City News Gathered

Cluster level action plan key to dealing with disasters: Home ministry study

NEW DELHI: No one took the Disaster Management Act seriously till the Coronavirus pandemic struck us. With the lockdown of the entire country, the DM Act has proved to be a very effective tool in the hands of the government and has raised hopes of the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in all our developmental and welfare programmes.
A recent study report, compiled by the Union home ministry with the help of the UNDP, showed that more than 9,000 human lives were lost due to disasters in the five years since 2014-15, most of them caused by floods. Every year, 1,500 to 2,000 people die in India due to natural calamities or man-made disasters. The cattle population is hit harder with 3.5 lakh cattle lost to disasters since 2014-15, according to the study.
The study talks about preparing a Cluster Level Action Plan approach and profiling of hazard risk, something that could have been important at this moment when the country is grappling with unexpected attack of Coronavirus.
The Covid-19 disasters have already claimed 150 lives while the country awaits impact of other impending calamities like floods that have almost become a routine annual affair causing loss of lives, upwards of 1,000. The loss of lives and livelihood caused by disasters in India is best depicted by an assessment of the World Bank’s 2013 report, the Home ministry study says and quotes: “The economic losses are 2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and up to 12% of the government revenues” for India.
The government-UNDP study further talks about the need to formulate a “Lab-to-Land” approach in mainstreaming of DRR into development sector. “It requires efforts at multiple levels,” it says, and adds that a regulatory framework, policy at various levels, tools, orientation and training of stakeholders is required to make a change.
Though the Indian government has taken several initiatives such as launching of the national platform for DRR and asked all states to set up similar platforms for engagement of all stakeholders to mainstream DRR, not many have come forward. Except for Himachal Pradesh no other states have formed state platform for DRR which shows lack of seriousness to building disaster resilience and formulating a unified strategy.
The study highlights the need for engagement of the experts from various fields to deal with future shocks of disasters and be prepared for surviving the impact and minimising loss of lives and livelihood. “Monitoring and evaluation embedded within the flagship schemes need to ensure adequate scope for monitoring of mainstreaming of DRR,” the report said.

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