Building Natural Hazard Resilient Communities In India Environmental Sciences Essay

India is extremely vulnerable utmost natural catastrophes chiefly due to its instead alone geographical location and climatic conditions. Earthquakes, cyclones, inundations, drouth and landslides have been witnessed independently. More than half of the land mass is vulnerable to temblors of different strengths. Large parts of its land mass are prone to cyclones and drouth. These events have led to the deceases of several people, supplanting of colonies and devastation to belongingss. As exemplified by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and the south Asia temblor of 2005, India can be said to be one of the most disaster prone states in the universe.

Our universe can be a dynamic and dramatic topographic point to populate in. Extreme natural jeopardies nevertheless threaten the being of adult male, species and communities likewise. More often than was antecedently witnessed, the electronic and print media study scenes of decease, desolation and desperation brought about by immense temblors, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, inundations, drought etc.

These catastrophes have grown to go a major cause for concern in countries of the universe with really long coastlines like India because the happening of these catastrophes have become really frequent in the recent yesteryear and hold had their effects on life and supports. Existing low degrees of technological development every bit good as societal, economic and gender inequalities enhance the exposure of the hapless, illiterate and unskilled coastal communities in India. As a consequence of these conditions, the resiliency required to resile back to pre catastrophe conditions is extremely limited.

Of greater concern presently is the identified inter relationship between poorness, clime alteration environment debasement and related natural catastrophes interacting in a reciprocally reinforcing mode. This identified relationship earnestly shackles sustainable development and can do nonsensical any little additions that may hold been recorded in natural jeopardy extenuation planning and policy development.

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In recent times, authorities governments in charge have implemented a displacement in paradigm in their attack to disaster direction. This new school of idea is borne out of the belief that development can non be sustained unless catastrophe extenuation is built into the procedure of development. Another of import portion of this attack is that extenuation and planning have to encompass a multi disciplinary attack crossing across all sectors of development. This attack besides embraces the fact that investings in extenuation and planning are much more cost effectual than outgo on alleviation and rehabilitation. This bottom up attack adopted helps beef up the edifice of sustainable patterns undertaken by resource hapless households of this part


Natural jeopardies and later catastrophes have become a portion and package of human being. It has been said that the impact of a meteorite on earth lead to the pass overing out of dinosaurs and several carnal species about 65 million old ages ago. These sorts of events are really rare nevertheless.

Geophysical jeopardies like temblors which can trip tsunami moving ridges and volcanic eruptions on the other manus have assumed more frequent happening rates. These jeopardies have their beginning from deep within the Earth ‘s inside and they occur as a consequence of perpendicular supplanting of tectonic home bases at the underside of the ocean. Earthquakes that trigger extremely destructive tsunamis moving ridges can happen as was the instance with the catastrophe of December 26, 2004 ( Bilham, 2005 ) .

Hydro-meteorological jeopardies like cyclones, inundations, drouth, landslides etc were responsible for a high per centum of deceases recorded in the 1890ss.

The rate at which geophysical jeopardies have occurred in the past few decennaries has remained comparatively changeless while the hydro-meteorological jeopardies have witnessed a important addition in recent times.

There have been important events like the thaw of ice caps in the polar part, sea degree rise and a more frequent happening of jeopardies like inundations, drouths, hurricanes, typhoons etc.

These events lend acceptance to the premise that planetary heating is helping and act uponing clime alteration ( IFRC, 2001 ) . Experts have discovered that the cap of sea ice in the artic ocean melted to its smallest size for over a century ( Revkin, 2005 ) .

The terrible storms of the past decennary have besides been blamed on higher sea surface temperature and increased H2O vapor in the lower ambiance which in bend are a effect of planetary heating ( Trenberth, 2005 ) . It has besides been reported that planetary heating may take to an upward tendency in tropical destructive potency.

More late, terrible hurricanes that devastated New Orleans and some parts of Texas in the USA in 2005 and the tsunami that ravaged states around the Indian Ocean in 2004 were attributed to the effects of planetary heating by experts and media houses likewise. It must be mentioned here that the bulk of these natural catastrophes largely affect the development states and the hapless in developed 1s merely because they have limited get bying capacity as a consequence of terrible deficiency of proficient and fiscal resources.

The negative impacts of clime alteration like heavy rainfall which lead to inundations and worsening rainfall taking to drought hold inauspicious effects on the economic system and nutrient security in local communities. Climate alteration besides puts more stress on socio-economic and ecological set-up of coastal India which is already stressed as a consequence of urbanization, globalisation and industrialisation. These jeopardies even cause greater adversity to occupants of states with long coastlines.

India with a dumbly populated low lying coastline widening to over 7000km, is extremely vulnerable to sea degree rise. A great per centum of Paddy Fieldss in coastal parts are extremely vulnerable to flood by sea H2O ( Gupta, 2005 ) .

Small island states like Maldives and Seychelles have about all their land mass at less than one metre above sea degree. The effects of sea degree rise for such countries of the universe as predicted by planetary climatic theoretical accounts will be drastic and lay waste toing as several lives will be lost and belongingss destroyed.

The hazard of temblor happening is rather high for several parts of India ( Rao, 2005 ) . Predictions of high magnitude temblors along the mistake of Sumatra which lies south E of the old event of 2005 ruptures and the part adjacent have been made by experts. This part last failed in the 19th century, sometime in 1833 and it is believed that accrued significant strain exists within this country ( Lay et wholly, 2005 ) .

Current attempts by the local governments and the international community to better tsunami warning capablenesss appear justified given the fact that future big graduated table temblors along the Sumatra mistake are extremely likely to happen.

As a consequence of this states of the Indian Ocean have created and continually better on a part broad warning system in readying for the following at hand catastrophe ( Stone and Kerr, 2005 ) .

The of all time turning population along the coastline of India will hold to be prepared for a much higher strength of hydro-meteorological jeopardies. Consequently, there is demand for little island states with long coastlines to pay equal attending to disaster direction with peculiar accent on the coastal parts. There is pressing demand for conjunct attempts at diversifying coastal economic systems with a position to heightening catastrophe recovery and edifice resiliency to the effects of these natural catastrophes ( Allenby and Fink, 2005 )


The exposure of any given country of community to natural catastrophes has societal, economic and ecological positions in add-on to fiscal and proficient capacities of the countries concerned. It refers to the degree to which physical assets and socio-economic apparatus are susceptible or resilient to the impacts of these natural jeopardies. Vulnerability is besides enhanced if susceptibleness to natural jeopardies in non provided for in development patterns.

A close relationship can be seen between population addition in developing states, debasement of the environment, higher human exposure and the frequence and strength of natural jeopardy happening. An illustration of this can be seen in the fact that both loss of human life and strength of harm were much worse where the Rhizophora mangle had experienced debasement when the Orisa Cyclone occurred in 1999. Environmental debasement particularly with respects to forest screen remotion, is a critical factor in the transmutation of a jeopardy or climatic extreme such as heavy rainfall, into a catastrophe ( Myers, 1989 ) .

A barbarous and reciprocally reinforcing rhythm is formed by environmental debasement, poorness and natural jeopardy exposure. In this state of affairs, the hapless are forced unrecorded alarmingly near to natural jeopardy hot musca volitanss and at the same exploit environmental resources for endurance.

As a consequence of this, they become extremely vulnerable to the impact of temblors, cyclones, tsunamis etc. Among the hapless population, adult female and kids appear to be more vulnerable because of physical and socio-economic disabilities. Economic globalization has sped up the migration of immature work forces from the rural to the urban countries in hunt of employment chances.

This leads to the ‘feminization of poorness ‘ where much of the rural agribusiness remains at the subsistence degree. Already faced with gender related disadvantages, the deterioration of economic position makes adult females much more vulnerable. It has been reported that four times as many adult female died in the December, 2004 tsunami as work forces ( Aglionby, 2005 ) .

The of import thing here lies in the fact that both utmost and non so violent jeopardies exert their utmost effects unevenly in urban and rural environments, males and females and the rich and hapless.

Natural Hazard Map of India

Fig 1. Hazard Map of India. Beginning:


The section of economic sciences of the United Nations came up with a background papers for sustainable development at the universe acme held in South Africa in 2002. One of the documents submitted on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction asked if sustainable development along with other instruments aimed at the protection of the environment and poorness decrease can be successful without seting into consideration the hazard and impacts of natural jeopardies. The obvious echoing reply was negative. Policies and steps aimed at catastrophe decrease should enable communities to go resilient to natural jeopardies while guaranting development attempts do non increase exposure. There exists linkages between poorness, environmental debasement and natural catastrophes and they are reciprocally reenforcing. Forest debasement straight and indirectly increases exposure to natural catastrophes. Resource hapless landless rural adult females and work forces migrate to neighboring urban countries in order to do a life and stop up as ‘environmental refugees ( Myers, 2002 ) .

Any sensible attempt to undo these barbarous linkages will necessitate pressing attending to the decrease of menaces to sustainable rural development, preservation, Restoration, cut downing environmental debasement and sustainable use of natural resources. Developing states like India should try to ship on vigorous household be aftering programmes in order to look into the scaring rate of population addition.

Developed states with high rates of human resource development have to cut down their trust on fossil fuels but besides portion their production engineerings and schemes of salvaging energy with the less developed 1s.

The harmful effects of clime alteration possess a transboundary nature as it impacts are felt in every portion of the Earth. This fact leaves human sort with no other option but to join forces and collaborate with respects to minimising the negative impacts.

As a consequence, the integrating of catastrophe direction with programmes and policies that support sustainable development is imperative.

Vulnerability to natural catastrophe


Environmental debasement & A ; clime alteration

Poverty and hungriness

Barbarous spiral

Set back to sustainable development

Fig 2. Diagrammatic look of feedback relationship


As a consequence of the annihilating effects of the Orisa cyclone of 1999, the Gujarat temblor of 2001, the tsunami of 2004 and a series of natural catastrophes, a high exposure to natural catastrophes has been identified. This owes to physical exposure, propinquity to guess prone zones, ailment maintained safety criterions to counter effects of jeopardies and socio-economic disabilities.

A witting attempt for catastrophe hazard decrease later developed with support from several organisations. The spread that existed between information coordination and sharing was identified as experience and cognition by catastrophe professionals was remaining put with them.

The authorities of India has adopted bar and extenuation as important parts of developmental scheme. The program merely supports the fact that development if planning and extenuation are non built into the development procedure. Each state or province is to develop a strategy for catastrophe direction in line with the attack of the defined program. Simply put, extenuation is being integrated into developmental planning.

One of the several enterprises is fundamentally about the application of corporate cognition of the full work force to accomplish laid down organizational ends. It aids the procedure by which cognition is created, shared and applied. The cognition direction rhythm is made up of three positions viz. direction, application and organisation.

Management which focuses on capturing, organizing and easing cognition

Application trades with the smooth retrieval of required information through hunts. It relies on the cognition combination portion of the theoretical account.

Organization trades with acquisition, sharing and partnering. This is chiefly the instruction part of the rhythm.

Information about catastrophe readiness and extenuation steps policy guidelines have been available from assorted beginnings for some clip now. Faced with these natural catastrophes, 1000000s of people are badly affected due to non-existent or unequal header mechanisms. The ground for this is that information is non been transformed into life salvaging cognition for and by the existent communities at hazard.

Due to the fact that India remains one of the most disaster prone states in the universe because of its big population, geo-climatic and socio economic conditions, authorities of India, through the place personal businesss office, in concurrence with nongovernmental administrations, educational and research establishments has been able to set this cognition program into action.

With respects to temblors, a national nucleus group consisting experts in temblor technology and decision makers.

They were assigned the undertaking of pulling up a scheme for extenuating the impacts of temblors, supplying advice on temblor extenuation, developing enchiridions for temblor immune buildings and working out systems for helping seismically vulnerable countries to follow and incorporate appropriate criterions and codifications in edifice byelaws.

They were besides tasked with germinating systems for preparation of local applied scientists and practising designers in the private sector and developing a enfranchisement system for applied scientists and designers for proving their cognition of temblor immune building. They were besides staked with preparation Masons and shiping n public consciousness runs.

The provinces were tasked with developing Hazard Safety Cells ( HSCs ) with the main applied scientist of the province public works section in charge in order to set up a mechanism for proper execution of edifice codifications and safety of constructions and edifices from assorted jeopardies. These cells will transport out appropriate design reappraisal of all authorities edifices to be constructed and act as advisers to authorities for retrofitting lifeline edifices. Some of these cells exist in Rajasthan, West Benghal and a few other provinces.


The major aim of sustainable development is to make and keep comfortable ecological, societal and economic systems. There exists an confidant nexus between these systems as worlds can transform the ecological system and they besides depend on it for nutrient, wealth and security. Human actions can badly impact the ability of the ecosystem to execute its natural maps with inauspicious effects for exposure, human life and security.

The indispensable function of resiliency for comfortable societal development has been revisited in the last decennary ( Gunderson and Holling, 2002 ) . Several instance surveies have helped cast more visible radiation on the connexion between resiliency, sustainability of societal ecological systems and diverseness ( Berkes and Folke, 1998 ) . Resilience fundamentally refers to the magnitude of daze that concerned system can defy and stay within a given province. It can besides be the grade to which the system concerned can form itself or construct capacity for larning and version. It has been argued that two constituents of any given system impact its resiliency, one being its adaptive capacity which is straight related to its heterogeneousness and loosely tantamount t the diverseness of its establishments and assets available in societal systems ( Folke et wholly, 2002 ) .

The 2nd is its hardiness and this refers to the belongingss of a given system that allow it accommodate perturbation without extra version ( Webb and Levin, 2005 ) . Resilience and hardiness refer t the capacity of the system to suit perturbation without losing functionality.

Catastrophe direction manner or process can destruct or construct resiliency depending on how the community concerned organises itself in response to direction actions.

Building social resiliency requires understanding of ecosystems that incorporates cognition of local users ( Olsson and Folke, 2001 ) . The incorrect perceptual experience that adult male is decoupled from and in control of nature is the underlying cause of social exposure ( Kasperson, 2001 ) . Structured Scenarios and active adaptative direction have been identified as important to constructing resiliency. Scenarios are used to visualize alternate hereafter scenarios. By so making, resiliency edifice policies can be identified and used within the context of sustainable development.

The likeliness of sustainable development is enhanced by pull offing for resiliency in a dynamic universe full of surprises.


Sustainable development is a form of resource usage aimed at run intoing human demands while continuing the environment so that these demands can be met non merely in the present but besides for future coevalss ( Bruntland Commission, 1987 ) . It brings together the concern for transporting capacity of natural systems and societal challenges faced by humanity.

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Fig 3. Scheme of sustainable development demoing three constitutional parts.

Beginning: ( Adams, 2006 )

It is now clear that sustainable development that considers the impact of adult male ‘s activities on the natural environment and efforts to cut down harm to the natural environment is the key to poverty decrease, environmental security and direction and extenuation of conditions and H2O related jeopardies. The programmes and development enterprises of the MSSRF have come up with theoretical accounts that are replicable for sustainable development ( Swaminathan, 2005 ) .

It fundamentally targets resource hapless and landless communities particularly in the coastal parts because of population denseness, quickly worsening natural resources, work and income security and a high degree of exposure to these jeopardies. A typical illustration of a biological heritage in India is the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve in Tamil Nahdu. It is a typical illustration of a biological heritage earnestly affected by the reciprocally reenforcing relationship between poorness, debasement and natural resources.

With this in head and the house belief that environmental debasement can be tackled by cognition and technological authorization of the resource hapless, illiterate rural adult male and adult females, the MSSRF came up with a programme for furthering sustainable supports in the Gulf of Mannar part with aid from the United Nations development programme. The major purpose of these programmes is to intermix technological frontier with local cognition in order to supply an incorporate orientation to technological development and airing.

This aids the attendant ‘ecotechnologies ‘ to be adopted by rural households because of their ecological and economic advantages. When acquisition is done through work experience the hapless become able to get the hang engineerings in a short period.

Womans organize themselves into self help groups ( SHGs ) and these groups undergo preparation and capacity edifice based n the resources available in that peculiar part, while small towns are grouped into biovillages with attending been paid to natural resource preservation and sweetening. As a follow up to this biocenters are established to supervise and supply support to biovillages with a position to constructing the capacity of rural households to pull off the assorted ventures. The MSSRF has come up with a kit for the description of this engineering and how to develop them.

Fig 4. Location of biovillages in India in green

Beginning: ( Kesavan and Swaminathan, 2006 )

In 1997, the MSSRF set up village information Centres and they are now called VKCs. These Centres generated clip, local particular and demand driven information refering to endure, harvest, poorness, authorities relief programmes, instruction, inside informations of eco-enterprises etc.

It is documented that on the forenoon of December 26, 2004, proclamations from the VKC talkers saved many lives. Damage to belongings could non be stopped but many cherished human lives were saved.


We are faced with an increasing frequence in the happening of natural jeopardies and this can be attributed to a more complex universe where population detonation stares us in the face. The exposure of communities is besides increasing due to human activities. However, climate alteration and sea degree rise may be responsible for increased happening of some of these jeopardies. Globalization besides spreads the effects of natural jeopardies traveling beyond the boundary lines of the state straight affected.

The international community responds to natural catastrophes when they occur in hapless or developing states but when they occur in the developed universe like USA, so there can be inauspicious effects for the universe at big. It would look that with all our technological and scientific discipline based progresss in our pursuit to understand natural jeopardies, applications and technological responses have clearly been deficient. Like ( Shah, 2006 ) justly noted ‘there is need to go the last stat mi ‘ .

Response to catastrophe go on largely after the event and adequate demands to be done to back up research and pull up programmes for hazard appraisal, recommend countermeasures, physique and strengthen resiliency in communities at hazard. Scientists and catastrophe directors likewise need t work difficult to do certain robust scientific discipline takes a cardinal function in policy development.

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