Disaster preparedness could be defined as the detailed planning for the prompt and efficient response immediately as soon as the anticipated event materializes. Tim effort has to be very comprehensive inclusive of public education and awareness campaign ahead, provisions for the issuance of timely warnings, development of orderly evacuation plans, and preparations for providing the evacuees with food, clothing and shelter on emergency basis. The moment the disaster strikes will also mark the start of the emergency response period. The immediate onsite responses are spontaneous actions of local residents but their effectiveness could be improved by advance training. The speed and efficiency of the community reaction to save lives and mitigate suffering and losses is determined by adequate planning, training and rehearsals.
In the context of floods, it is well known that floods damage human settlements, necessitate evacuation to safer areas, damage crops and disrupt farming, wash away infrastructure items like irrigation, communication etc. and make land unusable. Disaster preparedness should also deal with all these aspects and other connected matters.
The vary basic step in vulnerability reduction will be to identify such high risk areas, prepare risk maps showing the likely risks at different probability levels of flooding and make this knowledge available widely.
The National Flood Commission (1980) set up by the Government of India made a comprehensive study of the flood management scene in India and made many valuable recommendations or flood management including flood disaster and cyclone disaster mitigation steps needed. The Government of India and the various State Governments are also engaged in identifying and implementing the many steps needed to be taken in different parts of India to take care of local conditions. These steps include those on flood disaster preparedness.
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