Disaster Management

PREFACE The Indian subcontinent has a tropical climate and unstable landforms. India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are prone to natural disasters of various kinds on a continual basis. Coupled with high population density, poverty, illiteracy and lack of infrastructure, the natural disasters kill thousands of people and leave a devastating impact on economy and environment. The importance of telecommunication in disaster management has been widely accepted since the early days of the development of radio communication. Disasters can strike without warning at any time of the day or night.

On the Indian subcontinent, the pressure from population increase and over-exploitation of resources for haphazard development has disturbed the ecological balance, in turn causing degradation of the natural environment, deterioration of the ecological system, and widespread destruction of the natural resources on which human life and well-being depend. As a result, most of India’s 26 states (or provinces) are disaster prone. Technologies, particularly in the telecommunication field, can help minimize disaster losses as well as the very scope of the disasters.

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The suffering and loss of human life is highest in remote rural areas due to lack of basic infrastructure and poor, or non-existent, disaster management plans. Within India, two-thirds of the population lives in rural areas where telecommunication facilities are scarce. Of 600,000 villages, 45% do not have any telecommunication services at all. Therefore, the state governments are planning their own communication networks as part of disaster management plans. INTRODUCTION : Disaster management is the discipline of dealing with and avoiding risks.

It is a discipline that involves preparing for disaster before it occurs, disaster response (e. g. emergency evacuation, quarantine, mass decontamination, etc. ), as well as supporting, and rebuilding society after natural or human-made disasters have occurred. In general, any Emergency management is the continuous process by which all individuals, groups, and communities manage hazards in an effort to avoid or ameliorate the impact of disasters resulting from the hazards. Actions taken depend in part on perceptions of risk of those exposed.

Effective emergency management relies on thorough integration of emergency plans at all levels of government and non-government involvement. Activities at each level (individual, group, community) affect the other levels. It is common to place the responsibility for governmental emergency management with the institutions for civil defense or within the conventional structure of the emergency services. In the private sector, emergency management is sometimes referred to as business continuity planning.

The process of emergency management involves four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. A graphic representation of the four phases in emergency management. Mitigation Mitigation efforts attempt to prevent hazards from developing into disasters altogether, or to reduce the effects of disasters when they occur. The mitigation phase differs from the other phases because it focuses on long-term measures for reducing or eliminating risk . Preparedness In the preparedness phase, emergency managers develop plans of action for when the disaster strikes.

Common preparedness measures include: •communication plans with easily understandable terminology and methods. •proper maintenance and training of emergency services, including mass human resources such as community emergency response teams. •development and exercise of emergency population warning methods combined with emergency shelters and evacuation plans. •stockpiling, inventory, and maintain disaster supplies and equipment . •develop organizations of trained volunteers among civilian populations. Response

The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. This is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, such as firefighters, police and ambulance crews. When conducted as a military operation, it is termed Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) and can be a follow-up to a Non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO). They may be supported by a number of secondary emergency services, such as specialist rescue teams. Recovery The aim of the recovery phase is to restore the affected area to its previous state.

It differs from the response phase in its focus; recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed. Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property, re-employment, and the repair of other essential infrastructure. An important aspect of effective recovery efforts is taking advantage of a ‘window of opportunity’ for the implementation of mitigative measures that might otherwise be unpopular. Citizens of the affected area are more likely to accept more mitigative changes when a recent disaster is in fresh memory.

In India, the role of emergency management falls to National Disaster Management of India, a government agency subordinate to the Ministry of Home affairs. In recent years there has been a shift in emphasis, from response and recovery to strategic risk management and reduction, and from a government-centered approach to decentralized community participation. The countries of the Indian subcontinent suffer continually from natural disasters such as drought, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, forest fires, hailstorms, and locusts.

These disasters have a devastating impact on human life, economy and environment. Lack of proper telecommunication infrastructure in suburban and rural areas, and the virtual absence of any disaster management plan, has served to compound the suffering, loss of life and property damage resulting from these natural catastrophies. A Communication System is a subsystem in a disaster mana-gement. The Communication System, is used to activate,to mobilize and to co-ordinate all resources involved in the disaster management .

The role of the communication system is to report & give as complete as possible the description of the disaster such as, the location, the estimate number of the victims, the prediction of the further development of the disaster , used to inform health units that are going to be involved at the operation stage . The success of giving relief and assistance in any emergency situation mostly depends on the fastest information received and the possibility to send messages by a “central” emergency unit to the affected locations.

Even when roads are not possible to be reached or used, even when vehicles are stranded, it might be possible to communicate through electronic means, radio communications being the least vulnerable to natural obstacles during emergencies. When the emergency which arises does not affect transportation means, communications through wires or cable could also be an immense help in relaying communications quicker than by physical means. Simple, 3 digit number (108) is allotted as helpline for Disaster Management.

Modes for Emergency Communication RADIO COMMUNICATIONS In the scenario where normal telephone and mobile phone network is disrupted or such services have never existed in the disaster affected area, we need to find out other reliable means of communicating urgent messages from the site to shorter and longer distances. The first obvious choice is to establish a wireless radio communication network limited to the area of operations. Any wireless communication link is based on the Radio waves either using the terrestrial or satellite systems.

A radio wave is an electromagnetic wave propagated by an antenna. Radio waves have different frequencies, and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency you can pick up a specific signal. Hand held wireless sets (walky talky) are considered to be more suitable for local communication in case of such emergencies. Amateur (Ham) Radio In the event of major disasters/emergencies, it has been experienced that Amateur Radios have worked successfully when no other communications worked.

Amateur radio, also known as ‘Ham radio’, does not refer to special kind of radio but to a special set of rules which apply to certain frequencies as defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and regulated in India by Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing, Ministry of Communications. The laid down rules allow these frequencies to be used only for research, education and personal purpose. The word Amateur implies the use of radio communications for non-commercial purposes.

Amateur Radio operation does not use the ground based infrastructure, and has limited power requirements which can be easily met by batteries and generators and thus work successfully in emergencies. Amateur radio is getting popular in India as a creative hobby and there are around 15,000 licensed Amateur Radio Operators (Hams) in India. Amateur Radio is an unbeatable way of learning about radio communications, and not only will you learn much, but you would also be able to help at the time of emergency. Licensed Amateur Radio

Operators are known as Amateurs or Hams. Most Governments expect their Amateurs to provide emergency communication support in case of an emergency and Amateurs always come forward to provide their services voluntarily for establishing crucial . In efforts to popularize the Amateur Radio in the country and develop a trained force of licensed Amateurs, Department of Information Technology has initiated a nation wide programme to establish Amateur Radio Stations at various places and provide the necessary training for interested Amateur Station Operators.

SATELLITE BASED COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS Satellite based Communication systems mean communication systems intended for users on the Earth but which have some equipment in space, i. e. a satellite. Different satellites carry out different jobs, such as taking weather pictures or finding accurate positions on earth in terms of latitudes and longitudes. Communications satellites are essentially radio relay stations in space and are sometimes referred to as COMSATs.

The other words you may hear are SATCOMS for satellite communications in general and SATPHONE for a satellite phone terminal. The most important feature of a communications satellite is the transponder – a radio that receives a conversation at one frequency and then amplifies it and re-transmits it back to Earth on another frequency. A satellite normally contains hundreds or thousands of transponders. Data, television, image and some telephone transmissions are routinely received and re-broadcasted by these transponders of communication satellites.

Present operational Indian space systems include Indian National Satellite (INSAT) for tele-communication, television broadcasting, meteorology and disaster warning and Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) for resources monitoring and management. This mode of communication is most reliable as the radio relay stations, Communications satellites, are in space and not at all vulnerable to any natural disasters on the earth, while global communications links can be established with very small, portable and easy to install satellite antennas. Most widely used means of satellite communications in disaster management is ‘satellite phone’.

For these phones the satellite works as a telephone exchange. These phones provide very reliable voice and data communication and are very handy and can be to transported to any location. CASE STUDY : The Indian state of Maharashtra is the first state in the region to implement a comprehensive, multi-hazard disaster management plan. Supported by The World Bank, UNDP and UK Department for International Development (DFID), the emphasis of this multifaceted program is on disaster management response, disaster awareness and education. The construction of a disaster communications network has been carried out as an integral component of the plan.

The network, based on VSATs and VHF networks in each of Maharashtra’s 30 districts, is also planned to be used for general state government administration and rural development programmes. The Maharashtra disaster management project was implemented at a cost of US $ 11 million and became operational in March 2000. Maharashtra is one of the largest states in India, containing 30 districts and the state capital at Mumbai. The state has had two major earthquakes in recent history which caused loss of life and destruction of property in small towns and villages, the Koyna quake in 1967 and the Killari quake in 1993.

Disasters due to tidal movements on the sea coast and typhoons are very frequent. Maharashtra is one of the first states in India to have planned, designed and implemented a dedicated communication network for disaster management. As part of the Maharashtra Emergency Earthquake Rehabilitation Programme (MEERP), one of the mandated activities of the Government of Maharashtra was the preparation of a comprehensive, multi-hazard disaster management plan for the State of Maharashtra. The World Bank, UNDP and UK Department for International Development (DFID, formerly ODA) are supporting complementary components of this multi-faceted effort.

It is an ambitious program, which emphasizes disaster management response, disaster awareness and education. The Maharashtra disaster management plan has a state-wide plan at its core and a superstructure of district-level plans. These disaster management plans identify administrative and technical measures essential to disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation efforts. These plans have crystallized into an implementation program comprising a number of components, which are simultaneously under execution. Global Tele-system Limited, an Indian Company, is implementing the project. The Disaster

Management Plan (DMP) has three components: (a) Risk Analysis & Vulnerability Assessment Risk analysis and vulnerability assessment involves the creation of a scenario for each potential disaster in terms of exposure, loss of life, property damage, and the geographic distribution of each hazard. Any monitoring facilities, regulatory regimes, and countermeasures available for each disaster are accounted for in this analysis. (b) Response Plan The response plan defines the organizational and structural relationships of all the state, central and non-governmental agencies involved in dealing with a disaster.

It identifies functional areas such as relief, communications, information, transport, health services, etc. ; proposes assignments for various departments; and identifies lead and supporting organizations. The response plan also lays down preparedness checklists, standards of services, operating procedure guidelines and reporting formats. in a co-ordinated and quickest possible manner to mitigate the impact of disaster during and after its onset. (c) Mitigation Strategy The mitigation strategy and plan focus on the long-term planning for disaster reduction.

It deals with the issues of continued commitment to hazard identification and risk assessment, applied research and technology transfer, investment incentives for mitigation, and leadership and co-ordination for mitigation. The mitigation strategy makes an argument for better land use management, building codes, traffic, standards and health standards. These objectives are to be secured through disaster legislation, mitigation regulation, and incentives for mitigation. At the state and district levels, the same structure is followed.

The Disaster Management Plan calls for the creation of a variety of facilities and resources which provide support in the nature of infrastructure and organizational requirements. The Govt. of Maharashtra (GOM) has begun the implementation of all these activities as follows: •Emergency Operations Centre; •District Control Rooms; •Communication network comprising wireless (VHF) and satellite (VSAT) networks covering the entire state; •Computerized disaster management information system using geographic information system (GIS) applications; •Community disaster preparedness programmes; Training. Emergency Operations Centre (EOC): The Emergency Operations Centre is a well-equipped and modern facility located at the state government headquarters in Mantralaya. The EOC is the hub of activity during a disaster. Its systems and procedures are designed in such a way that information can be promptly assessed and relayed to concerned parties. As the master co-ordination and control point for all counter-disaster efforts, the EOC is the centre for decision-making under a unified command. District Control Rooms: District Control Rooms are established in each collectorate of the state.

The control rooms serve as nodal facilities for directing operations in an emergency situation. The total cost of establishing control rooms all over the state was Rupees 45 million (US $ 1. 1 million). This component of the plan was also supported by the World Bank. GIS-based Disaster Management Information System: The GOM has undertaken a very ambitious programme to create a Disaster Management Information System (DMIS) for the state of Maharashtra. The DMIS database will contain all disaster-related spatial and non-spatial data at the Taluka level.

Statistics for potential natural calamity zones have been compiled for the purpose, including records of tidal movements, potential typhoons and earthquake-prone zones. The DMIS will be used by district administrations not only for risk analysis and vulnerability assessment, but also for organizing response operations. In addition, the DMIS will be of great functional value for development planners since it will be accessible to all government agencies with proper networking and updating facilities. This system will be the first of its kind not only in the country, but probably in the world.

The total budget for creating the DMIS for all the districts of Maharashtra (except Mumbai) is about Rs. 140 million (US $3 million), which will be met with assistance from the World Bank and DFID. Training & Community Preparedness Programmes: The GOM has also taken up an extensive programme of training for disaster preparedness and response. The training programmes have been designed for the officials of the government at different levels, NGOs, and elected representatives of Local Bodies. The Disaster Management Centre, YASHADA is playing a pivotal role in developing the training literature and organization of training programme.

In the next two to three years, an intensive training schedule will be drawn up for orienting all the concerned agencies in different areas of disaster preparedness and response. The GOM also proposes to take up community disaster preparedness programmes on a pilot basis in different areas of the state. This programme will be implemented through the selected NGOs for identified disaster spots in the state and is aimed at building up the mitigation measures into community life. Seismic Hazard Map: The GOM has also undertaken to prepare a seismic hazard map for the state of Maharashtra.

This assignment is being carried out by the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. The seismic hazard map will be useful for micro level locational decisions and for developing proper building design regulations. Manual for Seismic Strengthening of Non-engineered Buildings: There are well established I. S. codes for engineered buildings and structures which take into account seismic factors. But the majority of buildings in the rural areas are non-engineered, with wide variations in the type of construction and materials used therein. They are seismically unsafe.

To implement a strategy for seismic strengthening and retrofitting of damaged houses in the earthquake-affected Latur and Osmanabad districts, the Government of Maharashtra has prepared a manual, with the help of I. I. T Mumbai and international seismic expert Dr. Svetlana Brzev, for strengthening all types of non-engineered buildings in rural areas. This manual is profusely illustrated in colour and is written in a very simple, easy to understand way. It can serve as a valuable handbook for engineers, administrators and the general public for seismic strengthening of non-engineered houses.

It is hoped that this manual will be received as a popular set of guidelines on quake-resistant technology and will help provide a new dimension to housing technology in rural Maharashtra. The manual is the first of its kind in India. Disaster Communication Network On the strength of feasibility surveys carried out by the Government of Maharashtra, it was decided to establish a VSAT network linking the Mantralaya HQ with divisional and district headquarters, and a VHF radio network linking district headquarters with sub-divisional and Taluka headquarters.

A separate VHF network was designed for Mumbai to meet the extensive needs of the city during disaster situations. VSAT Communication Network The Maharashtra disaster communications VSAT network consists of a hub station in Mumbai, a backup hub at Pune, and 37 remote stations distributed mainly among the district-level offices. Six remotes are located at divisional Commissioner’s Offices in Nasik, Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amravati. Each of the state’s 30 districts also has a VSAT terminal at district headquarters. Batteries and uninterrupted power supply system have been provided at each site.

Transponder space on Intelsat has been leased by VSNL to the state. The contract for the project implementation was awarded to Global Wireless Technology Limited. The design details were worked out along with the customer’s consultant (MELTRON) and the lead supply partner Scientific Atlanta, USA. A design review was conducted and the orders were processed on the vendors. Once the equipment was manufactured, the equipment was tested at the factory and clearances were given for shipment. At the same time, the acquisition of land and other civil works were initiated.

Throughout the process, the consultant played an essential role in deciding various issues for successful completion of the project. The project has been completed and acceptance testing finished in March 2000. The network can be expanded with another 200 VSAT terminals without any additional hub. The network is also being utilized for maintaining on-line records of each district-level transaction, after adding a LAN at each district headquarters. It is also planned to be used for computerized land records, agricultural inputs, commodity price movements, help in drought-prone areas and other rural development programs.

Additional technical and configuration details of the VSAT communication network are as follows: Mumbai Hub Station: The Mumbai hub uses 16-Watt power amplifiers for uplinking. A standby hub at Pune provides redundancy for the main Mumbai hub ensuring there is no total breakdown. Five signaling units (MSCU) are provided to manage network control through connection to the Network Management System (NMS). A continuous outbound carrier from the Mumbai Hub is monitored by all remote channel units as a pilot signal. This is used for data communication rom the NMS to remote channel units for system control, call assignments & M poll queries. In addition, an EPABX is connected to 7 modems (VCU) in order to provide 32 Satphone connections in Mantralaya. An e-mail router is connected to 3 SA modems (VCU) with a 64 KBPS data interface. There are 2 SA modems (VCU), one connected as a service channel and another as a data link with the Pune standby hub. The main power supply for all equipment is derived from a 5 KVA UPS which operates for a two hour duration. YESHADA – Pune Standby Hub: The Pune standby hub consists of a 4. m antenna with prime focus antenna feed similar to the Mumbai Hub. Indoor equipment and signaling systems are similar to the Mumbai Hub. Pune becomes the Master station in case Mumbai fails for some reason. Remote VSAT Stations: The remote VSAT equipment consists of 3. 8 m antennas and 4W Ku band transceivers in redundant mode, mounted outdoors below the antenna. Other hardware configuration is similar to the standby hub station in Pune. Terminal equipment configuration allows 3/8 EPABX, five telephones, e-mail and video conferencing facilities.

A UPS supplies 8 hours of standby operation when power supply fails at a remote station. Space Segment: The satellite segment for this project is leased from INTELSAT satellite 804 at 64 degrees. A bandwidth of three MHz and satellite EIRP of 26. 7 dbw is allotted for MEERP utilization. The transponder operates in the Ku band in the frequency region of 14 GHz for uplink and 11 GHz for down link. The system operates in DAMA mode, which enables the frequency and power resources of the satellite to be used only when a caller initiates a call.

Voice, Data and Video Channels: The full network can accommodate 60 voice carriers at 8 Kbit/s (30 simultaneous calls), 6 DATA carriers at 64 KBPS (3 e-mail data calls), and 2 video carriers at 384 Kbit/s (one to one conference). Whenever an e-mail server calls either from the Mumbai hub or from a remote VSAT, a channel is allotted and data transfer takes place. The network has also been provided with videoconferencing facility between any two stations by prior arrangement. The video picture is provided on two pre assigned carriers.

As and when a request is made by the user, the Mumbai hub will switch on both the carriers and the user connects the video call to start the video conference. Conclusion The Maharashtra disaster communications network will be used as part of an integrated, comprehensive disaster management program to forewarn the government of earthquakes, typhoons, floods and other such natural calamities. is another area of use. It will also contribute to the coordination among hospitals, voluntary organizations, police, fire brigades and the government during post-disaster relief and rehabilitation measures all over the state.

The network enables voice, data, fax, file transfers and e-mail connection anywhere in the state. Videoconferencing between district collectors, divisional commissioners and secretariat headquarters will be available for general state administration. This is a very well conceived and well planned project, the first of its kind in India. The Disaster Management Plan for the state of Maharashtra thus emerges as one of the most comprehensive programmes in the area of disaster management, which impinges so greatly on human life and society.

With the continued support of all the multilateral agencies and NGOs, this programme will represent a great example of the benefits of partnership in this vital area. References: 1. Background Paper on the Maharashtra Disaster Management Plan, prepared by Government of Maharashtra. 2. Maharashtra Government Contract No. EQR: 1098 / CR-5 / ERC-4 Awarded to M/s Global Wireless Technology Limited, Pune, India. 3. http://www. gsi. gov. in/quake. htm 4. http://www. karnatakafireservices. gov. in.


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