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Disaster Management

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The frequency, magnitude and impact of natural disasters are increasing, and disasters, caused by natural hazards, violate the social, economic and environmental activities of people all over the world. Mitigation involves risk reduction and mitigation of accidents and disasters. The success of the activities in this area requires the union of all possible efforts. If a natural disaster cannot be avoided, it is necessary to develop and implement preventive measures.

There are lots of publications nowadays that cast light on the problem of the risk management during the disaster. Ensuring the safety of the population and territories from natural disasters is an activity of public authorities. It is divided into two elements: the elimination of natural disasters and the prevention of natural disasters. Until the eighties almost all the countries in their security policy concerning disasters paid the utmost attention to disaster itself. Under this policy, the main focus was on the improvement of safety measures. At present, the problem related to the elimination of natural disasters is largely met. National systems save the population in the face of natural disasters. Experience of disasters testified that, despite improving technical and organizational measures, further efforts in this direction in order to improve public safety and the environment are becoming less effective.

Davies and Walters in their article came to the conclusion that the economy of the developed countries is not in a position to increase funding for disaster relief and make up for the losses caused by them (Davies & Walters, 1998). Based on the above stated, in the eighties the need to change the focus of public policy in the direction of solving the problems of disaster prevention was recognized in the developed countries. Thus, at this stage, the priority is the need to form policies for the prevention of natural disasters aimed at reducing the risk and impact the mitigation.

The authors suppose that the disaster risk management can be divided into two main areas: mainstreaming DRR (meaning mainstreaming, integration in the prevailing direction), and design programs for DRR (meaning programming) (Davies & Walters, 1998).

Planning programs for DRR is a number of targeted actions whose primary purpose is reducing the level of risk. In other words, it is working with target groups and areas in which the existence of these risks is assumed or known about. DRR programs analyze risk and provide tools to reduce its level.

At the same time in the article “Risk management in a disaster management context”, written by Salter, this approach provides for the reduction of risk element that should be analyzed when planning any type of event. Mainstreaming DRR ensures that our activities do not create additional/new risks to the target population and helps to reduce the risk existing in the target group of the project/program, if possible. As mentioned earlier, the process of assessing the risks of natural disasters is a key to the successful use of DRR. Disaster risk assessment is often a significant part of the DRR projects (Salter, 1997). The evaluation process includes not only collecting data. It should be a process that actively involves the target groups in order to fully understand the risks and their potential impact and participate in the development of solutions with respect to these risks. Consequently, a significant part of the manual is devoted to the assessment of risk.

The results of the risk assessment of natural disasters are the basis for decision-making in disaster risk management. To solve the problem of risk and vulnerability of local communities, a program to reduce the risks of natural disasters should be created through targeted actions.

Salter argues that the specific program to reduce the risk of natural disasters is usually implemented in areas prone to disasters or in areas that have recently been affected by the disaster, and it turned out that they need a higher quality risk management of natural disasters (Salter, 1997). However, the DRR development programs must be implemented in the greatest possible number of countries and regions. Many of the countries that did not normally suffer from natural disasters in the past can face them in the future. The developing countries, which are already struggling with poverty, need programs on disaster risk reduction in order to strengthen and support their efforts to fight poverty.

One can fully agree with the both articles conclusion that the following points are usually included in the program on disaster risk reduction: mitigation of natural disasters (disaster mitigation), disaster preparedness, an early warning system, and information and protection activities (advocacy).

It is necessary to state that of all the natural disasters ravaging the planet, the most significant in terms of environmental impacts are floods, tropical storms, earthquakes and epidemics. There is a close relationship between natural disasters and man-made disasters. In my opinion, due to the increasing concentration of industrial enterprises and the growth of urban population, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc., are often accompanied by massive fires, explosions, gas emissions and other man-made accidents. Only on the basis of scientific prediction and early warning, can one reduce the environmental damage caused by natural disasters. To be effective, knowledge should be passed in such a way that relates to local conditions and customs. Although it has long been considered a fundamental principle of sustainable development and risk reduction strategies, this principle has not been integrated yet.

Therefore, I believe that the disaster risk reduction is not only the realization of the projects. It also calls for a change in attitude and understanding of the need to change the way of life. This process must involve many partners, representing a variety of sectors, including local government, education authorities and the media. As the big number of people affected by natural disasters is children, and since they are our future, it is the children who need to change their attitude to the approach of disaster risk reduction.

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