Here is a compilation of essays on ‘Disaster Management’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Disaster Management’ especially written for school and college students.

Essay on Disaster Management

Essay Contents:

  1. Essay on the Introduction to Disaster
  2. Essay on the Types of Disasters
  3. Essay on the Phases of Disaster Management
  4. Essay on the Elements of Disaster Management
  5. Essay on the Institutions for Disaster Management
  6. Essay on the Key Issues Related to Disaster Management

Essay # 1. Introduction to Disaster:

India is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Its location and geographical features render it vulnerable to a number of natural hazards including cyclones, droughts, floods, earthquakes, forest fires, landslides and avalanches.

A disaster is an event that causes sudden disruption to normal life of a society and causes damage to property and lives, to such an extent that normal social and economic mechanisms available to the society are inadequate to restore normalcy.

According to the United Nations, ‘Disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources’.

It is the result of a combination of a number of factors which include:

i. Exposure to natural hazards

ii. Existing conditions of vulnerability

iii. Insufficient capacity or measures to cope with potential negative consequences

iv. Inappropriate management of risks and vulnerabilities

A hazard is a threat, a future source of danger with the potential to cause damage to:

i. People – Death, injury, disease and stress

ii. Property – Damage to property, economic loss, loss of livelihood and status

iii. Environment – Loss of fauna and flora, pollution, loss of bio-diversity

Essay # 2. Types of Disasters:

Disasters can be classified into two types:

i. Natural disasters

ii. Man-made disasters

i. Natural Disasters:

Natural disasters are caused by:

a. Floods

b. Earthquake

c. Tsunami

d. Drought

e. Cyclone

f. Landslide

g. Avalanche

h. Hurricane

i. Volcano eruption

j. Cold wave

k. Forest Fire

ii. Man-Made Disasters:

Man-made disasters can be classified as:

i. Nuclear disasters

ii. Chemical disasters

iii. Biological disasters

iv. Pandemic emergencies, epidemic

v. Fire (Building, coal, forest, oil)

vi. Pollution (Air, water, industrial)

vii. Deforestation

viii. Accidents (Road, rail, sea, air)

ix. Industrial accidents

x. Riots

xi. Hijacking

xii. Terrorism

Essay # 3. Phases of Disaster Management:

Phase 1: Before the Crisis:


This is the period when the potential hazard, risk and vulner­abilities can be assessed and steps can be taken for:

i. Preventing and mitigating the crisis, and

ii. Preparing for actual occurrence.

Crisis can also be mitigated through various short term measures which either reduce the scale and intensity of the threat or improve the durability and capacity of the elements at risk. For example, better enforcement of building codes and zoning regulations, proper maintenance of drainage systems, better awareness and public education to reduce the risks of hazards, etc. help in containing the damage.

Phase 2: During the Crisis:

Emergency Response:

When a crisis actually occurs, those affected by it require a speedy response to alleviate and minimise suffering and losses. In this phase, certain ‘primary activities’ become indispensable.

These are:

i. Evacuation

ii. Search and rescue, followed by

iii. Provision of basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, medicines and other necessities essential for bringing bring the life of the affected community back to a degree of normalcy

Phase 3: Post Crisis:

i. Recovery:

This is the stage when efforts are made to achieve early recovery and reduce vulnerability and future risks. It comprises activities that encompass two overlapping phases of rehabilitation and reconstruction.

ii. Rehabilitation:

Includes provision of temporary public utilities and housing as interim measures to assist long term recovery.

iii. Reconstruction:

Includes construction of damaged infrastructure and habitats and enabling sustainable livelihoods.

Essay # 4. Elements of Disaster Management:

The three phases of disaster management are described above.

Various aspects of the three phases are described below:

1. Risk Reduction:

Disaster risk reduction strategies have the potential to save thousands of lives by the adoption of simple preventive measures. Lack of coherent disaster reduction strategies and the absence of a ‘culture of prevention’ are the major causes for increasing casualties due to disasters.

Disaster risk reduction (disaster reduction) has been defined as the ‘systematic development and application of policies, strategies and practices to minimise vulnerabilities, hazards and the unfolding of disaster impacts throughout a society, in the broad context of sustainable development’.

Disaster reduction strategies include appraisal of likelihood and intensity of hazards and analysis of vulnerabilities thereof to the community. Building of institutional capabilities and community preparedness is the next step.

Crucial to all these efforts, however, is the existence of a ‘safety culture’ in societies. Inputs like education, training and capacity building play a very significant role. It needs to be understood that such preparedness cannot be a ‘one time’ effort, but is a continuous process.

Knowledge plays an important role in disaster reduction. The traditional knowledge available with the community has to be used along with knowledge acquired through research and past experiences.

The disaster risk reduction framework is composed of the following fields of action:

i. Policies towards risk management

ii. Assessment of risk, including hazard analysis and vulnerability

iii. Generating risk awareness with the help of mass media and social media

iv. Preparation of plans for risk mitigation

v. Implementation of the plan

vi. Early warning systems with the help of latest technology relating to data capture transmission, analysis and even dissemination

vii. Use of knowledge

viii. Information: Effective disaster risk management depends on the informed participation of all stakeholders. The exchange of information and easily accessible communication practices play key roles. Data is crucial for ongoing research, national planning, monitoring hazards and assessing risks. The widespread and consistent availability of current and accurate data is fundamental to all aspects of disaster risk reduction.


Mitigation involves:

i. Measures aimed at reducing the impact of disasters

ii. Efforts to prevent hazards from developing into disasters altogether

iii. Differs from the other phases because it focuses on long-term measures for reducing or eliminating risk

iv. It embraces actions taken in advance of a disaster to reduce its effects on a community

Significance of Mitigation:

A number of special programmes are in operation for mitigating the impact of natural disasters and local communities have developed their own indigenous coping mechanisms. In the event of an emergency, the mobilisation of community action supported by NGOs add strength to the national disaster management capacity.

Despite initiating various disaster mitigation measures, there has been little improvement. Accordingly, India has taken initiatives for linking disaster mitigation with development plans, promoting the application of effective communication systems and information technology, insurance, extensive public awareness and education campaign (particularly in rural areas), involving the private sector and strengthening institutional mechanisms and international community cooperation.

2. Quick Response:

Quick response can save lives, protect property and lessen disruptions caused by crises. This calls for a total and effective response, which must subsume the coordinated response of the entire governmental system as also the civil society.

The response should not only incorporate traditional coping mechanisms, which have evolved over the centuries but also involve meticulous planning and coordination. Cumulative experience with crisis management over the years points to an urgent need for putting in place a holistic and effective response mechanism which is professional, result-oriented, innovative and people-centric.

Quick response entails the following:

a. This phase includes mobilisation of necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. This is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, such as fire-fighters, police and ambulance crews. They may be supported by a number of secondary emergency services, such as specialist rescue teams.

b. It entails restoring physical facilities, rehabilitation of affected families/populations, restoration of lost livelihoods and reconstruction efforts.

c. Retrospectively, it brings to light the flaws in Policy and Planning with respect to infrastructure, its location, social scheme, etc.

i. Significance:

The significance of quick response can be stated as under:

a. It has immediate mitigation impact and losses can be minimised to a greater degree. According to the estimate of the insurance industry, natural disasters represent 85% insured catastrophe.

b. Thousands of lives lost and millions of people are left weakened each year due to reluctance on part of donors to invest in measures that reduce the impact of disasters. (World Disaster Report 2002)

c. Long term resilience of vulnerable communities

ii. Issues:

The issues involved are:

a. Coordination among the concerned actors involved (government, civil society and international donor organisation). Recent example is the case of Uttarakhand floods (June 2013) where international organisations found it hard to immediately get government approval to start work.

b. Institutionalisation of disaster response structure at local level.

3. Recovery:

Recovery is an important phase which involves:

i. In the long-term aftermath of a disaster, when restoration efforts are in addition to regular services, it involves implementation of actions to promote sustainable redevelopment (reconstruction, rehabilitation).

ii. It differs from the response phase in its focus; recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed. Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property, re-employment, and the repair of other essential infrastructure.

iii. The recovery phase starts when the immediate threat to human life has subsided. In the reconstruction, it is desirable to reconsider the location or construction material of the property.

iv. Community resilience is a key factor in disaster recovery.

v. This phase encompasses three overlapping phases of 3Rs:

a. Relief:

It is the period immediately after the disaster when steps are taken to meet the need of survivors.

b. Rehabilitation:

These are activities undertaken to support the victims’ return to normalcy and reintegration in regular community function.

It encompasses provision of temporary employment and restoration of livelihood.

c. Reconstruction:

It is an attempt to return communities to improved pre-disaster functioning.

Essay # 5. Institutions for Disaster Management:

1. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA):

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is an independent, autonomous and constitutionally-established disaster preparedness federal institution and is responsible to deal with the whole spectrum of disaster management and preparedness in the country.

The NDMA formulates and enforces national disaster policies at federal and provisional levels and collaborates closely with various government ministries, military forces and United Nations based organisations to jointly coordinate efforts to conduct disaster management, search and rescue, and a wide range of humanitarian operations in the country and abroad. The NDMA aims to develop sustainable operational capacity and professional competence to undertake its humanitarian operations at its full capacity.

NDMA has been constituted with the Prime Minister of India as its Chairman, a Vice-Chairman with the status of Cabinet Minister, and eight members with the status of Ministers of State. Each of the members has a well- defined functional domain covering various states as also disaster specific areas of focus and concern.

To carry out the mandated functions, NDMA has evolved a lean and professional organisation which is IT-enabled and knowledge-based. Skills and expertise of the specialists are extensively used to address all disaster related issues. A functional and operational infrastructure has been built which is appropriate for disaster management involving uncertainties coupled with desired plans of action.

NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management to ensure timely and effective response to disasters.

Towards this, it has the following responsibilities:

i. Lay down policies on disaster management

ii. Approve the National Plan

iii. Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan

iv. Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan

v. Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster, or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects

vi. Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plan for disaster management

vii. Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation

viii. Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government

ix. Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with the threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary

x. Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management

2. The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM):

The NIDM was constituted under the Disaster Management Act 2005. The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) is a premier national organisation working for human resource development at the national level in the area of disaster mitigation and management. It is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Home Affairs. It has been entrusted with the nodal national responsibility for human resource development, capacity building, training, research, documentation and policy advocacy in the field of disaster management.

Its objectives are:

(i) To undertake quality research

(ii) To work as a national resource centre

(iii) To professionalise disaster management

(iv) To promote training

(v) To build partnerships with stakeholders and other institutions

(vi) To link learning and action

Essay # 6. Key Issues Related to Disaster Management:

1. The Uttarakhand Tragedy and the Lessons Learnt:

Heavy rainfall over three days, 16-18 June 2013, along with a few cloudbursts caused the melting of Chorabari Glacier at the height of 3,800 metres and eruption of the river Mandakini which led to heavy floods and massive landslides along with heavy boulders near Kedarnath and few other areas of Uttarakhand, including Badrinath and Uttarkashi. It was the worst natural disaster in our country since the 2004 tsunami. The devastation in its wake has been huge but the largest impact has been at the temple town of Kedarnath.

It is the downstream region along the Mandakini River. In the midst of the annual pilgrimage season, tens of thousands of people were present at the time of the incident. As a result, nearly four to six thousand people were feared killed and about a hundred thousand pilgrims and tourists were trapped in the valley for days because of damaged and blocked roads.

The death toll, however, as per official records, is said to be nearly four thousand only. Entire villages and settlements, such as Gaurikund and the market town of Ram Bada, a transition point to Kedarnath, have been obliterated, while the market town of Sonprayag suffered heavy damage and loss of lives.

The Army, Air Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Security Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Public Works Department and local administration worked together for quick rescue operations. Several thousand soldiers were deployed for the rescue missions.

Helicopters were used to rescue people, but due to rough terrain, heavy fog and rainfall, maneuvering them was a challenge. The armed forces and paramilitary troops evacuated nearly one lakh people from the flood ravaged area. Operation Rahat was the name given to the Air Force’s rescue operations. Operation Surya hope was the name given to the Army’s rescue operations.

Unprecedented destruction by the rainfall witnessed in Uttarakhand was attributed to unscientific developmental activities undertaken in recent decades, contributing to high level of loss of property and lives. Roads constructed in haphazard style, new resorts and hotels built on fragile river banks and more than 70 hydro-electric projects in the watersheds of the state led to a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ situation.

The tunnels built and blasts undertaken for the 70 hydro-electric projects contributed to the ecological imbalance in the state, with flows of river water restricted and the streamside development activity contributing to a higher number of landslides and more flooding. Existing infrastructure has been totally demolished. It has left border villages disconnected which certainly adds to our strategic concerns.

According to a ‘Performance Audit of Disaster Preparedness in India’, published by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG – Report No 5 of 2013), the following shortcomings of Uttarakhand were not only published but were taken up with the State Government as well, as a follow up.

The main shortcomings pin-pointed by the CAG were:

i. In the state, the frequency and intensity of various disasters had not been identified.

ii. State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), headed by the Chief Minister, although constituted in October 2007, had not formulated any rules, regulations, policies and guidelines. State Executive Committee (SEC) was formed in January 2008 but ‘never met since its creation’ (this highlights the laxity and indifference). District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) was constituted in Nainital in December 2007. Since inception, DDMA met only twice (April and May 2011). Thus, the state authorities were virtually non-functional.

iii. The State Disaster Management Plan was under preparation and actionable programmes were not prepared for various disasters.

iv. We noticed irregularities in the management of State Disaster Response Fund. These included non-investment of funds which resulted in potential loss of interest of Rs. 9.96 crore during 2007-2012. There were delays ranging from 80 days to 184 days in the release of the Centre’s share of funds during 2007-11 and no funds were released in 2011-12 as the state government did not submit utilisation certificates and annual report of natural calamity.

v. No plan was prepared in the state for early warning. The communication system was inadequate. This resulted in delayed information to vulnerable population.

vi. Hazard Safety Cell of the state government had so far identified 7374 buildings in three cities out of which 1,109 buildings were found to be vulnerable to moderate earthquake. These buildings needed to be retrofitted, but no such measures were taken.

vii. Geological Survey of India in June 2008 identified only 101 villages as vulnerable out of 233 disaster affected villages. No measures were taken by the State Government for their rehabilitation, despite a lapse of four years after their identification.

viii. The State Government did not sanction any post for the State Disaster Management Authority which affected the establishment of the Management Information System. In the District Emergency Operation Centre (DEOC) at the district level, there was an acute shortage of manpower. In 13 districts, only 66 posts (56%) were filled against sanctioned manpower of 117 (9 posts each in 13 districts), and

ix. It was also noticed that no master trainers were trained to impart training to the staff at the district, block and village levels engaged in the prevention and mitigation of disaster management. Medical personnel were also not trained in hospital preparedness for emergencies or mass casualty incident management.

The serious lapses that have been reported are a sad reflection of the state of affairs. It also shows that a lot of commitment, dedication and foresight is required in a state like Uttarakhand which is prone to almost all kinds of disasters except the threats from coastal areas and high seas.

Even more striking has been the realisation about how precious little has gone in the name of creating awareness and preparing all sections of the society for an eventuality like the June 2013 Uttarakhand disaster.

Besides preparedness, the response during crisis was also too slow. The Uttarakhand Government could not gauge the scale of tragedy in the initial two days. The state government did not have adequate evacuation capabilities. The evacuation work was mainly carried out by the Army, Air Force, Indo- Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Security Force and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Search and rescue work also started very late.

Rehabilitation and reconstruction process was also very slow. It was mainly due to two reasons (a) roads and electricity lines were badly damaged so connectivity, communication and electricity services were totally disrupted, and (b) rain did not stop for a few days and so medical aid and food items were not supplied adequately as government machinery was waiting for the rain to stop. Even after October, rehabilitation work was not as per the desired pace.

Role of BSF in Rehabilitation Work:

The BSF had adopted 12 villages for rehabilitation work. BSF made temporary bridges like foot bridges, rope bridges, Jhoola Put (suspension bridge) on mountaineering patterns for connectivity. It helped in medical aid supply and ration supply for community kitchen. BSF jawans conducted rehabilitation work despite rains and heavy odds.

2. Was the Uttarakhand Tragedy Natural or Manmade?

Undoubtedly, it was a natural disaster which caught the administration and the local people by surprise. But many man-made mistakes compounded the problem.

The major ones are given below:

i. No Control Over the Number of Tourists and Pilgrims Reaching Kedarnath:

At the time of the tragedy it is believed that there were almost 5-10 times more people than the capacity of roads and towns.

ii. Unlimited Construction on Fragile River Beds:

River beds are meant for rivers but due to unregulated developmental activities, haphazard constructions took place near river beds to cater to increasing number of tourists. This went on without any proper planning and norms of construction.

iii. Ecological Imbalance:

The entire ecology of the region could have been disturbed due to rampant construction of roads, tunnels, dams and use of blast technology for construction. Perhaps if we had been careful about the above factors, the scale of the tragedy could have been minimised.

3. Social and Emotional Problems Associated with Disasters:

While dealing with disasters, we need to be particularly responsive to the emotional and social problems that people experience due to a disaster. Almost 10 per cent of the people affected by the tsunami – potentially half a million people – had mental health problems so severe that they required professional treatment. Psychosocial care deals with a broad range of emotional and social problems and helps in restoring social cohesion as well as independence and dignity of individuals and groups.

It prevents pathologic developments and further social dislocations. Normalisation of emotional reaction is an important task in psychosocial care for the survivors of disasters. Emotional reactions such as guilt, fear, shock, grief, vigilance, numbness, intrusive memories, and despair are responses of people experiencing unforeseen disasters beyond their coping capacity.

Emotional reactions are normal responses to an abnormal situation. Nearly 90 percent of survivors of a disaster experience these emotional reactions immediately after the disaster. Psychosocial care is essential for all these people.