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Disaster management Cheat Sheet by

Definition, disaster management cycle, psychological phases, psychological effects of disaster, general & ethical prinicples, classification of disasters, factors effecting vulnerability


"­som­ething having potential to cause harm, damage or danger to people, property or envi."
"a sudden great misfor­tune, calami­ty" (oxford dictio­nary)
disaster management
"an event, natural or man-made, immediate or progre­ssive, which impacts with such severity that the affected community has to respond by taking except­ional measur­es"

Disaster management cycle (MPDRR)

series of steps used to prepare, contain and mitigate unexpected events - lessen the impact of unexpected events and recover as many resources as possible
reduce impact
3 levels:
primary - before disaster
secondary - during disater, to reduce severity
tertiary - after disaster, to ensure it doesnt occur again
prevent the disaster possible, and if not mitigate
risk assessment
planning & policy develo­pment
education, awareness
building capacity to respond effect­ively when disaster occurs
planning, training, developing resources
steps taken to reduce expected damage
early warning systems
logistics and supply chain management (distr­ibution of supply &t­ran­sport)
security and law enforc­ement
continuity planning (process to ensure org functions during and after disaster - minimize downtime, maintain critical services, reduce disrup­tion)
unpred­ict­able, sudden event
emergency commun­ication
immediate actions upon disaster
ruscue works, first aid etc
rescue teams
medical services
bringing population and place to pre-di­saster stage
rehabi­lit­ation (after disaster - decision making, to bring pop back) and recons­tru­ction (after rehab - implem­enting decisions to return to pre disaster phase)
damage assessment
resource coordi­nation
psycho­logical support

Classi­fic­ation of disasters

disasters can fall in multiple categories
common disasters in india are natural and man- made (flood, cyclones, droughts, earthq­uakes, landsl­ides)
geological (earth­quake, landslides)
hydrol­ogical (floods, avalaches - rapid flow of snow down slopes)
metero­logical (hurri­cane, cyclone - north is anti-c­loc­kwise, blizzard)
climat­olo­gical (wildlife desser­tif­ica­tion)
man made
industrial and transp­ort­ation accidents
infras­tru­cture failure
envi disasters caused by - toxic, oil spills­,de­for­est­ation
pandemic (global)
epidemic (regional)
biological (biolo­gical warfare (for war) and bioter­rorism- using bacteria, virus etc with intent to kill/i­mmo­bilism humans, accidental release of pathogens)
complex emerge­ncies
conflict related
humani­tarian (famine - shortage of food, mass displa­cement of pop)
social (riots, protests)

General principles (C4MP GRIEF)

compre­hensive approach
every stage of the cycle is imp
community partic­ipation
all should take resp + help other
capacity building
skills/ learning experience of ppl (eg- firefi­ghters, doctors etc)
continuous learning (from past disasters) and improv­ement
multi-­sta­keh­older collab­oration
in all stages - govt, ngos, private, commun­ities, indivi­duals
post disaster recovery
following up and supprting victims even after disaster
gender & vulner­ability consid­eration
more support during disasters - women, children, elderly, PWD
risk reduction and prevention
inform­ation management
sharing accurate info with author­ities + prevent info leaks to public
early warning signs
to preven­t/m­iti­gat­e/e­vacuate
flexib­ility & adapta­bility
diff strategies for diff disasters (or same disaster in diff times)

Disaster threats

Tradit­ional threats
present and experi­enced for a long time and still causes drastic impact - we have not elimin­ate­d/c­ont­ained them, only somewhat modified their efforts
1. natural phenomenon - earthq­uakes, cyclones, tsunamis, droughts etc
2. man-made - major accidents
inc in pop has lead to inc in % of death - more ppl living in inhabi­table areas, more areas modified and made more vulnerable (eg: tin roofs in areas suscep­tible to cyclones - lethal weapon)
New threats
arise due to tech, climate change, changing societal dynamics
1. cybera­ttacks
2. climate change related events - heatwaves, prolonged droughts, extreme storms
3. civil unrest - terrorism, hijacking, wars
4. hazardous substances (bhopal gas tragedy - 1985)
5. atomic & nuclear sources (chernobyl nuclear power plant - 1986)

Psycho­logical effects of disaster

vary in intensity, duration
depends on the nature of the disaster, the level of exposure, individual resili­ence, and available support systems.
Primary trauma­tiz­ation
direct emotional and psycho­logical impact experi­enced by indivi­duals directly exposed (exper­ien­cin­g/w­itn­essing) to the disaster
flashb­acks, psych numbing, anxiety, fear, vulner­ability
Secondary trauma­tiz­ation
also known as vicarious trauma­tiz­ati­on/­com­passion fatigue
are indirectly exposed to the disaster through close contact with direct trauma victims
may intern­alize distress of affected indivi­duals - more guilt, emo swings and fatigue
first respon­ders, healthcare profes­sio­nals, volunt­eers, family & friends
Delayed effects
sometimes referred to as "­delayed onset PTSD"
some people may not immedi­ately display severe reactions to the trauma but develop symptoms later on - after days, weeks, or months after the disaster; maybe triggered by remind­ers­/st­ressors
Psycho­logical Conditions
PTSD (flash­backs, nightm­ares, hyperv­igi­lance, avoidance)
Anxiety and Fear (unsafe & lack of control, abt future disasters etc)
Depression (hopel­ess­ness, loss of activities)
Grief and Loss
Survivor's Guilt
Immediate Emotional Responses
Psycho­logical Shock (numb/­det­ached from reality)
Sleep Distur­bances (could be due to anxiety & fear)
Increased Aggression or Irrita­bility
Cognitive Challenges
Displa­cement and Disori­ent­ation (from their old homes - difficulty adapting)
Decreased Cognitive Functi­oning (atten­tion, decision making)
Social Impact:
Social Isolation (social networks might be disrupted after disaster)
Resilience and Post-T­rau­matic Growth (+ve psych changes and personal growth)

Psycho­logical / emotional phases of disaster

anxiety and fear
occurs before actual disaster
increase prepar­edness, preven­tio­n/m­iti­gation behavior
shock, fear, confusion, overwhelm
immedi­ately following disaster
sense of unity
survivors feel altruistic
2 days - 1 week after disaster
help each other, volunteer, form rescue teams, provide food and first aid
sense of hope, relief
2-4 weeks after disaster
support pours in from various sources (media, other states & countries etc)
people not involoved guve their attention, time, money and services (food, clothing, shelter, funds) to take car of and help the victims & survivors
frustr­ation, exhaus­tion, emotional fatigue,, impatient
reality check of disaster's long-term impact
people stop caring and providing resoources
survivors have to deal with their losses on their own
long-term recovery
bring the population and place to pre disaster state
can last for months, years, decades

Ethical principles (HEINA)

actions should prioritize saving lifes, protecting dignity and ensuring well-being of affected ppl
equal opport­unities
to access relief, recovery and rehab services
disaster management should be free from political, economic and other influences
in rescues, resources
victim­s/s­urv­ivors should be treated with dignity & respect

Risk and vulner­ability analysis - HER V CR(I)MES

done to identify potential hazards, assess likelihood of occurrence & vulner­ability of area and pop to it
hazard indent­ifi­cation
exposure analysis
areas & pop most vulnerable
risk assessment
potential impact, severity, likeli­hood, frequency- through historic data, scientific modelling & expert judgement
vulner­ability analysis
assess weakness & resilience of assets and commun­ities - building quality, SES condit­ions, access to resources and community prepar­dness
capacity assessment
existing resources, prepar­edness, service availa­bility - of local author­ities, org, profes­sionals
risk commun­ication
inform public, author­ities - to raise awareness, prepar­edness, mitigation & mobilise resources
risk Mapping
visual rep of hazard prone zones, exposure of assests and vulnerable commun­ities
economic and social impact
potential loss of life, property damage, disrup­tions to livelihood etc
scenario building
hypoth­etical (eg: drills) - to better prepare, evacuate and understand conseq­uences


Factors affecting vulner­ability (react­ion­/re­sponse) of adverse psych effects
Nature (Inherent Factors):
- Pre-ex­isting mental health conditions (anxiety, depres­sion, PTSD)
- Genetic and biological predis­pos­itions
- Person­ality traits (self-­esteem, neuroticism)
Nurture (Devel­opm­ental and Enviro­nmental Factors):
- Traumatic experi­ences (past abuse, trauma, neglect)
- Social support (little to no)
- Resilience (ability to cope - tolerance level)
- Coping mechanisms (emotion - for short term & problem focused - for long term)
- Life circum­stances (eg: financial diff, chronic illness etc)
- Stigma and discri­min­ation (get lesser resources)
- Cumulative stress (effect of chronic stress - allostatic load)
- Cultural background (beliefs, values)
External (Societal and Access­-Re­lated Factors):
- Access to resources and healthcare
- Exposure to media (constant exposure leads to higher effects)


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