A big step in reducing the risk of disasters

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    A big step in reducing the risk of disasters

    Syllabus: GS3/ Disaster Management

    In Context

    • The world needs to do more to prevent the risk of losses from all disasters, whether they are weather-related, earthquakes, or biological ones like COVID-19.

    About Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

    • It is aimed at preventing new and reducing existing disaster risk and managing residual risk, all of which contribute to strengthening resilience and therefore to the achievement of sustainable development.
    • DRR strategies and policies define goals and objectives across different timescales and with concrete targets, indicators and time frames. 

    Disasters around the world 

    • Disasters around the world are claiming more and more lives. The consequences of climate change are already on our doorstep. 
      • Recently, three continents were gripped by heat waves. 
      • Massive forest fires have ravaged parts of Greece and Canada. 
      • Two weeks ago, the river Yamuna breached the highest flood level, recorded 45 years ago, and inundated parts of Delhi.
    • Issues & challenges:
      • The cost of these disasters is yet to be determined
        • For too long, countries have spent billions responding to disasters rather than paying a little upfront to prevent or reduce their impact.
      • We are at the midpoint of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which is the global road map for reducing disaster risks and losses. 
        • While progress has been made, we are not where we need to be. 

    Disaster Management in India

    • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA):
      • It is the apex statutory body for Disaster Management in India, established through the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
      • The Disaster Management Act envisaged the creation of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.
    • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF):
      • Established in 2006, NDRF is the world’s single largest force dedicated to disaster response.
      • It is functioning under the Ministry of Home Affairs, within the overall command, control and leadership of the Director-General.
      • At present, the NDRF consists of 15 battalions from the BSF, CISF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and Assam Rifles.
      • It is a multi-skilled and high-tech force that effectively responds to all types of natural and man-made disasters, including building collapses, landslides, devastating floods, and cyclones.

    Initiatives by India

    • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI):
      • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) was first proposed by India during the 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in New Delhi.
      • India is taking the lead and offering the expertise of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (DRI) to its friendly countries.
    • Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations:
      • Indian defence forces, under the aegis of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS) have been carrying out HADR operations within the country as well as outside the country to deepen coordination with its neighbours and friendly countries with a focus on sharing expertise and building capabilities.
    • India’s initiative at G20 –  Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group:
    • India has established the first G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group.
    • Countries that make up the G20 hold around 85% of the global GDP and about two-thirds of the world population. 
    • And as human vulnerability to disasters is strongly linked to economic decisions, the G20 is in a unique position to chart a new path of disaster risk-informed decision-making. 

    Suggestions

    • Working on disaster early warning & early actions:
      • Expanding disaster early warning and early action systems is a top priority. 
      • Inclusive and multi-hazard early warning systems are among the most effective means of reducing disaster deaths and economic losses. 
      • During Cyclone Biparjoy, effective systems for end-to-end early warning and action helped achieve zero deaths from the event in India. 
      • Preparedness of the power sector helped reduce the disruption time in power supply in the aftermath of the cyclone.
    • Significance of technologies:
      • The promise of disruptive technologies can help many countries leapfrog into a regime where they can use global capacity for forecasting to meet local needs. 
      • To that end, we are working to realise the goal of the UN Secretary General’s Early Warnings for All Initiative, which seeks to create universal coverage for everyone by the end of 2027.
    • Building resilient infrastructure: 
      • Enhancing the resilience of infrastructure to withstand climate and disaster risks is another global priority. 
      • Infrastructure has a long life cycle, and if built well, can lock-in resilience as opposed to risk. 
      • That same infrastructure also becomes the lifeline of recovery during a crisis.
    • Understanding risks & impacts:
      • Failure to adopt an integrated perspective to understand risks to infrastructure, and its impact on development, has the potential to multiply losses, which disproportionately impact the poor, who subsequently take the longest time to recover.
    • Financing disaster risk reduction:
      • Developing a new approach to financing disaster risk reduction is needed to transform risk reduction plans into concrete actions. 
      • This effort must be led by finance and economy ministries in collaboration with the private sector.

    Way ahead

    • G20 nations like Indonesia and India have used risk metrics to allocate resources at the sub-national and local levels for disaster risk reduction. These need to be studied and scaled.
    • Building on these areas of work, scaling up ecosystem-based approaches and enhancing national and local response capacities will be the responsibility of the next G20 presidents.

    Daily Mains Question

    [Q] What can be done to prevent the risk of losses from all disasters, whether they are weather-related or biological? Highlight India’s initiative at G20 for the Disaster Risk Reduction.