proposal to amend the Disaster Management Act of 2005
13th Feb, 2020
Union Cabinet is taking up the proposal to amend the Disaster Management Act of 2005.
- The present Act largely focuses on
- Improving preparedness
- Providing immediate relief
- Protecting infrastructure
- The main drawback of the present policy is it neglects long-term recovery.
A brief about disaster management act, 2005
- It was enacted to effectively prevent, mitigate (reducing the severity) and prepare for disasters.
- It came into being on the heels of three major disasters.
- 1999 - Super cyclone in Odisha
- 2001 - Bhuj earthquake
- 2004 - Indian Ocean tsunami.
- The Act mandated the creation of the National Disaster Management Authority, State Disaster Management Authorities and District Disaster Management Authorities.
- It laid down the framework, roles and responsibilities of these bodies to formulate and implement disaster management plans at their levels.
The focus of the act is preparedness, that is:
- Most States invested in resilient infrastructure, early warning systems and evacuation.
- This translated into
- timely warnings
- relief shelters and
- massive evacuation exercises
- All these steps have reduced casualties.
- NDRF and SDRF have helped in providing immediate relief in the aftermath of dis
- Once the hazardous situation is passed, the important aspect is how to ensure recovery.
- We are seeing disasters from the narrow prism of providing food, water and medicines.
- At the most, some states are looking at providing shelter.
- These interventions are crucial, but long-term recovery needs much more.
What is urgently needed?
- Recovery measures should address inherent vulnerabilities pertaining to livelihoods, education, water, sanitation, health, and ecology of the disaster-affected communities.
- Intangible losses such as psychosocial needs of the communities should be given equal emphasis.
- Long-term recovery needs to be thought of alongside development in an integrated comprehensive manner by combining health, skill building and livelihood diversification schemes.
- This would ensure that communities have, at the very least, recovered to a new normal before the next disaster strikes. This understanding is crucial to the lawmakers looking to amend the Act.