Meaning: - According to Oxford Dictionary a crisis is a decisive moment-a time of great difficulty, a disaster, or a catastrophe. It is a turning point that changes the destiny of an individual or a group or a company or a government. Therefore, the term ‘Crisis’ and Disaster’ are used as synonymous. However, usually crisis is considered as made and a disaster as a natural calamity.
World book, 2001, Chicago has defined “disaster as a sudden extremely unfortunate event that affects many people”. It includes natural occurrences such as earthquake, volcanic eruptions, floods, famine and so on. It also includes man made calamities such as bomb blasts, accidents, looting and rioting during communal riots, etc.
The following are some of the important features of disaster management:
1. Disaster Management Teams: - World wide, governments, business and non-business organisation are setting up disaster or crisis management teams in order to manage the disaster. The disaster management teams are broadly divided into three parts namely (1) The Policy Team (2) The management Team (3) The Liaison Team.
2. Systematic Planning: - Disaster management involves systematic planning to avert a disaster, and if it occurs, then systematic planning is required in order to overcome the crisis arising out of disaster, Disaster planning indicates, what to do, when to do, how to do and who is to do certain activities to manage and overcome the problems of disaster.
3. Organising of Resources: - Disaster Management requires proper organising of resources such as manpower, materials, funds, etc., in order to deal with the calamity. Proper organizing of resources will help the disaster management personnel to overcome the problems caused by the calamity or disaster.
4. Training to Manpower: -To manage a disaster effectively, there is a need to provide proper training to the disaster management personnel. The training will help to develop and improve Disaster Management skills in the personnel. Training may help to avert a disaster effectively.
5. Suitability: - Disaster Management is required before and after a disaster. It is suitable before a disaster in order to avert a disaster, or to caution the people and to take proper appropriate measures before the disaster strikes. Disaster Management is also very much required after a disaster takes place in order to undertake rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures at the time of floods, earthquakes.
6. Stability: -Normally, disaster management teams lack stability. They are formed just prior to a disaster in order to avert it, whenever possible. However, in advanced countries such as in USA, UK, Japan, etc., some organisations form more or less permanent Disaster Management teams.
7. Organisation Structure: -Robert F. Littlejohn in his paper on ‘Crisis Management’ suggested a matrix organisation structure to deal with disaster or crisis in the organisation or in the city or country. The disaster management team is to be headed by a crisis manager.