Disaster Management Models

Disaster management models. Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders including community, Concept of first responders

Disaster management (DM) is a challenging domain to model because of the variety of dynamic characteristics attached to the domain. Metamodeling is a model-driven approach that describes how semantic domain models can be built into an artifact called a Metamodel. By collecting all the domain concepts and partitioning the domain problems into sub-domain-problems, a metamodel can produce a domain-specific language. This paper presents a Disaster Management Metamodel that can serve as a representational layer of DM expertise. This metamodel leads to better knowledge sharing and facilitates combining and matching different DM activities to best manage the disaster on hand.

Integrated disaster management model

An integrated disaster management model is a means of organizing related activities to ensure their effective implementation. Four main components can be identified:

Hazard assessment

Risk management



The first task in an integrated disaster management model is hazard assessment which provides the information necessary for the next phase, risk management. This results in decisions about the balance of mitigation and preparedness actions needed to address the risks. This model has altogether six independent elements such as a strategic plan, hazard assessment, risk management, mitigation, preparedness and monitoring and evaluation. Each element observes its own boundaries and involves its own set of activities and processes. These elements are dependent on each other in terms of providing support and can be further broken down into layers of sub-components. The advantage of this model is that it provides a balance between preparedness and flexibility in order to respond fluidly to the specific needs of disasters. Since this model provides the link between actions and events in disasters such links can be tight or loose. For example, it strongly links hazard and risk management activities but fails to provide a tight linkage between the four stages of disaster management which are important elements in a disaster management process.

Cyberinfrastructure as a Possible Solution model

Disaster management is a challenging and complex area with dynamic needs and an adaptive nature Cyberinfrastructure can potentially contribute towards meeting those needs and challenges because of characteristics attributed to the disaster management area such as a global perspective, dynamic decision support needs, the complex nature and huge volume of data scattered at multiple locations. This infrastructure helps to overcome the existing problems. With the implementation of this infrastructure we can solve the following problems: dynamic and the global monitoring of disasters, collection and integration of scattered data, communication and collaboration, global view of environmental changes and sharing decision-making for disaster management.

Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders

Role of the Union Government

 Although the State Government concerned has the primary responsibility for crisis management, the Union Government plays a key supportive role in terms of physical and financial resources and providing complementary measures, such as early warning and co-ordination of efforts of all union ministries, departments and organisations. At the apex level, a Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities reviews the crisis situation.

A high level committee of ministers under the chairmanship of Minister of Agriculture deals with the issue of financial support to be provided to the State Governments from the National Disaster Response Fund, if the funds available with the State Governments under State Disaster Response Fund are not adequate. Matters relating to nuclear, biological and chemical emergencies are looked after by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

Role of State Government

In India, the basic responsibility to undertake rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures in the event of natural disasters rests with the state government. Since the very beginning, the entire structure of crisis administration in the state governments had been oriented towards post disaster relief and rehabilitation.  Most of the states have Relief Commissioners who are in charge of the relief and rehabilitation measures. Most of the states have switched over to a Disaster Management Department with the required linkages with the various development and regulatory departments concerned with prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

Every state has a Crisis Management Committee under the chairpersonship of the Chief Secretary, consisting of secretaries in charge of concerned departments, which reviews crisis situations on a day-to-day basis at the time of crisis, coordinates the activities of all departments and provides decision support system to the district administration. At the ministers’ level, a Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities under the chairpersonship of the Chief Minister takes stock of situations and is responsible for all important policy decisions.

Role of District Administration

The District Magistrate/Collector has the responsibility for overall management of disasters in the district. He has the authority to mobilise the response machinery and has been given financial powers to draw money under the provisions of the General Financial Rules/Treasury Codes.

All departments of the State Government, including the police, fire services, public works, irrigation etc., work in a coordinated manner under the leadership of the Collector during a disaster, except in metropolitan areas where the municipal body plays a major role. The District Collector also enjoys the authority to request for assistance from the Armed Forces if circumstances so demand. NGOs have also been effective in providing relief, rescue and rehabilitation in recent times.



Role of Local Self-Governments

 Local self-governments, both rural and urban, have emerged as important tiers of governance, after the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution. For the people, they are also the nearest units of administration and are among the first responders to any crisis besides being closely knit with the communities. These units can thus play an important role in crisis management under the overall leadership of the District Administration.

Role of Public/NGO/Civil Society/Media: The local community is usually the first responder in case of a disaster. Local community also carries traditional knowledge and relevant counter measures regarding disaster management. So the role of local community must be utilised with the help of NGOs and media.  They should be encouraged to play an active role in all three phases of disaster management. District administration should also focus on capacity building, participation and empowerment of these stakeholders in disaster management.

Mobilisation of community action supported by local NGOs, along with government machinery is a must for quick, efficient and effective response. For this, healthy coordination must exist between local administration and local community/NGOs. Local NGOs and civil society must work on developing a deep culture of safety and prevention in society.

The Role of Community in Disaster Response

Community based disaster management (CBDM)is anchored in the disaster risk reduction framework. CBDM covers a broad range of interventions, measures, activities, projects and programs to reduce disaster risks, which are primarily designed by people in at-risk localities and are based on their urgent needs and capacities. Simply put, the aim of CBDM is to 1) reduce vulnerabilities and increase capacities of vulnerable groups and communities to cope with, prevent or minimize loss and damage to life, property, and the environment, 2) minimize human suffering, and 3) hasten recovery.

Through CBDM vulnerable groups and communities can be transformed to disaster resilient communities, which can withstand and recover from stresses and shocks from the natural/physical and socio-economic political environment.

While resilience is a relatively new concept in CBDM, it is easily grasped and appreciated by communities when illustrated by the example of the bamboo, which sways with the battering of strong winds but stays rooted and weathers the typhoon. Key indicators are safety, livelihood security and sustainable economic, social and physical development (general well- being, health, education, amenities, natural and physical environment, etc.)

With the shifting of paradigms from reactive emergency management to disaster risk reduction, there is more stress on proactive pre-disaster interventions, which are usually categorized as prevention, mitigation, and preparedness. While natural hazards may not be prevented, human-induced hazards such as those associated with industries, technological failures, pollution, and civil strife can be prevented. Prevention covers measures to provide permanent protection from disasters or reduce the intensity/frequency of a hazardous event so that it does not become a disaster. These include safety standards in industries, poverty alleviation and assets redistribution schemes, and provision of basic needs and services such as preventive health care and education.

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