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A disaster refers to a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence from natural or man-made causes, which is beyond the coping capacity of the affected community. DM involves a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary or expedient for:
• ¬Prevention of danger or threat of any disaster.
• ¬Mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or its severity or consequences.
• ¬Capacity building including research and knowledge management.
• ¬Preparedness to deal with any disaster.
• ¬Prompt response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
• ¬Assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster.
• Evacuation, rescue and relief.
• ¬Rehabilitation and reconstruction.
A typical DM continuum comprises six elements; the pre-disaster phase includes prevention, mitigation and preparedness, while the post-disaster phase includes response, rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery.
A legal and institutional framework binds all these elements together
• A holistic and integrated approach will be evolved toward disaster management with emphasis on building strategic partnerships at various levels. The themes underpinning the policy are:
• Community based DM, including last mile integration of the policy, plans and execution.
• ¬Capacity development in all spheres.
• ¬Consolidation of past initiatives and best practices.
• ¬Cooperation with agencies at national and international levels.
• ¬ Multi-sectoral synergy.
The objectives of the national policy on disaster management are:¬
• Promoting a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through knowledge, innovation and education.
• Encouraging mitigation measures based on technology, traditional wisdom and environmental sustainability.
• ¬ Mainstreaming disaster management into the developmental planning process.
• ¬Establishing institutional and techno-legal frame works to create an enabling regulatory environment and a compliance regime.
• Ensuring efficient mechanism for identification, assessment and monitoring of disaster risks.
• ¬Developing contemporary forecasting and early warning systems backed by responsive and failsafe communication with information technology support.
• ¬Promoting a productive partnership with the media to create awareness and contributing towards capacity development.
• ¬Ensuring efficient response and relief with a caring approach towards the needs of the vulnerable sections of the society.
• ¬Undertaking reconstruction as an opportunity to build disaster resilient structures and habitat for ensuring safer living.
• ¬Promoting productive and proactive partnership with media in disaster management.