A natural hazard is a warning that a naturally occurring incident will have an off-putting effect on humans. This negative effect is what is called as natural disaster. When the hazardous events take place very vigorously and harms humans, then those events are called natural disasters. Disasters can be of various types such as storms, earthquakes, tsunami, drought, floods, etc.There are two types of disasters namely natural and man made. Natural disasters occur without human involvement such as earthquakes. Man made disasters are caused solely by man and his activities and include global warming, acid rain,etc.Storms are basically caused due to disturbance in the atmosphere by strong and violent winds or by hail. Storms can be classified into the following classification:
Different types of storms are wind storms, coastal storms, tornadoes, hurricane, etc. Wind storms are often connected with other storms, such as hurricanes but may occur independently. High winds can cause downed treesand power lines, flying fragments and trash, and building collapses, all of which may lead to power outages, transportation disruptions, damage to buildings and vehicles, and injury or death. Flying debris is the primary cause of damage during a wind storm. While a building may be generally structurally sound, broken glass from windowscause injuries inside and outside the building and extensive damage to building content.
Coastal storms, tropical storms and hurricanes have an adverse effect on the people when they cross their threshold values. If a city is heavily populated and has highly developed coastline then it makes the city among the most susceptible to storm and other wind related damage.
A tornado is a violent storm with winds up to 300 miles per hour. It appears as a rotating funnel-shaped cloud, grey to black in color, extending toward the ground from the base of a thundercloud. The average tornado moves south west to north east at a forward speed of 30 miles per hour, but tornadoes can move in any direction and may vary from stationary to 70 miles per hour. Tornadoes are most frequent east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months between the hours of 3 PM and 9 PM. Tornadoes may also accompany hurricanes. Tornadoes can deracinate trees and buildings and turn harmless objects into lethal armaments in a matter of seconds. Tornadoes are especially dangerous because they appear transparent until they begin to pick up debris and dust. These storms are the most aggressive of all atmospheric phenomena and are the most vicious. Nearly 800 tornadoes occur across the nation every year, resulting in almost 80 deaths and 1,500 injuries. Damage paths can exceed one mile wide and 50 miles long.
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low-pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. Thunderstorms in the Northern regions take a counter clockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface accompanying the cyclone. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:
ü A tropical gloominess is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms, with a defined surface circulation, and maximum sustained winds of 38 miles per hour or less.
ü A tropical storm is a structured system of strong thunderstorms, with a defined surface circulation, and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour.
ü A hurricane is an intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms, with a well-defined surface circulation, and maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher.
ü Heavy rain, coastal flooding, and powerful winds are commonly associated with hurricanes. Storm surge is often the greatest hurricane-related hazard.1 Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more. In addition, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe inundation in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides.
NATURAL HAZARD RISK ASSESSMENT:
In India, the susceptibility of the buildings and houses are not studied in detail. Vulnerability Atlas do classify the buildings based on those strengths as high or very high etc but a little more elaborative research work is necessary in assessing the vulnerability for reducing risks. There is an inevitable need to generate the scenarios in all regions by probabilistic methods like assuming a strong storm arrives in the region. Then we have to prepare a model of the side effects to reduce heavy losses in future.
MEASURES TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT:
The Ministry of Home Affairs,Government of India,is the ministry which is responsible for disaster mitigation in India.Additionally,State level mitigation plans also have been putforth to contribute something to relief operations during emergency times.Meteorological Department monitors the cyclone prone areas.They prepare maps which show the hazardous zones of different intensities.This helps in clearly identifying some of the major cyclone prone areas.Instrumentation in many location help for recording wind intensities. History is of great importance in predicting the cyclones. There are high probabilities for storms occurring in the same area where it occurred some years ago. Warning systems have been installed by the Meteorological Department in our country. It has received a good response since it predicts more or less correctly.
The mere installation of warning systems alone wont help in mitigating the storms. Hence our Government has taken some serious measures by establishing a system of fast communication between Meteorological Department which forecast the arrival of cyclones and the respective authorities in State and the districts so that people get the information very quickly.National Computer Network is being established. E-mail systems are also currently being established by our Government.
Moreover, Government is also involved in development of scenarios in which they will generate the damage scenarios in case a major cyclone occurs. These scenarios are of great importance in preparing necessary plans for the affected people.
Disaster mitigation is the ongoing effort to lessen the impact disasters have on people and property. Fewer people and communities would be affected by natural disasters with the use of this process. Because of the varying degree of each natural disaster, there are different mitigation strategies for each. Outlined in the following tables are some important recommendations for protection against disaster.Disaster management is the process of talking in hand an event that has the prospective to seriously dislocate the social fabric of the community. Disaster management is similar to disaster mitigation, however it implies a whole-of-government approach to using community resources to fight the effects of an event and assumes the community will be self-sufficient for periods of time until the situation can be stabilized. Through disaster management, we cannot completely counteract the damage but it is possible to minimize the risks through early warning, provide developmental plans for recuperation from the disaster, generate communication and medical resources, and aid in rehabilitation and post-disaster reconstruction.
Disaster attentiveness includes all of the activities that are carried out preceding the advance notice of a calamity in order to facilitate the use of available resources, relief, and treatment in the best possible fashion. Disaster preparedness starts at the local community level. If local resources were insufficient, it would branch out to the national level, and if needed, the international level. Every country must take steps before the disaster such as storms occur. Every individual can actually contribute to it by doing his/her role.
Before The Storm—Mitigation For Your Home
Know your home‟s construction and take this into consideration when making preparations.You should keep your house ready by protecting every opening with accordion shutters, panels or impact-resistant windows that meet the current code. Inspect windows to make sure they are in working condition. Practice putting up panels or opening/closing and locking accordion shutters if you have them. Inspect doors to make sure they are in good condition.Add extra locks or slide bolts to inward-swinging doors.French doors and double doors are especially vulnerable.Inspect your roof.Engage an expert to repair trusses or beams that have cracks, large knots or insect damage and inspect boards along roof edges and gales for signs of decay caused by leaks.Repair all possible cracked or missing roof tiles.Protect your garage door with hurricane panels or reinforce from the inside with wood studs or metal braces.Trim the trees and shrubs.Chop limbs or trees that could fall against the house.Know where your shut-off valves are for water, propane and electricity. Area sewer systems may back up in which case you should turn off water to avoid back up into your home. Boca West is not in a flood zone, however, purchase of flood insurance is inexpensive and recommended, regardless of zone.
Before The Storm—Personal Plans and Supplies
Plan ahead by knowing where you will go, how you will get there. Tell your friends, neighbours where you are going.Planning to Stay Put Gather & store supplies, including but not limited to: Packaged/canned non-perishable food; barbeque grill with sufficient propane to cook food; a manual can opener; battery operated fans; battery operated radio/television; Cash—ATMs may not work in a power outage; a full tank of gasoline; batteries; candles or portable lights/flashlights; bottled water; first aid kit; ice chest with ice;matches; medicines; toiletries; storage & trash bags; paper plates/plastic utensils; bug-off spray; fire extinguisher; tools. Residents with special medical needs, such as those using portable in-home kidney dialysis machine, should make arrangements far in advance of a hurricane. If you don‟t have a generator, know where to go to receive your treatments.Learn how to open your garage door when power to your home fails.Pick up an “Alert” door hang tag at the Security Office — particularly if you are in a mid-rise building. These tags help Security Officers identify which residents need “Help” or if all is “O.K.” in a particular residence.
As the Storm Approaches -Best Practices for Inside the Home
Check medical supplies. If you don’t have enough, go to the pharmacy now.Top off your food supplies. You should need only perishable goods at this point to complement your staples and canned goods. If you don’t have those things, get them right away.Check the first-aid kit. Replenish missing items. Check your tools. Put them all in one place. Scrub plastic water containers with household soap, swab with bleach, rinse thoroughly, let dry. Then fill containers with water.Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings. Start freezing plastic gallon-size freezer bags and 2-litre soda bottles filled with water. Do not open the refrigerator unless you absolutely must. A portable ice chest can be used as a substitute to keep food and beverages cool.Put valuables and documents, including a list of possessions, in a waterproof container. Place your videotape or photographs of valuables in there, too.Bring pets indoors. Make sure they have a two-week supply of food and are wearing identification.To sterilize the bathtub, scrub with household soap, swab with bleach, rinse thoroughly, and let dry. Seal the drain with a silicone caulking that you can easily remove later. Fill the tub with water.Stock your safe place with a first-aid kit, small supply of food and water, flash light, games for the kids, blankets and a mattress.Review with family members escape routes out of the house.Make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguisher is.Depending on where the storm is, shut off electricity, water and gas.Stay indoors unless you absolutely must go out.
As the Storm Approaches – Best Practices for Outside the Home
Close shutters, lash down awnings or, if you don’t have any other protection, mount plywood across your windows and sliding glass doors, including the garage door.
Identify the point in time to shut off the water, gas and electricity. Shut them if you have to evacuate.Bring things that could blow around: toys, bicycles, garbage cans, patio furniture.If you have a TV antenna or satellite dish, now is the time to take it down. Unplug socket wires and be careful not to touch power lines with the antenna.Do not drain the swimming pool. Do not sink lawn furniture into the pool since you could ruin the pool’s surfacing.Switch off power to the swimming pool pump, pool lights and chlorinator. Incase your pool pump is exposed, wrap with a waterproof cover and tie it securely. If you’re handy, remove the pump and store it inside.Forget about trimming the trees as no one will come to pick up the debris at this point and the storm could turn your trimmings into airborne missiles.During the Storm,go to a room in your house without windows and remain until the storm has entirely passed.After the Storm,If power is lost, turn off electrical appliances so that when it is restored the demand is not excessive.Try your cell phone, hard-wired phone or other communication device to determine if there is service.Call your relatives to let them know you are ok. Be patient. Anticipate that there will be interruptions of service. Stay away from all downed power or cable lines.Report these to Govt office immediately.Do not walk through deep standing water — you do no know if there are submerged power lines.Refrain from venturing outside for at least 24 hours after the passage of a storm to allow emergency vehicles to respond to calls for service on uncongested roads.Listen to broadcasts of information on your battery operated radio or television. Refrain from using excessive water or flushing toilets often. Fill your bathtub prior to the storm and use this water and a bucket to flush.
Cyclonic storms have caused destruction to lives of many people in our country from time to time. The time has arrived when we need to look upon mitigating this disaster seriously. It is not only necessary to execute the storm mitigation plan but also we need to find a combined approach to stop other disasters too.