There are many organisations in India that work towards
mitigating the effects of natural disasters
THE earthquake at Latur in 1993, which
killed an estimated 9,000 people and
rendered many more homeless, drove
bipme the point that disaster can strike
anvtime, anywhere. Fortunately, there
are many organisations working to conuin damage caused by such calamities.
Relief and rehabilitation measures
undertaken immediately after a calamitv are generally handled by local social
work organisations and other instituuions. Help from other parts of the
country pours in soon after. Many
organisations with branches in India-are
&Uo active in relief work and in funding
However, K T Srinnivasan, addinal director Of CARE-India, a New
Whi-based NGO, says: "With so
09any agencies working in the
, special care has to be taken
guard against duplication of
rts." After the Latur quake,
organisation responded first
the urgency for clothing; food,
ical aid and shelter were
g provided by other NGO and
rnment departments. CARE
provided blankets, water
and farm equipment.
ncial aid for.the venture came in
its branches all over the world.
On the other hand, the Joint
ance Centre (JAC) at Gurgaon was
up after the devastating Andhra
h cyclone in 1977, specifically for
cr preparedness (as distinct from
work). The Centre has regular
rfammes, which trains people to
with various kinds of disasters.
programmes also take into conation that the measures required
vary with the community and the
P affected. Recently, JAC conducted a
&Shop on industrial disasters for.krvel managers of various compaL At Latur, and earlier at Uttarkashi,
Centre also distributed material in
affected areas telling people what to
the event of another quake.
However, according to JAC convenor
N K lain, very few people are involved in
disaster preparedness simply because it
is the least paying. "All the money and
all the sympathy is cornered by people
working in relief and rehabilitation programmes," he says. JAC does not usually
involve itself in actual relief word "We
do not want to add to the confusion,"
says Jain. He also feels that relief workers should preferably be from the area as
outsiders may find themselves socially
and culturally unacceptable.
The Centre for the Study of the
Administration of Relief (CSAR), a New
Delhi--based NGO that was set up in 1986,
looks into policy issues concerning disasters. CSAR director Amrita Rangasami
feels that India has the expertise to help
other nations in the field of relief work.
However, as far as the financing of such
work is concerned, it has till now been
"haphazard, almost amateurish". This is
because the allocation of funds by the
government is done on the basis of allocation in previous years and also on the
basis of"flawed surveys". The CSAR seeks
to make disaster management more scientific. In this respect, it has been helped
extensively, among others, by the Indian
Meteorological Department, which has
provided it with relevant data for the
past 100 years. The CSAR has also developed a database that can be used by
other interested organisations.
With regard to educating people
about disaster management, the Madan
Mohan Malaviya Engineering College in
Gorakhpur has taken
the lead. Its
department of civil
as an optional
subject in its
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