EAHA DM 1.1d: Introduction to Disasters – Multi-Lingual Captions

EAHA DM 1.1d: Introduction to Disasters – Multi-Lingual Captions


(English captions by Trisha Paul, University of Michigan.) This is the first session in the first unit
of our series. This session, we shall provide an introduction
to disasters. We shall discuss the background concepts,
meaning, and key issues related to disasters as well as terminologies commonly used in
disasters. We shall also look at the classification of
disasters, and the public health consequences of disasters. What does the term ‘disaster’ mean to
you? A disaster can be defined as “a serious
disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material,
economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society
to cope using its own resources.” The key issue to note here is that the disruption
exceeds the ability of the affected community to cope, and they often need a ton of help. This definition is by the World Health Organization. We shall define other terms. What is an emergency? It is a state in which normal procedures are
suspended and extraordinary measures are taken in order to avert a disaster. Often times these two terms, emergency and
disaster, are used interchangeably. But, emergencies involve suspension of normal
procedures, the normal way that we’ve been doing things so that we put in place emergency
procedures to overt the possibility of occurrence of a catastrophe. Let us look at the terms, at other terms. Hazard, Risk, Vulnerability, and Capacity. What is a hazard? A hazard is a threatening event or potentially
damaging incident. It hasn’t yet occurred, but it is a potential
source of a disaster. What is risk then? It is the probability of suffering damage
(to life, property, economic disruptions and environment) from a hazard for a given area
and reference period. Risk is a term usually used in probability,
and it is the product of hazard and vulnerability. What is vulnerability then? Vulnerability refers to the susceptibility
to physical or emotional injury following a disaster. It is the degree to which an area, people,
physical structures or economic assets are exposed to loss, injury or damage caused by
the impact of a hazard. What is capacity? It refers to the resources available, including
human, material, and other types of resources, that will enable a community to cope with
a threat or resist the impact of a hazard. What is then the relationship between these
terms? Disaster Risk can be mathematically given
by the equation: Risk equals to hazard times vulnerability minus capacity. Disasters may be natural. They may be technological, that is, human
generated. Then there are those that are in between,
also called ‘hybrid’ disasters. Another way to classify disasters is based
on speed of onset. Disasters may be rapid onset or slow onset. Slow onset natural disasters can include drought
and desertification, famine, deforestation, and pests and plant diseases. Rapid onset natural disasters may include
climatic disasters like floods, windstorms, wildfires, and hail storms, and geological
disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, and landslides. Technological disasters are often man-made. They result from activities by human beings
or emissions by human beings. They include conflict and wars leading to
refugees and internal displacement. These are often called Complex Emergencies. Technological disasters also include disasters
like structure failure, building collapse, transportation crashes, and accidents both
on water and on roads and other types of accidents like chemical explosions, factory explosions,
and these types of accidents. Technological disasters also include military
accidents, fire disasters, terrorism, and Industrial incidents. Hybrid disasters. In some situations, it is difficult to classify
a disaster on the basis of whether it is natural or technological. For instance, where do epidemics fall? We shall now look at the Public Health Consequences
of Disasters. There are several consequences, and they include
death, injuries, loss of clean water, loss of shelter, loss of personal household goods,
major population movements, loss of sanitation, loss of routine hygiene, disruption of solid
waste management, Public concern for safety that may include panic, increased pests & vectors,
damage to health care system, worsening of chronic illnesses, loss of electricity, toxic/
hazardous exposure, loss of food supply, standing surface water. This is a pictorial presentation of some of
the consequences of drought and famine. This is an illustration of some of the effects
of flash floods. This is an illustration of some of the effects
of slow onset floods. This is an illustration of some of the effects
of landslides. The Hyogo Framework for Disaster Management
is an international framework that emphasizes the following at all levels (including operational
levels): establishment of subtle early warning systems, capacity building, emphasis on capacity
building, emphasis on safety and resilience of communities, reducing risk factors, and
strengthening disaster preparedness at all levels. Pre Disaster Definitions include Preparedness,
which implies actions that result in persons knowing what to do and how to respond after
a disaster has occurred. Prevention which means activities designed
to provide permanent protection from disaster which include engineering and physical protective
measures as well as legislation to control land use and urban planning. Then mitigation which refers to measures taken
in advance of an event aimed at decreasing or eliminating its impact on society and in
the environment. Post disaster definitions include response. These are decisions and actions taken during
and after disaster, and they include immediate relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Recovery is another post disaster term. It refers to activities that restore vital
life support systems to normalize operating standards and long term activities that return
life to normal in the post disaster phase. Other definitions: Relief and rescue. This occurs in the time period immediately
following the disaster period. Exceptional measures are taken to save lives
and care for survivors as well as meet their basic needs. There is a distinction between rescue and
relief. Rescue is mainly aimed at securing life while
relief is mainly meant to sustain life. Rehabilitation, on the other hand, is a process
that occurs after the closure of the relief phase. There is no more dependency or support needed
for basic needs. Basic needs have already been satisfied. It involves restoring mental and physical
health and stability of a community. It involves instilling principles of sustainable
livelihoods and empowering victims/survivors. It should lead to better developments. Examples of rehabilitation include Early Recovery
Plans for IDPs, Re-afforestation programmes, Post Recovery Plans. The emphasis is on the restoration of original
status before the disaster. Recovery examples include physical infrastructure
repairs, enhancement of the pre-disaster state, building resilience of communities, providing
new structures/housing that will be able to withstand a similar disaster in future. There is an evolutionary approach from response
and relief to disaster risk reduction. A challenge to you: what mechanisms have you
put in place to prevent disasters in your district? To reduce vulnerability to disasters in your
district? To prepare for disasters in case they occurred
in your district? All disasters are local. All disasters occur locally in a particular
community. The earliest response to disasters often comes
from the community itself. The capacity of the community to respond to
disasters should therefore be built. Thank you for listening to this presentation. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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