Widespread disruptions occur when a country/state is hit by a natual calamity or a man-made one. No one knows what to do next as we are unaware and the shock of the sudden occurrence stumps us. This is when we need rescue operators and those who are trained to deal with such situations. To get trained in disaster management, one needs to have a presence of mind and the will to standby any situation that arises. This is a strategic course and not something that relies on theory or old experiments. There are many risks involved when a disaster hits — electricity problems, chemical releases, death mass increases and decay rises up. Dealing in such situations needs organisation and planning. This is where the role of such programmes in the subject come into play. These programmes will encompass researched methodologies, policies that are in lieu for such emergencies, managing teams and immediate response training is also provided.
What is the current situation like?
Even after a week of the Jammu and Kashmir floods, the exact damage is not not known while over 2lakh people have been rescued. The estimated death toll is over 200 which is expected to rise. Though rescue operations are in full swing, the damage is too big for the state to recover to its original flourish.
Disaster Management preparedness is essential to deal with such emergencies. Lt Gen BK Bopanna says, “The local civic administrations need to have a proper response team. They need to call a meeting with various departments like the fire brigade, panchayat heads, hospitals and those who will be involved in relief operations to lay out some precautions.” He also adds that the army should only be called when a situation goes beyond the control of a local authority.
The larger hole we need to fill is to bring in exclusively trained professionals in this field for such operations. The general public should be made aware of the dos and donts. “At the state level the government should ensure that everyone is prepared (respective government departments for relief measures). In a crisis situation they should be mustered to tackle the operations,” he says.
While jobs are available at various level in the sector, what is lacking is the manpower needed to run such operations. Some job roles available include Social Worker, Environmental Specialist or Analyst, Response Officer, Infrastructure Project Manager, Security Analyst and work as a Disaster Management Officer.
You could also teach or do research in this area. Rehabilitation centres and consultants also recruit those with a degree in disaster management. Regional and District government offices are also on the lookout for such professionals.
Lt Gen BK Bopanana who heads the Amity Institute of Disaster Management says, “Career prospects need to pick up. A lot of students undergo short-term programmes, but instead they should also equip themselves with a degree which will enhance training in this area. Our students at the institute undergo a one-week military training, which will give them an idea on how the actual setting is.”
■ Amity University
The Amity Institute of Disaster Management, a centre under the University in Noida offers certificate courses in Disaster Management. Modules include Principles/Components of Disaster Management, Organisational Structure for Disaster Management, Risk Assessment and Disaster Response, NGO Management and SWOT Analysis based on Design and Formulation Strategies.
■ Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management
Established in 2006, the centre functioning under Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumabi, offers MA and MSc in Disaster Management. It also offers an online certificate course on disaster management and a Diploma in Psychosocial Care and Support in Disaster Management. Some past recruiters include United Nations Development Programme, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, Naandi Foundation, CARE India, National Disaster Management Authority, AFPRO. Those with diverse educational background can apply for this programme. Several Mphil/Phd students also pursue their research in the subject through the centre.
■ PONDICHERRY UNIVERSITY
The Department of Coastal Disaster Management offers an MSc and a PhD in the subject. The centre which is located in Port Blair has an Automatic weather Station, Differential Global Positioning System, Oceanographic Equipment, Microscope with Image analyser, Marine Magnetometer, Electrical Resistivity Imaging and a Seismograph.
■ National Institute for Disaster Management (NIDM)
Set-up by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, NIDM offers training programmes/modules in Incident Response System, Database and Statistics for Disaster Risk Management, Critical Infrastructures and Disaster Risk Management, Geoinformatics Applications in Chemical Risk Management, School Safety, Urban Risk Mitigation, Flood Disaster Risk Management - Hydrological Forecasts : Requirements and Best Practices and Geoinformatics Applications in Disaster Management among others. Online training is also available.
■ National Civil Defence College,
Started in 1957, this was the first disaster management training institution. It offers training courses in Civil Defence and Disaster Management, Course Industrial Disaster Management Course and Disaster Management Course for Senior Executives From Government and Industries. Specialised skill courses on Chemical Disaster First Responders Course, Flood/Cyclone Disaster Response Course and Earthquake Disaster Response Course are also offered. Lectures, Simulation Exercise (where technology reenacts real-life disasters), Field Exercise, Performance Evaluation Exercise, Film Shows and Industrial visits are also undertaken.
■ Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
The institute offers Disaster Management as an elective subject in MSW at both Amritapuri and Coimbatore campuses. The third and fourth semester of this two-year programme will focus on the specialisation and involves field work and a ten-week research project.
■ Annamalai University
The institute offers an MA in Disaster Management. Modules include Natural Resource Management, Environmental Economic Analysis, Economics of Pollution, Financial Issues in Disaster Management, Rehabilitation Management of Disaster and Economics of Disaster Management.
Kaviya Sanjeevi (firstname.lastname@example.org)