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September 14, 2013
Some Important Terms for preparing questions of Disaster Management
Disaster Management: the range of activities designed to mitigate the effects of disasters and emergency situations and to provide a framework for helping people at-risk to avoid or recover from the impact of the disaster. Managing disasters includes steps to be taken prior to, during, and after the disaster, and involve preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery.
Disaster-proneness: the likelihood of a place being affected by a disaster
Natural Hazard: A physical event or phenomena which may cause injury or loss of life, damage to property, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation
Vulnerability: in simple terms is the potential for loss to an individual, community or place because of a disaster, which is affected by geographical as well as social conditions
Community: People who live together in a village or urban area, who can be identified as a local group with a common way of life
First responders: The persons or group of people who are immediately affected by a disaster, and are the first to respond and help to cope with it, before government or relief agencies
can rush to the area.
Faults: are places in the earth where the rocks are broken and the rocks on one side have moved in some direction relative to the other. Faults are planes, not lines
Normal rainfall: When the rainfall for the monsoon season of June to September for a place is within +/-19% of its long period average, it is categorised as normal. When the monsoon rainfall deficiency exceeds 19%, it is categorised as deficient or scanty.
Environmental degradation: in simple terms is the reduction or deterioration of environmental resources that harms us in many ways.
Bio-diversity: is the term for the variety of life and the natural processes of which living things are a part. This includes the living organisms and the genetic differences between them and the communities in which they occur. The concept of biodiversity represents the ways that life is organized and interacts on our planet. This balance or equilibrium is challenged
by environmental degradation
Building Bye Laws : a set of rules and regulations that prescribe the standards for construction of, spacing between and access to buildings. The purpose of these laws is to ensure that all constructions in the country conform to disaster resistant designs, as well as layout.
Mitigation : Actions that reduce the severity of damage caused by disasters to people and property such as cyclone resistant houses in cyclone prone areas.
Disaster-resilient society: is one that can endure the effects of a disaster, while minimising the occurrence where possible, and the destruction that can be caused by it.
Civil Society: a term used to describe the various organisations that come together to pursue the interests of communities, development goals, etc., including disaster management in recent times. It includes development organisations such as the United Nations or the Red Cross, Civil Defence, NCC, NSS, Scouts and Guides, hospitals, ambulance services, educational trusts, etc. as well as the public and private sector industries and institutions.Civil Society forms an important part of disaster preparedness and response.
Crust: the solid surface of the earth
Tremor: shaking of the ground
Epicentre: the place on the surface of the earth directly above the hypocentre
Richter scale: a scale which classifies the magnitude (force) of an earthquake
Modified Mercalli scale: a scale which classifies the intensity (effects) of an earthquake
Hypocentre: the place deep in the earth’s crust where an earthquake starts
Mantle: the semi-liquid layer of rock below the earth’s crust
Fault : a place where two or more blocks of the earth’s crust join
Troposphere: The layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that is closest to its surface, between 0-10 km. Most (90%) of the Earth’s atmosphere lies within the Troposphere.
Storm Surge: is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of winds swirling around the cyclone. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create a cyclonic tidal wave, which can increase the mean water level by more than 15 feet. The slope of the continental shelf
also determines the level of surge. A shallow slope of the coast causes deeper inundation and flooding.
Flood hazard: the risk of damage to life, livelihoods or property from flooding
Riverine flood: a flood caused when a river overflows its banks
Sediment: small particles of soil carried in a river which settle on the river bed, or on floodplains
Channel capacity: the maximum flow of water in a river
Arid regions: Regions that are dry and receive scanty rainfall, with very little vegetation.
Water-stress: Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use, and stress causes deterioration of fresh water resources
Degraded land: where crop yield is reduced due to various reasons such as pollution of top soil, soil-erosion, over exploitation, cropping patterns, etc.
VAW : Village Agricultural Worker, responsible for disseminating information on crops, irrigation, pest-control, etc
Discharge: the volume of water that passes a given location within a given period of time.
Usually expressed in cubic feet per second.
Drip-irrigation: a common irrigation method where pipes or tubes filled with water slowly drip onto crops. Drip irrigation is a low-pressure method of irrigation and less water is lost to evaporation than high-pressure spray irrigation.
Run-off: Runoff is water flow in the topsoil layer. Runoff reaches water bodies after it falls as rain and is discharged from the area
Laterite: A kind of soil or rock that water can percolate through. The water carrying capacity of laterite is very low, and hence is unsuitable for cultivation of major crops.
Monoculture: The use of land for growing only one type of plant. The practice of monoculture on a landscape has an effect that is the opposite of biodiversity, and can sometimes be responsible for the spread of plant diseases
Aquifer: a geologic formation that is water bearing, that stores and/or transmits water, such as to wells and springs. These water-bearing formations are capable of yielding water in sufficient quantity to constitute a usable supply for people.