This document presents the disaster management policy for the state of Himachal Pradesh. Main hazards that the state is prone to consist of earthquakes, landslides, flash floods, snow storms and avalanches, droughts, dam failures, fires – domestic and wild, accidents – road, rail, air, stampedes, boat capsizing, biological, industrial and hazardous chemicals etc.
The hazard which however, poses biggest threat to the state is the earthquake hazard. The state has been shaken by more than 80 times by earthquakes having a magnitude of 4 and above on the Richter scale as per the recorded history of earthquakes.
As per the BIS seismic zoning map five districts of the state, namely Chamba (53.2%) Hamirpur (90.9%), Kangra (98.6%), Kullu (53.1%), Mandi (97.4%) have 53 to 98.6 percent of their area liable to the severest design intensity of MSK IX or more, the remaining area of these districts being liable to the next severe intensity VIII.
Another form of the natural hazards in the state is the frequent occurrences of landslides. The hills and mountains of Himachal Pradesh are liable to suffer landslides during monsoons and also in high intensity earthquakes.
It is in this context that the disaster management policy presents a paradigm shift, from the erstwhile relief-centric response to a proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness-driven approach for conserving development gains and to minimize loss of life, livelihood and property.
The aim of the policy is to provide guiding principles for reducing, preventing, mitigating disaster risk and creating a system for effective disaster response. The policy also aims at providing guidelines for post disaster relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction codes and guidelines.
The policy aims at developing a holistic and integrated approach towards disaster management with emphasis on building strategic partnerships with stakeholders and knowledge institutions at various levels. The themes underpinning the policy are -
- Community based DM, including last mile integration of the policy, plans and execution.
- Capacity development in all spheres and levels.
- Consolidation of past initiatives and best practices.
- Cooperation with agencies at local, district, state, national and international levels.
- Multi-sectoral approach and synergy.
The objectives of the policy on disaster management are -
- Promoting a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through knowledge, innovation and education.
- Engagement in activities that will build the capacities of stakeholders and local communities to cope with calamities.
- Encouraging proactive mitigation measures based on technology, traditional wisdom and environmental sustainability.
- Mainstreaming disaster management into the developmental planning and process.
- Addressing gender issues in DM with special thrust on empowerment of women towards long term disaster mitigation.
- Establishing institutional and techno-legal frameworks to create an enabling regulatory environment and a compliance regime.
- Ensuring efficient mechanisms for identification, assessment and monitoring of disaster risks.
- Developing contemporary forecasting and early warning systems backed by responsive and fail-safe communication with information technology support.
- Develop and maintain inventory of resources, equipment, supplies for timely and effective mobilisation for search and rescue, relief and rehabilitation.
- Putting in place an effective and well recognised disaster specific incident response system at all levels.
- Promoting and institutionalising unified response strategy in humanitarian crisis and mainstreaming emergency preparedness as an integrated development strategy.
- Ensuring efficient response and relief with a caring approach towards the needs of the vulnerable sections of the society.
- Establishing GO-NGO coordination and developing a culture of “working together” during normalcy so that it works during emergencies.
- Undertaking reconstruction as an opportunity to build disaster resilient structures and habitat for ensuring safer living conditions and environment.
- Using IEC for community awareness and preparedness in DM.
- Promoting a productive and proactive partnership with the media for disaster management.
- Documenting best practices and making a system of providing the available knowledge to the target group.
Download the policy here -