terms are important from Disaster Management perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams. Even these topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.
|Disaster Risk Index of the world|
- India has been ranked 77th on the World Risk Index, topped by Island state of Vanuatu.
About the Report
|Disaster Resilient Infrastructure:|
Indian Government recently held a two-day International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (DRI) under the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
- Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) identifies investing in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for resilience and to “build back better” in reconstruction as priorities.
- India is one of the first to create a National Disaster Management Plan based on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
- According to an UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) report, India has been ranked as the world’s most disaster-prone country for displacement of residents.
|Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR):|
- The GPDRR is a global forum for strategic advice, coordination and review of progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework. It marked the first opportunity since 2015 to review global progress in the implementation of SFDRR
- India participated in the five-day Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) summit held in Cancun, Mexico. It was attended by delegates comprising heads of state, ministers, CEOs, experts etc.
|UN SASAKAWA Award:|
- It was issued at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction; the biennial awards recognize projects that have made a substantial contribution towards saving lives and reducing global disaster mortality.
|National Disaster Risk Index:|
The Union ministry of home affairs with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have prepared for the first time a national disaster risk index for India.
- It mapped hazards and vulnerabilities including economic vulnerabilities across 640 districts and all states including UTs.
- The index factors in exposure of population, agriculture and livestock and environmental risk.
- It will be used to prepare a composite disaster scorecard (DSC).
- The index is in line with India’s commitment to the Sendai Framework.
High Risk districts:
|· North 24 Parganas
· South 24 Parganas
High Risk States:
· West Bengal
· Uttar Pradesh
|Global Assessment Report (GAR):|
- Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) was launched.
- It is published biennially by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and is product of contributions of nations, public and private disaster risk-related science and research, amongst others.
- Asia Pacific region accounts for 40% of the global economic losses due to extreme climate changes, with the greatest impact in the largest economies of Japan, China, Korea and India.
- Economic losses to the extent of 4% of GDP annually are projected if countries don’t invest in DRR.
Sendai Framework (2015-30)
- The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted at the Third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan, on March 18, 2015.
- It is the outcome of stakeholder consultations initiated in March 2012 and inter-governmental negotiations from July 2014 to March 2015, supported by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction at the request of the UN General Assembly.
- The foreword to the Sendai Framework describes it as “the successor instrument” to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.
- The Sendai Framework for DRR (SFDRR or Sendai Framework), the first international agreement adopted within the context of the post-2015 development agenda, marks a definitive shift globally towards comprehensive disaster risk management aimed at disaster risk reduction and increasing disaster resilience going far beyond disaster management.
- This approach calls for setting the overall goal as that of preventing new and reducing existing disaster risk through the implementation of integrated measures. The goal now is on DRR as the expected outcome, setting goals on preventing the creation of new risks, reducing the existing ones, and strengthening overall disaster resilience. In addition, the scope of DRR has been broadened significantly to focus on both natural and human induced hazards including various related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks.
- The Sendai Framework acknowledges the inter-linkages between climate change and disaster risks. Disasters that tend to be exacerbated by climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity.
In the domain of disaster management, the Sendai Framework provides the way forward for the period ending in 2030.
|There are some major departures in the Sendai Framework:|
- For the first time the goals are defined in terms of outcome -based targets instead of focusing on sets of activities and actions.
- It places governments at the centre of disaster risk reduction with the framework emphasizing the need to strengthen the disaster risk governance.
- There is significant shift from earlier emphasis on disaster management to addressing disaster risk management itself by focusing on the underlying drivers of risk.
- It places almost equal importance on all kinds of disasters and not only on those arising from natural hazards.
- In addition to social vulnerability, it pays considerable attention to environmental aspects through a strong recognition that the implementation of integrated environmental and natural resource management approaches is needed for disaster reduction
- Disaster risk reduction, more than before, is seen as a policy concern that cuts across many sectors, including health and education.
|Four Priorities & Seven Targets under the Sendai Framework|
- Understanding disaster risk
- Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
- Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
- Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction
India is a signatory to the Sendai Framework for a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk, but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders. India will make its contribution in achieving the seven global targets set by the Sendai Framework.
|Seven Targets under Sendai Framework:|
- Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower the average per 100,000 global mortality rates in the decade 2020–2030 compared to the period 2005– 2015;
- Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower the average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020–2030 compared to the period 2005–2015;
- Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030;
- Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030;
- Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020;
- Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of the present Framework by 2030;
- Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030.
|India’s action on Sendai Framework:|
- In June 2016, PM of India launched the National Disaster Management Plan, which aligns with the Sendai Priorities.
- At regional Level, India has hosted the first Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction after the adoption of Sendai Framework in Nov 2016 which brought more than 50 countries from the Asia-Pacific and adopted the Asian Regional Plan for the implementation of Sendai Framework.
- With regards to Target A, India is analyzing the patterns of disaster mortality both spatially and temporally, for different hazards and taking focused, urgent steps to reduce preventable deaths.
- India is on course towards achieving Target E of the Sendai Framework pertaining to development of plans and strategies by 2020. On 7th of May 2017, India has launched South Asia Geostationary Communication Satellite with an aim to support and improve communication, weather forecasting, natural resource mapping, disaster information transfer etc. among the South Asian Countries, which demonstrates India’ strong sense of commitment towards Target F and G.
- India is also mainstreaming Sendai Principles in the national flagship program.
- DRR is a work in progress and in this respect, we look for opportunities to collaborate with other countries, learn from their experiences and share what we have learned through our work.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Disaster Resilience:
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, consisting of 17 Global Goals and 169 targets, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
- The 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priories.
- The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
- Sustainable Development (SD) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) are closely interlinked. A single major disaster or “shock” incident (i.e. a rapid onset disaster like an earthquake, storm, tsunami or landslide) can undo hard-won development progress and set back development by years.
- A “stress” incident (i.e. a slow onset disaster like drought, sea level rise, and salinity intrusion into groundwater stocks) can also cause long-term socio-economic harm.
- Climate change aggravates impacts from both natural hazards and human-induced vulnerabilities by acting as a threat multiplier.
- Driven by climate change, there is increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events (including storms, droughts, heat waves and cold “snaps”). Such events multiply the risks that people living in areas prone to natural hazards already face.
- The possibilities of attaining SDGs are jeopardised because disasters undermine economic growth and social progress.
- No country or sector is immune to the impacts of natural hazards, many of which – the hydro-meteorological – are increasing in frequency and intensity due to the impacts of climate change.
- While necessary and crucial, preparing for disasters is not enough, to realise the transformative potential of the agenda for SDGs, all stakeholders recognize that DRR needs to be its integral core.
- Progress in implementing the Sendai Framework contributes to the progress of attaining SDGs. In turn, the progress on the SDGs helps to substantially build resilience to disasters.
- There are several targets across the 17 SDGs that are related to DRR. Conversely, all seven global DRR targets of the Sendai Framework are critical for the achievement of the SDG.
Retrofitting of buildings-The Key is to Let it Swing:
- Quake-resistant buildings, an expression being widely used these days, refer to buildings that are designed to withstand the shock of earthquakes and not crumble. Depending on the seismic zone they are in, buildings are constructed to withstand a certain magnitude of earthquake. But earthquake-resistant is not earthquake-proof. Faced with earthquakes of higher magnitudes, they would go down.
- The key idea in making a building earthquake-resistant is to make it ductile, that is, to give it a certain flexibility to shake horizontally. Stiff buildings, when faced with earthquakes, would go down, but the flexible ones would sway and come back to their original position. The idea is to soften the impact of the earthquake, and to let the building absorb the energy.
- Most of the newer high-rises these days, especially those in the high-seismic regions, are constructed to withstand the impact of earthquakes of up to a certain strength.
- Older buildings can also be retrofitted with technologies to make them resistant, even though it involves investments of time and funds. It makes sense to build an earthquake-resistant building — experts say the cost differential in newer buildings is not more than 15 to 20 per cent of the original cost. Retrofitting, on the other hand, might be more expensive.
Developing Disaster Proof Cities:
- Around 10,000 lives were lost, houses and city infrastructure got destroyed across Nepal and Northern part of India in the earthquake in April 2015.
- This came as a reminder to Indians, especially those living in high rise urban dwellings in the northern part of the country, that their habitation falls in either of the seismic zones 3,4 or 5 with zone 5 being most prone to earthquakes.
- According to the Government of India, at least 38 cities lie in high-risk seismic zones and almost 60 per cent of the landmass of the subcontinent is immensely vulnerable to earthquakes or other natural disasters.
- The fact that a large section of the population is poor and lives in houses and cities that are hastily built and are not earthquake resistance raises the risk of human impact, in case of any disaster.
- Also, the lack of government’s preparedness to deal with such situations may add to the woes.
- While the Indian government has embarked upon building urban infrastructure across the country and develop 100 smart cities over the coming years, it is important that cities and infrastructure being built take into account the topography and vulnerability of the area to various hazards.
- A report prepared by the World Bank on urbanization in South Asia states that while the risks are high and growing on account of rising population density in urban areas, government’s need to plan more resilient cities and policy makers need to plan holistically to deal with any situation.
- The report enlists four recommendations that policy makers of a country need to take into account.
- Identify risk by using urban risk assessment framework
- Mitigate risk by planning critical and multipurpose safe and resilient infrastructure
- Develop a risk financing scheme to provide immediate liquidity in the aftermath of disasters and to build financial resilience
- Build strong institutions and collect, share, and distribute disaster data.
|Identifying and Mitigating Risk|
- The first step in developing a resilience strategy is to identify risks at national and city level. It is also important to identify the vulnerabilities of communities and potential exposure to disasters. Urban risk assessments aim to identify critical infrastructure and develop early warning systems.
- Mitigating risks call for developing both structural and nonstructural measures. While structural measures include dams, wave barriers and retrofitting of buildings etc, the nonstructural measures comprise policies and laws, practices, and agreements such as building codes, land-use planning, public awareness and information.
- With Indian government embarking upon developing infrastructure across cities, it would make sense to build transport, water, sanitation and power infrastructure with optimum physical resilience and not overlook them to save on marginal costs.
- Also, since many cities are densely populated, it is not realistic to relocate millions of people away from their homes and jobs and so, cities can revisit urban design and ensure enforcement of building codes and land-use plans to minimize or prevent further building in risk-prone areas and to reinforce structures so that they are resilient to various hazards.
- Substandard construction practices have to be stopped; city authorities have to provide incentive for enforcing building codes as it would reduce post-disaster cost.
- While planning city leaders should fill the huge infrastructure gap, consider future risks and hazards, and ensure that the new infrastructure is not built in hazard-prone areas and does not expose communities to additional risks.
|Financing the Risk:|
- Governments and local authorities need to build finances to respond post disaster.
- An advance financing plan should include reserves, calamity funds, budget contingencies, a contingent debt facility and risk transfer mechanisms.
- While having insurance, reinsurance and parametric insurance is important, alternative risk transfer instruments include catastrophe bonds.
- A detailed risk assessment is necessary for designing a national catastrophe risk strategy.
- While several South Asian countries have developed financing programs for disasters, the most extensive risk financing is in Sri Lanka. It is the first country to develop a “catastrophe draw down option” with assistance from the World Bank through a development policy loan.
Disaster Risk Insurance
- Disaster risk insurance is one of the financial method used as a mitigation measure.
- It triggers a pay-out by the insurer when a disaster occurs, e.g. when a flood hits or drought occurs.
- Disaster risk insurance covers hazards arising from geological, meteorological, hydrological, climatological, oceanic, biological, and technological/man-made events, or a combination of any of them.
|Stakeholders in Disaster Risk Insurance|
|Why Disaster Risk Insurance needed?|
- Insurance provides reliable and timely financial relief for the recovery of livelihoods and reconstruction, providing security in the post-disaster period. As a result, it can prevent people from falling into poverty and destitution, or provide the liquidity necessary to restore livelihoods.
- Insurance helps create certainty and stability for the individual, institutions, and government.
- Technological innovations, such as satellite imaging and mobile phones, drones have substantially lowered the costs of evaluating claims in remote and poor regions and thus of insurance products.
- Pooling risks over a wide geographical area allow risk diversification: It helps to reduce risk premiums, thus ensuring affordability for many countries.
- Disaster risk insurance—especially pooled mechanisms—can help countries cope with loss of tax revenue and sudden increase in expenditure. Thus it will help maintaining fiscal standards.
|Cons of Disaster Risk Insurance|
- Insurance cannot prevent risks as such nor the loss of lives and assets.
- Insurance alone will not be sufficient. Insurance schemes need to be complemented with other disaster-risk reduction strategies, such as integrating disaster risks into development planning, setting up early warning systems, awareness raising etc.
- It can be comparatively costly compared with other disaster risk reduction measures.
- In some cases, insurance premiums may be set too high for the poor or the poorest countries.
- Affordability will be determined by the availability of public incentives.
|Risks associated with Disaster Risk Insurance|
- Access to reliable information:Risk assessment requires reliable data and institutional risk assessment capabilities, which is still limited in many countries like India.
- Accessibility:People from all corners of the country should be able to access the insurance in efficient way.
- Affordability:Premiums may not be affordable for low-income households.
- Financial sustainability of the scheme:Direct insurance schemes can only be commercially viable if there is a steady stream of premium income.
- Un-insurability associated with increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events: As frequency of disasters is increasing insurers may not find it beneficial to offer insurance products.
- Disaster management approaches require administrative support and medical intervention, apart from psychosocial intervention.
- Improvement in government policy frameworks to better manage risk and mitigate economic and social costs is the foremost necessity.
- We should be able to estimate the probability of such shocks and identify local vulnerabilities and integrate these into plans for contingencies, invest in risk reduction, insurance, self-insurance, and disaster response.
- There must be a provision in the budget for emergency spending that helps in crisis mitigation, resolution and insurance coverage. A low public debt can bolster government spending and increase its flexibility for relief work especially if reconstruction needs arise.
- There should be public investment in risk reduction. Tax and spending policies need to be flexible, to allow rapid redeployment of spending when needed.
- Coordination with foreign partners before disaster strikes could mobilise external assistance for risk reduction, which is likely to earn a higher return than emergency help after the fact.
Disaster: Current Affairs in News
|Indian Tsunami Early Warning System:|
- The Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) was established in 2007 and is based at & operated by INCOIS, Hyderabad.
- It is an integrated effort of different organizations including the Department of Space (DOS), Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Survey of India (SOI) and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
- ITEWS comprises a real-time network of seismic stations, tide gauges and a 24X7 operational tsunami warning centreto detect tsunamigenic earthquakes, to monitor tsunamis and to provide timely advisories to vulnerable communities.
|South Asian Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS)|
- India Meteorological Department (IMD) has launched the South Asian Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS), which is aimed at helping disaster management teams and governments make timely evacuation plans ahead of the actual event of flooding.
- A dedicated FFGS centre will be established in New Delhi, where weather modelling and analysis of rainfall data observations from member countries will be done.
|Forest Fire & Monitoring:|
- A joint study report of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF&CC) and World Banktitled “Strengthening Forest Fire Management in India” released in June 2018 revealed that in the year 2000, 20 districts, representing 3% of India’s land area and 16% of forest cover accounted for 44% of all fire detections.
- The upgraded version of the Forest Fire Alert System (FAST 3.0) was released in January, 2019 with a separate activity of monitoring large forest fires.
- It is seen that most of the fire prone forest areas are found in the north-eastern region and the central part of the country.
|Need for Regional Disaster Relief Mechanism In SAR|
- South Asia is exposed to a variety of hazards due to the geo-climatic characteristics of the region.
- These hazards range earthquakes in the Himalayas, droughts and floods in the Plains, and cyclones in coastal areas that originate in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. But more importantly, many countries in the region share common geological formations (Indian sub-continent) and river basins, and natural hazards frequently transcend national boundaries.
|Tsunami Ready Communities|
- Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO (also known as UNESCO-IOC) has approved the recognition of two communities of Odisha viz., Venkatraipur and Noliasahi as Tsunami Ready Communities.
- With this recognition, India has become the first country in the Indian Ocean Region to achieve the honour from the UNESCO-IOC.
- Odisha is the first state in India to have such recognised communities.
- It is a community performance-based programme initiated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCOto promote tsunami preparedness through active collaboration of public, community leaders, and national and local emergency management agencies.
- The main objective of this programme is to improve coastal community’s preparedness for tsunami emergencies, to minimize the loss of life and property and to ensure a structural and systematic approach in building community preparedness through fulfilling the best-practice indicators set by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS) of UNESCO-IOC.
|Drought Tool Box|
- The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is currently testing a drought toolbox which uses a total of 15 to 30 different parameters to assess drought risk and vulnerability of a geographical region.
|First Resilient Kerala Program|
- The Government of India, the Government of Kerala and the World Bank have signed a Loan Agreement of USD 250 million for the First Resilient Kerala Program to enhance the State’s resilience against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.
|The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched two initiatives: Angikaar, a campaign for behavioural change and an e-Course on ‘Vulnerability Atlas of India’.|
- E-course on Vulnerability Atlas-It is a unique course that offers awareness and understanding about natural hazards, helps identify regions with high vulnerability with respect to various hazards and specifies district-wise level of damage risks to the existing housing stock.
- The e-course will be a tool for effective & efficient disaster mitigation & management in the field of Architecture, Civil Engineering, Urban & Regional Planning, Housing & Infrastructure Planning, Construction Engineering & Management and Building & Materials Research.
|‘National Migrant Information System (NMIS)|
- National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has developed an online dashboard called ‘National Migrant Information System (NMIS)
- The online portal (NMIS) would maintain a central repository of migrant workers and help in speedy inter-state communication to facilitate the smooth movement of migrant workers to their native places.
|Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)|
- Each time a natural disaster occurs anywhere in the world, countries try to provide immediate relief, but there is no focus on building disaster-resilient Infrastructure.
- In this context, Indian PM proposed CDRI which will act as a convening body that will pool best practices and resources from around the world for reshaping construction, transportation, energy, telecommunication and water, so that building in these core infrastructure sectors factors in natural catastrophes.
- According to Sendai framework, every $1 spent in disaster risk reduction leads to gain of $7. But developing countries face the dilemma of balancing economic investment for development vs disaster resilient infrastructure.
- CDRI could fill this gap of funds and technology and help developing countries to build disaster-resilient Infrastructure.
- For instance, India is a world leader in preventing human deaths due to disasters. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has praised India’s zero casualty approach and playing a pioneering role model for global community for drawing up a national and local strategy to reduce disaster losses and risks.
Previous year question
- Write note on Causes of droughts in India. (UPSC 2005/2 Marks)
- Which parts of India were mainly affected by the severe drought of 1987-88? What
- were its main consequences? (88/II/6b/20)
- Why are floods such a recurrent feature in India? Discuss the measures taken by the
- Government for flood control. (85/II6c/20)
- How important are vulnerability and risk assessment for pre-disaster management? As an administrator, what are key areas that you would focus in a disaster management (UPSC mains-2013)
- Drought has been recognised as a disaster in view of its party expense, temporal duration, slow onset and lasting effect on various vulnerable sections. With a focus on the September 2010 guidelines from the National disaster management authority, discuss the mechanism for preparedness to deal with the El Nino and La Nina fallouts in India. (UPSC mains-2014)
- The frequency of earthquakes appears to have increased in the Indian subcontinent. However, India’s preparedness for mitigating their impact has significant gaps. Discuss various aspects (UPSC mains-2015)
- With reference to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines, discuss the measures to be adopted to mitigate the impact of the recent incidents of cloudbursts in many places of Uttarakhand (UPSC mains-2016)
- The frequency of urban floods due to high intensity rainfall is increasing over the years. Discussing the reasons for urban floods. highlight the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events. (UPSC mains-2016)
- On December 2004, tsunami brought havoc on 14 countries including India. Discuss the factors responsible for occurrence of Tsunami and its effects on life and economy. In the light of guidelines of NDMA (2010). Describe the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events. (UPSC mains-2017)
- Describe various measures taken in India for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) before and after signing ‘Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030)’. How is this framework different from ‘Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005? (UPSC mains 2018)
- Vulnerability is an essential element for defining disaster impacts and its threat to people. How and in what ways can vulnerability to disasters be characterized? Discuss different types of vulnerability with reference to disasters. (UPSC mains-2019)
- Disaster preparedness is the first step in any disaster management process. Explain how hazard zonation mapping will help in disaster mitigation in the case of landslides (UPSC mains-2019)