The Above are my Personal Views:
The Above are my Personal Views:
Tsunami’s due to Earthquakes are very dangerous. A few steps can save your life. The given list is of personal advise/suggestions. Please check with Local Disaster Management Authorities for any eventuality:
1. Find out if your home is in a danger zone. Know the height of your street above sea level and distance of your street from the coast. The Evacuation orders refer to these points.
2. Please be familiar with the Tsunami warning signs as this can be caused by an underwater disturbance or an earthquake.
3. People living along the coast, should take this signs as a warning signal.
4. A noticeable rapid rise or fall in coastal waters is also a sign that a Tsunami is approaching.
5. Make sure that all your family members know how to respond to a tsunami.
Prepare evacuation plans much early; don’t take chances in case of emergencies. A few seconds of delay can take your life.
6. Please keep all the disaster supplies on hand, like first aid box, flash light and extra batteries Also keep all your important documents along with your insurance policies in a bag, so that while evacuating, you can take those with you.
7. Develop your own emergency communication plan. Incase family members are separated from one another during a tsunami (A very real possibility as you can be in work and your children might be at home), have a plan of getting back together.
8. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “Family Contact”
9. In case of emergency, please call the Disaster Management Authority of your respective Government or the Red Cross or your local disaster management office.
1. Please listen to the Radio to get the latest emergency information. Keep portable radios in
case of emergencies.
2. If you hear an official tsunami warning or detect signs of a tsunami, evacuate at once.
3. Climb to a higher ground as early as possible.
4. Remember that a tsunami warning is issued, when the authorities are almost sure that a tsunami may happen. So, please don’t take chances.
5. Stay away from the beach. Never go to the beach to see a tsunami coming.
6. Return home only when the authorities advise you to do so.
7. Do not assume that one wave means that the danger is over. The next wave may be larger than the first one. Stay out of the area.
1. Stay tuned to a battery-operated radio for the latest emergency information. Help the injured or trapped persons.
2. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Please call for help.
3. Do remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance- infants, elderly people and people with disabilities. Please stay away from damaged buildings.
4. Do return home, when authorities instruct you to do so. Enter your home with lot of concern.
5. Check for electric short circuits and live wires. Please do not use appliances or lights until an electrician has checked the electrical system and open windows and doors to help dry the building.
6. Check for also gas leaks if any- if you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building.
7. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you have turned off the gas, the gas should be turned on by a professional.
8. Check for sewage and waterlines damages.
9. Please also call the water company, if your water line is damaged.
After all these, I just want to say, that please don’t panick. Follow the rules and you will be fine. After all, there is so many agencies as well as your Respective Government to take care of you. So, have faith in God and you will be safe…
Disaster Management Specialist and Writer
When one thinks of Disasters, it naturally crosses one’s mind if only it had been averted. Disasters are by their very nature unpredictable and happen inspite of the best efforts. It appears to be so sudden and powerful that one attributes it to ones fate. This is what make each of the disasters remarkable and larger than life. Even though all precautions are taken, yet they happen and the sheer ferocity of their occurrence brings terror to one’s heart. It is hard to believe that except for a chance event of the affected people being part of the disaster, they might very well be alive.
The scene of the disaster is heart-rending and what comes to mind is the horror of what happened and one is compelled to feel sorrow for the victims of the disasters.Whether it is the Hurricane Katrina, Wilma, Recent Earthquake in India, Tsunamis, Chernobyl Nuclear Tragedy, Bhopal Gas Tragedy (India), Hurricane Andrew 1992, cyclone at Darwin Australia (1974) etc; each of the disaster has a unique story to tell: if only it could have been avoided and here lies the importance of pre-disaster management policy.
Some times our stereotypical attitudes and lack of proper policy implementation often leads to failure to recognize THAT RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT are inextricably linked and part of the same on-going process. It is now being acknowledged that disasters an wipe out years of development and can dramatically increase vulnerability An increasing number of Governments and International Organizations are promoting risk reduction as the only sustainable solution for reducing the Social, Economical and Environmental impacts of disasters. Risk Reduction strategies includes vulnerability mapping identification of areas that are safe for settlement and development adoption of building codes based on disaster resilient engineering and on local hazard risk assessments and enforcing these plans and codes by economic and other incentives.
I want to stress on the points of local capacities and pre-disaster management to safeguard the precious lives of our brothers and sisters of my planet. One of the most important of these concerns is to build local capacities. The rationale here is based on recognition that local communities have developed their own, indigenous, preparedness and mitigation activities based on their extensive experiences of living with disasters. (All too often in the past, these have been overlooked or undervalued by Disaster Management Specialists from Outside)
Let me give some examples:
In India, one tribal group living in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands understood the coming of the arrival of the slayer Tsunami and fled to a safer place long before the killer waves would have engulfed them. An art of their own, passed from generations to generations. In Africa, there are a lot of food shortages due to drought; but they are able to prevent full blown famine by employing a variety of ‘coping’ mechanisms that allow them to ride out the hungry season until the next harvest. Also I believe that successful disaster prevention depends partly upon being able to predict these crisis before they happen. Though Disasters happen with great regularity, I believe that we should do research as how to stop these natural calamities rather than forecasting it’s arrival.
To that effect, we should stress the need for natural barriers for cyclones and hurricanes, rainwater harvesting methods for continuous supply of water even in the driest seasons, concepts on recharging of groundwater in the driest part of the world. Stressing the need to use methods for liberation of energy from the faults in the earth-strata, so that the release of the enormous energy from the bottom of the earth will stop earthquakes happening! Also we should stress on the afforestation initiatives in catchment areas basins.
I believe this basic research can enable us to understand the water-soil-climate system better. This can lead to new thinking and new avenues of action, which can yield larger stable production within the existing constraints.
The effort spent in basic research and the policies obtained from those pays for it many times over, though not necessarily immediately.
I do believe that you will definitely find this website ( http://www.naturaldisastermanagement.com ) interesting. We would request you to send your views and suggestions by filling our ‘Contact Us’ form.
The views given above are personal.
Disaster Management Specialist and Writer
Nature rules us all. The bountiful nature that sustains the entire living world on our planet has a furious face as well. Traumatized by the towering waves of Tsunami – the most savage force of nature – that hit the South-East Asian Coastlines, humankind is reminded of it’s helplessness in the face of Nature’s fury, although timely warning of such unstoppable disasters can surely help in lessening the overall devastation.
Have you ever imagined gigantic sea waves, moving nearly at the speed of a jet plane, appearing without a warning and hitting the coastlines like a ‘water bomb’. Loaded with enormous energy, the killer waves wreck havoc by flooding several kilometers inland, as they flatten houses and wipe out villages, uproot electric poles, throw cars into swirling waters and toss boats ashore all in a mad furry and finally, drag thousands of hapless victims out to the Sea as they recede. Sounds of pathetic wails engulf the area as loved ones are separated from each other and some forever… Leaving a trail of total destruction, the ruinous waves simply spell disaster. Unfortunately, this is not a scene from a horror movie but is a real life happening.
This natural disaster, known as ‘tsunami’ (soo-NAH-mee) – a destructive, ocean-riding wave created by an undersea disturbance – struck the coastal areas of South-East Asia in the early hours of Sunday, 26th December, 2004. Caught unware by the waves of doom by the fury of sea waves were scores of human lives and suddenly as the hell broke loose, the beautiful beaches brimming with life a few hours ago, transformed into graveyards with dead bodies lying amid torn fishing nets, smashed boats and debris strewn all around.
Millions suffered the terrifying burnt of the assault while thousands of people died an unnatural death. The worst hit nation is Indonesia where a staggering one lakh are estimated to have perished in the wake of this mammoth devastation. Sri Lanka was also hit very brutally by tsunami; as the death toll has been about 31,000 in this island nation.
Tsunami is a Japanese word represented by two characters; tsu and nami. The character tsu means ‘harbour’ while the character nami means ‘wave’. Most tsunami is occured in the Pacific Ocean. Some deadliest Tsunamis are: November 1st, 1755 (Lisbon, Portugal and much of Europe) killed 60,000 people. August 27th, 1883: Eruptions from the Krakatoa volcano fueled a tsunami; killing 36,000 people. June15th, 1896: Sea waves as high as 30 meters, spawned by an earthquake , which swept the east coast of Japan killing 27,000 people. March 27th, 1964: known as ‘Alaskan Good Friday’ earthquake that measured 8.4 on Ricter Scale, generated a tsunami and killed many people in Cresent City, northern California. July17th, 1998 an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 generated a Tsunami in Papua New Guinea that killed 2,200 people.
Though Tsunami’s are often referred to as tidal waves but this is incorrect as tides can also happen due to gravitational influences of the Moon, Sun, and Planets. A point to note is that tsunami’s are not always due to ‘Seismic sea waves’, as they may also be generated due to landslides, volcanic eruptions and quite rarely by the import of a large meteorite falling in the Ocean.
The Asian toll took over 1,50,000 lives, the death toll in India rose to 9,451 by January 2nd, 2005 with 5,511 persons missing. The number of deaths stood at 812 in the Andaman and Nicober Islands, 574 in Pondicherry, 166 in Kerala and 106 in Andhra Pradesh. Around 5,421 were missing in the case of Andaman and Nicober Islands; out of this; 4,657 were missing from Katchal Islands alone. An estimated 10,000 people are said to have died in the Nicober group of islands. The islands were badly hit, both, beacuse of their proximity to the epicentre of the earthquake and the fact that the tectonic activity actually led to the subsidence of the islands. Great Nicober, the southern most island in the group is about 150 km from the epicentre at Banda Aceh in Sumatra in Indonesia. A good indicator is the fact that the light house at Indira Point, the southernmost tip of Great Nicober Island, now stands in the ocean waters, when earlier it was at least about 100 metres inland from the high tide line.
In the first few days of the tragedy, little was known of the destruction that had occured further South in the Central Nicober group comprising the inhabitated islands of Nancowry, Camorta, Katchal, Trinket, Chowra, Peressa and Bompoka and the Southern group where there were human population on Great Nicober, Little Nicober, Pilomilo and kondul. The worst hit region by the Tsunami was Indonesia, which lost more lives than any other country. Dozens of bloated bodies littered the streets of Banda Aceh city as soldiers and desperate relatives searched for survivors of the earthquake and tidal waves. Several hundred bodies collected by the emergency workers lay under plastic tents and rotting on December 27th, 2004. Dozens of bodies were laid in ruins in Banda Aceh, capital of Aceh province. In sumatra a million people were left homeless. Villagers in Sunadon district were picked through the debris of their ruined houses amid the smell of decomposing bodies. Atleast 4,491 persons were killed on Sumatra island and on Nais, an isolated island that lies west of Sumatra. So, apart from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, countries affected are Thailand, Malaysia, Somalia and Maldives.
The titanic tsunami that wrought unprecented death and destruction in South and South-east Asia will go down in history as one of the greatest natural calamities of modern times.
The Titanic Tsunami that wrought unprecedented death and destruction in South and South-East Asia will go down in history as one of the greatest natural calamities of modern times. The great disaster caught the people and the Government off guard and in a matter of minutes, snuffed out more than 1,50,000 lives across more than twelve countries. The number of people rendered homeless might run into millions as no estimate is immediately available as to how many children have become orphans or how many women have become widows and how many families have been wiped out in a single sweep. The biggest ever International relief operation was on; as the fear of an epidemic loomed large.
The catastrophe spawned by tsunami once gain underscored the need for a well-planned disaster management; it did show that we are totally ill-prepared to cope up with such kind of crisis, natural or man-made.
Years passed but still that old question comes to my mind; Are we ready for another Tsunami?” If History repeats itself; shall again our brothers and sisters have to meet the same fate, which was faced by the people on 26th December, 2004?”
The enormity of the tragedy that overtook South Asia would have been eased the countries had a good international warning system and good awareness programs about the do’s and don’ts in the fall out of a deadly disaster (Pre-disaster management policies).
The Department of Space, India have already established more than 250 cyclone warning receivers that can be activated via satellite; all these is very useful for tsunami warning. more such receivers is the need of the time. The time has also come to stress on community education keeping along with the disaster management theme of this year that “disaster Management” should begin at School. This will enable the people to know exactly what they should do; when the warning is sounded.
Disasters like cyclones, droughts, floods, earthquakes, Tsunamis and now biological and along with man-made tragedies along with communal riots due to race, ethnicity or religion is leading to Social disasters, may become burning issues in the years to come. We have to join hands to stop it happening and celebrate with the true spirit of humanity to make a disaser free world for us as well as for our future generations.
So, what is required is a comprehensive blueprint as to how to cope with such crisis in both the short-term and long-term manner. There need to have good mass awareness programs stressing the importance of pre-disaster management policies; along with that there needs to be social, physical, emotional or physcological and economic rehabilitation in the wake of a massive disaster. Ever step need to be taken to help the victims forget for ever, the trauma they have taken gone through.
Its true that this is not an easy task.
The orphans need a home and parents who can adopt them. Most of the victims have to start life a fresh begining with a new home and a new vocation. Its a gigantic task where the fortunate ones who have escaped the fury of nature must contribute their mite so that the calamity struck brethen must feel that there are others who care for them.
Lastly I just want to stress on the point that It’s not the Government agencies alone, but every citizen must act to help others in distress.
Thanks a lot for taking your time and reading this article. Please ‘Sign in’ at the Guestbook and place your views. Lets join hands to make a better world for us; as well as for our future generations.
Disaster Management Specialist and Writer
A daily newspaper reporter in 1900 said the story of September 8, 1900, hurricane could never be truly written. This story will ever remain memorable in the minds of the people then living along the coasts of the city. The story would definitely again remind us the horror of what can happen , when the winds blow and the tides rise along the coasts of a country. These stories and many more is giving rise to the concepts of Cyclone Shelters.The tale of death, devastation and eventual recovery is close to he hearts of Galvestonians. And as it’s stories are passed on again, the 1900 storm will become part of the history of another generation.
If people says that they had family who had died or survived the storm, there is no doubt that they are referring to a family history that goes back more than 100 years.
In the years before the great storm of Sep 8, 1900, Galveston had grown from a small settlement on the texas coast into one of the wealthiest cities in the country. There were natural deep water channel, which made Galveston the most important seaport in Terxas. Trains carried cargo to and from the port, and ships travelled across the seas. In fact almost more than 70 percent of the country’s cotton crop at that time passed through the port of Galveston, and some 1000 ships called on the port annually.
The shallow waters made it easy for bathers to wade safely several yards offshore and enjoy what was considered to be a therapeutic bathing in the Gulf. But the storm left behind a legacy that extends across the country. As families moved from the island, they carried with them the story of that night. The city was home to about 37,000 people.
It was September 8th, 1900, when the waters began to rise in the morning. Children played in flood waters, which began as early as dawn. when cline then chief meterologist of the US weather Service Station in Galveston, began his observations and he noticed Gulf water creeping over the low ends of the island. According to his memoirs, he knew at that moment of impending danger. He rode up and down the beach and urged the visitors of the coming danger. Some facts which were stunning are :
In 1900, higher ground was a relative term. The highest house in the city was at an elevation between 8 and 9 feet. Till today, we even do not know, if the coastal areas have houses at a minimum elevation. I think the answer is negative. If “Yes”, then i do not think that ‘Tsunami’, could have created such a havoc on the Java, sumatra and Indian Coasts.
But even Cline’s warning proved fruitless as the night approached. By the peak of the storm, no part of the island remained dry. It was estimated that the wind speed exceeded 120 miles per hour, according to Cline. But today with modern techniques it is found out that the wind must have been between 130 – 140 miles per hour to produce the extreme tide and storm surge of the 1900.
The 15 1/2 – foot storm surge rolled over the island from gulf to bay. Houses collapsed, and as the surge continued, a wall of debris described as at least two – stories high pushed across the island. The wall destroyed everything in it’s path, building force as it moves across the island. Pictures taken after the storm show empty streets. No people. No animals. No personal belongings. Only piles of debris that buried families beneath the remains of their homes. Bodies occasionally hang outside the debris piles. But for most part, an eerie emptiness paints a picture few words could describe.
The stench of decaying bodies and of fish and other animals rotting in the streets is unimaginable. For all practical purposes, the island was destroyed that night.
While no one wants to imagine a storm that could match the strength and lasting effects of that one, any future storm, no matter its devastation, will be compared to be the benchmark of Texas Storm – The Great Storm of September 8, 1900, in which six thousand died and thirty thousand survived to tell the story and rebuild the city.
Thanks and Regards,
Mainak Majumdar, Specialist Disaster Management
Disaster Management is a combination of environmental, developmental and social issues coupled with administrative directives, operational skills of an organization and its capacities to implement those to lessen the adverse effects of an emergency. The other important constituent of risk management is precise information flow which in itself is a form of disaster response in its own right.
May it be a Mexican Earthquake or an 8.7 earth shattering phenomenon at the city of Banda Aceh or the northern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island or Chile or Haiti Earthquake, which leads to eradication of hundreds of lives.
Seismic activities occur everywhere and coupled with floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought & landslides, they compose a complete chronicle of human destruction. The challenges seem to be more and but it also provides saving options. The risks faced due to any environmental disaster are not only due to losses in lives, environment, health status, livelihoods and assets but also for the services that could occur in a particular community or a society over some specified future time period.
Environmental Calamity Management is a highly complex problem and has diverse manifestations. It is a phenomenon which affects people in different ways and is the result of social, cultural, economic and political factors. It is to be noted that all crises do not give rise to emergencies and the radical changes do not mean that it is always in negative.
The vision of the policy makers should be to assist the vulnerable and poor people to bring about positive change and to support their capacity to withstand adverse changes that may affect their social and economic developments. The changes should be made after proper judgment as any changes for the vulnerable people or the communities may give rise to a crisis that may overpower their capacity to cope and hence is an uncalled emergency. Crisis is not only about this unexpected catastrophe but also the sum-up of this slow build-up of political, social, economic and environmental factors. Along with all these issues, there is a combination of unexpected incident such as cyclone, flood, earthquake, drought or any other type of major accidents, which would definitely add to these changes in a very negative way. Hence, it is critical that relief interventions addresses these issue which are the standing parameters for a crisis and which leads to Environmental Catastrophes.
It is this inequity and poverty, which make people more vulnerable to the effects of Natural and Industrial Hazards. It is a well known fact that Natural Resources are divided into two categories, renewable and non-renewable sources of energy. Human Beings would never lack vital materials if he/she would adjust his population size and resource demands at or below the level that allows the biogeochemical cycles to operate in such a way that materials as well as organizations are “reassembled” as fast they are “dispersed”. The shift from “special interest conservation” to “total ecosystem conservation” helps to establish the fact that human beings are a part of a complex environment which must be studied, treated and modified as a whole and not on the basis of isolated “projects”. Hence there is a need to take cautions while tampering with the Environment with lakes to draining, fillings, dredging, pollutions, stabilizations, mosquito control, algae control and the planting of any fish, which are able to swim. It is we humans, who constrict them with levees and dams and then flush them with dredging, channelizations and floods and silt of bad farming.
The other most important factor is proper flow of information. Responding to the Indian Ocean Tsunami Aid Agencies distributed remarkable amounts of relief aid. But despite this, some needy groups were missed. In some cases, aid went to men and the specific needs of women were not met. In others, aid went to dominant social groups, sidelining tribal people and outcastes. Information about them was lacking.
The obvious questions are: Does the people in a disaster stricken area get enough information? Do they receive the caution before a natural disaster? Do the people of a country have the power to involve themselves in management of environmental disasters?
In a disaster area, there are different types of information: It includes everything from facts to deep understanding & may include lies and deception. It should be kept in mind that gathering data is a one-way process. If one has to acquire knowledge and wisdom, we need to involve and exchange ideas and analyze those in the light of experience, through discussion and interviews or multiple channels of communication.
If the disaster victim can recognize an aid agency’s capacity and viewpoints, they can give better advice as how to help them. It is the dialogue than the data that matters.
If we analyze the intensity of a cyclone & its destruction, the deaths and damages caused, it would indicate very diverse co-relationship between the economic leader of the countries and the actual loss of the communities. One of the deadliest cyclones- the cyclone Bhola of 1970 in East Pakistan was classified as Category III (maximum wind speed 205 km) and it killed three hundred thousand people while the economic loss was estimated at US$ 86.4 million.
If we go back to 2004’s hurricane season at Cuba, the country proved again how effective it is in protecting human life from the worst disaster. It was Hurricane Charley which swept into Cuba on 13th August 2004 where 70,000 houses were severely destroyed and four people died. When hurricane Ivan came to the coastline of Cuba, with greater force, over 2 million people were evacuated but none of them lost their lives.
So, how does Cuba do wonders and save lives from the clutches of such horrible hurricanes?
They overpower natural catastrophes as they take Disaster Management in a broader sense addressing issues and policies related to environmental sustainability, social sustainability, information flow and channelization of those in masses and also focus on needs for good quality education in environmental disaster management.
In Cuba, evacuation orders are mandatory – an important distinction from other neighboring countries. Public transport is provided to get people to shelters. Local branches of Federation of Cuban Women help and persuade reluctant people to accept evacuation, so it is rare that the police or army has to step in.
There is a need to ensure that disaster mitigation efforts are not just top to down and is rather based on direct information from the communities.
Risk Mapping is about consideration of direct link from the environmental factors, logical responses and changing pattern of tensions and relationships. Social division and inequality effect risks and its management. Hence there is a need to develop a methodology for analyzing conflict, which should be based on drawing up ‘maps’ of causes and can be superimposed on a similar map of responses.
The next factor is Environmental Sustainability. When the human population of an area is small, poor land use may affect only the people who are guilty of bad judgment. As the population increases, everyone suffers if land is improperly used because everyone eventually pays for rehabilitation or is now too often the case; everyone suffers a permanent loss of resources. A small example is if grasslands in low regions are plowed up and planted to wheat (poor land use), a “dust bowl” or temporary desert will sooner or later be a result. If the grass cover is maintained and moderately grazed (good land use), no dust bowl will likely to be developed. It is a general observance that good land use planning has come only after human has first destroyed or damaged a landscape. It is just as the saying goes that Human does not seem to understand a system which he did not build and therefore he seemingly must partially destroy and rebuild before use limitations are understood.
One solution to these problems are:
i) Cluster development: A cluster development of residential housing around village or town centers with each unit separated by broad green belts.
ii) By retaining stream valleys, steep slopes, lakes, marshes, aquifer recharge areas, waste disposal areas free from houses, buildings, and other high density uses. Without such planning, there might be no open space, and which would lead to the same kind of urban blight, chronic pollution and social disorder that we now observe in older, unplanned cities.
Generally, the short term profits that can be made by exploiting urban land are so huge that it is difficult for people to foresee the socio-ecologic backlashes and overshoots that accompany uncontrolled growth.
With the increase in population, food supplies will reduce resulting in increasing prices.
In other words, the size and quality of the “environmental house” should be an important consideration and not the number of resources; we can relentlessly squeeze from the earth. A reasonable goal could be to stress on the fact that a third of all land could be under open space use. The dependence of a city on the countryside for all its vital resources (food, water, air and so on) and the dependence of the country on the city for economic resources become so widely recognized that the present political confrontation that exists between the rural and urban populations is obliterated.
The next obvious aspects are creation of Sustainable Livelihoods. The real basis for assessing the appropriateness of any type of intervention is an understanding of livelihood systems and the strategies in which people are already engaged, the problems which they face and the ways in which they are adapting to changing environmental and economic conditions. The notion of “livelihood” systems” takes into account the wide range of people’s roles, activities, personal capacities and resources, which make up the way they make a living; and how these elements are related to each other.
It is here comes the concept of serving the poor profitability. These are the people who have great needs, but they can’t express their requirements in a way which may matter to markets. Markets seem to avoid the needs as it doesn’t bring profit and hence poor always tend to remain poorer. It is where Government and corporate houses comes into play and try to make a difference. But today Corporate Social Responsibility seemed to break that ‘tax free’ attitude and has come for the betterment of the World as more World Business Leaders tries to come forward with their aim to improve the smaller parts of the globe where their presence is felt.
Hence the ways forward are:
a) Recognize that Environmental Sustainability is a must for containing a Disaster
b) Recognize that Social Sustainability along with development is necessary for good Risk Reduction
c) Recognize information as a form of disaster response in its own right
d) Support better access to information and communications along with technology for vulnerable communities
e) Build a partnership for sharing information with communities, local governments, media, telephone companies and Industries.
f) Women and men of all ages from disaster affected areas and wider local populations, including vulnerable groups should receive information about the assistance programme and are given the opportunity to comment to the assistance agency during all stages.
Its then we could save many number of human lives with minimum causalities.
Please send your feedback in the e-mail address given below.
Thanks and Regards,
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
September 11 attacks or the spread of Anthrax or the rising fear of a Nuclear Disaster, the emergence of the term Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Disaster (CBRN) is becoming a challenging issue infront of Governments of the World. Central to such preparation and response planning are the roles of districts, states, local -self Governments, National Government Departments, which includes activities ranging from global intelligence gathering to local emergency response. Beginning in the mid-1990s and accelerating rapidly since September 2001, all levels of Government have focused on improving their capabilities to foresee, intercept, prepare for and respond to these CBRN disasters.
Many Government Agencies, non-governmental organizations and individuals charged with emergency preparedness, response and management are being encouraged all over the World to intricate emergency Plans into training, education and public awareness campaigns. These days, Governments and Industries are enabling themselves to co-operate and find solutions to this blazing problem.
CBRN is an initiation for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear disaster. The term is used worldwide to refer to incidents or weapons in which any of these four hazards have presented them. In the fifties the expression ABC (Atomic, Biological and Chemical) was in use and was modified during the cold war to NBC (Nuclear, biological and chemical). Later the term R (radiological) was introduced as a consequence of the “new” threat radiological weapon (also known as the “poor man’s atomic bomb). CBRN agents are commonly referred as weapons of mass destruction. A wide range of these agents are available, but there are problems related to their manufacture, storage and disposal.
A CBR device functions by wind dispersal. During that instance the evacuation of people and control of ventilation turn out to be a main concern. The methods that are followed are prevention, detection, preparedness and response. Justifiably in order to protect the populace from any eventualities of CBRN attacks, there is a requirement of co-ordination between various Government agencies, Industries, Non-governmental organizations and departments like transport, home, environment, health etc, which would work in close cooperation as an assistance provider to the civilian authorities. There are two main issues, which in the intervening time have increased the risk of CBRN viz. trafficking and dual-use nature of CBRN materials. Hence there is a need for a number of national and multilateral legal instruments to come forward to stop the access of CBRN materials as pillars of prevention and agree to a uniform policy package on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) security. The world needs to have all necessary tools at hand to counteract this menace and spread awareness about the grave nature of CBRN threat. There is a requirement for discussion on these issues with proper documents prepared and adopted by various institutions as well as the National Government to present the Indian endeavor to address risks of CBRN disaster.
Chemical, Biological and Nuclear emergencies having potential of becoming a disaster may occur due to accidental spill, terrorism activities as well as use of chemical and nuclear warfare agents. It is difficult to predict when such activities will occur or whether the target will be military or a civilian unit. It has been observed in past that it occurred when it was least expected. In some countries the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has been identified as the nodal agency in the country in respect of human made radiological emergencies in the public domain. For example, a Crisis Management Group (CMG) has been functioning since 1987 in DAE, India. In the event of any radiological or nuclear emergency in the public domain, the CMG is immediately activated and will co-ordinate between the local authority in the affected area and the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC). The CMG comprises of senior officials drawn from various units of DAE like the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Heavy Water Board (HWB) and the Directorate of Purchase and Stores (DP&S). It also includes senior officials from the regulatory authority and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
In general chemical and biological agents are considered to be cheaper and easier to produce. Radioactive materials that could be used for such contamination are available from a wide range of relatively non-secure facilities, including hospitals, medical and research laboratories, universities, waste dumps and so forth. The use of biological weapons become more eminent as apart from the natural transnational movement of these pathogenic organisms, their potential use as biological warfare and bio-terrorism has become far more important now than ever before. Small Pox and Anthrax are the most common agents and has the ability to cause widespread calamity. These types of incidents trigger human panic. These biological agents mainly bacteria, virus, toxins, fungi are living organisms and their toxic products can kill or incapacitate people, livestock and plants. These agents can be dispersed by spraying them into air, infecting animals that carry disease to humans and by contaminating food and water. Potentially hundreds of human pathogens could be used as weapons; however public health authorities have identified only a few as having the potential to cause causalities leading to civil disruptions.
The United Nations had closely been associated with CBRN disasters through its different programmes and specialized agencies. It was acknowledged later that there was a need to tackle the consequences of nuclear and biological related disasters, which has spurred the development of wide ranging international co-operation in science, humanitarian assistance and technology. National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India have proactively taken steps in the direction of institutionalization of the framework for “all hazard” emergency response in disasters culminated into the formulation of the National Guidelines on Medical Preparedness and Mass Causality Management, Nuclear and Radiological Disaster Management, Chemical Disaster Management etc. World Health Organization has been associated with Medical, Biological and Radiological Disasters for long. It was in the year 1989 WHO first raised concerns that local medical scientists had incorrectly attributed various biological and health effects to radiation exposure during the Chernobyl incident. Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) has been spreading awareness about Nuclear Disasters for long and one example is at Jitapur, Maharashtra, India where this public sector enterprise is actively working to set up a nuclear plant keeping all concerns into account & carefully finding the mitigation strategies. In Fiscal year 2009, USAID and Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance responded to 63 disasters in 49 countries to assist nearly 55 million disaster-affected people. In Africa, OFDA disaster responses included assistance to populations affected by complex emergencies, food insecurity, ammunitions explosion, cholera and measles outbreaks.
There are new CBRN detection tools which will help us to use our ability to employ adequate detection methods, use modern and effective decontamination technologies and equipment, deal efficiently with decontamination wastes and do all of these in a safe manner. It’s a challenge for the Research Teams to come up with more innovative solutions to better equip and protect the community from these types of disaster.
Hence solutions need to be found for response strategies at the personal levels to these types of attacks or accidents. Though it needs some effort but a small step to aware and to empower ourselves with knowledge about disasters and its management could give us more days to live life and make a safer world for us as well as for the future generations.
Thanks and Regards,
I thought of writing this small write-up since it has been going in my mind for last two years. I’m trying to express that thought through the following document.
Across the world, there is a rapid increase in urban living and an ever greater understanding of the consequences of Global Climate Change. Cities are experiencing warmer weather, hotter summers and delayed winters. Even, we can expect much greater changes in the decades ahead.
The population is increasing day by day and with no specific control on the increasing population explosion, there is a fierce struggle for land and space. There is also an increase in the intake of food and water. So, all these factors lead to an increase in demand graph and supply chart seems to go down. This is a worrying fact for a city, which needs to survive this trouble times.
Hence, we need to find some sustainable approach to keep a balance. The approach should be in areas concerning water, land, food and the air we breathe. All these are the basics of human survival. Let us take the example of water. It’s not the simple expansion of irrigation. It had an ecological and social dimension as well and was the key to rural transformation. Providing a limited but assured quantity of water to all urban households irrespective of their landholding is the key for water conservation. Now, to serve such dispersed need, the systems required had to be entirely different – technologically and socially. The population of the world tripled in the 20th century and now the use of renewable resources have grown six fold. Within the next fifty years the World population will increase by 40%-50%. Now this population growth coupled with industrialization and urbanization will result in an increasing demand of water and will have serious consequences in the environment. Already there is more waste water generated and dispersed today than at any other time in the history of our planet: more than one out of six people lack access to safe drinking water, namely 1.1 billion people, and more than two out of six lack adequate sanitation, namely 2.6 billion people.
(Estimation for 2002, by the WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2004) One must know that these figures represent only people with very poor conditions. In reality, these figures should be much higher.
Less availability of water leads to water stress. Water stress results from an imbalance between water use and water resources. The water stress indicator in this map measures the proportion of water withdrawal with respect to total renewable resources. The depleting resource leads to many tensions over neighbors, communities, districts, states and countries. So, it is a real fact that there is a water crisis today. “But the crisis is not about having too little water to satisfy our needs. It is a crisis of managing water so badly that billions of people – and the environment – suffer badly.” World Water Vision Report
With this current state of affairs, correcting measures still can be taken to avoid the crisis to be worsening. There is an increasing awareness that our freshwater resources are limited and need to be protected both in terms of quantity and quality. This water challenge affects not only the water community, but also decision-makers and every human being. “Water is everybody’s business” was one the key messages of the 2nd World Water Forum. Indian Cities are no different.
Another challenging factor, which haunts an Indian city, is Green Cover.
As per the report of National Institute of Environmental Studies, Bangalore has a Green Cover of 8.60 per cent, National Capital Region (New Delhi): 8.49 per cent, Greater Mumbai: 6.20 per cent, Chennai: 7.50 percent. The most astonishing fact is that Kolkata has a very less Green cover of 0.95 per cent. The numbers indicate percentage of green cover as a proportion of the total area for major Indian cities. Needless to say, the list — prepared by the Delhi-based National Institute of Environment Studies (NIES), who had made it clear that Calcutta has the lowest green count among all the cities.
It’s stated that as per the established norms the green cover should be at least 15 percent for mega-cities for a population of one – million. Lack of open space and greenery increases air pollution and triggers respiratory and other problems, besides raising temperature, affecting biodiversity and causing psychosomatic disorders among citizens. According to the report it also states that the Green Cover of the city has continuously been depleting from 1.3 per cent in 1997-98 to 0.95 per cent in 1999-2000, due to indiscriminate felling of trees due to various reasons.
Hence, it is very clear that most Indian Cities faces many environmental challenges. Hence a variety of methods will be needed to tackle climate change and its consequences and that living roofs and walls can play a significant role in tackling the situation. The greening of a roof can support rare and interesting types of plant, which in turn can host or provide suitable habitat for a variety of rare and interesting invertebrates.
These would serve many purposes:
a) Help to reduce global warming and green house gas effect
b) Help to reduce urban heat island effect (UHIE)
c) Help to reduce energy and carbon-dioxide emissions
d) Help to enhance bio-diversity, reduce flood risk, provide insulation and improve the appearance of the city.
Creation of Green Bus Shelters will not only increase the green cover. The mission would be to increase the green look of the city as well as educate the public about the many environmental benefits of green roofs, as well as improve urban air quality and provide attractive waiting spaces for public transit users. The Green Bus Shelters will serve the following purposes:
a) Filtering air pollution and particulates from vehicle exhaust
b) Managing storm water by slowing the runoff rate
c) Adding an extra layer of insulation to roofs
d) Providing wildlife habitat opportunities in a dense urban area.
The next concept is Rain water harvesting and creation of Rain Homes. This will together create a Sustainable Rain Neighbourhoods. A sustainable neighbourhood is a mixed used area with a feeling of community. It is a place where people want to live and work, now and in the future. Sustainable neighbourhoods meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life. They are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, and offer equality of opportunity and good services to all. (Bristol Accord, 6-7 December 2005)
Sustainable Rain Neighbourhoods will make the communities have access to round the clock usage of water, irrespective of the number of people through effective capturing, storing and usage of Rain water.
Wastes and its disposal is another problem which haunts a metropolitan city. Human is behind every developmental sector. The large-scale production and improper disposal of waste has become a source of pollution and further accumulation of garbage has resulted in serious deterioration of quality of life and the ecological balance. An initiative need to be taken on the need of systemic waste management. We need to have good projects all around the globe to address these issues and plan its mitigation policies. It’s then we can move towards a Safer World for us as well as for the future generations.
For any project to be successful, there is a need to create lot of awareness campaigns. The purpose of the campaign would be to help everyone learn how to make the city a better place to live, in both small and big ways.
Hope through these write-up, International Agencies, Government and Non-Government organizations take up these projects so that we can see a Greener and a Safer World.
Thanks a lot for reading. Please put a comment if your time permits.
Thanks and Regards,
Assistant Director (Disaster Management) in India’s Industry and Business organization at New Delhi
Specialist in Disaster Management and Environmental Sciences
Volcanoes, earthquakes & tsunami pose the most frightening hazards, which is able to eradicate the lives of thousand within seconds. In this regard let me put across a few words from Antigone, by the Attic tragedian Sophocles (4967-406 B.C.), in the translation of Sir Richard Jebb, C.U.P., 1900 (Jakobsen, p. 57); Wonders are many, and none is more wonderful than man…. only against Death shall he call for aid in vain; but from baffling maladies he hath devised escape.
This year (2010) there were so many earthquakes that it is hardly a day, when we do not hear about it. The occurrence as narrated and visualized in television tells a tale of destruction which still remains visible in the eyes of the beholder. The word ‘tsunami’ may be a much more recent acquisition to our vocabulary, attained as a result of 26 December 2004, when a submarine earthquake near Sumatra displaced the sea water into devastating series of waves – a tsunami – that claimed nearly 300,000 lives around the shores of the Indian Ocean.
These Volcanoes undeniably produce impressive landscapes and those of us who are fortunate enough to have witnessed such an erupting volcano will carry to our graves indelible memories of an erupting volcano, the spectacle, the noise, the smell and the drama. But beauty has its worst side too. To save one from these types of disasters purely lies on ones position. If you are in a wrong place at the wrong time, you may not be able to save yourself. For other people, whose lives, health, homes and livelihoods are being destroyed or put at risk by an eruption – any sense of scientific curiosity is understandably displaced by more pressing personal concerns.
Generally it is often seen that eruptions are always associated with small earthquakes and that in some circumstances the eruption of a volcano is the cause of a small scale tsunami. Everything in this world is related. One cannot mitigate one parameter, without understanding the other’s ecological links. Mitigation can only be done, when we understand the ecology and its biodiversity outlooks and hence require specialists from various fields to come together and act. Natural Catastrophe Management may be the domain of trained civil defense people, but if one needs to mitigate the disasters and save billions of dollars of development from annihilation, one need to have effective understanding of Environment and our immediate surroundings – the things we do and things we should not do. It’s just not deforestation, it’s not about the construction of high rises buildings, it’s not about the exploitation of Mother Nature in the name of development but it’s about understanding the role of all these factors in context to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA, 5-10 years of human existence). That’s the importance of these EIA.
It was the eruption of Krakatau (popularly referred to as Krakatao) which caused the tsunami in 1883. In addition to generating an ocean-crossing tsunami, a volcanic eruption can teach up and pluck aircraft from the sky. Let’s glance into the reasons as why does a volcano happen.
Molten rock at a depth is known to geologists as magma. Depending on its composition, magma solidifies when its temperature drops below about 1200 – 800 degree centigrade. This type of solidified rocks formed by solidified magma is described as an igneous rock. The term ‘igneous’ is derived from the Latin word ‘ignis’meaning fire. Thus an igneous rock made by solidification inside the earth’s surface is described as intrusive and is said to form an ‘igneous intrusion’. If the magma reaches the surface the resulting rock is called as volcanic.
When the molten rock reaches the surface it is generally called lava rather than the magma and if it flows in a stream across the surface, then this is described as a lava flow. Just to mention here that rocks of all types contain various minerals. When these rocks are in a molten state it is called Magma. These magmas may also have small crystals and bubbles of gas inside them. Magma will tend to rise upwards only if it is less dense than the solid rock that surrounds it. A close study reveals that the movement of the magma is restricted by its viscosity, which is a measure of how freely it is able to flow. One can compare and understand the amount of viscosity by taking the example of basalt (Common variety of magma, in fluid state) is about 100,000 times more viscous than water! This gives it the consistency of very thick porridge, so that it would not be able to escape up a narrow borehole.
The earth is composed of Core (Inner and Outer), Mantle (Lower and Upper) and the crust. The Inner core of the Earth is between 6370 Km to 5155 Km. The Outer Core is between 5155 Km to 2900 Km, the Lower Mantle is between 2900 Km to 670 Km, the Upper Mantle is between 670 Km to 90 Km/25 Km. The Crust is between 6-11 Km. Although the outer core’s chemical composition is uncertain, we can be sure that it is a liquid rather than a solid because of its effect on seismic waves. These are vibrations of various sorts emanating from earthquakes or underground explosions, which travel through the rock at speeds of several kilometers per second. The biggest earthquakes and the underground nuclear detonations generate seismic waves strong enough to pass right through the globe. When seismic waves encounter the outer core, those waves consisting of shearing vibrations (as inside a wobbling jelly), which is called the S waves, cannot travel through it and are either reflected or absorbed. This demonstrates that the outer core offers no resistance to shearing motions, and so must be liquid. Conversely, seismic waves that consist of alternating pulses of compression and dilation (like sound waves in air or water) called P Waves, can travel through it. There are other sorts of seismic waves that can travel only near the Earth’s surface.
Although the molten iron stew of the outer core has a surprisingly low viscosity (little more than that of water), it is much too dense to find its way up to the surface at volcanoes. However, it does make its presence felt at the surface through Earth’s magnetic field. This is a product of electrical currents in the outer core, which are generated because the molten material is in rapid circulation and is a good conductor of electricity. The core is surrounded by the mantle and overlying this mantle is the crust, which is relatively thin skin at the Earth’s Surface, accounting for less than 0.5 per cent of the Earth’s mass. The crust is richer in silicon and certain other elements than the mantle, so the varieties of silicate materials that are most common in the crust differ from those that characterize the mantle. However, the compositional difference between mantle and crust is trivial compared to the difference between mantle and core. There are two types of crust: one is the Oceanic Crust which is about 6-11 Km thick and mostly composed of basalt and constitutes the floor of deep oceans. Continental crust makes up the continents and floors of the shallow seas that are adjacent to most major land masses. It can be as thin as 25 Km where it has been thinned and stretched and as much as 90 Km thick below the highest mountain ranges where it has been buckled and compressed.
The elements which are mostly found in the earth’s crust are Silicon, Titanium, Aluminum, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium etc. Volcanoes generally occur where magma that has been generated at isolated patches in the mantle collects into sufficient volumes to be able to rise into the crust and make its way to the surface. The theory of plate tectonics describes the way in which the plates slide around and explains why most volcanoes occur where they do and the nature of the ground displacement during earthquakes. The Earth crust is firmly joined to the part of the mantle immediately beneath it. In most places, the top 100 Km or so of the mantle is just as strong and rigid as the crust, so that the crust and thus this uppermost mantle constitute a single mechanical layer. This layer is known as the lithosphere, a term chosen because it includes ‘lithos’, the Greek word for rock.
The lithosphere is rocky (in the familiar sense) in terms of both its composition and is strong and rigid nature. It ranges between 20 and 50 Km thick in the oceans and is typically about 150 Km thick under the continents. Each tectonic plate is a slab of lithosphere that can move around because the part of the mantle immediately beneath it is much weaker. This layer of the mantle is called the Asthenosphere(constructed from the Greek word for weak). The part, which is weak of the mantle, lies in few tens of Kilometers immediately below the base of the lithosphere, where there is evidence that a few percent of molten material may permeate along the interfaces between crystals. However, the proportion of this melt is so small that it is no more valid to think of this zone as molten or rather it is better to describe it as water-sodden brick as a liquid. However below the lithosphere there is an important change in the properties of the Earth’s rock that persists all the way to the core – although deep mantle is solid but it is not at rest. It is circulating at a speed of a few centimeters a year. However, that does not mean it is a liquid, certainly not so far as the transmission of seismic waves is concerned. The deep mantle’s slow flow is usually described as ‘solid-state convention’.
It’s this convention of current, what makes warm air to rise and cold air sink or water circulate in a saucepan (even before it boils). It is a way of transporting heat outwards. In the Earth’s solid mantle, convective forces cause it to circulate and thereby transfer the Earth’s internal heat outwards much more effectively than could be achieved simply by conduction through a motionless mantle. In fact, it is the efficiency of solid-state convention in the mantle that actually prevents the temperature getting quite hot enough to cause widespread melting. Put simply, hot mantle rises upwards & transfers its heat to the base of the lithosphere. Mantle that has lost heat in this way becomes slightly denser and sinks downwards again. Most of the heat deposited at the base of the lithosphere trickles through to the surface by conduction, but some is carried higher by pods of magma that can intrude high into the crust or even reach the surface at volcanoes. Often it is seen that most volcanoes occur independently of convection in the mantle and are a result of movements of the tectonic plates and these movements are possible only because only because the top of the Aesthenosphere is weak enough to allow them to happen. Volcanoes tend to be concentrated in well defined belts. These volcanoes during eruption also disturb the plate boundaries and are the cause of earthquakes and tsunami. A sudden change can be drastic and can eliminate thousands of human life.
According to computer models, somewhere near Toba, along the fault line there may be another super volcano getting ready for eruption. 3.1 mile sinking of Indo-Australian plate under the Euresian Plate in the last 74,000 years has created enough magma for a super volcano.
In the words of poet Stefanie Zammit,
‘Where distant screams haunt the nights,
And streets are filled with empty homes.
Where starving dogs are left to fight
Over lost men’s meat and children’s bones…
…When the smoke of burning men fills the air:
A smoke that no wind can fend.
When you take a breath and you declare:
This is when it really ends.’
Though these is just an assumption till now, but who knows when these volcanoes in well defined belts starts erupting and cause huge earthquakes all around the world to tell the final tale of human beings last annihilation story 2012.
(Please Note: Incase, there is any mistake in the above data, kindly feel free to mail me at the e-mail address given below)
Thanks and Regards,
Disaster Management Specialist and Writer
Risk Assessment is about identifying the potential hazards and risks associated with any substance, process or activity and determining ways to manage those hazards before the adverse effects become evident.
Risk Management takes a more multifaceted form if a system becomes more complex. This is what happened in Bhopal. It was in 2-3rd December, 1984; the World’s worst industrial disaster killed at least 20,000 people and left thousands maimed and helpless. The medical follow up done by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), based on diverse multi-institutional projects over a 10 year period between January 1984 and May 1994, on the communities that were exposed to the leak provides a reasonably comprehensive viewpoint on both short and long-term health effects. Epidemiological studies formed the core of the study that included 25 research projects, including two multi-disciplinary ones on pathology and toxicology to determine the effects of inhaling noxious gases. The investigations also included clinical and toxicological studies. The entire work was coordinated by the Bhopal Gas Disaster Research Centre (BGDRC).
An International Journal stated earlier that the findings of the study were not made public till 2004. It was of belief that about 42 tones of Methyl Isocyanate (and other gaseous products of the runaway reaction) were leaked from the storage tank in 1984. Approximately about three-fourths of the storage tank population at that time was exposed to the leak. Large part of the populations were affected to different degrees and when experts debated on the ways to find solution, people died like flies. A total number of approximately 80,000 people were studied at severely, moderately and mildly exposed areas and compared with controls from unexposed areas. Later it was found – of the total population, 3.9 percent was affected severely, 8.6 percent moderately and 50.1 percent mildly, while 37.4 percent was not affected. Most people included in the study had no fixed occupation or fixed source of income. Nearly 70 percent of the people, lived in Kuccha houses, in the severely affected as well as control areas (areas where the gas had not spread), and prevalence of the smoking habit ranged from 0.2 to 14.3 per cent.
If one goes through the ICMR report then one could come to a conclusion that the three-fourth of the deaths occurred within the first 72 hours of the leak, which happened around mid night of December 2-3, 1984. It was the post-exposure phases that is now considered as depending on the varying clinical features, the different post-exposure phases have been classified in the study as acute (first month of exposure), sub-acute (one to three months) and chronic (more than three months). The ocular symptoms during the acute period were related to the effects of the gas(es) on the eyes and the respiratory tract. In the acute phase, in addition to respiratory complaints, including chest pain and breathlessness, there were complaints of muscle weakness, febrile illness and vomiting. After examination of blood, it was found that in this phase there were increased white blood cells and higher than normal hemoglobin levels. Situations of these types of can be termed as EXTREME EVENTS, which is beyond the natural capacity of the individuals to cope.
If we look through the doors of history then one can find that risk and crisis management is lettered with narratives about the ways in which the organizations failed to deal with the demands of ‘extreme events’. Extreme events by definition are a class of outcome that have very high consequences (often exceeding the perceived worst class scenario) but also a low probability of occurrence. These factors make them difficult areas for analysis and investigations. These may lead some individuals to come to a conclusion by dismissing their significance by stating that they are not representative of the ‘normal’ state of affairs within the ‘system’ under consideration. Extreme events call into question our understanding of the various classes of phenomenon in which they are found and the strategies that organizations have in place to deal with them.
Thus they confront the secretarial claims and their control systems and can often call into question many of the fundamental assumptions that are held about the nature of hazard. These types of extreme events are also found in Natural Disasters or catastrophes or go-physical phenomenon, extreme weather conditions and also for long term phenomenons like global warming.
For example, a region receives a clear warning about heavy downfall and the same place receives enough rainfall in a 24 hour period (which is equivalent to months of precipitation in the given region) then the scale of the event will definitely surprise many people and will cause situations which may be difficult for the local population to cope. Again, a clear look states that it is often the scale of the events that present challenges around prediction. These leads to elementary complexity in the provision of mitigating advice to those, who are exposed to these type of risks. However there are attempts to provide early warning systems to warn the people against the upcoming disasters.
‘Extreme Events’ are typified by being both high consequence and low probability events. They are events that have the potential to overpower our resistance and yet they occur so uncommonly that we are powerless to develop enough experience from them and expand effective management control strategies that are grounded in the normal trial and error learning process that characterize organizations.
Extreme eventsare however also characterized by the various attempts to ‘manage’ them so that one can prevent the process of its escalation that has the power to move a system within its boundaries of its normal perturbation towards an extreme position, where it can no longer be controlled and has the potential to cause considerable levels of damage. Here we need to understand the consequences of an extreme event rather than seeking to search for developed technologies of prognosticating their occurrence.
If we understand the possible harm that such ‘extreme events’ can cause, it would lead the outcome administrators to reflect on the process by which incidents can shoot up to generate considerable damage and how inadequate our understanding base is, which often depend around these processes.
Some organizations consider the nature of their past histories as evidence that they are ‘crisis prepared’ or ‘resilient’. The lack of sufficient information and evidence about the exact understanding of the possible harm of a particular catastrophic hazard is often seen as a ‘justification’ that the organization is prepared for such crisis. But what if these crisis takes the shape of an extreme event. The coping capacity of such organizations is largely a function of the assumptions that exist around controls, which work under a range of conditions and to an extent that they are able to cope with the task demands that they are generated by emergence.
If we look into the details then one arrives at a conclusion that there are few handful of managers who have an ‘Hand on’ experience of ‘crisis’ not necessarily an extreme event and that would allow them to manage these events with their own past histories he/she had undergone. Therefore the organizations need to engage in simulation exercises in order to ensure that managers have some experience of dealing with those processes around which the hazard might escalate. It would help if the mangers are also willing to consider the experience of other organizations, which are having similar experiences around such types of events. As crises are in essence, extreme events, our understanding of them will be a function of the observations that we can make ‘at a distance’ rather than by direct experimental learning.
However, what these extreme events do is to point to the manner in which managerial assumptions around control can generate the conditions in which catastrophic failures can occur. As such, they serve an important role in allowing us to develop strategies for coping with the consequences of extreme events or crisis by considering the range of impacts that such events can generate.
My assumption goes that these factors stated above may be lacking for what happened in Bhopal Gas Disaster in 1984. A deep look into these aspects and significant research with proper implementation of policies in these areas can help organizations, corporate and other agencies to tackle ‘extreme events’ more professionally and effectively.
Please Note: Incase, there is any mistake in the above data, kindly feel free to mail me at the e-mail address given below.
Thanks and Regards,
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Emergency Management is a highly complex problem and has diverse manifestations. It’s a phenomenon which affects people in different ways and is the result of social, cultural, economic and political factors. The links need to be found for analyzing a better Emergency Management. All crisis does not give rise to emergencies and the radical changes does not mean that it’s in negative. A Change may not necessary lead to the fulfillment of ones goal. The vision of the policy makers should be to assist the vulnerable and poor people to bring about positive change and to support their capacity to withstand adverse changes that may affect their social and economic developments. The changes should be made after proper thinking as any changes for the vulnerable people or the communities may give rise to a crisis that may overpower their capacity to cope and is a call for Emergency. Crisis is not only about this unexpected catastrophe but also the sum-up of this slow build-up of political, social, economic and environmental factors.
Along with all these issues, there is a combination of unexpected incident such as Cyclone, Flood, Earthquake, Drought or any other type of major accidents, which would definitely add to these changes in a very negative way. Hence, it is critical that relief interventions should aim to address these issues which are the standing parameters for a crisis and which leads to Disasters. It’s this inequity and poverty, which make people more vulnerable to the effects of Natural and Industrial Hazards. Environmental Degradation, which in itself is often poverty related may aggravate such hazards. It is a well known fact that Natural Resources are divided into two categories. One is the renewable and the other is the non-renewable sources of energy. Human Beings would never lack vital materials if he/she would adjust his population size and resource demands at or below the level that allows the biogeochemical cycles to operate in such a way that materials as well as organizations are “reassembled” as fast they are “dispersed”. The shift from “special interest conservation” to “total ecosystem conservation” is helping to establish the fact in the minds of the general public that Human Beings is a part of a complex environment which must be studied, treated and modified as a whole and not on the basis of isolated “projects”. Hence Human Beings should take cautions while tampering with the Environment with lakes to draining, fillings, dredging, pollutions, stabilizations, mosquito control, algae control and the planting of any fish, which are able to swim. It’s we humans, who constrict them with levees and dams and then flush them with dredging, channelizations and floods and silt of bad farming.
These types of willingness may arise from three fallacies in thought. First each of these tampering is regarded as a separate project because it is carried out by disconnected projects by a separate bureau or profession, and as expertly executed because its proponents are trained, each in his own narrow field. The public does not know or understand that the bureaus may cancel one another and that expertness can cancel understanding. Second there is a notion that any materials built by constructed mechanism are better than the Natural ones. Third, we perceive organic behavior only in those organizations which we have built.
Its thus we human turn wise to tolerate a hasty type of tinkering and make radical amendment to our biotic constitution for our short term benefits. This can lead to a revolt of Ecology and can be rightly termed as ‘Ecological Backlashes’ or ‘Ecological boomerangs’. Thus it is right to define ecological backlash as an unforeseen detrimental consequences of an environmental modification which cancels out the projected gain or as is too often the case, actually creates more problems than it solves.
When it happens, it is a double tragedy since not only is the amount spent in remaking the landscape lost to bad investment but additional sums must then be spent to correct all the new problems created. Hence it is not possible for any independent agency to intervene in a strategic fashion without understanding the dynamics of change, to which there are many inter-related contributory factors, the most important are:
I} Environmental Degradation:
A) Long Term processes producing patterns of vulnerability, such as environmental degradation.
When the human population of an area is small, poor land use may affect only the people who are guilty of bad judgment. As the population increases however, everyone suffers when land is improperly used because everyone eventually pay for rehabilitation or is now too often the case, everyone suffers a permanent loss of resources. A small example is if grasslands in low regions are plowed up and planted to wheat (poor land use), a “dust bowl” or temporary desert will sooner or later be a result. If the grass cover is maintained and moderately grazed (good land use), no dust bowl will likely develop. It is a general observance that good land use planning has come only after human has first destroyed or damaged a landscape. It is just as the saying goes that Human does not seem to understand a system which he did not build and therefore he seemingly must partially destroy and rebuild before use limitations are understood.
One such factor which is of concern is: the soil conservation profession has tended to “sit on its laurels” and is failing to move with the times. For example, too much effort is now being devoted to creating more farmland by channelizing streams, draining marshes, swamps and so on, at great public expense when nothing is being done to save existing farmland from destruction by ill planned urban development. In general, soil conservation needs to go beyond its present rather exclusive farm range or forestry orientation to the consideration of the urban-rural landscape complex where the most pressing problems now exist.
One solution to these problems may be:
i) Cluster development: A cluster development of residential housing around village or town centers with each unit separated by broad green belts.
ii) By retaining stream valleys, steep slopes, lakes, marshes, aquifer recharge areas and waste disposal areas free from houses, buildings, and other high density uses. Without such planning, there might be no open space, and which would lead to the same kind of urban blight, chronic pollution and social disorder that we now observe in older, unplanned cities.
Generally, the short term profits that can be made by exploiting urban land are so huge that it is difficult for people to foresee the socio-ecologic backlashes and overshoots that accompany uncontrolled growth.
With the increase in population, food supplies will reduce resulting in increasing prices. Although as little as one third of an acre can produce enough calories to sustain one person, the kind of quality diet we want – one that includes a lot of meat, fruit and leafy vegetables – requires about 1.5 acres per person (Odum).
In other words, the size and quality of the “environmental house” should be an important consideration and not the number of resources; we can relentlessly squeeze from the earth. A reasonable goal could be to stress on the fact that a third of all land could be under open space use. The dependence of a city on the countryside for all its vital resources (food, water, air and so on) and the dependence of the country on the city for economic resources must become so widely recognized that the present political confrontation that exits between the rural and urban populations is obliterated. Somehow, environmental sciences and natural disaster management must be merged.
B) Contingent or proximate event producing reductions in resources or entitlements, such as a Natural Disaster viz drought
Here comes the concept of biotic communities. A biotic community is any assemblage of populations living in a prescribed area or physical habitat. It is an extent that it is has characteristics additional to its individual and population components and functions as a unit through coupled metabolic transformations. It is the living part of the eco-system as indicated in a statement.
Biotic Communities is and should remain a broad term which may be used to designate natural assemblages of various stages from the biota of a log to that of a vast forest or ocean. Major communities are those which are of sufficient size and completeness of organization that they are relatively independent.
The community concept is important in the practice of ecology because it is seen that as the communities grows so is the growth of an organism. Thus often the best way to “control” a particular organism whether we wish to encourage or discourage it, is to modify the community, rather than to make a direct “attack” on the organism. Let’s take an example; it is often observed that mosquitoes can often be controlled more efficiently and cheaply by modifying the entire aquatic community (it can be done by fluctuating the water level, for example) than by attempting to poison the organism. Lets take the example of “weeds” thrive under continual disturbance of the soil and the best way to control weeds along a road side, for example is to stop scarping and plowing up road shoulders and way sides and encourage the development of a stable vegetation in which the weeds can not compete. Hence, human welfare similarly depends on the nature of the communities and ecosystems upon which HE/SHE superimposes his/her culture.
All these add to trauma of the residents, when there is a sudden Natural Disaster like Cyclones, Hurricanes, Earthquakes etc. Environmental Mitigation measures are the need of the hour.
II} Sustainable Livelihoods:
The real basis for assessing the appropriateness of any type of intervention is an understanding of livelihood systems and the strategies in which people are already engaged, the problems which they face and the ways in which they are adapting to changing environmental and economic conditions. The notion of “livelihood” systems” takes into account the wide range of people’s roles, activities, personal capacities and resources, which make up the way they make a living; and how these elements are related to each other.
Its here comes the concept of serving the poor profitability. These are the people who have great needs, but they can’t express their needs in a way which may matter to markets. Markets seem to avoid the needs as it doesn’t bring profit and hence poor always tends to remain poorer. It’s where Government and corporate houses comes into play and try to make a difference. But today Corporate Social Responsibility seemed to break that ‘tax free’ attitude and has come for the betterment of the World as more World Business Leaders tries to come forward with their aim to improve the smaller parts of the World where there presence is left.
Even if there are many allegations to the fact that CSR is for branding and bring a good image to the members of the public as well as to the stakeholders, but there are always positive things attached to it. CSR contributes for the betterment of atleast few marginalized sections of the Society. Well, in practical the number far exceeds our imagination. For example Mittal Steel at Kazakhstan owned and operated a Steel Plant and to make the place better Mittal Steel also renewed the tramways, the power plants, the hotels and the Stadiums and developed Social activities such as children’s camps. This was a need for the ordinary people for good infrastructure, good education. A dream of theirs filled by one Corporate through their CSR. That’s development. It’s all about helping the targeted communities and also doing Business. A win and win situation for both the community as well as the Corporate.
One practical approach as done by some American Corporate is to allow the Industry take a leadership role to the social problems and find the ways to a sustainable livelihood in even the remote parts of the Country. It would bring funds to run these social projects effectively. It’s like Industry houses searching ways to align self interest with the larger good of the society. When business backs philanthropic initiatives with real corporate muscle and expertise, things can drastically improve at the remote areas of a country, since in addition to cash they are providing nonprofits with managerial advice, technological and communications support, and teams of employee volunteers and they are not just funding those initiatives not only for philanthropy budgets but also from business units such as marketing and human resources. In the process, corporate houses may like to form strategic alliances with non-profits and emerging as important partners in movements for social change while advancing their business goals. These are not short term goals but needs a planning for long term management of the issues, which are addressed above.
Hence the results may not show its flavor in the present as we still believe in our notion of giving relief to the persons who are in urgent needs, but surely would give dividends in the future. There are still millions, who don’t have nutritious food. They don’t have proper house to live in. The amazing innovations that we are proud of i.e. Computers, Good Food, Technologies etc generally passes by. They remain in the same place with no growth. Yet, when we talk about development and social reforms we talk of elevating the lives of those who are not so much fortunate.
This is the reason; we need successful interventions so that they contribute to long term impacts on poverty and well being. It’s when there is Social and Environmental Sustainability; we would move a step ahead in successful applications of Disaster Management Planning and Policies and in turn would move towards a Safer India for us as well as for our future generations.
EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF DISASTERS:
In any emergency, the response by Governments and Aid organizations can be successful if AID reaches in time and to everyone in need. But in disaster zones worldwide, despite the best efforts of many, a great need remains.
The main factors that happen in the disaster areas are:
1) Importance shifting to other points.
2) There is a clear lack of dialogue during the distribution of relief as a result there is discrimination based on the reasons of sex, ethnicity, religion etc.
3) The people of above sixty and disabled have difficulties in getting relief. The older persons and the disabled may find it difficult to travel to distribution sites and often do not have strength to carry the goods back to their shelters. This is the case, when the sites are located high above due to some security reasons. Mobility is also a big problem for these people, where flooding or other type of disasters is regular.
The elderly are often deemed helpless. When the Iranian city of Bam was destroyed by an earthquake in December 2003, killing over 26,000 people, disaster response experts were helped by local elderly men of influence who organized community responses across the city.
When relief material was distributed following the Indian Ocean Tsunami, An older people stood alone in the remains of his thatched roof and refused to join for collection of relief for him. Asked why he did not join in and he shook his head and said that’ it’s of no use. I’ve been pushed out before and have fallen on the ground.
There is also same problem in Haiti Earthquake Relief Response (2010)
These are the challenges which are faced in general:
1) Use of untrained or unqualified personnel, lack of adherence to quality and accountability standards, as well as humanitarian principles and values and the non-utilization of local response capacities and skills.
2) Sometimes delayed entry of foreign relief workers or goods and equipment, lengthy procedures for gaining legal status to operate in the disaster-affected countries.
Special emphasis should be given to Women during a disaster as they are most vulnerable. So, whether disabled or not, young or old, of whatever colour or race, women remain the most vulnerable and discriminated category, whereas the first local response comes from women.
At Banda Aceh, over 70 % of Staff of local NGOs delivering relief in Banda Aceh were women. There are instances where women were denied their rights to relief. Then there is violence against women at conflict areas. Alongside contraventions of women’s rights, disaster after disaster produces irrefutable evidence that with displacement- be it as a result of natural hazards or conflict- the risks of physical abuse to women and girls rises substantially. The nature of the discrimination varies but commonly includes sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, forced prostitution, domestic violence, trafficking, forced and early marriage and widow inheritance.
In general some disaster prone communities are also vulnerable to discrimination. This happens especially with some groups, households and individuals. A disaster can reinforce various forms of discrimination. May it be social or may it be political or may it be racial.
Another challenge, which is faced by the agencies are lack of continuous focus on the affected areas. This is due to the fact that when a disaster happens, in general the Media of the World focuses its attention to it. But at times, when things almost are half done, a different quite similar type of incidence occurs in some other part of the World and Journalists based there are given marching orders. This does hamper the development and the aid work, which was conducted in the area. Not only the agencies loses there focus but the obvious question that arises is that the Job/task remains half done. Later, we again bring some rehabilitation project into the area and that again involves lots of money. In the mean time, the persons involved in the first task loses there attention and thus lot of motivation is required for the new project officers to conduct the task. This is from my personal experience. Hence Journalists should be on board on disaster relief committees.
How to meet this challenge?
We have every reason to see that this is really a great challenge, which need to be addressed. We have to take some time and think on these lines. So, any international organizations should have separate regions and separate force ready to tackle the issues.
The international community needs to agree on clear definitions of all potential minority groups to prevent opposing interpretations and to ensure a common understanding of the vulnerability of minorities. Aid agencies need to improve initial need assessments by sharing information learning from experience and developing indicators on the impacts of discrimination. Minority and vulnerable groups need to be supported and enabled to participate in the planning; design and implementation of all emergency and non-emergency programmes. Agencies need to advocate within communities to change existing negative attitudes towards minority and vulnerable groups.
It’s a tough task, but if these can be done then, we can move one step towards a sustainable world. Agencies need to advocate within communities to change existing negative attitudes towards minority and vulnerable groups. Government and Non-Governmental agencies must also identify and address obvious and hidden discrimination, within their organizations.
On the other hand disasters do not discriminate. They strike indiscriminately, affecting minorities and majorities alike. However, there are various impacts to discrimination. The vast desert and semi-desert region in northern Kenya is home to 3 million people ‘ most of whom are pastoralists. By 2006, there has been drought in the region. In Wajir in north eastern Kenya, visiting journalists reported that many grazing cattle had died by March and that two-thirds of the people were dependent on food aid. The crippling drought was then followed by floods. The appalling infrastructure seriously hampered the food and medical aid distribution programme, as the only road to the worst affected area had reportedly been washed away. The United Nations now has sophisticated early warning system in place, based on factors such as expected rainfall and crop yield, which can forecast when critical food shortages are likely to arise in advance. Then the obvious question comes to one’s mind is that why the Government did not act in time. There may be many reasons but one may be due to the fact that Kenya’s political elite consider or regard the pastoralist way of life as an anachronism. Often it is seen that geographically distant from the capital cities; pastoralists are also sidelined politically, lacking the influence to press their case in the corridors of power.
Now with the effect of climate change felt in most parts of the world, we have a problem in the desert areas of Africa. It is also clear that the long term impact can be catastrophic. Hence, the more we go on neglecting these issues; we are going to make our fellow brother’s and sisters’ more and more dependent to disaster relief assistance. Not only that there are evidence of caste based discrimination in some parts of the World. After the Indian Ocean Tsunami, ‘Dalits’ who are treated as ‘untouchables’ in the Hindu caste system, were forbidden by other castes from drinking water from UNICEF water tanks because sharing with Dalits would, in their view pollute the water. So, discrimination can be deep rooted, not just for operational relief work but also for recovery and further rehabilitation work.
So, what could lead to a better relief?
a) The donor agency should see and include minority peoples in the team. Ideally the ratio of minority peoples in the organization should equal the ratio of minority peoples among the public.
b) Educate minority peoples with the aim of developing community resilience as well as obtaining professionals from the communities.
c) Be aware of discrimination against the minorities in humanitarian work, by self examination as well as through consultations with people from the community and human rights specialists.
d) Participate in advocacy in domestic, regional and international forums. Humanitarian organizations can also play a vital role in human rights advocacy.
e) Develop indicators on the impact of discrimination against minorities in disaster management with the co-operation of human rights.
Now the donors and the funding agencies should look into these aspects:
a) Put more value on the issue of discrimination in humanitarian operations. Disaster Relief and discrimination are inseparable issues.
b) Examine the possibility of introducing special measures for minority groups, particularly those who do not have access to basic materials.
c) Understand the vulnerability of minorities, especially those who are prone to being affected by disasters. If the region has a history of disasters, then there is an absolute need for disaster preparedness.
I visited Assam India and I found that the State Red Cross Branch, under Indian Red Cross Society have built orphanages out of their own resources. Kids in the age of 1-3 years are their occupants at ‘Sishu Gram’ (Sishu in English means Children and Gram in English means Village).
Recent floods have washed out everything. The donor attention should also focus into these aspects while funding for any program. Disasters bring along with them lots of trauma and pain. Especially the Children are the most affected. They are the living dead. A small contribution for their education and care in good shelters can make wonders. It’s not an emotional statement, but a fact which is hard to ignore.
In a disaster, it is common to see images of children, often vulnerable, unwell, used by humanitarian agencies to generate compassion and funds. While the images can create the desired effect with donors, children’s protection and special needs are rarely incorporated within budget lines and programmes, resources are not prioritized and there is a lack of clear strategies to support and protect children.
Children are too often used to generate support, but they do not always enjoy the benefits.
So, what can be done?
Prioritize prevention of discrimination and violence against children. This means clear budget lines for prevention programmes and services.
There is also a need to enhance the capacity of all humanitarian personnel through education on children’s rights.
Create accessible, safe and child-friendly reporting systems and services. This includes safe, well-publicized, confidential and accessible mechanisms for children, their caregivers and others to prevent and report violence against children.
Help to improve collaboration between humanitarian agencies. This includes developing clear systems and standards to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children at all stages of a disaster ‘ preparedness, response and recovery. Children don’t get the support they need.
Hence, separate funds should be allocated solely for the purpose of children. Community Recovery Committees ‘ a diverse group including different ethnicities, backgrounds and genders that are well trained, with adequate resources and able to communicate with the formal humanitarian system- can greatly assist equitable assistance. An oversight mechanism to ensure that discrimination against poor and neglected groups is minimized in the committees is needed and their assessments have to be cross-checked.
I do believe that a little attention to the above mentioned problems and its solutions can help us to create a Safer World for us as well as for our future generations. Hence, we need to have effective Relief Guidelines for proper management of disasters.
I faced the situations. Heart-rending situations in a disaster area bring tears in ones eyes. I am not emotional, but what is stated above are true facts. Please put a comment, if your time permits. I will be glad to see your support on the above issue.
Let’s together join hands and create a Safer, Stronger, Greener and a Disaster Free World for us as well as for our future generations.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Please send your feedback in the e-mail address given below.
Thanks and Regards,
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Life was formed 3.6 billion years ago. Some scientist’s are of different view. There are various models for origin of life and is a debatable issue. Religious groups take a different stand. But whatever it is, evolution of life is still a mystery. Scientists after their experiment had arrived at a conclusion that life arose from a single cell. That which has the capacity to replicate, and its progeny replicated them, and so on, with lots of genetic twists and it is carried on from generations to generations and thus we find the living beings in this world.
Imagine all this started with just a DNA (Deoxy Ribo Nuclic Acid)!
Today, every living organism – every person, plant, animal and microbe – can trace its heritage back to that first cell.
Imagine amongst this present day species, arrives some new comers and here we are not talking of some extraterrestrials. Scientists in the last couple of years have been trying to create novel forms of life. They’ve forged chemicals into synthetic DNA, the DNA into genes, genes into genomes and built the molecular machinery of completely new organisms in their lab, such type of organisms that are nothing like anything Nature has produced before. We do not know, what forms of life that would be. Will the new species succumb us or it will help us to move our life with more ease is a question, which time can only answer. If the earlier fact is true then we are into trouble. As, it would be the reason for a new disaster!
If the latter part is true, we can live a better life. The notion of creating life in the lab has plenty of detractors. Some Scientists aren’t convinced it can be done and religious leaders and environmentalists are in arm against this move. But there are also lots of advantages to it. Jay Keasling at UC Berkeley received $ 42 million from Bill Gates to create living microfactories that manufacture a powerful antimalaria agent. (Newsweek). Imagine that a microbe being created that would circulate in the blood and hunt down Cancer Cells, Imagine such type of bio devices that could conceivably have enormous advantages over traditional manufacturing processes and sources of material. Cell machinery that could operate the equivalent of multistep production lines at molecular level, fabricating complex chemical products precisely, atom by atom. They would also work cheaply and efficiently, fed by simple safe substances like sugar. A few such types of projects are already giving us a glimpse of the power of this new field. The most extraordinary effort is to create a microbial organism that would produce a powerful antimalarial drug.
New York Times newspaper reports: ‘Such Biofabs produce made- to- order genes, the stretches of DNA that contain the instructions for living creatures.’ Sale of gene-synthesis industry are estimated at only $ 50 million a year, but they are growing rapidly. One foundry in Germany, has gone public. It says it expects sales this year to increase at least 60% , to 12.5 million euros, or about $17 billion, New York Times report.
The ability to make genes has given rise to a new subject called synthetic biology, which might lead to artificial life in very few years. Genetic Engineers extract a gene from an organism. Then they might modify it and put it in a different organism. There is certainly a behavior change in the organism. It then acts in the desired way. And once this bio device is designed and properly fabricated, the hard work becomes over – its users can instruct it to make as many copies of itself, by itself, as are needed. This Biodevices could make impossible drugs, including ones that are quite impossible to create through traditional chemistry. While there might be some other biodevices created that act as sensitive environmental biosensors, programmed to detect and degrade specific toxic organisms or act as indicators like glow in the proximity of a biological, chemical or radioactive weapon. Anything is possible with these genetically modified organisms.
An organization is eyeing an even bigger prize: a self sustaining, highly efficient biological organism that converts sunlight directly into clean biofuel, with minimal environmental impact and zero net release of greenhouse gases (Newsweek).
Now, look at it in this way. Imagine that any of these mutated forms of biodevice doesn’t obey orders.
A species, which becomes an enemy of its own masters, it’s own Gods.
Probably, it would be a day, when humans have to wage war against that unknown species, which if wins, would lead to our extinction. Pope Benedict XVI has expressed outrage at scientists who “modify the very grammar of life as planned and willed by God.”
Some critics point out that Government should devise some regulations for saving Humans from any such mishaps. “The result is not bioterror,” ETC Group, a technology watcher said in a report, “but BIOERROR” and we write our own annihilation story.
Please send your feedback in the e-mail address given below.
Thanks and Regards,
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
An earthquake is a series of vibrations on the earth’s surface caused by the generation of elastic (seismic) waves due to sudden rupture within the earth during release of accumulated strain energy.
Faulting may be considered as an immediate cause of an earthquake. Due to constant movement of plates, deformation is caused which results to generations of strain energy. Indian plate is moving in north-north-east direction and colliding with Eurasian plate along the Himalayas. All earthquakes, let it be the Gujarat Earthquake, Kutch (16 Jun, 1819, Magnitude 8), Shillong Plateau Earthquake (12 Jun 1897, Magnitude 8.7), Bihar Nepal Border Earthquake (15 Jan 1934, Magnitude 8.3), Arunachal Pradesh China Earthquake (15 Aug, 1950), Gujarat Earthquake, Bhuj (26 Jan 2001, Magnitude 7.7), Sumatra Earthquake (26 December, 2004, Magnitude 9.3), Kashmir Earthquake (08 October, 2005) have same story to tell about our destruction and annihilation.
The Recent Earthquake at Haiti (13 January, 2010, Magnitude 7) again repeats our helplessness to this mighty force of nature. Management of earthquake has become very crucial in this trouble times.
Severity of an Earthquake is measured by:
A proactive stance to reduce the toll of disasters in the region requires a more comprehensive approach that encompasses both pre-disaster risk reduction and post disaster recovery. It is framed by new policies and institutional arrangements that support effective action. These types of approaches need the following set of activities:
There are different types of theories which states about the causes of an earthquake. Hence the true nature of an earthquake must be well understood before adopting any control measures.
Two models were suggested. One was the Dilatancy –Diffusion Theory developed in the USA and the other is the Dilatancy – Instability theory of the then USSR.
The interesting fact is that the first stage of both the models is an increase of elastic strain in a rock that causes them to undergo a dilatancy state, which is an inelastic increase in volume that starts after the stress on a rock reaches one half its breaking strength. Hence it is in this state the first physical change takes place indicating future earthquake.
The USA model suggests that the dilatancy and fracture of the rocks are first associated with low water containing dilated rock, which helps in producing lower seismic event. The pore water pressure then increases due to influx of water into the open fracture, weakening the rock and facilitating movement along the fracture, which is termed as an earthquake.
Now let us take the Russian Model: The first phases is accompanied by an avalanches of fracture that release some stress but produce an unstable situation that eventually cause a large movement along a fracture. Seismic gaps are defined as an area along active fault zones, capable of producing large earthquake but that have not recently produced an earthquake.
It is these areas which are thought to bring in tectonic strain and which are the candidates for future large earthquake. Any fault that has moved during quaternary can be called as active fault. It is generally assumed that these faults could get displaced at any time. Faults that have been inactive for the last 3 million years are generally classified as inactive fault.
Active fault are basically responsible for seismic shaking and surface rupture (Sinha et al.2000). Like all other natural hazards earthquakes also produce primary and secondary effects. Primary effects include surface vibration, which may be associated with surface rupture and displacement long fault plane. These vibrations may sometimes lead to the total collapse of large buildings, dams, tunnels, pipelines and other rigid structures.
Secondary effects of an earthquake include a variety of short range events: such as liquefaction landslides, fires, tsunamis and floods. Long range effects include regional phenomenon such as regional subsidence or emergence of landmasses, river shifting and regional changes in ground level.
The main objective of earthquake preventive measures should be to develop and promote knowledge, practices and policies that reduce fatalities, injuries and other economic losses from an earthquake. Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing provides a tool effective and efficient storage and manipulation of remotely sensed data and other spatial and non-spatial data types for both scientific management and policy oriented information. This can be used to facilitate measurement, mapping, monitoring and modeling of variety of data type’s related natural phenomenon.
The critical areas that need focus for effective Earthquake Management are:
• Lack of awareness among various stakeholders about the seismic risk;
• Inadequate attention to structural mitigation measures in the engineering education syllabus;
• Inadequate monitoring and enforcement of earthquake-resistant building codes and town planning
• Absence of systems of licensing of engineers and masons;
• Absence of earthquake-resistant features in non-engineered construction in suburban and rural
• Lack of formal training among professionals in earthquake-resistant construction practices; and
• Lack of adequate preparedness and response capacity among various stakeholder groups.
A number of organizations, like NGOs, self-help groups, CBOs, youth organizations, women’s groups, volunteer agencies, Civil Defense, Home Guards, etc. volunteer their services in the aftermath of any disaster. Large-scale natural disasters draw overwhelming humanitarian support from different stakeholders. The relief and response activities carried out by such stakeholder’s comply with the norms prescribed by the appropriate authorities. After an earthquake, accurate information is generally provided on the extent of the damage and the details of the response activities through electronic and print media.
The personal dos and don’ts at the time of an earthquake are given below for reference and awareness generation:
Please send your feedback in the e-mail address given below.
Thanks and Regards,
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Millions of people living in the coastal areas of the West Atlantic, East, South Pacific and North and South Indian Oceans, regularly face the hazards of cyclone, also known as hurricane in the Western Hemisphere, typhoon in the western Pacific, willy willy near Australia and baguious in the Philippines.
Every cyclone begins as tropical low – pressure depressions, created by oceanic temperature rising above 26 degrees Celsius, which rotates clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere and counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, forming a gigantic and highly volatile atmosphere system with an eye at the vortex (10 to 50 Km) which is a relatively calm area, an eye wall (10 to 15 Km in height and 50 Km in length) of gale winds and intense clouds and spiral bands of convective clouds with torrential rains (a few Km wide and hundreds of Km long) – that move above 34 knots (64 Km per hour). The cyclones moving more than 90 Km, 120 Km and 225 Km per hour respectively have been classified as severe and super cyclones.
The hurricanes in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific basins are classified in categories I to V as per Saffir-Simpson Intensity Scale.
The lessons drawn from catastrophic cyclonic areas show that in the more developed countries, causality is less but more on the economic front. Conversely in poor countries the human losses would be more but economic losses would be less simply because the unit costs of damages are assessed lower in developing countries. In middle income countries the damages to life and property would be somewhere in between.
The most complex task of mitigation is to map the hazard, risks and vulnerabilities of cyclone at all levels, analyze and assess the levels of risks and monitor it continuously. It is only on the basis of such knowledge base that a proper and effective strategy for cyclone risk mitigation and preparedness can be developed.
Atmospheric and Remote Sensing sciences have made a huge progress in the understanding of the phenomenon of cyclones. Satellite images can spot the development of low pressure zones, Doppler radars can track them down and instrumented aircrafts can reach the cyclone eye, eye walls and spiral bands to transmit data on wind velocity, pressure and moisture contents of the low pressure zones. Powerful Software tools are available to analyze the data to make fairly accurate forecasts on the intensity, direction and location of the landfall and the likely areas to be affected by winds, rain and storm surges.
The time series data on cyclones are now utilized to map and zone the areas prone to the hazards of cyclone. Such maps are now available at a regional, district and even sub district levels in most of the countries. Such maps are also available in digital formats which enable integration of various spatial data with socio-economic, housing, infrastructure and other variables that can provide a quick assessment of the risks and vulnerabilities of cyclone based on which appropriate mitigation and preparedness strategies can be developed. But actual work on such data integration has been limited to few areas only and therefore vulnerability analysis has still to be done on the basis of ground level data collection and analysis, which is largely unattended task in most of the countries.
The satellite imageries are also supplemented with data regarding topography, vegetation, hydrology, land –use, land cover, settlement pattern etc to develop numerical models of storm surge and the inundation levels based on which timely warnings can be issued and realistic evacuation plans can be drawn up to shift the people and cattle likely to be affected by the cyclone.
However, such theoretical advances on cyclone modeling have been confronted with constraints in practical applications which would require more sustained research for accurate forecasting and simpler application format that would enable transfer of the technology to the planners and emergency response managers.
The constraints are further compounded by non-availability of accurate ground level data base and the costs involved in up-scaling such models from a pilot research phase to country wide application phase. Such works are still in progress even in advanced countries and therefore developing countries may not have the benefit of such accurate modeling in the very near future although this is well within the realm of possibility.
The other solution is the importance of Community Based Participatory Risk Assessment (PRA). Many such PRA tools have been developed in coastal areas which capture the intimate knowledge and perception that a community has about its own risks and vulnerabilities. Such perceptions have been validated by scientific analysis, lending credence to the reliability, simplicity and cost effectiveness of such assessment. More importantly, it involves the communities in the entire process making it democratic, sustainable and proactive and definitely facilities bridging the gap between assessment and preparedness or knowledge and action.
Therefore the ideal tool for assessment of cyclone risks and vulnerabilities at the local level should be a combination of scientific and traditional knowledge each supplementing the other.
Thanks and Regards,
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Hiroshima is the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshū, the largest island of Japan. Hiroshima was founded on the river delta coastline of the Seto Inland Sea in 1589 by Mōri Terumoto.
A city destroyed by an Atom Bomb ( at 8:15 -Hiroshima Time) known as “Little Boy”, a gun type fission weapon with 60 Kilograms (130 lb) of Uranium-235, took 57 seconds to fall from the aircraft to the predetermined detonation height of about 600 meters (2000 ft) above the city.
An estimate suggested that 69% of Hiroshima’s buildings were destroyed and 70,000–80,000 people or some 30% of the population of Hiroshima were killed immediately, and another 70,000 injured. Over 90% of the doctors and 93% of the nurses in Hiroshima were killed or injured—most had been in the downtown area which received the greatest damage. So, how many people was a sacrifice to this bomb? Those who had lived through the catastrophe placed the number of the deaths at least 100,000.
In the Milky Way Galaxy, there lies another destination for people to stay, its called ‘Earth’. Here is a description of what Earth is like: It’s the third planet from the Sun, and the fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest, most massive, and densest of the Solar System’s four terrestrial (or rocky) planets. It is sometimes referred to as the World or the Blue Planet.
It’s the Home to millions of species including humans.
Imagine this Earth being destroyed by a thousand times strong force of Mother Nature engulfing from all sides. Tropical cyclones out at sea causing huge waves, torrential rains, high winds disrupting and destructing everything on the way causing wide spread demolition. Very strong winds stirring up water and destroy buildings, bridges, outside objects, turning loose debris into deadly flying projectiles. Sea level rising and you have no place to go. You see the end of your only living city in the Milky Way; ‘THE EARTH’. Imagine solar storms bombarding this ‘Earth’ with lots of radiation energy, knocking out power grids and destroying satellites and you go back to the Dark Age suddenly without any warning. Is it just our fantasy or it may happen some day? Only time can answer to these questions.
It was during the 1980s that the possibility of rapid climatic change occurring at the time-scale of human life more or less fully recognized, largely due to the Greenland ice core drilled at Dye 3 in Southern Greenland (Dansgaard et al., 1982, 1989). A possible link between such events and the mode of operation of the ocean was then subsequently suggested (Oeschger et al., 1984; Broecker et al., 1985; see Broecker, 1997, for a recent review).
The Second Assessment Report, IPCC reviewed the evidence of such changes since the peak of the last inter-glacial period about 120 thousands of years before present (BP). It concluded that:
(1) Large and rapid climatic changes occurred during the last Ice Age and during the transition towards the present Holocene;
(2) Temperatures were far less variable during this latter period
(3) Suggestions those rapid changes may have also occurred during the last inter-glacial period, which requires confirmation.
Calculations are not so easy. Researchers need to understand the behavior of the major ice sheets that cover Greenland, Antarctic and Arctic. Any of these collapses and we are in danger. While computer models now yield an increasingly sophisticated understanding of how a warning atmosphere would behave, such models have yet to fully encapsulate the complex processes that regulate ice sheet behavior.
“The question is: Can we predict sea level? We have to watch the oceans to see what happens and we may observe the change much more than we ever predict it.
There’s a continent of topography sitting under Antarctica. Everything there has an impact on how the ice sheet flows, and very little of that has been mapped.
Whatever it is, the world has been getting warmer by 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit every decade, a U.N. panel found this year, in part because of carbon dioxide and other human-generated gases that trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere. By nature’s clock, the warming has come in an instant. The mechanisms that helped animals adapt during previous warming spells — evolution or long-range migration — often aren’t able to keep up. Scientists say that effects are beginning to show from the Arctic to the Appalachian Mountains. One study, which examined 1,598 plant and animal species, found that nearly 60 percent appeared to have changed in some way.
Some of the best-known changes are happening near the poles, where the air and the water are warming especially quickly. As they do, sea ice is receding. For some animals, this has meant literally the loss of the ground beneath their feet.
So, who knows when we lose the ground below our feet? This could be the annihilation story of a city ‘Earth’ in Milky Way, where humans lived.
Disaster Management specialists are always on the move. Making plans and policies far in advance to meet the challenge of climate change. So, no matter if Copenhagen could show us the way or not, we need to be ready personally. We need to act fast and make a move to know the details of climate change and its solutions.
Any wrong move by the Nations could leave the Aliens (if ever they exist) celebrate ‘Earth Day’ in a far away planet only to tell a tale of another annihilation story.
Kindly give your feedback.
Please feel free to contact the disaster management consultant, in case your Organization needs any consultancy on Disaster Management.
Thanks and Regards,
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Disasters can happen anytime and at anyplace. Natural disasters are so frequent that one generally attributes it to fate. Sometimes the destructive forces of Nature become so strong that all our plans and policies fall like cards. We become helpless infront of the mighty Nature. When everything comes to an end, wherever one looks, the sight of the helpless victims fills our eyes. Children’s become orphans. Husbands lose their wives and vice-versa. The scenes are extremely painful. Lots of money in the form of grants flows for reconstruction. The obvious question that comes to ones mind is:
Is monetary help really meets their needs?
The answer will be in negative. Scenes horrendous in nature, fear, trauma and stress do engulf them. They are living dead.
The only solution to the problem is Psychological Support. In many projects a good psychological support program misses.
We have to explore those and that’s what humanity is all about.
Psychological support has become an important component of the disaster preparation and response repertoire. This occurred in the background of the need to understand mechanisms for the reduction of hazards related to disasters. The United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), 1990-99, was dedicated to promoting solutions to reduce risks from natural hazards (ISDR 2002). But it’s not always Natural Disasters that happens and leaves a scar in the minds of the people. It’s also man-made situations or accidents, which do lead to devastations. Now, it is recognized that riots, industrial accidents, acts of terrorism, internal displacement and insurgency are also roots cause for Psychological Trauma for the people. Though, these types of support are being carried out by different organizations, yet we have to do more. We need an effective trauma management throughout the World. Trauma includes major injury of all types — disasters, auto accidents, falls, industrial accidents, burns, shootings etc. Serious trauma is the leading killer of humans. Millions across the World are disabled and some permanently. If we look through the doors of history, we will find that by middle of 1970s, the growth and development of mental hospitals was the main approach for the provision of mental health services.
In India, several disasters took place. Among them is Bangalore circus tragedy (1981). It was a major disaster and the lessons learned were ‘High Emotional Stress and morbidity by survivors not addressed by health personnel’.
Bhopal Gas Leak disaster: (December 1984) where, physicians and other health personnel’s were not prepared to offer psychological support to the victims. Even till today, the horrible memories haunt them.
Orissa Cyclone was another example. Left over 10,000 dead. Approximately 15 million affected and displaced. Initial and two year surveys show high emotional stress present among survivors.
The Gujarat earthquake was another example. Over 20,000 people dead in acute phase and 100,000 with severe disabilities. Good health care, with no psychological support when many needed emotional care is the root cause of creation of secondary disasters.
Many lessons were learned but still remains a serious issue less addressed. When we talk of improved technologies; use of GIS and Remote Sensing, mitigation policies, construction and renovation, we seldom talk of this soft part of humanity, which makes us a Human. The response to any type of crisis should also include Psychological First Aid, Crisis Intervention, Defusing, Education and solution-focused counseling. Psychological support then must be framed within the existing and accepted methodologies of the continuum of disasters. Different types of trauma may affect the victims. There are different ways in which the response may affect the survivors.
i) Major elements of loss
ii) Exposure to bodies
iii) Degradation and Humiliation in cases of trauma motivated by racial or religious reasons
iv) Forced separation and relocation.
Depending upon the types of disasters, the survivor may assume different types of emotional roles:
i) The survivor assumes the role of victim and responds as victimized.
ii) The survivor assumes the role of victor and responds to the event in an active way that will foster problem-solving skills and learning and will make the person resilient after the event.
Now if we take the second point and move forward, we could surely able to make experts who have not only faced the crisis but also channel their experience towards better Psychological Support. The Psychological support program does not perceive the survivors as passive actors during an emergency or a disaster, but relies on the resourcefulness of the survivor and the capacity of individuals and communities to become resilient.
So, the ways to move forward are:
i) Pre-disaster Management:
Design and implement psychological first- aid training
ii) During the disaster: People’s response based on previous knowledge and level of coping
iii) Post Disaster: Assessment and treatment of Psychological Symptoms
iv) End Result: Reduce responses of distress and negative behavioral changes McFarlane (1995), who studied the relationship between training and preparation to post-disaster said that education about possible disaster experiences and how to deal with them, training through simulations and awareness of likely psychological reactions in both responders and survivors are very helpful. In general, the professional community would benefit from focusing on psychological support before, during and after a disaster.
Community people react differently before a disaster and after a disaster.
This is a period, when a community reacts in various ways. Members of the community may be anxious when a disaster is imminent, especially if they have not experienced one before and they may not respond adequately to the event. When a disaster cannot be predicted; let’s take the example of earthquakes or a volcanic eruptions, the community may become anxious and over-respond to the event, which may be detrimental to their well being. The common sources of anxiety include the threat to ones own life and the safety and well being of others, such as partners or children.
During a Disaster:
The impact of a disaster varies according to the type of disaster and the amount of warning that the survivors have had prior to the event. The roles of each variable affecting the survivors will predicate the emotional response. For example, threat, exposure, loss and dislocation will be determinants of a survivor’s patterns of adjustment. A person’s actions are geared to protection of the self and others, especially children, family members and those who are weak and helpless.
Here comes the effects of “altruism”, which is frequent and people will place their lives at risk to help others. Some people experience “shock”, especially when the disaster is unexpected, which adds their feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. Another common response is to be disorganized or stunned and people may not be able to respond appropriately to protect themselves and their families. Such disorganized behavior may extend in the post-disaster phase and so one may find people wandering aimlessly in the devastation. This reaction may reflect distortions in responses to severe disaster stressors and may indicate a level of dissociation. After a disaster, any people face complications.
The most important among them are:
a) Emotional reactions in the form of somatic complaints such as sleep disturbance
d) Social effects
e) Relationship or work difficulties
So, all these state the importance of psychological care in the case of disaster management. Psychological care is always required in such types of incidents. As (Garmezy, 1983) states that the ‘role of psychological care is to foster individual and community resilience. Individual resilience applies to the capacity to recover from a negative experience with renewed enthusiasm and an increased capacity to respond positively to a subsequent stressful event. The communities should be well trained so that a resilient community takes action to enhance the personal and collective capacity of its citizens and institutions to respond to, and influence the course of social and economic change.
Some factors which can help in positive outcomes are:
a) Recognizing and reinforcing people’s strengths
b) Providing clear and accurate information and education
c) Reinforcing supportive networks
d) Supporting and developing community strengths and process
Apart from these the Psychological Team should be able to give:
• Give practical assistance, information and emotional support.
• Respect traditional beliefs and customs and accommodate the family’s needs as far as possible.
• Provide counseling for the woman/family and allow for reflection on the event.
• Explain the problem to help reduce anxiety and guilt. Many women/families blame themselves for what has happened.
• Listen and express understanding and acceptance of the woman’s feelings. Nonverbal communication may speak louder than words: a squeeze of the hand or a look of concern can say an enormous amount.
• Repeat information several times and give written information, if possible. People experiencing an emergency will not remember much of what is said to them.
• Health care providers may feel anger, guilt, sorrow, pain and frustration in the face of obstetric emergencies that may lead them to avoid the woman/family. Showing emotion is not a weakness.
• Remember to care for staff who themselves may experience guilt, grief, confusion and other emotions.
If these issues are given importance, we can move one step ahead in creation of a Safer, Stronger, Greener and a Disaster Free World for us as well as for our future generations.
Thanks and Regards,
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Our personal perception of Climate Change is largely developed through experience and interpretation of records compiled by our ancestors. People who grow up in the warmer temperate regions and tropics are in awe at the first sight of snow, no matter what they have read or visualized from film and television. It is also true that normal climate for a locality is based on weather, which we have experienced over recent years. This perception often occurs despite accounts of earlier catastrophes that had their origin in climate extremes, such as violent storm, flood or drought. Perhaps the exception is the markings seen around many riverside towns that point to levels achieved by past flood events. One of the strengths of humankind has been the ability to survive, adapt and prosper across a wide range of climatic regimes. If we look through the doors of history then we find that our communities have shown a capacity to withstand persisting climatic fluctuations. They do adapt and try to stabilize themselves as and when the climate becomes normal. However, there have been times, when prosperous civilizations have fallen, apparently because the regional Climate Change was so severe and prolonged that the social systems based on food production and trade could not sustain and a disaster took place. An Early record of the annual flow of the Nile River more than two thousand years ago and irrigation activities in China more than one thousand years ago survived and gave us insights into how climate has been in the past. With more of human intervention due to various reasons, there is an increase of Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming, which destabilized our Environment.
The World has surpassed a UN Goal of planting one billion trees in 2007 to help slow climate change. It was basically huge forestry projects in Ethiopia and Mexico. According to Indonesia President, about 79 million trees have been planted. He stated that the country would take steps to protect its rapidly dwindling rain forest. When we talk of green belt movement in Kenya, then one obviously remember the name of the Kenyan Environmentalist and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai, who through her tireless work have contributed a lot to counter deforestation from logging and the burning of forests to create farmland.
A very interesting approach for a good forest management is the Green Belt Movement in Kenya.
GBM Kenya is a non-profit grassroots non-governmental organization. GBM Kenya focuses on six core programs:
·Environmental Conservation/Tree Planting
·Civic & Environmental Education
·Advocacy & Networking
·Pan African Training Workshops
·Green Belt Safaris (GBS)
·Women for Change (Capacity Building)
Green Belt Movement International has four goals:
·Goal 1: To strengthen and expand the Green Belt Movement in Kenya
·Goal 2: To share the Green Belt Movement’s program with other countries in Africa and beyond
·Goal 3: To empower Africans, especially women and girls, and nurture their leadership and entrepreneurial skills
·Goal 4: Advocate internationally for the environment, good governance, equity and cultures of peace
Asia and Pacific region accounts for 18.8 per cent of global forests. Within the region, Northwest Pacific and East Asia has the largest forest area (29.3 per cent of the regional total, followed by Southeast Asia (29.1 percent). Deforestation and forest degradation are critical issues, threatening biodiversity, ecosystem stability and the long term availability of forest products as well as depleting the natural resource. Population Pressure, Need for timber, urban and industrial need is the main causes for deforestation. Africa’s forest cover was estimated to be about 650 million ha, constituting 17 percent of the World’s Forest (FAO 2001). Here also deforestation both for commercial timber and to make room for agriculture is the main concern and represents an enormous loss of natural economic wealth to the Countries.
This in turn had a very bad effect on Climate. Therefore effective climate management also has to include these points:
·Strengthen basic and applied research for improved forest planning and management, with emphasis on environmental functions of forests.
·Modernize forest management concepts by including multiple functions and reflecting the cost and benefits of the amenities that forest provide.
·Co-operation of United Nations bodies to meet the needs for new knowledge to incorporate environmental values in National Land Use and its Forest Management.
·Effective Surveillance of the World’s Forest Cover.
Recent Bali conference on Climate Change has a difficult road to go before we can create a sustainable environment. Problems are many and we have very little time. A careful planning, policies and its immediate implementation can go a long way in creation of a Good Climate and in turn a Safer World. The outcome of this conference will, to a degree, determine whether Bali – and other vulnerable places – is destined to become a lost paradise, or not. If the Outcome of this conference keeps pace with the many positive political signals of the past year, we are on a good road to preventing a lost paradise. Almost, now after IPCC’s series of reports on Climate Change, people are taking things seriously.
But all this took a lot of time. It was in October 1985, at an International meeting in Villach, Austria convened by United Nations agencies, a group of Scientists decided it was time for the World to take action. The meeting concluded that there was a need to combat the perceived danger of global warming that would result from increasing concentrations of so-called green house gases in the atmosphere. These green house gas concentrations, particularly those of carbon dioxide (a product of burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels) are increasing as a direct consequence of a range of human activities. A good climate leads to a sustainable development. Sustainable development is a deep –seated value and it encompasses issues of great importance to citizens, whether it is maintaining and increasing long term prosperity, addressing climate change or working towards a safe, healthy and socially inclusive society.
As, we face increasingly rapid Global Changes, from the melting of the icecaps to growing energy demand and higher prices, the need to address unsustainable trends and change our behavior and attitudes is more pressing than ever.
If we take a deep look at the European Union’s Sustainable development, then we find that it is targeted at achieving high level of Environmental Protection, Social equity and cohesion, economic prosperity and active promotion of sustainable development worldwide.
There are infact multiple inter linkages between key challenges: for example between the use of renewable energy and climate change and poverty.
The overallObjective of this sustainable development is to identify and develop actions to enable us to achieve continuous improvement of quality of life both for current and for future generations, through the creation of sustainable communities, who are able to manage and use resources efficiently and to tap the ecological and social innovation potential of the economy, ensuring prosperity, environmental protection and social cohesion. The renewed strategy sets the overall objectives:
·Climate Change and Clean Energy
·Sustainable Consumption and Production
·Public Health Threats
·Better Management of Natural Resources
·Social Inclusion, demography and migration
The best way to deal with Climate Change is to renew our commitment to Sustainable Development. It doesn’t mean that we use our resources in a random way. It means that the needs of the present generation should be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It should be an objective of our policy makers to set out a treaty, governing all the Union’s Policies and activities. It is about safe guarding the earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity and is based on the principles of democracy, gender equality, solidarity, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights, including freedom and equal opportunities for all. Its all so inter related. To that end it promotes a dynamic economy with full employment and a high level of education, health protection, social and territorial cohesion and environmental protection in a peaceful and secure World, respecting the Cultural Diversity, Traditions, Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Religions etc. To that effect, it is also important to use ways for newer technology to fight Climate Change. Use of Remote Sensing Satellites and GIS has to be given more importance. Use of green technology has a great role to play for a sustainable environment and in turn a sustainable Climate.
The Villach Statement and its threat of global warming became an international forum for actions to curb emissions of green house gases to the atmosphere. Around the World a diverse range of interest groups, especially across the environment movement, co-operated to raise public awareness of the greenhouse climate change threat.Later a series of Government and National and International conferences of invited experts were widely reported in the media and ensured a raised public recognition of the issue. So, successful was the awareness- raising campaign that within 3 years the United Nations, through its agencies UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and WMO (The World Meteorological Organization), had established an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which we know as IPCC.
This organization was empowered with:
a) “Assessing the scientific information that is related to the various components of the climate change issue, such as emissions of major green house gases and modification of the earth’s radiation balance resulting there from and that needed to enable the environmental and socioeconomic consequences of climate change to be evaluated.
b) Formulating realistic response strategies for the management of the climate change issue.
3 working groups were established to address the IPCC objectives. The tasks of Working Groups I, II and III were respectively to:
i) Assess available scientific information on climate change.
ii) Assess environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change.
iii) Formulate response strategies.
The working group did confirm the Villach conclusions and found a serious anthropogenic threat to the Global Climate. After a period of less than 18 months, in July 1990, the IPCC WG1 published their findings following an assessment of the available scientific literature. The principal findings of the report were:
i)There is a greenhouse effect because a range of gases occurring naturally in the atmosphere, such carbon dioxide, keep the earth’s surface warmer than it would otherwise be.
ii)The concentrations in the atmosphere of a range of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, are increasing because of human activities.
iii)The increasing concentrations of certain greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide will lead to global warming but neither its magnitude timing, nor its regional characteristics could be determined.
Later the United Nations General Assembly took up the challenge presented by the IPCC scientific assessment and the Statement of the second World Climate conference. An Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee was convened to develop a Framework Convention on Climate Change in time for the June 1992, Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro.The committee, open to all member countries of the United Nations, met six occasions between 1991 and May 1992 before finally a reaching agreement. At the Earth Summit, representatives of more than 150 countries signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that results from negotiations. More countries signed subsequently.
The Convention requires countries to take actions necessary for “Stabilization of green house gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
Despite the perceived threat posed by anthropogenic global warming, the short period available for negotiations meant that agreement could not be reached on binding mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and commitments that individual countries should make. Counter balancing the global warming threat were the immediate economic and social costs that would be experienced by many countries if they took action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The IPCC continued its work and issued its Second Assessment Report in 1995. Contemporary experiments using computer models of the climate system and various natural and anthropogenic forcing functions pointed to anthropogenic signals that could be detected in the observed Global Warming Pattern. The IPCC in its Second Assessment Report concluded that the balance of evidence suggested that a discernible human influence on global climate could be detected.
The public interest in the anthropogenic global warming issue and the perceived need for action did not abate. More than 10,000 people, made up mostly of non-government lobby groups and representatives of the World media, converged on Kyoto, Japan in December 1997 for the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. They were there to witness Government delegates negotiate a Protocol to stem the unconstrained emission of green house gases into the atmosphere. The Protocol was expected to give teeth to the Convention.
The Recent Conference on Climate Change (December 3rd, 2007), hosted by the Government of Indonesia, is taking place at the Bali International Convention Centre and brings together representatives of over 180 countries together with observers from Intergovernmental and Nongovernmental organizations and the media. The two week period includes the sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, its subsidiary bodies as well as the Meeting of the Parties of the Kyoto Protocol. A ministerial segment in the second week will conclude the Conference.
What is needed is a breakthrough in the form of a roadmap for a future international agreement on enhanced global action to fight climate change in the period after 2012, the year the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires.
The main goal of the Bali Conference is threefold: to launch negotiations on a climate change deal for the post-2012 period, to set the agenda for these negotiations and to reach agreement on when these negotiations will have to be concluded.
However, this is an opportunity for good negotiations and would constitute a breakthrough. Areas which countries have already indicated a new deal is likely to cover are mitigation – including reducing emissions from deforestation – adaptation, technology and financing.
In addition to the future climate change process, other important ongoing issues will are inclusion of adaptation to climate change, the management and operation of a fund for adaptation, technology transfer, reducing emissions from deforestation and issues relating to the international carbon market spawned by the Kyoto Protocol.
However, European Union has gone a long way towards sustainable Climate Change. The ‘Environment for Europe’ process now brings together 56 countries across three continents to jointly address environmental challenges. In support of this process, the European Environment Agency has prepared a series of assessments of the environment for the pan European region to provide policy relevant, up to date and reliable information on the interactions between the environment and society.
The first comprehensive assessment of the state of the pan European environment was presented in Sofia in 1995. Updated assessments were presented at the Ministerial Conferences in Aarhus in 1998 and Kiev in 2003. This is the fourth report in the series. Where possible the report evaluates progress, primarily against the objectives of the Sixth Environment Action Programme of the European Community and the Environment Strategy for Countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. The report has been prepared in close partnership with a range of international organizations, governmental institutions and non governmental organizations across the region.
Successful implementation depends on the setting of clear and realistic targets together with mechanisms to monitor progress. Environmental information across the region still varies in quality, with the availability and reliability of data differing considerably. There is substantial room for further improvement in making much needed data and information not only accessible, but also more comparable and reliable.
Biodiversity decline and loss of ecosystem services continue to be a major concern across the pan European region. In addition, the number of invasive alien species in the region continues to increase. The Kiev Resolution’s overarching target of halting biodiversity loss in the region by 2010 will not be achieved without considerable additional efforts and resources. Communication, education and public awareness programmes, however, are being implemented according to the Kiev Resolution.
The main fact lies is what is our political answer to the prognostications made by our scientific community? Will the Bali Conference effectively handle these issues? Climate Change has become a global issue and needs global response. This was again followed by European Union’s Courageous Commitment to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020. The G8 then called for negotiations on a future climate deal to be concluded by 2009 and at an unprecedented High-Level Event at United Nations Headquarters in New York in September, many World Leaders called for a Breakthrough at Bali on a long term climate change regime. Climate Change has a global impact. Many scientific theories do support the views. Impacts such as intensified drought and rainfall, melting glaciers and rising sea levels, however are helping raise public awareness of climate change and therefore support for politicians to take action. It is also forecasted that Asia would be among the worst affected regions. Projected impacts include an increase of 10 to 20% in tropical cyclone intensity and more frequent heat waves like the one in India in 2002 which killed over 1000 people. Rising sea levels will also threaten millions of Asians, with over half of the population in 21 Asian Countries living in high – risk areas. There need to be four steps to tackle these issues and forecasts:
a)Mitigation: Action to limit or reduce emissions.
b)Adaptation: Putting in place a strategy to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.
c)Technology:Helping countries limit or reduce emissions and adapt to the Impacts of Climate Change.
d)Finance:Generating investment and financial flows which will allow developing countries to act on mitigation and adaptation without harming their primary economic growth and poverty eradication.
The other points that can be kept in mind are: Effective management of our existing forests and biodiversity conservation along with afforestation initiatives. Another important topic is CDM (Clean Development Mechanism), one of the three innovative mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol which offers rich countries the choice of reducing emissions at home or in developing countries, which can benefit both parties. We also need good awareness initiatives for the masses and the media of the World should be on board of the project, so that our POLICIES AND PLANNING reaches to every corner of the World.
More over most important is use of greener technology for effective climate management. Let’s work together and create a Safer, Stronger, Greener and a Disaster Free World for us as well as for our future generations.
Thanks a lot for reading the post. Looking forward to your feedback at email@example.com
Mr. Mainak Mazumder
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Sleepless nights and too much stress do affect our lives. Our biological clock acts abnormally and that’s not natural. We sleep at night and wake up during day. Ask anyone and the answer goes; ‘We need to sleep at least 8 hours a day’. But do we really do that? Some says ‘Yes’ and most will say ‘No’. Employees of different organizations are so stressed with their daily schedules that some sleep with their eyes open. We are biologically designed to spend one third of our lives asleep. But many are just too busy to sleep. These hectic lifestyles have made the corporate to wake up to the sleep deficit of their employees who work for long hours.
There can be various types of sleep disorders. They are given below:
It is the inability to sleep. Generally, it is the problem to stay asleep. The symptoms include frequent awakenings, or waking up and finding that one is unable to sleep. It happens mostly due to worry or depression. Hence the easiest way to treat it is to remove depression from ones life. Always think positive and stay infront of bright light. A room well lighted gives you good positive thoughts and enhances your good mood. However, if your difficulty in sleeping has occurred for more than a month and is interfering with your daily functions, it is time to seek help from a professional. Treatment can be as simple as educating yourself on the reasons behind your insomnia.
It is a sleep disorder causing excessive daytime sleepiness and, in many cases, sleeps attacks during waking hours.
c) Sleep Apnea:
Sleep Apnea is defined as the cessation of breathing during sleep.
People suffering from fibromyalgia suffer from overwhelming daytime fatigue despite an adequate amount of sleep and the presence of numerous painful tender points in the back hips, thighs and neck. Some exercise increases the phenomenon. Unfortunately, there is no specific diagnostic test for fibromyalgia. Instead, go from doctor to doctor in search of a diagnosis and often receive treatments directed at their individual symptoms. Most patients with fibromyalgia will concede that on those rare nights when they obtain a good night of sleep they feel significantly better, more alert and have a reduction in pain and discomfort.
e) Restless Legs Syndrome:
It is a movement disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs. These sensations typically are worse during periods of rest, especially just before sleeping at night, but they may happen during daytime periods of inactivity, such as watching a movie, attending a long business meeting or flying in a plane. Whenever the discomfort of Restless Legs Syndrome occurs, it is usually accompanied by an overwhelming urge to move the legs and this movement may relieve leg discomfort temporarily. During night, people suffering from these symptoms make it difficult to fall asleep. As a result, insomnia happens. The cause of RLS remains unknown. However, evidence suggests that there is dysfunction in dopamine pathways in the brain. It may also be linked to certain types of iron deficiency.
What the Research Says About Sleep Duration?
The first thing experts will tell you about sleep is that there is no “magic number.” Not only do different age groups need different amounts of sleep, but sleep needs are also individual. Just like any other characteristics you are born with, the amount of sleep you need to function best may be different for you than for someone who is of the same age and gender. While you may be at your absolute best sleeping seven hours a night, someone else may clearly need nine hours to have a happy, productive life. In fact, a 2005 study confirmed the fact that sleep needs vary across populations, and the study calls for further research to identify traits within genes that may provide a “map” to explain how sleep needs differ among individuals.
Though the actual amount of sleep is under research, but a minimum amount of 7-8 hours of sleep is necessary. Too less sleep can inhibit your productivity and have negative effect on your memory i.e your ability to remember and consolidate information and lack of sleep can also lead to serious health consequences and can seriously jeopardize your safety.
Sleep disturbance can lead to:
* Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
* Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
* Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
* Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
* Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information
Hence, sleep well and don’t compromise on your sleep time. Stay healthy and increase your ability to cope up with your day to day challenges successfully.
Thanks for taking your time and reading this post. If there is any mistake in the above data, please let me know at writer’s E-mail address.
—- Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our time. Recent events have emphatically demonstrated our growing vulnerability to climate change. Climate change impacts will range from affecting agriculture- further endangering food security-, sea-level rise and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction and the spread of vector-borne diseases.
Climate change refers to the variation in the Earth’s global climate or in regional climates over time. It describes changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over time scales, ranging from decades to millions of years. These changes can be caused by processes internal to the Earth, external forces (e.g. variations in sunlight intensity) and, more recently, human activities.
In recent usage, especially in the context of environmental policy, the term “climate change” often refers to changes in modern climate which according to the IPCC are 90-95% likely to have been in part caused by human action. Consequently the term anthropogenic climate change is frequently adopted; this phenomenon is also referred to in the mainstream media as global warming. In some cases, the term is also used with a presumption of human causation, as in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC uses “climate variability” for non-human caused variations.
Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere, and is a chaotic non-linear dynamical system. On the other hand, climate — the average state of weather — is fairly stable and predictable. Climate includes the average temperature, amount of precipitation, days of sunlight, and other variables that might be measured at any given site. However, there are also changes within the Earth’s environment that can affect the climate.
Percentage of advancing glaciers in the Alps in the last 80 years. Glaciers are recognized as one of the most sensitive indicators of climate change, advancing substantially during climate cooling (e.g., the Little Ice Age) and retreating during climate warming on moderate time scales. Glaciers grow and collapse, both contributing to natural variability and greatly amplifying externally-forced changes. For the last century, however, glaciers have been unable to regenerate enough ice during the winters to make up for the ice lost during the summer months.
A schematic of modern thermohaline circulation. On the scale of decades, climate changes can also result from interaction of the atmosphere and oceans. Many climate fluctuations, the best known being the El Niño Southern oscillation but also including the Pacific decadal oscillation, the North Atlantic oscillation, and Arctic oscillation, owe their existence at least in part to different ways that heat can be stored in the oceans and move between different reservoirs. On longer time scales ocean processes such as thermohaline circulation play a key role in redistributing heat, and can dramatically affect climate.
Climate Change Outreach Programme
Responding to the needs of the countries and following the request from the UNFCCC Secretariat, UNEP/DEC has initiated and implemented a major programme on climate change outreach that directly supported the UNFCCC New Delhi Work Programme on Article 6 (Education, Training and Public Awareness) The objectives of this project are to provide to Governments additional tools for promoting climate change awareness at the national level. Support efforts by associations and NGOs to provide accurate and accessible messages of IPCC on climate change to their memberships or target audiences, make the youth more aware of the climate change implications and motivated to take relevant climate friendly actions, and raise awareness of general public on climate change problems with easily understandable graphic materials. Project partners include the Governments of Kenya, Ghana , Namibia , Russia , Uzbekistan , Mexico , Albania , Georgia, the UNFCCC and IPCC Secretariats, WWF, TERI, the Government of Norway and other donors.
National Climate Outreach Campaigns
Those campaigns have been implemented in Namibia , Ghana , Kenya , Russia , Uzbekistan , Albania and Georgia . Each campaign identified local needs and priorities for implementing national-level Article 6 activities, promoted collaboration and networking among focal points and key stakeholders, produced popular brochures and booklets in local languages, organized radio and TV presentations on hot climate topics – and much more. In Latin America UNEP/DEC supported publication of a Handbook on Climate Change Communications for local practitioners that was successfully tested at a regional workshop with participants from 10 countries of the region.
Climate Outreach to Youth
UNEP has entered into a partnership with TERI Institute ( India ) to promote environmental education among the school children in India . This programme covered more than 100 schools in 8 states of the country and featured establishing school climate clubs, workshops and seminars for children, arranging climate-related shows and presentations and compiling guide books on climate change for teachers.
Thanks a lot for taking your time and reading. Please put a comment, if your time permits.
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
A severe cyclone has killed more than 500 people in Bangladesh and left thousands injured or missing. As, the latest new goes, Three thousand people have been confirmed dead in Bangladesh after a cyclone hit the south of the country, the private ATN Bangla television network said Sunday as the death toll continued to rise.
“We are expecting that thousands of dead bodies may be found within a few days,” the deputy head of the government’s disaster management office, Shekhar Chandra Das, told AFP in the capital Dhaka.
“We have not been able to collect information about casualties in many remote and impassable places due to the disruption to communications,” he said. In most areas telephone lines are down and roads blocked. Countless villages have also been blown from the face of the earth.
“The number of deaths so far is 1,723 and it is increasing,” said major Emdadul Islam of the armed forces control room.
“A 20-foot (six-metre) wall of water wrecked the village of Charkhali and 30 more people are still missing,” said local government official K.M. Abdul Wadud.
“The wind and the tidal surge were so strong that it churned up four kilometres (2.5 miles) of a tarmac road,” added resident Anowar Hossen Khan.
The dead were being buried in a mass grave, villagers said.
Millions more were also said to be homeless. “Village after village has been shattered,” said administrator Hariprasad Pal. “Millions of people are living out in the open and relief is reaching less than one percent of the people.”
Residents in southern districts near the coast bore the full brunt of the storm and told AFP of their terror as they were hit by wind speeds of up to 240 kilometres (155 miles) an hour, huge waves and suffocating rain. Fulmala Begum, 40, said she was not warned to evacuate and had to take refuge under a bed with her husband and two children as the storm roared around her.
“Five hours later we found ourselves under a heap of tin roofs and two huge trees. Not a single house in my village was spared the catastrophe,” said the woman, lucky to be alive but totally destitute.
Thousands of survivors waited for relief aid amid their wrecked homes and flooded fields after the deadliest storm to hit Bangladesh in a decade, as a news report said the cyclone’s death toll neared 1,800.
The Government scrambled to join international agencies and local officials in the rescue mission following Tropical Cyclone Sidr, deploying military helicopters, thousands of troops and naval ships. Rescuers struggled to clear roads and get their vehicles through, but many found the blockages impassable. “We will try again tomorrow on bicycles, and hire local country boats,” M Shakil Anwar of CARE said from the city of Khulna. At least 1.5 million coastal villagers had fled to shelters where they were given emergency rations. The cyclone, which followed devastating floods in July-September that killed more than 1000, posed a new challenge to the interim administration, whose main task is to hold free and fair national elections before the end of next year. The cyclone triggered a tidal surge that inundated the towns of Patuakhali, Barguna and Jharkhand, cutting off communication links. A government official in Dhaka said there was no immediate information about casualities from the area. The cyclone blew past India’s eastern coast without causing much damage.
The cyclone will pass and we will again try to bring back things to normalcy. But the cyclone definitely left behind a legacy of pain, sorrow and memories which are never to be forgotten. It left behind orphans, left behind the cries of a bereaved mother and father. All our planning and policies failed. Situations went out of hand. Mother Nature turned so destructive that we just stood as mere spectators and our near and dear ones are taken away from us.
Lets join hands and together create a Safer, Greener and a Disaster Free World for us as well as for our future generations.
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections. Previous names for the virus include human T-lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III), lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV) or AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV).
Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells. Screening of blood products for HIV in the developed world has largely eliminated transmission through blood transfusions or infected blood products in these countries.
HIV infection in humans is now pandemic. As of January 2006, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized on December 1, 1981, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in recorded history. In 2005 alone, AIDS claimed an estimated 2.4–3.3 million lives, of which more than 570,000 were children. It is estimated that about 0.6% of the world’s living population is infected with HIV. A third of these deaths are occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, retarding economic growth and increasing poverty. According to current estimates, HIV is set to infect 90 million people in Africa, resulting in a minimum estimate of 18 million orphans. Antiretroviral treatment reduces both the mortality and the morbidity of HIV infection, but routine access to antiretroviral medication is not available in all countries.
HIV primarily infects vital cells in the human immune system such as helper T cells (specifically CD4+ T cells), macrophages and dendritic cells. HIV infection leads to low levels of CD4+ T cells through three main mechanisms: firstly, direct viral killing of infected cells; secondly, increased rates of apoptosis in infected cells; and thirdly, killing of infected CD4+ T cells by CD8 cytotoxic lymphocytes that recognize infected cells. When CD4+ T cell numbers decline below a critical level, cell-mediated immunity is lost, and the body becomes progressively more susceptible to opportunistic infections. If untreated, eventually most HIV-infected individuals develop AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) and die; however about one in ten remains healthy for many years, with no noticeable symptoms. Treatment with anti-retrovirals, where available, increases the life expectancy of people infected with HIV. It is hoped that current and future treatments may allow HIV-infected individuals to achieve a life expectancy approaching that of the general public.
CONFLICT AND HIV RISK
New research findings from Uganda cast doubt on the widely held assumption that internally displaced persons and refugees are more likely to be HIV-infected than people in ostensibly more stable settings. Acholiland, in northern Uganda, is home to an estimated two million internally displaced persons. At just over 8%, HIV prevalence in the region is high (Ministry of Health Uganda and ORC Macro, 2006). However, a study among pregnant women in the Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts has found that women living outside protected camps had a higher risk of being HIV-infected than their displaced counterparts living in protected camps. This might be due to the reduced mobility and increased access to health and prevention services of women in some of the camps (Fabiani et al., 2006). A recent review of HIV literature on displaced persons in eight countries (including Uganda) also failed to find evidence that conflict increases HIV transmission (Spiegel and Harroff-Tavel, 2006).
VERY HIGH MALARIA RATES FOUND IN HIV-INFECTED PERSONS
Unexpectedly high levels of HIV infection are being found in adults seeking treatment for malaria in Uganda. More than 30% of adults presenting at district health centres with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were co-infected with HIV. Clinical treatment for malaria was three times more likely in adults with HIV. The findings are in line with a growing body of evidence from elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa that malaria tends to occur with increased frequency and severity in HIV-infected adults. This underlines the need for new strategies of HIV testing and counselling for adults with uncomplicated falciparum malaria (Kamya et al., 2006).
ADULTS AND CHILDREN ESTIMATED TO BE LIVING WITH HIV IN 2006
Total: 39.5 (34.1–47.1) million
(190 000–320 000)
(880 000–2.2 million)
Middle East and North Africa
(270 000–760 000)
Western and Central Europe
(580 000–970 000)
(50 000–170 000)
(460 000–1.2 million)
South and South-East Asia
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
ESTIMATED NUMBER OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN NEWLY INFECTED WITH HIV DURING 2006:
Total: 4.3 (3.6–6.6) million
(100 000–410 000)
(20 000–41 000)
(34 000–65 000)
Middle East and North Africa
(41 000–220 000)
Western and Central Europe
(18 000–33 000)
(56 000–300 000)
South and South-East Asia
(550 000–2.3 million)
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
(170 000–820 000)
The ranges around the estimates in this table define the boundaries within which the actual numbers lie, based on the best available information. The data is referred from UNAIDS and WHO.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2007
World AIDS Day was originally organised by UNAIDS, who chose the theme after consultation with other organisations. In 2005 UNAIDS handed over responsibility for World AIDS Day to an independent organisation known as The World AIDS Campaign (WAC).
The WAC’s slogan for their work is “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise”. This is an appeal to governments, policy makers and regional health authorities to ensure that they meet the many targets that have been set in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and especially the promise of universal access to HIV treatment, care, support and prevention services by 2010. This campaign will run until 2010, with a related theme chosen for World AIDS Day each year.
The 2007 theme, “leadership”, highlights the need for innovation, vision and perseverance in the face of the AIDS challenge. The campaign calls on all sectors of society such as families, communities and civil society organisations – rather than just governments – to take the initiative and provide leadership on AIDS.
On the eve of World Aids Day (1st December), lets pray and give psychological support to those who still lives with us. A little care from our side, will bring smiles on the face of those, who will one day, leave our planet and become one with almighty.
Let’s fight this disaster. Let’s make someone smile today. Let’s create a family.
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Biodiversity refers to the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic eco-systems and the ecological complexes of which they are part. This includes diversity within species (genetic diversity), between species and of ecosystems. Through out the world; it is known that Tropical forest systems are the most species rich environments. Although they cover less than 10 percent of world’s surface, they may contain 90 percent of the world’s species. The most species rich areas are the coral reefs. Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend.
This diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms. So far, about 1.75 million species have been identified, mostly small creatures such as insects. Scientists reckon that there are actually about 13 million species, though estimates range from 3 to 100 million. Biodiversity also includes genetic differences within each species – for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock. Chromosomes, genes, and DNA-the building blocks of life-determine the uniqueness of each individual and each species. Yet another aspect of biodiversity is the variety of ecosystems such as those that occur in deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes, rivers, and agricultural landscapes. In each ecosystem, living creatures, including humans, form a community, interacting with one another and with the air, water, and soil around them. It is the combination of life forms and their interactions with each other and with the rest of the environment that has made Earth a uniquely habitable place for humans. Biodiversity provides a large number of goods and services that sustain our lives. Around 1.75 million species have been named by taxonomists to date (UNEP-WCMC 2000: United Nations Environmental Program and World Conservation Monitoring Center). The total number of species has recently been estimated as 14 million throughout the world and according to “Animal” (World Book Encyclopedia. 16 vols. Chicago: World Book, 2003) there are about 50 million species throughout the world. These living organisms do contribute to a wide variety of environmental services, such as regulation of gaseous composition of the atmosphere, protection of coastal zones, regulation of hydrological cycle and climate, generation and conservation of fertile soils, dispersal and breakdown of wastes, pollination of many crops and absorption of pollutants. The most interesting thing is that many of these services by macro as well as micro organisms are not widely accepted and neither widely recognized nor properly valued in economic terms throughout the world. However, the combined economic value of ecosystem services has recently been estimated in the range of US$16-54 Trillion per year and mounting. The important fact lies that human health and well being are directly dependent on bio-diversity. Any changes to that bring an imbalance in the Natural Eco-system and bring a Disaster. We try to explore nature for our development; which is our need and Nature needs to sustain itself for its survival; in turn for our survival. Whenever this imbalance reaches its limit; a natural disaster occurs. The importance of biodiversity also lies in the fact that 10 of the world’s 25 Top selling drugs for medicinal purposes were derived from natural sources. The global market value of pharmaceuticals derived from genetic resources is estimated at US$75,000-1,50,000 million annually. Some 75 percent of the world’s population relies on health care on traditional medicines, which are derived directly from natural sources (UNDP, UNEP, WORLD BANK and WRI 2000). Not only that, biodiversity also provides genetic resources for food and agriculture, and therefore constitutes the biological basis for world food security and support for human livelihoods. But for various reasons; throughout the world, Global biodiversity is changing at a unprecedented rate; the most important drivers of this change being land conversion, climate change, pollution, unsustainable harvesting of natural resources and the introduction of exotic species. The relative importance of these drivers differs between eco-systems. For example land conversion is most intensive in tropical forests and less intensive in temperate, boreal and arctic regions; atmospheric nitrogen deposition is largest in northern temperate areas close to cities; introduction of exotic species is related to patterns of human activity – those areas remote from human intervention generally receive fewer introduced species. The ultimate causes of biodiversity loss are human population growth together with unsustainable patterns of consumption, increasing production of waste and pollutants, urban development, internal conflict and continuing inequities in the distribution of wealth and resources. The most significant response to the crisis of biodiversity during the past 35 years has been the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which entered into force on 1993.
The convention has 3 main goals to achieve. Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. It had been signed by around 182 Parties by December 2001.
Thus as an international treaty identifies a common problem, sets overall goals and policies and general obligations, and organizes technical and financial cooperation. However, the responsibility for achieving its goals rests largely with the countries and the people themselves.
The impact of climate change on biodiversity to date is still unclear. The increasing incidence of coral reef bleaching may be a consequence of recent rises in global ocean temperature. Reports of coral bleaching have increased greatly since 1989, with all records of mass bleaching occurring after this date. The most significant mass bleaching was associated with the 1997-1998 ENSO Event, when all ten reef provinces of the world were affected. In some areas, most notably the Indian Ocean, this event was followed by mass mortality, where upto 90 percent of the corals died over thousands of square kilometers.
India is very rich in biodiversity. The most important regions being the
India has a rich and varied heritage of biodiversity, encompassing a wide spectrum of habitats from tropical rainforests to alpine vegetation and from temperate forests to coastal wetlands. India figured with two hotspots – the Western Ghats and the Eastern Himalayas – in an identification of 18 biodiversity hotspots carried out in the eighties (Myers. 1988). Recently, Norman Myers and a team of scientists have brought out an updated list of 25 hotspots (Myers et. al. 2000). In the revised classification, the 2 hotspots that extend into India are The Western Ghats /Sri Lanka and the Indo-Burma region (covering the Eastern Himalayas); and they are included amongst the top eight most important hotspots. In addition, India has 26 recognized endemic centers that are home to nearly a third of all the flowering plants identified and described to date. Of the estimated 5–50 million species of the world’s biota, only 1.7 million have been described to date (Groombridge, and Jenkins. 2000), and the distribution is highly uneven. About seven per cent of the world’s total land area is home to half of the world’s species, with the tropics alone accounting for 5 million. India contributes significantly to this latitudinal biodiversity trend. With a mere 2.4% of the world’s area, India accounts for 7.31% of the global faunal total with a faunal species count of 89,451 species (MoEF. 1999). Some salient features of India’s biodiversity have been mentioned below.India has ten biogeographic regions including the Trans-Himalayan, the Himalayan, the Indian desert, the semi-arid zone(s), the Western Ghats, the Deccan Peninsula, the Gangetic Plain, North-East India, and the islands and coasts (Rodgers and Panwar. 1988). India is one of the 12 centers of origin of cultivated plants.
India has 5 world heritage sites, 12 biosphere reserves, and 6 Ramsar wetlands. Amongst the protected areas, India has 88 national parks and 490 sanctuaries covering an area of 1.53 lakh sq. km.The endemism of Indian biodiversity is high. About 33% of the country’s recorded flora are endemic to the country and are concentrated mainly in the North-East, Western Ghats, North-West Himalaya and the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Of the 49,219 plant species, 5150 are endemic and distributed into 141 genera under 47 families corresponding to about 30% of the world’s recorded flora, which means 30% of the world’s recorded floras are endemic to India. Of these endemic species, 3,500 are found in the Himalayas and adjoining regions and 1600 in the Western Ghats alone. About 62% of the known amphibian species are endemic with the majority occurring in the Western Ghats. Nearly 50% of the lizards of India are endemic with a high degree of endemicity in the Western Ghats. India is a centre of crop diversity – the homeland of 167 cultivated species and 320 wild relatives of crop plants.
India’s record in agro-biodiversity is equally impressive. There are 167 crop species and wild relatives. India is considered to be the center of origin of 30,000-50,000 varieties of rice, pigeon-pea, mango, turmeric, ginger, sugarcane, gooseberries etc and ranks seventh in terms of contribution to world agriculture.
Comparative statement of recorded number of plant species in India and the world
of India to
Source. MOEF 1999, Government of India
Biosphere reserves of India
|Name of the site||Date of notification||Area in Sq. km||Location (State)|
|Nilgiri||01.08.86||5,520||Parr of Wynad , Nagarhole, Bandipur and Madumalai, Nilambur, Silent Valley and Siruvani hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka)|
|Nanda Devi||18.01.88||5,860.69||Par of Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Almora Districts (Uttaranchal)|
|Nokrerk||01.09.88||820||Part of Gora Hills (Meghalaya)|
|Manas||14.03.89||2,837||Part of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamprup and Darang district (Assam)|
|Sunderbans||29.03.89||9,630||Part of delta of Ganga & Brahamaputra river system (West Bengal)|
|Gulf of Mannar||18.02.89||10,500||Indan part of Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka (Tamil Nadu)|
|Great Nicobar||06.01.89||885||Southern most islands of Andaman and Nicobar (A&N islands)|
|Similpal||21.06.94||4,374||Part of Mayurbhanj district (Orissa)|
|Dibru-Saikhowa||28.07.97||765||Part of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia district (Assam)|
|Dehang Debang||02.09.98||5,112||Part of Siang and Debang velley (Arunachal Pradesh)|
|Pachmarhi||03.03.99||4,926.28||Parts of Betul, Hoshangabad and Chindwara districts (Madhya Pradesh)|
|Kanchanjanga||07.02.00||2,619.92||Part of Kanchanjanga Hills (Sikkim)|
Source: MOEF 2000, Government of India
India’s World heritage sites
|Kaziranga National Park||Assam|
|Keoladeo Ghana National Park||Rajasthan|
|Manas Wildlife Sanctuary||Assam|
|Nanda Devi National Park||Uttar Pradesh|
|Sundarban National Park||West Bengal|
Source: MOEF 1999, Government of India
Table: Threatened Animals of India by Status Category
Ex-extinct; EW-Extinct in the Wild; CR- Critically Endangered; VU-Vulnerable; LR/cd-Lower Risk conservation dependent; LR/nT- Lower Risk near threatened; DD-Data Deficient
Source: IUCN 2000Though assessment of the impact of policy responses to pressures on biodiversity is limited by the lack of a comprehensive system for monitoring; for collating relevant data and for presenting information in a consistent manner. In general, it is accepted that biodiversity continues to decline. Most examples of successful conservation action are those where particular attention and considerable financial resources have been focused on individual species or localized areas. Many threats to biodiversity such as habitat loss and invasion by introduced species continue to intensify. In addition, new threats may be emerging , such as climate change and bio-invasion (It is the influx of alien species. These are considered invasive when they become established in natural habitats, are agents of change, and threaten native biological diversity. Alien invasive species include bacteria, viruses, fungi, insects, mollusks, plants, fish, mammals and birds :- IUCN 2001). So, loss of biodiversity in India as well as the world will definitely create an environmental problem and will be the cause of a Natural Disaster of greater magnitude. Deforestation due to various reasons, increase of pollutants leading to large amounts of toxic inputs in our environment; together with hazardous wastes of all kinds does make the matter more worse.
The purifying system of nature could not act against those huge toxic inputs of humankind.
The result is a disaster.
That’s the time; when we do see Flood in deserts; for example the border district of Barmer drowned under 577 mm of rainfall submerging 88 villages with an approximate population of about 20 lakh or just finding snow in Dubai and parts of Europe saw a blinding heat wave which killed many, especially the elderly, since they just don’t know how to cope with this unpredictable extremities.
Some of the policies, which can be taken into account for biodiversity conservation, are:
· Identifying and monitoring the important components of biological diversity that needs to be conserved and used sustainably.
· Establishing protected areas to conserve biological diversity while promoting environmentally sound development around these areas.
· Respecting, preserving and maintaining traditional knowledge of the sustainable use of biological diversity with the involvement of indigenous peoples and local communities.
· Educating people and raising awareness about the importance of biological diversity and the need to conserve it
· Promoting public participation, particularly when it comes to assessing the environmental impacts of development projects that threaten biological diversity and protecting the biodiversity hot spots from alien species.
Biodiversity conservation is an important step towards a successful disaster management and if policies are implemented to protect it, then we can get one step closer in making a Disaster Free World.
Thanks a lot for taking your time and reading the post. Please put a comment, if your time permits. Incase, there is any mistake in the data, it will be very kind of you, if you please let me know at my e-mail address.
– Mainak Majumdar
Disaster Management Specialist and Consultant
Tips to save yourself from Hurricanes
Lets now take a look into the management of Hurricanes, if it strikes in your area.
Having taken into consideration that, you have already read the letters posted previously, we will try to focus on the management of Hurricanes in short.
A hurricane is a severe tropical storm that forms in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, or the South Pacific Ocean east of 160E. Hurricanes need warm tropical oceans, moisture and light winds above them. If the right conditions last long enough, a hurricane can produce violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains and floods.
Hurricanes are known by different namesin different parts of the world.
In the Northwest Pacific ocean it is known as a Typhoon
In the Southwest Pacific Ocean west of 160E or Southeast Indian Ocean east of 90E : – its known as Severe Tropical Cyclone
In the North Indian Ocean, its known as the Severe Cyclonic Storm
And in the Southwest Indian Ocean it’s known as the Tropical Cyclone.
So, whatever be its name, Its capable of causing immense destruction taking the death toll to millions of our brothers and sisters. In general, these Hurricanes rotates in a counterclockwise directions. The centre of this cyclones is called an “eye” . When the wind speed reaches 74mph, it takes the form of a hurricane.In the year 2006, there were many Hurricanes in the Atlantic region. They are:
Alberto, Helene, Oscar, Beryl, Isaac, Patty, Chris, JOyce, Rafael, Debby, Kirk, Sandy, ERnesto, Leslie, Tony, Florence, Michael, Valerie, Gordon, Nandine, William etc… the list might go on.
Dear friends, it becomes very easy to name the cyclones. But imagine all this cyclones have brought along with it lots of destruction. Many childs have become hurricanes, many mothers have lost their son or daughter, many wives have lost their husband and vice-versa.. many… infact many.. have lost everything.. their near and dear ones. Can we not stop all this things happening. Yes, friends, we can do it. If we have little awareness about the disaster we are prone to.
Here is some tip as what to do, when a storm just like Hurricane or a real hurricane strikes. Please read it carefully or please do take a print-out of the tips. Please do also forward it to your near and dear ones, so that everyone has the opportunity to read it and equip themselves in advance. Today’s temperature and climatic conditions are constantly changing. So, impossible things are also happening. FLOOD IN DESERT REGIONS!!! Who knows the next Hurricane can strike near by your area. So, please take some time to read it:
1. Have a disaster supplies kit ready with you.
2. Please do store atleast one gallon of drinking water per family member for atleast three days.
3. To be on the safer side, you must keep canned goods, dry foods which are non-perisable. As, you never know, how long time it might take relief to come to your place.
4. First aid supplies, extra prescription medicines, eye glasses and hearing aid supplies if needed. Sanitary supplies.
5. Supplies for people in your family with special needs such as infants, the elderly or people with physical limitations.
6. You should make copies of your valuable papers in case the originals are lost and store them in a water-proof container.
7. In case you have pets in your house, please do plan as where to board them.
8. Have you checked window boards.. Are they lose? So, please check shutters on windows or purchase boards to fit windows.
9. Store enough drinking water to last for at least two weeks in case local water sources are unavailable.
Incase Local Officials advise you to evacuate, then please follow directions of local officials. Remember, evacuation routes can be closed by high winds and water many hours before a hurricane or tropical strom makes landfall. Additionally rainfall and local drainage conditions can flood evecuation routes quickly.
PLEASE DO KEEP A RADIO ALONG WITH YOU. PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR LOCAL RADIO STATION FOR UPDATED INFORMATION.
Now incase you do have to evacuate,
Know exactly to which place you are going and leave early.
The most imporatant thing during that time is to make sure that you have a FULL FUEL TANK IN YOUR VEHICLE, if you own one.
TURN OFF GAS, WATER AND ELECTRICITY IN YOUR HOME.
Lock doors and windows, leave a note on the door indicating your destination and identifying an out-of-area point of contact.
KEEP IMPORTANT PAPERS LIKE INSURANCE FORMS, DRIVER’S LICENSES, PROPERTY INVENTORY AND MEDICAL INFORMATION with you ALL TIMES.
Please do remember at the last, that pets are not generally allowed in shelters. If you can not make arrangements for them in a kennel, provide a comfortable area in your home with PLENTY OF FOOD and CLEAN WATER.
ABOVE ALL PLEASE DONT PANICK..STAY COOL AND EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE.
We also request you to check our website on Disaster Management. Please let us know your views;
LETS TOGETHER CREATE A SAFER WORLD FOR US AND OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Thanks and Regards,
Disaster Management Specialist and Writer
Natural Disasters are very frequent this days and it brings immense loss to lives and property. Not only that, it brings along with it unforgottable trauma, which ever remains memorable in the minds of the people. So, we should have pre-disaster managment policies to tackle this types of situations before, so that precious lives of our brothers and sisters of our planet can be saved in advance. I have tried to create a website only on Disaster management, where contributions from readers in the form of articles, letters are requested, so that we can put it on the website. In case, you have experienced a disaster, please do forward your experience in our e-mail address. Your experience can save the lives of some one else, facing similar situations in some other part of the world. Below is given an article on disasters and at the last, our website address. Please do have a look into it.
COSTS OF DISASTERS
From a rampage of broken houses, a child came out crying, with blood in her face. As the drops of blood poured down, drop by drop from that innocent soul, she suddenly discovered that she has become an orphan. With her tiny hands, she removed the bricks, to search her mom and dad. But Alas! they have become dearer to God. She has lost everything. From a distance, a soldier came and hold her tiny hands and took her to a shelter; meant for earthquake victims. Thanks to a local non-governmental Organisation. Alone she stood, looking at the horrendous picture of her worst nightmare, that became a reality. Everywhere, one looks, one can see the cries, the pain and the sufferings. She is one among them. A soul vitimized by a deadly richter of 7.2. She is not alone, but hundreds like her lost theirs identity. The question that will always bother her, is : Who is She ? A Child, with just a name. Rest lost in the rubbles of that broken city.
In another part of the world, people are busy, with statistics with pictorial diagrams of the number of deaths and living. News started showing the economic losses the nation had undergone… may be it amounted to 25$ billion, making the costliest disasters ever happened. Aids started to flow from all across of the world, as the news of the catastrophe spreads. But can any count the real value of these disasters? This are the qusetions which will ever remain evergreen. Does anyone has the cost for his/her mother? Does a bereaved mother have a cost for her own son or daughter ? Do a husband or wife have a cost value in terms of money about his/her soulmate. The answer will be obviously negative. Love and its bondings are not costs which can be counted. It’s very true that natural disasters are a potentially serious shock to economy but nevertheless, it is more shocking to lose their loved ones infront of them, in the journey of life. Helpless, they see the horrendous picture of their near and dear ones getting closer to death. The surviours with serious health conditions can see the thin red line existing between them and death, only to succumb to their injuries.
Can the child ever forget the trauma, that she had undergone, at such an early age? Can she ever live a normal life? Well this are the questions, which time can only answer. Time passes by and everyone forgets about the tragedy, only to be written in the pages of history. People forgets it, Media forgets it, Nation forgets it. It still remains fresh in the minds of the victims, who are still fighting to cope with the wildest trauma, they have ever faced in their lives………….
But the story doesnot stop here, History repeats itself,…. again a natural disaster strikes an area —- only to make our brothers and sisters in some other part of the world feel their worst nightmares.
This has made me to launch an website NATURAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT (http://www.naturaldisastermanagement.com) which will stress the need for pre-disaster management plans and to save the lives much in advance. Experiences of persons, who have seen the disaster and have faced it, will be put on the net, so that, our brothers and sisters in some unknown place can get equipped by those experiences to face the natural disaster, without getting panicked. Policies are made, but i feel that it rarely reaches the masses. When a natural disaster strikes, people get panicked, not knowing what to do to save themselves from that natural disaster, they are prone to and causes secondary disasters. Respected Sir/mam/miss, this is just a honest effort to make our dream of a disaster free world; a success. It’s not just a planet, it’s a home and it’s our duty to save the lives of our brothers and sisters from natural disasters. Then a day will come, when we will together make a beautiful world for all of us, where we all live in peace.
Please do also suggest me about what to include or what modification has to be done, to make the website more intereactive. It’s not my website, but it’s the people’s website. I hope that you will give your valuable suggestions . Thanks a lot for taking your time and reading the letter.
Lets join hands to make a Safer, Stronger , Greener and a Disaster Free World.
Assistant Director (Disaster Management) in India’s Industry and Business organization at New Delhi
Environmentalist and Specialist in Disaster Management
(Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing)
Disaster Management Consultant