Comprehensive approach to disaster management is needed
Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world mainly for geographical location and other reasons. The coastal morphology of Bangladesh influences the impact of natural hazards. Every year the country suffers from many human-induced and natural disasters. Floods, fires, cyclones, droughts, tidal surges, earthquake and others are the major disasters in our country.
Particularly floods and cyclones caused massive damage in all sectors. Floods destruct the social, economic and environmental conditions. Sufficient relief, fresh water, shelter, rich embankments and transport communications are the common needs during disasters. In 2018, World Bank reported that more than 80 percent of the population is potentially exposed to floods, earthquake and droughts and more than 70 percent to cyclones. For example in November 2007 cyclone SIDR and May 2009 cyclone AILA caused huge damage to lives, properties and others.
Generally disasters are the unexpected and unfortunate events those frequently interrupt on country's economic and social development. That means disaster is a sudden event, which causes a lot of destruction and devastation. World Health Organization (WHO) defined disaster as "It is an occurrence disrupting the normal conditions of existence and causing a level of suffering that exceeds the capacity of adjustment of the affected community." Every year millions of people are affected by both human-induced and natural calamities. Disasters also damage properties, natural resources and disruption economic sectors and services.
On the other hand climate change, high population growth and rapid urbanization are forced to increase the disaster risks. Specially, disasters impact on children, women, poor people including coastal people. Because of that poverty, hunger and malnutrition are the regular challenges for the vulnerable people.
Disasters are the barriers of overall development. These are responsible for unlimited sufferings. Disasters change everything as well as to destroy human lives, properties and environment. World Health Organization mentioned that each year natural disasters kill around 90000 people and affect close to 160 million people worldwide. Unfortunately disasters take away the hopes and opportunities of a country's development.
As a part of global issue disasters affect everyone. So, globally disaster management is very important way to protect and reduce risks from any uneven incidents. To survive in such hazardous events, there are many strategies are adopted as a part of disaster management to reduce damages. It helps people to take measure to minimize the impact of any sudden occurrence.
However, disaster management does not mean to stop such an event when it occurs. Rather it is about to rescue and reduce the impact of the unusual events. According to IFRC (The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), Disaster Management can be defined as the organization and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies, in particular preparedness, response and recovery in order to lessen the impact of disasters. It is the total set of policies, procedures and practice that are undertaken before a disaster occurs, when it occurs and also after it occurs. The total activities, programs and measures of that may take to diminish the disaster risks.
Basically Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is a part and parcel of Disaster Management. It is the modern paradigm of disaster management. DRR is a relatively new concept but also it is widely embraced by international agencies, government, NGOs, stakeholders and disaster planners.
Globally SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) focused on the integral development for the future. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognized the urgent need to reduce the disaster risk. According to Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), there are specific opportunities to achieve SDGs through reducing disaster risk such as reducing exposure and vulnerability of the poor to disaster or building resilient infrastructure. There are several SDGs and targets that can contribute to reduce the risk of any disaster. Moreover, SDGs seriously concerned about disaster management. So Bangladesh and other countries should work together with the international community.
In fact, day by day we are facing many more challenges on disaster management due to many reasons. That is why disaster of one country affects another country as disasters are trans-boundary issues. So considering magnitude disaster related problems, both regional and global integrated efforts are must to manage the disasters. According to the different researches we should take the disaster management issue seriously to survive and to reach the SDGs. Let us keep in mind that making awareness, expertise, proper techniques and useful equipments are the essential parts of disaster management.
The writer is environment activist and contributor at the Daily Observer