What are the global initiatives on disaster management?

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What are the global initiatives on disaster management?

Introduction: Disaster management (DM) is central to the mission of the International Federation and its 186 National Societies (NS). Through global, zonal, national and local programmers, international Federation provides disaster preparedness, response and recovery services, which seek to reduce disaster risk, and lleviate immediate suffering, improve recovery by re-establishing livelihoods and ultimately increase community resilience and capacity. The need for these services and this unmatched global network is greater than ever given the increasing frequency of disasters coupled with trends, which leave more people vulnerable to the effects of disasters.

This two year plan continues the implementation of Strategy 2010 and the Global Agenda, and is derived from a three year operational strategy for DM. For many years the International Federation has

been the largest humanitarian provider of disaster management services to the most vulnerable. This plan seeks to ensure the International Federation is not only the largest but also the best in world class quality disaster management services. The strategic goals for DM remain set at this Federation-wide strategy level as shown below in table 1.

  1. Principal of DISASTER MANAGEMENT POLICY of global :
  2. Take a proactive approach to disaster management and promote a culture of prevention and preparedness among individuals and institutions.
  3. Follow a multi-hazard approach to disaster management
  4. Shift from a relief and welfare approach to a rights and entitlement-based approach
  5. To humanitarian assistance.
  6. Since sustainable development will not be possible without the active involvement
  7. Of the communities, make the vulnerability reduction programmes community driven.
  8. Integrate Disaster Management into Development Policy and Planning.
  9. Institutionalize efficient, well-coordinated and participatory disaster management initiatives as one of the basic ingredients of good governance.
  10. Ensure quality at all stages of emergency management including prevention, mitigation, relief and reconstruction and make their adoption mandatory. For doing so, universally accepted minimum standards will be adopted. If necessary, the
  11. Standards would be modified taking into account local conditions and customs.
  12. Attempt harmonious blending of all disaster management interventions with local cultural ethos.
  13. Focus on protection of the environment.
  14. Promote inter-agency coordination and cooperation for Disaster Management.
  15. Involve all stakeholders in disaster management and define their roles in different stages of disasters.
  16. Create an enabling environment for ensuring higher participation of all stakeholders or on legislation(s) to provide statutory backing to essential disaster management functions and agencies.
  17. Establish a trigger mechanism for emergency operations.
  18. View people as valuable partners and strengthen community-based coping mechanisms for dealing with disasters.
  19. Promote a spirit of volunteerism; develop a cadre of well-trained volunteers whose services will be utilised during emergencies.
  20. Document and use people’s indigenous knowledge, whenever possible.
  21. Share information and knowledge about disasters and their management with all stakeholders.
  22. Develop a network amongst various disaster management entities using OSDMA as the main hub.
  23. Establish an Institute dedicated to conducting research, development and training on disaster management related activities.
  24. Make Disaster Management a part of the educational system and curricula.
  25. Decentralize management of disasters to the Block, Gram Panchayat / Municipality levels and strengthen their institutional and functional capacities to be effective as the first responders to disaster events.
  26. Ensure that humanitarian assistance is provided in an equitable, consistent and predictable manner.
  27. Emphasize participation of women in all stages of Disaster Management and recognize their special problems in disaster situation.
  28. Recognize the higher vulnerability of children, elders, physically and mentally challenged, during and after emergencies and design interventions accordingly.

Relationship of disaster management cycle:

The nature of management depends on local economic and social conditions. Some disaster relief experts such as Fred Cuny have noted that in a sense the only real disasters are economic.<href=”#cite_note-cuny-4″>[5] Experts, such as Cuny, have long noted that the cycle of Emergency Management must include long-term work on infrastructure, public awareness, and even human justice issues. The process of Emergency Management involves four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

A graphic representation of the four phases in emergency management.

Recently the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA have adopted the terms “resilience” and “prevention” as part of the paradigm of EM. The latter term was mandated by PKEMA 2006 as statute enacted in October 2006 and made effective March 31, 2007. The two terms definitions do not fit easily as separate phases. Prevention is 100% mitigation, by definition.<href=”#cite_note-mw-prevention-5″>[6] Resilience describes the goal of the four phases: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change<href=”#cite_note-mw-resilience-6″>[7]


Mitigation efforts are attempts to prevent hazards from developing into disasters altogether or to reduce the effects of disasters. The mitigation phase differs from the other phases in that it focuses on long-term measures for reducing or eliminating risk.<href=”#cite_note-haddow-0″>[1] The implementation of mitigation strategies is a part of the recovery process if applied after a disaster occurs.<href=”#cite_note-haddow-0″>[1] Mitigation measures can be structural or non-structural. Structural measures use technological solutions like flood levees. Non-structural measures include legislation, land-use planning (e.g. the designation of non-essential land like parks to be used as flood zones), and insurance.<href=”#cite_note-7″>[8] Mitigation is the most cost-efficient method for reducing the effect of hazards although not always the most suitable. Mitigation includes providing regulations regarding evacuation, sanctions against those who refuse to obey the regulations (such as mandatory evacuations), and communication of risks to the public.<href=”#cite_note-8″>[9] Some structural mitigation measures may harm the ecosystem.

A precursor to mitigation is the identification of risks. Physical risk assessment refers to identifying and evaluating hazards.<href=”#cite_note-haddow-0″>[1] The hazard-specific risk (Rh) combines a hazard’s probability and effects. The equation below states that the hazard multiplied by the populations’ vulnerability to that hazard produces a risk Catastrophe modeling. The higher the risk, the more urgent that the vulnerabilities to the hazard are targeted by mitigation and preparedness. If, however, there is no vulnerability then there will be no risk, e.g. an earthquake occurring in a desert where nobody lives.


Preparedness is how we change behavior to limit the impact of disaster events on people<href=”#cite_note-9″>[10] . Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, managing, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, creating, monitoring, evaluating and improving activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities of concerned organizations to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, create resources and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.<href=”#cite_note-10″>[11]

In the preparedness phase, emergency managers develop plans of action carefully to manage and counter their risks and take action to build the necessary capabilities needed to implement such plans. Common preparedness measures include:

  • communication plans with easily understandable terminology and methods.
  • proper maintenance and training of emergency services, including mass human resources such as community emergency response teams.
  • development and exercise of emergency population warning methods combined with emergency shelters and evacuation plans.
  • stockpiling, inventory, streamline foods supplies, and maintain other disaster supplies and equipment<href=”#cite_note-11″>[12]
  • develop organizations of trained volunteers among civilian populations. Professional emergency workers are rapidly overwhelmed in mass emergencies so trained; organized, responsible volunteers are extremely valuable. Organizations like Community Emergency Response Teams and the Red Cross are ready sources of trained volunteers. The latter’s emergency management system has gotten high ratings from both California, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Another aspect of preparedness is casualty prediction, the study of how many deaths or injuries to expect for a given kind of event. This gives planners an idea of what resources need to be in place to respond to a particular kind of event.

Emergency Managers in the planning phase should be flexible, and all encompassing – carefully recognizing the risks and exposures of their respective regions and employing unconventional and atypical means of support. Depending on the region – municipal or private sector emergency services can rapidly be depleted and heavily taxed. Non-governmental organizations that offer desired resources, i.e., transportation of displaced home-owners to be conducted by local school district buses, evacuation of flood victims to be performed by mutual aide agreements between fire departments and rescue squads, should be identified early in planning stages, and practiced with regularity.


The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. This is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, such as firefighters, police and ambulance crews. When conducted as a military operation, it is termed Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) and can be a follow-up to a Non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO). They may be supported by a number of secondary emergency services, such as specialist rescue teams.

A well rehearsed emergency plan developed as part of the preparedness phase enables efficient coordination of rescue. Where required, search and rescue efforts commence at an early stage. Depending on injuries sustained by the victim, outside temperature, and victim access to air and water, the vast majority of those affected by a disaster will die within 72 hours after impact.

A U.S. Coast Guardsman searches for survivors in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Organizational response to any significant disaster – natural or terrorist-borne – is based on existing emergency management organizational systems and processes: the Federal Response Plan (FRP) and the Incident Command System (ICS). These systems are solidified through the principles of Unified Command (UC) and Mutual Aid (MA)

LA County search and rescue team pulls a Haitian woman from earthquake debris after the 2010 Haiti earthquake

There is a need for both discipline (structure, doctrine, process) and agility (creativity, improvisation, adaptability) in responding to a disaster.<href=”#cite_note-13″>[14] There is also the need to onboard and build an effective leadership team quickly to coordinate and manage efforts as they grow beyond first responders. The leader and team must formulate and implement a disciplined, iterative set of response plans, allowing initial coordinated responses that are vaguely right, adapting to new information and changes in circumstances as they arise.<href=”#cite_note-14″>[15]


The aim of the recovery phase is to restore the affected area to its previous state. It differs from the response phase in its focus; recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed.<href=”#cite_note-haddow-0″>[1] Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property, re-employment, and the repair of other essential infrastructure.<href=”#cite_note-haddow-0″>[1] Efforts should be made to “build back better”, aiming to reduce the pre-disaster risks inherent in the community and infrastructure.[2] An important aspect of effective recovery efforts is taking advantage of a ‘window of opportunity’<href=”#cite_note-Alexander-15″>[16] for the implementation of mitigative measures that might otherwise be unpopular. Citizens of the affected area are more likely to accept more mitigative changes when a recent disaster is in fresh memory.

In the United States, the National Response Plan dictates how the resources provided by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 will be used in recovery efforts.<href=”#cite_note-haddow-0″>[1] It is the Federal government that often provides the most technical and financial assistance for recovery efforts in the United States.<href=”#cite_note-haddow-0″>[1]


  1. This policy provides the following code of conduct for stakeholders:
  2. Disaster response interventions based on facts and verifiable information: Data from the early warning systems and the continuous monitoring of disaster occurrence and trends will be the basis of disaster response.
  1. The humanitarian imperative: the right to receive relief assistance during disasters is a fundamental humanitarian principle, which should be enjoyed by all citizens of Kenya regardless of race, color or creed. The need for an unimpeded access to affected populations is of fundamental importance in exercising responsibility.
  1. Aid is given regardless of ethnicity, political or religious affiliation or geographical considerations
  2. At all times, stakeholders will seek to base the provision of disaster assistance on a thorough assessment of the needs of the affected populations or their available local capacities to meet those needs.
  1. We shall respect culture and customs Stakeholders will endeavour to respect the culture, structures and customs of the communities and households we are working with.
  1. Disaster assistance must strive to reduce future vulnerabilities to disaster as well as meeting basic needs
  2. Stakeholders will reinforce the capacity of local communities to manage the full Disaster Cycle All people and communities even in disaster still possess capacities as well as vulnerabilities.
  3. Where possible, stakeholders will strengthen these capacities by employing local staff and procuring local resources. All activities in Disaster Management should reinforce rather than undermine existing capacities.
  1. Involvement of beneficiaries in Disaster Management Programs
  2. The Government and stakeholders will fully involve communities in the design, management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Disaster programmes.
  1. Mainstreaming Women and Children Issues In all disaster management programmes, Government and partners stakeholders and communities will take positive cognizance of the excessive impacts which women and children undergo in any disaster. This policy, therefore, shall make provisions to enhance protection, safety and other needs of women and children in any disaster situation.
  1. Mainstreaming the Concerns of the Challenged and Elderly
  2. In most disaster situations, confusion surrounds many activities, especially in relation to relief and evacuation. This problem particularly affects the physically, mentally and visually
  3. Challenged, the elderly and the sick. This policy stresses the need of special provisions to cater for these segments of the society in emergencies.