Learning Disaster Management - Integrated Approach


Mrs. Vinu Agarwal, Mrs. Vibha Singh Kushw, Mrs. Harjeet Sondh

SSR College of Education, Silvassa


“Natural hazards will always challenge us. But it is within our power to ensure that poverty does not turn hazards into unmanageable disasters. And it is within our power to join forces, address the immense complexities of disaster reduction, and build a world of resilient communities and nations equipped to counter the adverse impact of natural hazards and related environmental and technological disasters”.

                                                      Mr. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

Japan’s government said the cost of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast could reach $309-billion (U.S.), making it the world’s costliest natural disaster on record.


The extensive damage to housing, roads, utilities and businesses across seven prefectures (states) has resulted in losses of between Ұ16-trillion and Ұ25-trillion ($198-billion and $309-billion), according to a Cabinet Office estimate it. That could drag the economic growth rate down by 0.5 per cent this year.


Natural disasters have been visiting every part of the globe at one time or the other. The world is becoming increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters. From earthquakes to floods and famines, mankind is even more threatened by the forces of nature. Disasters can strike at any time, at any place. Nearly three million people worldwide may have been killed in past 20 years due to natural disasters such as landslides, earthquakes, floods, snow avalanches, cyclones etc. Ninety per cent of the natural disasters and ninety five percent of the total disaster related deaths worldwide occur in developing countries in which India has the second largest share. Recognizing the need of the hour, the decade 1990-99 was declared as “International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction” with a main objective to focus on disaster management planning for prevention, reduction, mitigation, preparedness and response to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters.


Disaster Management and School

The students who are the future citizens should have a better understanding of various disasters, their causes and impact and knowing the mitigation strategies. So the students who are the future disaster managers should have a better know-how on handling disasters. In view of the above the inclusion of “Disaster Management” in the Social Sciences Curriculum in all the High Schools is necessary in the states. The course should cover nature and types of disasters, need for their management, challenges and precautions to be taken to mitigate the effects and related aspects of the Disaster Management.


Disaster Management and Education

Prevention is better than cure, is an old saying which is very apt in the context of disaster management. Every year colossal amount of resources is used by our Government as well as Aid agencies in relief and rehabilitation measures. It is now becoming increasingly evident and mitigation and investment in disaster preparedness can save thousand of lives, vital economics assets, livelihoods and reduce the cost of overall disaster relief.

Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development in its Tenth Five Year Plan emphasized the need for integrating disaster management in the existing education system in India. In addition, the government of India launched a set of nation–wide disaster risk mitigation initiatives that addresses larger aspects of development in order to safeguard the developmental gains. One of the important initiatives includes disaster management in the curriculum of school and professional educational has been recommended to the Boards. Empowering the younger generation on the preventive aspects, the types of services to be rendered in a disaster situation and the need for humane approach from part of the curriculum.


The Course Objectives…

The curriculum on Disaster Management should consist the following topics:

·        The nature and types of hazards

·        Natural and man-made disasters and need for their management

·        Efforts made in various regions for disaster preparedness and mitigation

·        Role of community and schools in Disaster Management.

·        Partnership with various Government and non-Government agencies.

·        Use of modern and scientific technologies to combat disasters and

·        Survival skills.


The main emphasis of the subject should be on

·        Awareness and sensitization of students and teachers on various hazards

·        Preventive and precautionary measures on various harards.


Disaster Management and School

 Schools form a critical part in the life of a community. Not only do they shape the future generations of the country, they also have a vital role in instilling important cultures in each society by imparting those values to children. Children can hence become harbingers of valuable messages to parents and the community itself. It is in this context that all the schools should introduce ‘Disaster management’ as part of its Frontline Curriculum for Class 8 in 2003 – to nurture and promote a culture of prevention, mitigation and preparedness against the harmful and devastating effects of natural and manmade disasters that take many lives, livelihoods and property year after year.


In a country like India which is extremely disaster prone, it is needles to emphasize the important role that teachers and students can play in creating awareness in communities, and reaching vital information to them. It is not uncommon to find that a school teacher or student has become a model disaster manager for a community that has faced a severe disaster in the recent past. They have done appreciable work in generating an awareness about local disaster vulnerabilities, how to cope with them, and work together as a team to reduce the impact of the disasters on the community. Truly, these are examples that reiterate the strong social responsibility that the institution of a school carries with it.


When a disaster strikes, a school very often becomes a temporary shelter for the victims. Teachers and students may be required to carry out search and rescue, or first aid as initial response. They might be the most affective trauma counselors for those who have suffered devastating losses during the disaster. Hence, there is a need to extend a practical component of training to the schools in certain aspects of disaster responses.


This organization should continuously monitor the security and safety of the institution. They should formulate and upgrade mitigation plans including evacuation of inmates to safe place, their administration, fire prevention and fire fighting measures, measures during public disturbances etc. Security staff and senior students should be continuously trained. Office staff, teachers and supervisors must work out the details of administration and also establishment of a control centre and plan to intimate to parents. This aspect should be intimated to the parents also and warning displayed on the notice boards.


Training the Teacher

To ensure effective curriculum transaction the schools have to take up extensive training programmes for the teachers in a phased manner across the country. This requires a large number of resource persons who would take up the work along with the schools. To achieve the above ends, two Master Trainer’s programmes consisting of Principals and senior teachers across the country have to be organized. The success of these programmes will reflect in the successive training programmes where the support from these master trainers adds immense value to the training programmes.


It is time to stop thinking that disasters are those that have struck others, but will happen to us. One must not wait for another Super Cyclone (Orissa 1999), Bhuj earthquake (Gujarat 2001) or Bhopal Gas Tragedy (1984) and recently the Tsunami in Japan(2011) to happen to realize the need for disaster management. Remember,  more  than  60% of India is earthquake prone, 12% flood prone, 8% cyclone prone. . .  more than 70% of the cultivable land is prone to drought. We have a large number of chemical industries producing hazardous material. Fires accounts are some of the largest losses in India. It will be our endeavor to support the Government of India in creating a culture of prevention through out the country. For this, we take for granted the motivation and enthusiasm of our teachers across the country, in supporting this cause to reduce vulnerabilities of communities to disasters.


Children are our future. They must be protected from disasters. A disaster resistant school and home are out moral obligation towards their safety and security.


A sample organization at Education Institute could be formed out of their present structure as under:-

Institutional Team Preparation.



In a first ever attempt by any educational institution in the country, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has integrated a short course on Disaster Management in the school curriculum. With nearly 85 per cent of the land area prone to disasters it is high time the younger generation is prepared to combat disasters. It should not be restricted only to CBSE rather the awareness must be form all the state govt. school too.


Finally, as students and teachers, we have a very important role in society that of sensitizing and educating our families and neighborhoods to ensure that we all move together, towards a safer India.



·        Disaster Education Syllabus for Schools in Fiji, Ministry of Education, Government of Fiji, 2007

·        Building a Strategic Direction for Education in Fiji, Ministry of Education, Government of Fiji, 2005.

·        Disaster Education and school safety in Fiji – Report of Workshop on 28 February 2007

·        Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for School Committees, US Department of Education Offices of Safe and Drug Free Schools, 2004

·        Disaster Awareness for Schools : A Resource Guide for Caribbean Teachers, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, Barbados, 2002

·        Disaster Education, Building, Building Research Institute (BRI) and National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo, Japan 2007

·        Natural Hazards in the Pacific :  Fact Sheets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji 2005.

·        Before, During and After Earthquake, Cyclone, Flood, Tsunami, Handouts, National Disaster Management Unit, Government of Fiji.



Received on 16.04.2012

Revised on   26.06.2012

Accepted on 20.07.2012

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