District disaster management



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A better disaster management with minimum vulnerability is possible only by means of preparedness and mitigation measures. Maximum the disaster preparedness, minimum the vulnerability. Neither a disaster can be prevented nor diverted to any other place. The only possible thing is to minimize the effect.

The changing concept of disaster management has taken its birth in mere hypothesis. Today there is a paradigm shift in the approach to disaster management from a culture of relief and rehabilitation to that of preparedness and mitigation. In District

Amritsar, there shall be two approaches in disaster mitigation viz. structural mitigation and non-structural mitigation.
Amritsar lies in the Gangetic Plain and de facto the eastern part of Amritsar is considered as the worst for disasters like earthquake, flood and fire. If the entire city falls in Zone IV, informally we can say that the East Amritsar is in Zone V, which indicates the District, as at high risk to earthquake. The state is prone to flood from river Yamuna and the consequence of flood becomes misery to the eastern population especially. In addition to this, fire is a major concern for the District as fire incidents have risen steeply in the last couple of decades. The vulnerability of the district increases in fire accidents since most of the JJ colonies and slums are thickly populated.

The non structural mitigation is basically framed in such a way that the whole population of the district will be sensitized on disaster management and their capacity is developed to cope up with a hazardous situation. District Amritsar has specific plan for non-structural mitigation measures which is an ongoing process in various spheres of life.

5.1.1 Preparedness Methodology
Instead of waiting for a disaster to occur and then to manage it, this concept envisages to make people part of the management process. The plan contains a series of measures for preparedness in schools, colleges, hospitals, and all other vital institutions and ultimately the community itself. In a disaster management cycle, preparedness shall be the first step. People of a given area have to be guided to prepare their own coping mechanism. For this the district shall plan various activities and reach out to the local level. The DDMC shall suggest apt and proper methodology for preparedness on regular basis.

5.1.2 Sensitization/Awareness Campaigns
The District administration must reach out to the local residents and general public of the district with various level sensitization programmes. Sensitization programmes shall be conducted for schools, hospitals, colleges, communities, policy makers and all other specific sectors including rickshaw pullers. Awareness on multi hazards and dos and don’ts to solve it are most import and basic for a human being to save him/herself. Disaster strikes everywhere everyone irrespective of land, caste, creed, color, people, and gender. The basic information shall be given in forms of booklets reading materials, audiovisual material etc. The broad objectives of such programmes shall be as follows:

1. To bring awareness about disasters among the inmates of all institutions and residents of all communities in Amritsar.

2. To pave way for strict enforcement of building rules in construction departments and contractors.

3. Preparation of Building Evacuation Plans and training the general public on basics of self defence thereby building capacities of school authorities and saving lives in the event of an Earthquake or Fire accidents or any other disaster.

4. To sensitize officers from the District Administration, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Disaster Management, Amritsar Police, GTB Hospital, Amritsar Fire Service and all other parallel agencies.

Different methods and techniques shall be utilized to spread awareness on disaster in the district. Some sample techniques and methods are listed below:

• Public meetings and loud speaker announcements

• Group meetings of RWAs and other logical units

• Wall painting in the communities

• Distribution of reading materials to the general public

• Distribution of posters and other Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials to children and community people

• Street plays, documentaries and films on the subject

• Use of electronic media, especially cable channels

• Quiz-painting competitions, special types of books, etc for students

• Any other means the DDMC feels apt and proper

5.1.3 Training and Capacity Building

A series of training programmes shall be organized for specialized groups like, district DMTs, sub division and community level office bearers, teachers and principals, doctors and engineers, architects and masons and builders and contractors etc. All walks of people shall be trained. This can even be on construction of buildings and other structures earth quake resistant.

• District northeast shall identify sensitization as one of the best tools to create awareness programme and preparation of Community Based Disaster Management planning. In this respect the DC NE shall organize a series of programmes for the community people, Resident Welfare Organizations and NGOs.

• There are organizations like Civil Defence, NYK, NCC, NSS etc, which have thousands of volunteers from each nook and corners of the distinct. The district must train their volunteers and the wardens of these bodies in the district, thus people from various corners will be trained and sensitized in disaster management and this can make a magnifying result.

• For better sustainability of disaster management, the DDMC shall think of training CD & HG, NYK, NCC and NSS volunteers at the cost of the district administration and they shall be given certificate of training, identity cards as disaster managers. The DDMC can take appropriate decision for paying any honorariums for their services.

• Training programmes shall be organized with RWAs and NGOs in the district or they shall be funded for organizing such programmes. Corporate sponsors shall be contacted to hold such massive training programmes.

5.1.4 Disaster Management Planning

It is a known fact that the entire state of Amritsar falls under Zone IV; in which the East Amritsar is highly prone to multi hazards like earthquake. In addition, fire is a major concern for the District as fire incidents have risen steeply in the last couple of decades. The vulnerability of the district increases in fire accidents since most of the JJ clusters and slums are thickly populated

The first responder of any disaster anywhere is none other than the local people who are the victims too. Once a disaster has been occurred, many agencies like NGOs, Military and Para Military Agencies as well as the Government Agencies approach the area. But it takes time to start rescue and relief operations by these agencies due to poor accessibility and approachability to the disaster site and ignorance to the geographical situation of the affected area. Taking all these in to stoke, the district shall organize various planning exercises with the local bodies. In Amritsar District, RWAs are the prominent civil society organizations under the Bhagidhari scheme. Each pocket and block has at least one RWA or Community Development Organizations. The strategy of planning shall be as follows:

1. The territory of each RWA can be taken as logical unit for planning

2. Where there is no RWA, similar local bodies or NGOs can be taken as logical units

3. Where there is more than one RWA the Registered RWA/first formed RWA/that, which has more public coverage and support, shall be taken in to consideration.

4. Every school in the district, irrespective of size, shall be a logical unit

5. Every Hospital with more than 10 bed shall have Disaster management plans

6. All Cinema Halls, Clubs, religious centers etc where gatherings are possible, shall have Disaster management plans

7. Every Government office/building/department shall have separate disaster management plans

8. Every Merchant Traders Associations (MTA), shopping centers and district centers

9. All industries in the district, irrespective of size and nature.

The predominant objectives of the initiative shall be:

1. To create awareness on disasters and disaster management among community leaders and general public.

2. To prepare Disaster Management plan for each logical unit with Hazard and Resource Maps.

3. To form Disaster Management Committees (DMC) and Task Forces within the logical unit, to manage disasters and train them specifically.

4. To exercise Mock Drills in each Community in a regular interval of time including evacuation exercises.

Each logical unit shall collect the template/modal plan document from the EOC at the district administration and after preparation a copy of the same shall be submitted to the EOC and the other shall be with the logical unit. This plan document shall be updated at least bi annually and the update information shall be given to the EOC in writing. The district EOC shall help the logical unit in conducting the planning exercises as and when they request the same.
5.1.5 Disaster Resource Inventory
In a scenario of total damage due to disasters like earthquake or tornado, all communication system disrupts and disaster managers become armless in fighting the calamity. To overcome such obstacle, Government of India has developed disaster management portals which facilitate the disaster managers and administrates to track down resource stocks in the country or at least in the neighboring area. This Website, called www.idrn.gov.nic.in, basically intended to gather data from the government resources. Data are collected from local units and line departments and uploaded by the District Administration after verification and scrutiny.
Each government department in the district shall take part in updating this portal regularly. They shall give information on fresh procurement of equipments, manpower and technologies to the Emergency Operation Centre, Amritsar in the prescribed format at least biannually.
5.1.6 Enforcing Existing Codes and Laws

Lists of codes are already in place to monitor the construction practices in the district. Bureau of India Standards, national Building codes of India and subsequent amendments in various acts provides sufficient legal protection to the enforcing agencies for safe construction practices. In District Amritsar, the major government bodies undertaking construction and grant permission to the private players’ viz. MCA, PWD, DDA and Irrigation and Flood Control Department shall ensure that structural safety measures are followed well. In District Amritsar the following general structural safety codes shall be followed strictly:
1. IS: 456:2000 “Code of Practice for Plain and Reinforce Concrete”

2. IS: 800-1984 “Code of Practice for General Construction in Steel”

3. IS: 801-1975 “Code of Practice for Use of Cold Formal Light Gauge Steel Structural members in General Building Construction”

4. IS: 875 (Part-2): 1987- “Design Loads (other than Earth Quake) for Building and Structures, Part 2 Imposed Loads.

5. IS: 875 (Part-3): 1987- “Design Loads (other than Earth Quake) for Building and Structures, Part 3 Wind Loads.

6. IS: 875 (Part-4): 1987- “Design Loads (other than Earth Quake) for Building and Structures, Part 4 Snow Loads.

7. IS: 875 (Part-5): 1987- “Design Loads (other than Earth Quake) for Building and Structures, Part 5 Special Loads and Load Combination.

8. IS: 883:1966 “Code of Practice for Design of Structural Timber in Building”

9. IS 1904:1987 “Code of Practice for Structural Safety of Buildings: Foundation”

10. IS: 1905:1987 “Code of Practice for Structural Safety of Buildings: Masonry Walls

11. IS: 2911 (Part 1) section 1: 1979 “Code of Practice for Design and Construction of Pile Foundation Section 1

Part 1: Section 2 Based Cast-in-situ Piles

Part 1: Section 3 Driven Pre Cast Concrete Piles

Part 1: Section 4 Based Pre Cast Concrete Piles

Part 2: Timber Piles

Part 3: Under Reamed Piles

Part 4: Load Test on Piles

Besides the DDMC shall take appropriate decisions to enforce Codes for Earth Quake Protection, Wind Storm protection, etc

It is immensely pivotal for the planning community to respond towards disaster management positively. The Third Master Plan for Amritsar – 2021, which is under preparation, should clearly come out with provisions prescribed in the amended legislations related to disaster management. Urban disaster management is intimately connected to the wholesome process of urban development and therefore needs a sincere incorporation in the development planning itself.

The industrial relocation/location, unauthorized-regularization issue, slumming, over densification and continuous influx of population to Amritsar are some of the open concerns and that besides a planning challenge it is a concern for disaster management.

The district shall take steps for structural mitigation of disaster management. The departments that are associated with development of residential and commercial plots shall strict the NOC norms. The Building codes shall be strictly enforced in the district. Only seismically oriented engineers, contractors and masons shall be given certificates for multi story constructions and real estates. Simultaneously retrofitting is to be promoted with the expert advice. The possible two structural measures for disaster protection are Retrofitting of the existing building and Earth Quake Resistant new construction.
5.2.1 Retrofitting

For an existing building, Retrofitting or Seismic Strengthening is the only solution to make it disaster resistant. In district Amritsar, all lifeline buildings such as major hospitals, Schools with large space for storage, district administration offices and other vital installations shall be retrofitted in the first phase. In the second phase all other significant buildings shall be given priority for seismic strengthening. Before carrying retrofitting, a panel of experts shall be approached for assessing the structure and to suggest the type of retrofitting required.

5.2.2 Earth Quake Resistant Construction
Promotion of Earth quake Resistant construction mainly includes construction safety, quality control and inspection. In the previous decades, there were no specific guidelines on EQ resistant constructions and seismic strengthening. Due to the very fact, most of the buildings till 1990s were built without any safety measures. But in the present scenario, there are building byelaws and guidelines. Civic Bodies like MCD, DDA, and PWD in the district shall try to enforce these laws.
All construction except load bearing buildings up to 3 storeys shall be carried out under the supervision of the Construction Engineer on Record or Construction Management Agency on Record for various seismic zones. They shall be given a certificate based on the norms on completion of the construction.
All the constructions for high-rise buildings higher than seven story’s, public buildings, and special structures shall be carried out under quality inspection programme prepared and implemented under the Quality Auditor on Record or Quality auditor agency on Record in Seismic Zones IV and V. DDMC Amritsar shall look in to this aspect and ensure that such prerequisites are completed and observed by the concerned agencies and construction engineers.
Illegal constructions, Encroachments, unapproved additions, alterations etc of residential buildings and conversion of residential building in to commercial purpose etc shall be checked by the District Administration with strict measures. These unauthorized activities may lead to disasters in that particular area.


“The disaster scenario offers a range of opportunities for affected communities to respond to the crisis, how community responds to a disaster and post disaster aid sets the tone for the transition from disaster to development”. After earthquake in Latur, people of that area started to monitor construction works, retrofitting of houses and behave like “community construction watch dogs” (IDR, Oxford, 2000).
Disaster management is a multi faceted discipline that needs different mechanisms with diverse methodology. The action plan contains two approaches;

      1. short term plan and

      2. long term response plans.

The district administration- DDMC Amritsar- has to take pre-action on these two approaches to tackle a disaster scenario.

Short-term response plan contains the actions to be taken immediately after a disaster. Once an information has been reached the district EOC or any of the Disaster Managers in the district either from authentic or unauthentic sources, it has to be verified soon for authenticity. Once the information is found correct, it has to be reported to the Incident Commander via fast communication system. The Incident Commander shall take the following actions:-

  1. Disseminate warning/ alert to the potential victims.

  2. Disseminate information to vertical and horizontal EOCs.

  3. Disseminate information to vertical and horizontal Administrators and DMTs.

  4. Declare Disaster based on the severity/vulnerability.

61.1 Rescue Operations

Immediately after a disaster the Deputy Commissioner Amritsar shall act as the District magistrate and incident commander and take over disaster management. He/ She shall coordinate the rescue operations with the help of the Working Group for relief and rehabilitation and the Emergency Support Functions. Along with the rescue operations the Incident Commander shall do the following measures:

  1. Activate the Incident Command System.

  2. Call meeting of Crisis Management Group

  3. Coordinate the ESFs in disaster management

  4. Set up Site/ Onsite Operation Centers and activate relief camps.

  5. Collect preliminary assessment report from the onsite EOCs.

  6. Activate the pre-contract vendors and collect relief materials for distribution

  7. Brief the situation to the higher authority as well as to the press/media people.

  8. Ensure basic logistic arrangements for disaster managers and the Operation Centers.

  9. Mobilize resources/ call assistance from various stakeholders.

Besides there are large number of activities to be under taken by the Incident Commander in consultation with the Crisis Management Group which are listed in the Disaster Management Act.

6.1.2 Relief Operations

Once the rescue phase is over, the district administration shall provide immediate relief assistance either in cash or in kind to the victims of the disaster. The DDMC Amritsar shall enter in to pre-contract well in advance and procure materials required for life saving. The office of Deputy Commissioner is responsible for providing relief to the victims of natural and man made disasters like fire, flood, drought, earthquakes, riots, terrorist attacks, accidents etc.

The relief is provided as per the following scale fixed by the government:
Communal Riots

Death Case

Rs. 1 lakh

Permanent Incapacitation

Rs. 50,000/-

Bomb Blasts and Riots


Rs. 1 lakh in each case

Permanent Incapacitation

Rs. 50,000/- each case

Serious Injury

Rs. 10,000/- each case

Minor Injury

Rs. 3,000/- each case

Fire and Other Accidents

Death (Major)

Rs. 50,000/- each case

Death (Minor)

Rs. 25,000/- each case

Serious Injury

Rs. 20,000/- each case

Minor Injury

Rs. 500/- each case

Loss of property


Rs. 1,000/- each

Rickshaw etc.

Rs. 500/- each

Damage to residential unit (in riots)

Total damage

Rs. 20,000/-

Substantial damage

Rs. 10,000/-

Minor damage

Rs. 2000/-

Uninsured commercial property/commercial articles

50 % of the loss – up to a maximum of Rs. 50,000/-

Total damage to the Jhuggis – Rs. 1,000/-

6.1.3 Rehabilitation

In short term response rehabilitation is the final step. The incident Command System shall be deactivated as the rehabilitation phase is over. Thereafter the normal administration shall take up the remaining reconstruction works in the disaster-affected areas. These activities shall be performed by the Working Group for relief and rehabilitation under the direction of the DDMC.

The long-term response plans are related with the Recovery and reconstruction activities on one side and institutionalizing disaster management in district administration on the other side. The former one is given in detail in the coming chapter. There are Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for the Emergency Support Functions. In long term measures the following action shall be undertaken dully.

  1. Constitution of Emergency Support Functions, Disaster Management Teams, Quick Response Teams, Field Response Teams.

  2. Refresher trainings for all such teams in a regular interval of time and exercise of mock drills.

  3. Continuous awareness/sensitization programmes for the stakeholders and the general Public.

  4. Getting pre-contract with venders and merchant establishments to procure relief materials in times of disaster.

Most of the Line departments in the District, Autonomous Bodies and Organizations are part of the Emergency Support Functions. The action plans for ESFs for disaster management are discussed below. The DDMC shall ensure that these actions plans are updated bi annually and practiced through mock drills in the district.

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