The most important part of implementing disaster mitigation is the full understanding of the nature of threat. In India, different states are vulnerable to different types of hazards. Some states are prone to floods and droughts, others to floods and cyclones. Some states are prone to earthquake, falling in highly active seismic zone (zone 5 or 4). Most states are prone to combination of various hazards.

The effects these hazards are likely to have and the damage they are likely to cause depends mainly on the following:

i) Population in that region,

ii) Type of houses,


iii) Sources of their livelihood (Agriculture, others),

iv) Infrastructure

To understand hazards of a specific region/state and to develop mitigation strategy, one should have knowledge of:

i) Causes of hazards and how they arise,


ii) Disaster History of the area

a. Occurrence of hazards,

b. Frequency,

c. Magnitude (severity),


iii) Physical mechanism of destruction caused,

iv) Elements at risk (most vulnerable to their effects),

v) Economic and social consequences after damage.

Importance of Disaster Mitigation

The worst effects of any natural disaster are loss of human life, injuries and health problems of the affected people apart from loss of property and livelihood. Understanding the way that people are killed and injured in a particular disaster is a prerequisite for reducing casualties.


In an Earthquake, 90% of the casualties are caused by house collapse. Hence, saving the lives in earthquakes means focusing on prevention of building collapse. Similarly, in floods, most of the deaths are because of drowning in fast flowing or turbulent waters. Reducing loss of life by floods is possible by preventing or minimizing the extent of water flow or keeping people out of the track of potential water flow.

Mitigation is planned after studying the elements at risk. Saving human life is of the highest priority in mitigation plans, followed by those of animals. Next comes safety of crops, infrastructure, and other elements at risk. Identification of elements most at risk indicates priorities for mitigation.

Mitigation also entails the protection of the economy from disasters.

Aims of Disaster Mitigation

The specific aims of disaster mitigation are as follows:


i) Creating awareness of risk at community level,

ii) To promote local actions through community participation to reduce such risks,

iii) Induction of mitigation measures in the national and regional development plans, land use planning proposals and in project design and appraisal in disaster prone areas.

iv) To assist decision makers (politicians and administrators) to understand the nature and extent of various risks faced by the communities in their area of responsibility, and to assess the economic effects of natural disasters on agriculture, commerce and industry.


v) To demonstrate ways and means to reduce those risks within the limits of national, regional or socio-economic conditions through proper decision making and planning.

vi) To introduce effective measures to implement disaster mitigation plans at the different levels of public administration based on risk assessment and vulnerability analysis.

In brief, mitigation is involvement of community, administration, politicians and decision makers in reduction of risks through local actions and taking mitigation measures in the local, regional and development plans.