Author : Vaibhavi Batra

As there are two sides of a coin, similarly there are two sides of nature as well. Nature has various manifestations both gentle and aggressive; sometimes it is so calm while sometimes it is so fierce. The calm side is always loved by persons while the aggressive side is a sign of devastation. The natural calamities or disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, volcanic eruptions, etc. show the ugly or the devastating side of the nature. These natural disasters are not predictable in nature and thus might cause a huge damage to life and property. These disasters are not controlled by men, and it can take place anywhere and at any time, and thus it creates a situation of emergency, disaster and havoc.

Emergency & Disaster Relief

Emergency Relief can be defined as the provision for providing essential commodities to the people in case of emergency situation. Emergency relief includes:

  • Immediate provisions for people at the site of emergency
  • Emergency relief centers
  • Planning of emergency evacuation plan
  • Generating funds for the people, etc.

Disaster Relief can be defined as the monetary relief provided to the individuals or the communities who are affected or have experienced losses due to natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, etc.

The Role of United Nations  

Within the United Nations, the responsibility of managing international disasters and reliefs comes under United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator (UNERC). The United Nations General Assembly has made it clear that the responsibility for response and giving relief to the effected people is not only on the United Nations but also of the Governments of the respective countries. International assistance whether bilateral or through Non- Government Organizations (NGOs) can provide help and relief only when being asked for; in cases of complex disasters or emergencies are situations are different.

Emergency and Disaster Relief – India

India has adopted numerous policies and established various laws and statutory bodies to control and provide relief to the citizens of the country who are being affected with disasters and emergency like situations.

The first major step towards it was the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), whose main job was to lay down the policies for disaster management; which includes a continuous process of planning, controlling, organizing and implementing measures which are necessary for the prevention of any disaster or calamity or to reduce it effects. Apart from this, NDMA has the following responsibilities:

  • Approves for national plan
  • Lays down guidelines which are to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the state plan
  • Coordinate the enforcement and implementations of the policies and plan by disaster management department.
  • Recommend provisions of funds and reliefs to the affected people
  • Provide support to other countries as stated by the Central Government
  • Lay down policies and guidelines for the working of Institute of Disaster Management.

The Role of Government in India – India is a disaster prone country. So in order to help to prevent and minimize the consequences of disasters in the country, the State and the Central Government plays a huge role. Few of their contributions are:

  • Government helps in capacity building to fight the disaster
  • Government provide immediate response in case of disaster
  • Government secure the resources availability in case of disaster
  • Mostly government provided the medical assistance disaster occurring
  • Government machinery like NDRF, Indian Army, Indian Air Force saves thousands of lives.

The Role of NGOs – Apart from the roles of the Government, the Non- Government Organizations also plays an integral role in helping people in such disastrous situations. They act much quicker and try to save as many lives as possible. They have much faster responses because they do not have to undergo any legal formalities or paper works. The main role performed by NGOs is that they provide relief material, set up camps, give medical aid to the people who got injured in the disaster and also undertake rescue operations.

 Invoke of Section 35 of Disaster Management Act by Government to fight Covid.

As the covid – 19 starts to spread in India and the opposition starts to criticize the government of India, the Indian government took a very active and effective step of invoking Section 35 of the Disaster Management Act to take a speed step against the pandemic. The article allows the union Government to form a team of experts and send to states to guide & and prepare a report for the center. The Ministry of Home Affairs had made six teams of experts to go around the states and prepare the report on pros and cons on the ongoing situations. Thus it is a very direct and speedy step which was taken by central government by using the disaster management act which directly or indirectly has benefited every individual in the nation.