CBSE Class 8 Disaster Management - Being Prepared

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BEING PREPARED – A VITAL PART OF DISASTER MANAGEMENT

India with its vast population and unique geo-physical characteristics is one of the world’s most ‘disaster-prone’ countries. Natural hazards such as cyclones, earthquakes, drought, floods or landslides occur in different parts of India in varying intensity. This means that we are all ‘vulnerable’ in different degrees to disasters caused by these hazards. On the East Coast, cyclones occur frequently. In the interior of the Plateau or in the Himalayas – earthquakes, and in the Ganga-Brahmaputra plain, floods are more common. Rajasthan or Western Orissa often experience severe drought, as do other areas in South India. In addition to this, social conditions that govern the way communities live, further affect the extent to which people are affected by the hazard. In order that we protect ourselves from the harmful effects of a disaster, we have to prepare ourselves in advance, to face them better.

We students are an integral part of community, and have an important role to play in being prepared. Hence it is imperative that we prepare ourselves adequately to prevent, face and respond to disasters. History has shown us that where communities have been prepared to face disasters, lesser lives have been lost, less significant damage to the environment has occurred, and property has been better conserved.

People living in an area may be vulnerable to more than one disaster. For instance, a coastal area may face floods and cyclones frequently, while being located in an earthquake zone. Such an area is called a ‘multi-hazard’ zone. Our country is divided into various zones based upon the vulnerability of the area to various disasters. When these zones overlap, we have a multi-hazard zone.

A hazard in simple terms is a ‘potential’ disaster. It is an event that may lead to a disaster. For instance, a flood is a hazard. When it occurs, and if people are not prepared to face it, it may wash away persons, homes, cattle and valuables. Then, the flood becomes a disaster. But if people are evacuated along with valuables to a safe shelter, cattle is herded onto a higher area such as a mound, and houses are built with adequate features to make them flood-resistant, the flood remains a hazard and does not become a disaster. Natural and Manmade disasters

The selfless bounty of nature is a gift to mankind. It is an eternal source of sustenance: it gives us air, water and food, and of course a home to stay. For centuries though, Mother Nature has been combining its gifts with its often-inexplicable moods of destruction and fury. These times of turmoil over land and water, or hazards often lead to disasters, with large losses to life, livelihood and property. Disasters are some times referred to as ‘calamities’.

Common hazards faced by us in India are earthquakes, drought, floods, cyclones, landslides, forest fires, a large number of fire accidents, etc. Earthquakes: The Earth we live on is made up of large plates of land that float over an ocean of semi molten rock. For thousands of years these plates have been constantly moving and shifting. (65 million years ago such shifting caused the Himalayas.) These movements in the Earth’s crust cause earthquakes, when two plates collide with each other, releasing energy. Earthquakes that occur under water, in the oceans, cause huge waves called tsunamis that have some times raced across the ocean at 8000 km/h. Earthquakes are more likely to occur along faults. Delhi, our capital city lies near a fault, and is hence highly earthquake-prone. The fact that it is also densely populated and has crowded residential areas makes it more vulnerable to disaster.


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