Frequently Asked Questions

What is hazard?

Hazard is a dangerous phenomenon, substance, human activity or condition that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.

How would you define vulnerability?
Vulnerability is the characteristics and circumstances of a community, system or asset that make it susceptible to the damaging effects of a hazard. There are many aspects of vulnerability, arising from various physical, social, economic, and environmental factors. Examples may include poor design and construction of buildings, inadequate protection of assets, lack of public information and awareness, limited official recognition of risks and preparedness measures, and disregard for wise environmental management. Vulnerability varies significantly within a community and over time. This definition identifies vulnerability as a characteristic of the element of interest (community, system or asset) which is independent of its exposure. However, in common use the word is often used more broadly to include the element’s exposure.
What is Risk?
Risk is the combination of the probability of an event and its negative consequences. The word “risk” has two distinctive connotations: in popular usage the emphasis is usually placed on the concept of chance or possibility, such as in “the risk of an accident”; whereas in technical settings the emphasis is usually placed on the consequences, in terms of “potential losses” for some particular cause, place and period. It can be noted that people do not necessarily share the same perceptions of the significance and underlying causes of different risks.
What is disaster risk?
Disaster risk is the potential disaster losses, in lives, health status, livelihoods, assets and services, which could occur to a particular community or a society over some specified future time period. The definition of disaster risk reflects the concept of disasters as the outcome of continuously present conditions of risk. Disaster risk comprises different types of potential losses which are often difficult to quantify. Nevertheless, with knowledge of the prevailing hazards and the patterns of population and socio-economic development, disaster risks can be assessed and mapped, in broad terms at least.
What is a Disaster?
According to Section 2 (d) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 “disaster means a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.”
Disasters are often described as a result of the combination of: the exposure to a hazard; the conditions of vulnerability that are present; and insufficient capacity or measures to reduce or cope with the potential negative consequences. Disaster impacts may include loss of life, injury, disease and other negative effects on human physical, mental and social well-being, together with damage to property, destruction of assets, loss of services, social and economic disruption and environmental degradation.
What is disaster prevention?
Disaster prevention is the outright avoidance of adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters prevention (i.e. disaster prevention) expresses the concept and intention to completely avoid potential adverse impacts through action taken in advance. Examples include dams or embankments that eliminate flood risks, land-use regulations that do not permit any settlement in high risk zones, and seismic engineering designs that ensure the survival and function of a critical building in any likely earthquake. Very often the complete avoidance of losses is not feasible and the task transforms to that of mitigation. Partly for this reason, the terms prevention and mitigation are sometimes used interchangeably in casual use.
What does disaster mitigation mean?
Mitigation means the lessening or limitation of the adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters. The adverse impacts of hazards often cannot be prevented fully, but their scale or severity can be substantially lessened by various strategies and actions. Mitigation measures encompass engineering techniques and hazard-resistant construction as well as improved environmental policies and public awareness. It should be noted that in climate change policy, “mitigation” is defined differently, being the term used for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that are the source of climate change.
What is disaster preparedness?
Preparedness constitutes the knowledge and capacities developed by governments, professional response and recovery organizations, communities and individuals to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from, the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions. Preparedness action is carried out within the context of disaster risk management and aims to build the capacities needed to efficiently manage all types of emergencies and achieve orderly transitions from response through to sustained recovery. Preparedness is based on a sound analysis of disaster risks and good linkages with early warning systems, and includes such activities as contingency planning, stockpiling of equipment and supplies, the development of arrangements for coordination, evacuation and public information, and associated training and field exercises. These must be supported by formal institutional, legal and budgetary capacities. The related term “readiness” describes the ability to quickly and appropriately respond when required.
What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions. Resilience means the ability to “resile from” or “spring back from” a shock. The resilience of a community in respect to potential hazard events is determined by the degree to which the community has the necessary resources and is capable of organizing itself both prior to and during times of need.
What is Disaster Management?
Section 2 (e) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, describes “disaster management” means 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.
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.
What emergency supplies do I need to face a disaster event?
  1. Adequate supplies of medications that you or family members are taking.

  2. Crescent and pipe wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies.

  3. First-aid kit and handbook.

  4. Flashlights with extra bulbs and batteries.

  5. Portable radio with extra batteries.

  6. Water for each family member for at least 3 days (allow at least 1 gallon per person per day) and purification tablets or chlorine bleach to purify drinking water from other sources.

  7. Canned and package foods, enough for several days and mechanical can opener. Extra food for pets, if necessary.

  8. Camp stove or barbecue to cook on outdoors (store fuel out of the reach of children).

  9. Waterproof, heavy-duty plastic bags for waste disposal.

Whom to contact for emergency response?

Please dial toll free 108 number for medical, fire and police emergency. No local code is required to do so. You can also dial the district disaster control room i.e. toll free 1077 number by adding the district code. Alternative 100 number for police and 101 for fire can be dialed.

What is the provision of disaster relief?
The victims of disaster or their dependents as may be the case are provided relief as per the HP Emergency Relief Manual and guidelines issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate of the area is competent to sanction the cases prepared under the manual. He is also competent to provide immediate relief and rescue assistance. For details about the type and quantum of relief please read the MHA guidelines which are appended below.