Short-term plan comprising relief to be provided immediately following a disaster is generally based on past experiences. Short-term plans are action based and aimed at restoring normalcy in the shortest possible time.
One of the foremost requirements of any plan would be to define the area where it would be applicable and the agencies that would be responsible for its implementation and coordination. Once the boundaries are defined, the following inputs would be required:
(i) The amount of resource material likely to be required as relief based on the statistics on the intensity and spread of various disasters in the area in the past ten year period.
(ii) Certain areas are prone to disaster and each time relief is provided, a number of short-comings come to light; these become lessons to serve as inputs for future planning of relief and rescue exercises.
(iii) Short-term Plans should be based on the vulnerability of the area to particular types of disasters. Forecasts on future disasters, if available, should be usefully interpreted into action plans. ;
(iv) Short-term Plans should incorporate suggestions and capabilities of all departments concerned of the District/State, Non-Government Organizations: and Community Based Organizations. Therefore, plans may be prepared by, setting up committees at appropriate level to include their inputs.
The situation may not always warrant long-term plans, but such plans should have the ability to build a culture of disaster mitigation and be aimed at reducing vulnerability of the area. As such any long-term plan should include policy directives on preparedness as well as post disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation
phases (the latter as a follow up of the short-term contingency plans). The following are the basic attributes of a long-term plan:
(i) The foremost requirement for the preparation of a long-term plan is establishing its need in an area. Need may be established on the basis of the vulnerability of the area, resource availability and trade off between the cost of its implementation and other competing needs for overall development. In this context the long-term disaster mitigation plan or rehabilitation plan, as part of overall development plan becomes significant.
(ii) In case of rehabilitation plan, the level of damage that has taken place in the community decides whether long-term intervention is required or not. The strategies of the Rehabilitation would depend considerably on the damage assessment report.
(iii) A detailed survey of the community, which studies their needs and expectations in detail and seeks out their traditions and customs which they would like to preserve, has to be carried out. This would serve as an important input in deciding an intervention strategy that is acceptable to the community.
(iv) The long-term plan should seek an objective of achieving overall development and by satisfying basic needs – shelter, economic and social – of the community. Reducing disaster vulnerability should be a means to achieve the objective of overall development and not an end in itself.
(v) Long-term plans being resource intensive, many of the interventions decided therein are limited by the availability of resources. For example, in many cases, where the need for rehabilitation through relocation is established, the same may not be implemented due to non-availability of land.
(vi) Long-term plans may be implemented successfully only through partnerships with NGOs and with active community participation. The involvement of these bodies should be at the outset itself in deciding the interventions required.