Emergencies and disasters can occur anywhere in the world, affecting human health, people’s lives and the infrastructure built to support them. Environmental health problems arising from emergencies and disasters are connected to their effects on the physical, biological and social environment that pose a threat to human health, well-being and survival: shelter, water, sanitation, disease vectors, pollution, etc.
Disasters seriously disrupt the lives of individuals, and the functioning of entire communities or even whole societies. Resulting widespread human, material, economic, and environmental losses stress existing infrastructure and leave individuals in states of shock and despair. Rebuilding damaged infrastructures, such as sewage systems and water supply, not only help to restore a sense of normalcy, but also arrest the spread of disease.
The first goal of emergency response is to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases, caused by malfunctioning water supply, various point pollution of water resources, and lack of sanitation facilities. Top priorities for immediate response are provision of sufficient quantities of safe water, arrangement of basic sanitation, and promotion of good hygiene behavior.
Emergency preparedness is just as important. The incorporation of disaster scenarios in the planning of infrastructure and institutional, community, and societal response is a critical step towards risk management, which will reduce a population’s vulnerability during and after a disaster.
Source: WSSCC, WHO
Water & Sanitation for Emergency Shelters
- Assess immediate population needs and available supply.
- Protect upstream water supplies and wells; treat all surface water as polluted.
- Pump supplies to storage tanks, to be used as a basis for a more developed distribution system.
- Provide basic collection, storage and treatment facilities for protected sources.
- Prevent indiscriminate defecation through rapid provision of facilities.
- Provide safe disposal of excreta and refuse, controlling rodents and pests.
- Integrate hygiene promotion within community.
- Consider foundations for longer-term infrastructure and ensure their implementation will not be impeded in the future; in particular, ensure continued safety of local water resources which may be scarce.
National Policy on Disaster Management (NPDM)
Disaster Management Plans & Policies in India
National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India
"To build a safer and disaster resilient India by a holistic, pro-active, technology driven and sustainable development strategy that involves all stakeholders and fosters a culture of prevention, preparedness and mitigation." Read more....
National Disaster Management, Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India
India’s geo-climatic conditions as well as its high degree of socio-economic vulnerability, makes it one of the most disaster prone country in the world. A disaster is an extreme disruption of the functioning of a society that causes widespread human, material, or environmental losses that exceed the ability of the affected society to cope with its own resources. Disasters are sometimes classified according to whether they are “natural” disasters, or “human-made” disasters. For example, disasters caused by floods, droughts, tidal waves and earth tremors are generally considered “natural disasters.” Disasters caused by chemical or industrial accidents, environmental pollution, transport accidents and political unrest are classified as “human-made” or “humaninduced” disasters since they are the direct result of human action. Read more....
National Disaster Response Force and Civil Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India
The DM Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters. Accordingly, in 2006 NDRF was constituted with 08 Bns (02 Bn each from BSF, CRPF, ITBP and CISF). As on date NDRF is having strength of 10 Bns. Each NDRF Bn consists of 1149 personnel. Union cabinet has also approved the conversion/up-gradation of 02 Bns from SSB. Read more....
National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India
The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) was constituted under an Act of Parliament with a vision to play the role of a premier institute for capacity development in India and the region. The efforts in this direction that began with the formation of the National Centre for Disaster Management (NCDM) in 1995 gained impetus with its redesignation as the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) for training and capacity development. Under the Disaster Management Act 2005, NIDM has been assigned nodal responsibilities for human resource development, capacity building, training, research, documentation and policy advocacy in the field of disaster management. Read more....
Role of health emerges as vital concern ahead of UN disaster risk reduction conference
As Member States accelerate efforts to finalize the successor to “the world’s most encompassing framework” on disaster risk reduction ahead of a critical United Nations conference in Japan next month, the role of health in building community resilience has suddenly come front and centre in the negotiation process, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said today.
The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the outcome of the 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction, is the first plan to detail the work required from all different sectors and actors to reduce disaster losses.Read more....