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Human Induced Disaster Management and Issues (Specials)

  • Category
    Disaster Management
  • Published
    17th Jun, 2023


Recently, the most discussed issue in the country is the accident at Balasore, Odisha involving three trains collided and de-railed from the track taking lives of up to 300 peoples, has highlighted the man-made disasters and its extent.

About the situation of man-made disaster in India:

  • More than 6,000 natural and 7,000 human-made disasters took place between 1970 and 2021.
  • More than one fourth (02 per cent) of all people worldwide affected by natural disasters live in India.
  • Natural disasters have killed 45, 91,768 Indians since 1900.

According to insurance giant Swiss Re, human-made disasters comprises of;

  • Fires and explosions,
  • Aviation and space disasters,
  • Shipping disasters,
  • Rail disasters,
  • Mining accidents,
  • The collapse of buildings/bridges, and
  • Miscellaneous causes (including terrorism).
  • India ranks among the top ten countries in the world that is prone to disasters.

According to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters' Emergency Events Database or ‘EM-DAT’, India has encountered 205 storms and 316 floods, highlighting the significant occurrence of storms and floods as natural disasters in the country over the century (1900-2022).

What does the man-made disaster exactly means?

  • Man-made disasters have an element of human intent, negligence, or error involving a failure of a man-made system, as opposed to natural disasters resulting from natural hazards.
  • Such man-made disasters are crime, arson, civil disorder, terrorism, war, biological/chemical threat, cyber-attacks, etc.

Forms of man-made disasters in India:

Gas Leaks

Oil Spills

Nuclear disaster

Industrial Fires

The most serious gas leak occurred in Bhopal, India in 1984. Known as the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, it began with the leakage of methyl isocyanide (MIC), a colorless gas used in pesticides, from the Union Carbide of India Ltd. The gas formed a deadly cloud causing severe body irritation, coughing, lung swelling, bleeding, and even death from direct concentrated inhalation. It killed roughly 5,000 people, affected 50,000 more people, and left at least 1,000 blind.

Oil spills are some of the most familiar man-made disasters, devastating to people, the environment, animals and global socio-economics.
2010 saw the worst and largest oil spill: the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 


The surrounding environments have been choked to death, and at least 3,500 volunteers suffered liver and kidney damage from prolonged contact with the oil.

One of the most famous nuclear meltdowns occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986. One of the reactors in the power plant exploded, resulting in more fallout than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs combined. While 350,000 people were evacuated from the surrounding area, nearly 500,000 workers laboured to end the meltdown, 31 of which died during the attempt.

 The Bombay High North oil platform operated by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was struck by a drifting ship named Samudra Suraksha. The collision caused a major oil spill which caused both the platform and the ship to catch fire.





Why man-made disasters are a cause of concern?

  • Increasing Number of Climate refugees: More people are likely to migrate due to slow-onset processes of environmental degradation such as inundation, desertification, soil erosion and changing coastlines than sudden-onset events like storms and cyclones.
  • Economic Losses: The economic losses due to man-made disaster can be massive and also can impact the surrounding environments too. Especially for a developing country like India, economic losses induced by disaster are very high.
  • Social Impacts: People affected and after-effects of man-made disasters can impact society at large.
  • Psychological impacts: The man-made disasters sometimes can cause a mental impact on people affected by it. This can create lack of trust.

Disaster Management in India:

  • Disaster Management efforts are geared towards disaster risk management.
  • Disaster Risk Management implies the systematic process of using administrative decisions, organisation, operational skills, and capacities to implement policies, strategies and coping capacities of the society and communities to lessen the impact of natural hazards and related environmental and technological disasters.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): Disaster risk reduction is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters.
    • Pre-Disaster risk reduction includes-
      • Mitigation: To eliminate or reduce the impacts and risks of hazards through proactive measures taken before an emergency or disaster occurs.
      • Preparedness: To take steps to prepare and reduce the effects of disasters.
  • Post-Disaster risk reduction includes-
      • Rescue: Providing warning, evacuation, search, rescue, providing immediate assistance.
      • Relief: To respond to communities who become victims of disaster, providing relief measures such as food packets, water, medicines, temporary accommodation, relief camps etc.
      • Recovery: This stage emphasises upon recovery of victims of disaster, recovery of damaged infrastructure and repair of the damages caused.

Who is responsible for disaster management?

  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister of India, is the apex body for Disaster Management in India.
  • Setting up of NDMA and the creation of an enabling environment for institutional mechanisms at the State and District levels is mandated by the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • NDMA has the power to authorise the Departments or authorities concerned, to make emergency procurement of provisions or materials for rescue and relief in a threatening disaster situation or disaster.
  • The general superintendence, direction, and control of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are vested in and will be exercised by the NDMA.
  • The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) works within the framework of broad policies and guidelines laid down by the NDMA.

National Policy on Disaster Management (NPDM) 2009:

  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005, provides for the legal and institutional framework for the effective management of disasters.
  • The Act mandates creation of new institutions and assignment of specific roles for Central, State and Local Governments.
  • Under the provisions of the Act, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been established under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister and National Executive Committee (NEC) of Secretaries has been created to assist the NDMA in the performance of its functions.
  • At the State level, a State Disaster Management Authority has been created under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister of the State, which has been assisted by a State Executive Committee. At the District level, District Disaster Management Authorities have been created.

Way forward:

  • Promoting a productive partnership with the media to create awareness and contributing towards capacity development.
  • Ensuring efficient response and relief with a caring approach towards the needs of the vulnerable sections of the society.
  • Undertaking reconstruction as an opportunity to build disaster resilient structures and habitat for ensuring safer living.
  • Promoting productive and proactive partnership with media in disaster management.

Verifying, please be patient.

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