Disaster is a common phenomenon in a human society. Man has experienced it since time immemorial. Though its form may be varied, it has been a challenge to society culture across castes, creeds, communities and countries. The latest development which has been discovered in the World Disaster have increased in frequency and intensity. People are becoming more and more vulnerable to disasters of all types, including earthquake, flood, cyclones, landslides, droughts, accidents, plane crashes, forest fires etc.
With technological advancement and progress, the force of disasters is also changing. When they occur they over power all preparedness and eagerness of society and pose bigger challenges. This is quite true in case of developed and developing countries. The floods in UK, France and heat wave in Europe, particularly in France in 2003. Claimed more than 35000 lives. In the year 2006, USA had to face bigger disaster in the form of tornadoes and cyclones which caused great loss to lives and prosperity. All these prove that technological mechanisms are inadequate to combat disasters.
There is a correlation between higher human development and higher preparedness. Countries which have lower human development and higher preparedness. Countries which have lower human development are more vulnerable to risks of disasters and damage. Of all the disasters, floods are the most common followed by wind storms, droughts and earthquakes. But the drought is the deadliest disaster which accounts for 48 per cent of all deaths from natural disasters. In Asia, the highest number of people dies from disasters. India, China and Bangladesh are the worst affected countries by floods. Besides the natural disasters, transport accidents and technological mishaps are also faced by many developing countries.
India due to its geographical peculiarities, is a highly disaster prone nation. Its long coastline, snow clad high peaks, high mountain ranges, the perennial rivers in the north all combine to add to this problem. India, which has only two per cent the total geographical area, has to support 16 per cent of the total world population. Hence there is a tremendous pressure on nature which directly or indirectly leads to the occurrence of disasters including floods, droughts, landslides, earthquakes etc.
Like human population, India has to support large cattle population, which heavily depends on biomass and graze into forest areas. The forest cover with more than 0.4 density is 13 per cent of the land area, though forest, at present is 23 per cent. Due to overgrazing the quality of soil is also degrading thus resulting in soil erosion, silting or rivers, removal or fertile soil and heavy silting of cultivable land. We see heavy rainfall during the monsoon, sometimes 100 cm rain in 36 hours or getting the whole monsoon rain two to three days like the ones in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kolkata. Disaster management has assumed great importance in recent times. To handle the situation efficiently, we need to be well-equipped with latest technologies. It cannot avert the situation, but can very well mitrigate its sufferings.
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