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An Overview of Disaster Management including Fisheries in India


  Amod Ashok Salgaonkar, Trivesh Suresh Mayekar, Jayappa Malappa Koli,

Girija Phadke, Amit Kumar Padhy, Abhay Giri, Banti Debnath, Swapnil Shirke, Monalisha Sukham, Srikrishna Hotekar.

Central Institute of Fisheries Education,

Mumbai (INDIA)


Corresponding author e-mail ID :


Introduction :

                  There will be an increase in number of disasters in India from last couple of years. Our country is vulnerable to natural disasters in South Asia. On an average, 40 million hectares of land in India is subjected to flood & around 1.86 million hectares affected every year. India is facing five-six tropical cyclones in Arabian Sea & Bay of Bengal each year out of which two-three may be severe.

                  A disaster is defined as  "a social crisis, situation occurring when a physical phenomenon of natural, socio-natural or anthropogenic origin negatively impacts vulnerable population causing intense, serious and widespread destruction of the normal functioning of the affected social unit."(Source: UNDP). A disaster is "the occurrence of a sudden or major misfortune which describes the basic fabric and normal functioning of a society (or a community). An event or a series of events which gives rise to casualities and/or damage or loss of property, infrastructure, essential services or mean of livelihood on a scale which is beyond the normal capacity of the affected communities to cope with unaided." (FAO,1998).





Major Disasters in India :   

                        Supercyclone occurred in Orissa in 1999 affected 12 coastal districts with a population of 1.26 crores in 14,000 villages & 28 urban areas. From last 10-15 years, India faced several earthquakes, major ones are uttara kashi, latur & Jabalpur. 16,000 people died in earthquake of Gujarat in 2001 with a financial loss of 15,000 millions. The earthquake of December 26, 2004 affected Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Kanchipuram, Villipuram, Tuticorin & Tirunelveli districts in Tamilnadu with some parts of country resulted in killing of over 11,942 people. Tsunami hit the Indian coast in 2004 & badly affected Andaman & Nicobar Islands, three coastal districts of Tamilnadu, whole coastal area of Pondicherry, one district of Kerala state & two districts in Andhra Pradesh.


Disaster Management Cycle :






Risk Reduction








Mitigation :- Any activity that reduces the chances of hazards converting into disaster.


Risk Reduction :-  Measures or action to avoid the risks as a result of disaster in future.


Prevention :-  Preventive measure taken to avoid disaster.


Preparedness :-  Plans or preparation made in advance to save the property & lives of people as well as help the response & rescue service operations. This includes implementation/operation, early warning systems & capacity building.


Response:-  Actions taken to save lives of people & to prevent damage of property. Try to keep environment as good as possible during disaster.


Recovery:- Actions taken to recover the people after disaster & help them to come on their routine life.


Players in Disaster Warning :-

                        The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR), identifies several keys that play major role in disaster management process, especially in disaster warning (UN/ISDR 2006).


Communities :- Community is the most essential part of the disaster warning. They are the first who is going to affect so they must be aware of hazards & negative impacts of the disaster. They must be able to take proper decisions in such a way that there will be minimum damage or loss to their lives & properties. For this, communities should be trained how to face specific disaster. E.g. Coastal communities should be educated & prepared for the possibility of Tsunami.


Local Government :-  The local government should have the enough information regarding hazard & disaster to which communities are exposed. They have to maintain early warning system & take care of safety of people. They should minimize the loss of people as much as they can.


National Government :-  They are responsible for policies & framework to facilitate early warning systems in the areas that affect largely in the country. National Government should provide the support to local government & local communities to develop the capabilities in the respective area. They can work through different macro & micro level factors.


International Bodies  :- Help in exchange of data & knowledge between individual countries. Provide technical guldens, policy making, advisory information & support for early warning system.


Private Sector :- Private sector helps especially in terms of donation of good & services. Also they can provide technical manpower to improve the disaster condition.


Media :-  Media plays major role as it is the link between disaster warning system & common people.


Scientific Community :-  Has a critical role to assist or guide government & communities in developing early warning system.


Channels Used for Disaster Warning:-

                        The different channels are in use for disaster warning. The brief account on different channels used are as follows:

1.    Television & Radio :- These are most effectively used channel in disaster warnings because there will be good availability of radio & TV  sets in all developing countries. After Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, many manufacturers considered introducing new digital alert system that react even if the set is switched off but it will take other 2-3 yrs to come in reality.

2.    Telephone (Fixed & Mobile):- It can play an important for  giving the warning of disaster. Most popular incident occurred in small coastal village in Nallavadu of Pondicherry. A timely telephone call-warning about the tsunami saved the life of 3,600 people in that village.

3.    Short Message Service:- It can be very useful to give warning of disaster when there will be the problem of communicating through fixed telephones. The use of SMS was very widely done during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster in the US.

4.    Satellite Radio :- It is the digital radio that receives the signals from communication satellites which cover much larger geographic area than terrestrial radio. It can be of help when the transmission towers of normal radio stations are damaged in disaster.

5.    Internet/E-mail :- It is the fastest disaster warning system. At a time, we can send the information to a lot of people within a short span of time.



Disaster Impact on the Fisheries Sector :-

              Disaster affect the fisheries sector in many ways. Loss of lives is major impact with economic & social loss. The losses are in the form of damaged & lost boats, gear, fish cages, aquaculture broodstock & other productive assets, destruction of infrastructure such as landing and fish processing facilities, & loss of production( fish escaping from aquaculture ponds).

              Disease outbreaks & other threats to farmed fishes in particular cause the loss of production. This losses affected directly on the income of communities. Environmental damages through accidents such as an oil spill may result in closing of fishery.


Legislative Framework : -

                  National Disaster Management Committee under the chairmanship of Prime minister is the highest authority in a country (INDIA) to take a dicision against disaster. Ministry of Home Affairs is designated as ministry responsible to carry out work for disaster management. The Central Relief Commissioner (CRC) in the ministry is a responsible person to co-ordinate the disaster management operations. The crisis management group includes the representatives from various ministries & agencies and the group is headed by CRC of Ministry of Home Affairs. The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) is headed by Cabinet Secretary. The NCMC gives directions to the crisis management group. The Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for ensuring that all developments are brought to the notice of NCMC. The NCMC can give directions to any ministry/organization for specific action needed for meeting the crisis situation.


Role of ISRO in Disaster Management :-

(ISRO-Indian Space Research Organisation)

              ISRO developed more than 250 CWDS (Cyclone Warning Dissemination System) in the coastal areas of India. Also for strengthening of observation network, Automatic Weather Station (AWS) were developed through industry partnership. Doppler Weather radar has been developed at Sriharikota for continuous monitoring of severe weather events & to check key parameters for atmospheric studies. Decision support centre at NRSA (National Remote Sensing Agency), Hyderabad provides alert(advanced) information on disaster with the help of disaster forecasting organizations (like CWC,IMD) and other sources (like press/TV, local bodies, NGOs) etc.

              GIS & Remote Sensing provides a mechanism to centralize & visually display critical information during an emergency.


Indian Disaster Resource Network :-

                  Indian Disaster Resource Network (IDRN) is a web-enabled & GIS based national database of resources essential for effective emergency response. The project, initiated by Ministry of Home Affairs & UNDP, collects & store information such as indivisual & organizational expertise and details of equipment & suppliers required during emergencies, available at government departments, military units, NGOs and private companies in different districts.


NGOs in Disaster Management :

               NGO is Non-Government Organisation. NGO is "a civic or public advocacy organization which generates, transfers or administers humanitarian & other aid" . NGOs can create awareness, preparedness, training, education, capacity building and undertake emergency relief measures. It is a link between government & community.

              CADME(Coastal Area Disaster Mitigation Efforts), a network of 20 voluntary organizations work for a programme called "Community induced early warnings & preparedness" in more than 350 vulnerable villages in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh. They also established taskforce groups at each vulnerable village to mitigate the effects of disaster as well as to help their co-villagers in pre-disaster & post-disaster situations. Chaitnya Jyoti Welfare Society (CJWS) situated at Nellore in Andhra Pradesh working on disaster risk reduction & management in coastal mandals.

              Some national & international NGOs involved in disaster management are:



    Red cross

    Save the children

    St John ambulance

    World vision

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