proposal to amend the Disaster Management Act of 2005

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    13th Feb, 2020

Context

Union Cabinet is taking up the proposal to amend the Disaster Management Act of 2005.

About

  • 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

Long-term recovery

  • 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.
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