[Solved] Disaster preparedness is the first step in any disaster management process. Explain how hazard zonation mapping will help disaster mitigation in the case of landslides. (UPSC GS-3 Mains 2019)

“Prevention is better than cure” is the motto of disaster management strategists around the world. The first step i.e. disaster preparedness embodies half of the disaster management planning process. Better preparedness against disaster checks the excess loss of life and property and thus saves the revenues of the government to a greater extent. Hazard Zonation Mapping which is an efficient to check disaster loss to a greater extent by micromanagement of the different disaster-prone zones. It considers a particular disaster such as earthquake and map it according to its severity and impact in different areas.

 Landslide hazard zonation mapping and its use in disaster management process.

 • Landslide hazard zonation mapping at regional level of a large area provides a broad trend of landslide potential zones. A macro level landslide hazard zonation for a small area may provide a better insight into the landslide hazards.

 • The hazard zonation map produced by using techniques such as Landslide Hazard Evaluation Factor rating scheme classifies the area into relative hazard classes in which the high hazard zones well correspond with high frequency of landslides.

 • In general, it displays the spatial distribution of landslides in a region.

 • Based on landslide zonation map different approach can be applied for different areas of vulnerability based on severity of landslide.

 • This helps in better management of resources and reduces the cost of disaster preparedness.

 Further, landslides of different intensity require different approach. This can help planners to do cost effective and smart planning.

 • The major landslide prone areas in India include the Western Ghats and Konkan Hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra), Eastern Ghats (Araku region in Andhra

 Pradesh), North-East Himalayas (Darjeeling and Sikkim) and North West Himalayas (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir).

 • Micromanagement through landslide zonation will help to mitigate disaster related threats in a better way.

 Components of disaster preparedness

  • Disaster preparedness is a continuous and integrated process resulting from a wide range of risk reduction activities and resources. It is considered as the first step in any disaster management process as it involves: Risk assessment (to point out which measures to implement) and early warning systems
  • Life safeguarding equipment, for example, cyclone shelters
  • Resources and emergency kits in anticipation of need, maintaining emergency rosters and evacuation plans, emergency information and communication systems Training to ensure adequate emergency response capacity, maintenance of preparedness levels, public education and preparedness campaigns Landslides and disaster preparedness in India
  • Over 12% of the area is prone to landslides in India. Hazard zonation is a process where hazardous spots are identified so that steps are taken in order to meet any disaster that would occur.
  • Role of zonal mapping in mitigating landslides
  • Identifying vulnerable areas: Zonal mapping of landslide areas will surely allow authorities to identify those places that are vulnerable to landslides. By keeping a focus on these areas, authorities can be well prepared to handle sudden crises.
  • Ex: Mountain slopes with no vegetation are the most vulnerable to landslides. In addition, high rainfall aids landslides.
  • Relocation of human settlement: Saving human lives is at the core of disaster mitigation exercise. In this regard, the role of preparedness becomes of utmost importance. The human population vulnerable due to landslides can be relocated to safer regions.
  • Ex: Houses present on mountain slopes need to be relocated in order to protect them from landslides.
  • Creating awareness: The threat of disasters like landslides cannot be handled by authorities alone. The citizen participation will ensure that they will not be immediately affected by the landslide. In this regard, authorities have to make people aware of the threat and also techniques to protect themselves. Ex: Mock drills.

 Capacity building: The infrastructure needs to be built well in advance in order to tackle any sudden disasters. The people handling operations must be trained to handle any kind of crisis. Ex: Rescue operation training.

 Role of zonal mapping in mitigating landslides

 Identifying vulnerable areas

 Zonal mapping of landslide areas will surely allow authorities to identify those places that are vulnerable to landslides. By keeping a focus on these areas, authorities can be well prepared to handle sudden crisis.

 Ex: Mountain slopes with no vegetation are the most vulnerable to landslides. In addition, high rainfall aids landslides.

 Relocation of human settlement

 Saving human lives is at the core of disaster mitigation exercise. In this regard the role of preparedness becomes utmost important. The human population vulnerable due to landslides can be relocated to safer regions.

 Ex: Houses present on mountain slopes needs to be relocated in order to protect them from landslides.

 Creating awareness

  • The threat of disasters like landslides cannot be handled by authorities alone. The citizen participation will ensure that they will not be immediately affected by the landslide.
  • In this regard authorities have to make people aware of the threat and also techniques to protect themselves.
  • Ex: Mock drills.
  • Capacity building
  • The infrastructure needs to be built well in advance in order to tackle any sudden disasters. The people handling operations must be trained to handle any kind of crisis.
  • Ex: Rescue operation training.

 According to a recent study, India is among the most landslides affected countries, accounting for at least 28% of such events in the past 12 years. In such a scenario, hazard zonation mapping will help disaster mitigation in the case of landslides.

  • Landslide hazard zonation (LHZ) mapping refers to the division of land into homogeneous areas and ranking of these areas according to their degrees of actual or potential hazard caused by landslides and mass movements.
  • The susceptibility of a given area to landslides can be determined and depicted using hazard zonation. Once landslide susceptibility is identified, intervention projects can be developed which avoid, prevent, or substantially mitigate the hazard.
  • These maps provide important information to support decisions for urban development and land use planning. Also, effective utilization of these maps can considerably reduce the damage potential and other cost effects of landslides.
  • The LHZ maps identify and delineate unstable hazard-prone areas, so that environmental regeneration programmes can be initiated adopting suitable mitigation measures.
  • Even if the hazardous areas cannot be avoided altogether, their recognition in the initial stages of planning may help to adopt suitable precautionary measures.

 Conclusion:

 It has ratified United Nations Convention for Disaster Risk Reduction which is the custodian of ‘Sendai framework’ which aims to reduce disaster risks, decrease losses and help in effective mitigation. It has seven targets and four priorities for action. Disaster Disaster risk reduction cuts across different aspects and sectors of development. There are 25 targets related to disaster risk reduction in 10 of the 17 sustainable development goals, firmly establishing the role of disaster risk reduction as a core development strategy.

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