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Natural and Non-Natural Disasters in Jammu & Kashmir
   

Natural and Non-Natural Disasters in Jammu & Kashmir

A disaster is a situation in which the community is incapable of coping. It is a natural or human-caused event which causes intense negative impacts on people, goods, services and/or the environment, exceeding the affected community’s capability to respond; therefore the community seeks the assistance of government and international agencies. Disasters are often classified according to their:

a. causes – natural vs. human
b. speed of onset – sudden vs. slow

1 Natural Disaster: In J & K State, these types of disaster naturally occur in proximity to, and pose a threat to, people, structures or economic assets. They are caused by biological, geological, seismic, hydrologic, or meteorological conditions or processes in the natural environment (e.g., wind storm, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions).

a. wind Storm: Wind storm oftenly develops when a pressure is creating due to sudden rise in temperature gives rise to hot air, which in turn creates convectional air currents. Storm occurs when these conventional air currents are being displaced. Recently, wind storm created havoc in the valley damaging property worth crores of rupee. State was not prepared to face such type of disaster because it is first of its kind occurred in valley. Such a high intensity storm had never come before. Non availability of warning procedures, unpreparedness, mitigation procedure as well as technical expert to aware the people to construct wind proof roof tops were some reasons responsible for such catastrophe.

b. Earthquakes: An earthquake is a trembling or shaking movement of the earth’s surface, resulting from plate movements along a fault-plane or as a result of volcanic activity. Earthquakes can strike suddenly, violently, and without warning at any time of the day or night. In October 2005, Jammu and Kashmir jolted with a major earthquake measuring with 7.5 magnitude on Richter scale. It had trembled almost the whole state particularly the valley. Again, the state was not prepared well to face that Disaster. Several shocks have been felt till date which depicts that another major quake may come in future since the state lie in zone v. it is the high time to prepare ourselves in advance to face such disaster in a planned way to minimize the loss.

c. Floods: This phenomenon occurs when water covers previously dry areas, i.e., when large amounts of water flow from a source such as a river or a broken pipe onto a previously dry area, or when water overflows banks or barriers. Floods can be environmentally important to local ecosystems. For example, some river floods bring nutrients to soil such as in Egypt where the annual flooding of the Nile River carries nutrients to otherwise dry land. Floods can also have an economic and emotional impact on people, particularly if their property is directly affected. Having a better understanding of what causes flooding can help people to be better prepared and to perhaps minimize or prevent flood damage. Jammu and Kashmir witnessed several floods in the past. Various steps have been adopted to face this disaster in a positive ways.

d. Landslides: The term landslide refers to the downward movement of masses of rock and soil. Landslides are caused by one or a combination of the following factors: change in slope gradient, increasing the load the land must bear, shocks and vibrations, change in water content, ground water movement, frost action, weathering of shocks, removal or, or changing the type of vegetation covering
slopes. Landslide hazard areas occur where the land has certain characteristics which contribute to the risk of the downhill movement of material. The main reasons of landslides in our state are stream or wave activity which has caused erosion, undercut a bank or cut into a bank to cause the surrounding land to be unstable, the presence or potential for snow avalanches, the presence of an alluvial fan which indicates vulnerability to the flow of debris or sediments and the presence of impermeable soils, such as silt or clay, which are mixed with granular soils such as sand and gravel. Sometimes it has been triggered by other natural hazards such as rains, floods, earthquakes, as well as human-made causes, such as grading, terrain cutting and filling, excessive development, etc. Because the factors affecting landslides can be geophysical or human-made, they can occur in developed areas, undeveloped areas, or any area where the terrain has been altered for roads, houses, utilities, buildings, etc.

e. Snow Avlanche: it is also one of the major disasters being faced by the state in the past. It is mainly witnessed in the valley and its adjoining areas. it can be tackled by observing certain precautionary measures circulated by the disaster experts.

2 Human-Made Disasters: These are disasters or emergency situations of which the principal, direct causes are identifiable human actions, deliberate or otherwise. Apart from “technological disasters” this mainly involves situations in which civilian populations suffer casualties, losses of property, basic services and means of livelihood as a result of war, civil strife or other conflicts, or policy implementation. In many cases, people are forced to leave their homes, giving rise to congregations of refugees or externally and/or internally displaced persons as a result of civil strife, an airplane crash, a major fire, oil spill, epidemic, terrorism, etc.

BASICS TO FACE DISASTER: Disaster management is a cyclical process; the end of one phase is the beginning of another (see diagram below), although one phase of the cycle does not necessarily have to be completed in order for the next to take place. Often several phases are taking place concurrently. Timely decision making during each phase results in greater preparedness, better warnings, reduced vulnerability and/or the prevention of future disasters. The complete disaster management cycle includes the shaping of public policies and plans that either addresses the causes of disasters or mitigates their effects on people, property, and infrastructure. The mitigation and preparedness phases occur as improvements are made in anticipation of an event. By embracing development, a community’s ability to mitigate against and prepare for a disaster is improved. As the event unfolds, disaster managers become involved in the immediate response and long-term recovery phases.

Mitigation: Measures put in place to minimize the results from a disaster. Examples: building codes and zoning; vulnerability analyses; public education.

Preparedness: Planning how to respond. Examples: preparedness plans; emergency exercises/training; warning systems.

Response: Initial actions taken as the event takes place. It involves efforts to minimize the hazards created by a disaster. Examples: evacuation; search and rescue; emergency relief.

Recovery: Returning the community to normal. Ideally, the affected area should be put in a condition equal to or better than it was before the disaster took place. Examples: temporary housing; grants; medical care.

 

 

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