Posts Tagged With: Natural disaster

Disaster Prevention

Prevention was recently added to the phases of disaster management. Honestly, I was still occasionally baffled also to define whether one action includes in the category of prevention or category of mitigation. I definitely think that the basic difference, mitigation is actions or steps to reduce the impact of disaster/reduce the risk while prevention is for preventing the event to be happened/ how to avoid hazards and related disaster. I expect there may be readers of this paper can provide feedback or criticism to add to our knowledge.

We know that not all disasters, particularly natural disasters can be prevented, but the risk of lost or injury can be reduced with good evacuation plan, environmental planning, etc.

Back to the case of floods in Jakarta-Indonesia occurred in early 2013. We may still remember that at the time, the government of Indonesia in that case, the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) and the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) conducted weather-modification by cloud-seeding efforts. This is an example of prevention of floods, BNPB & BPPT preventing the formation of clouds and rain outside flood-prone areas in Greater Jakarta.

Other example is relocation of local communities from landslide-prone areas. This is considered as prevention action also the government’s efforts to maintain soil structure that does not change in the event of heavy rains or earthquakes by reclamation or hard-tree planting.


Prohibition or regulations of the government to not build a home or residential in disaster-prone areas are also included in the category of prevention.

Our efforts in everyday life, such as not littering, cleaning drains / sewer in our residential area can be considered as prevention of floods and infectious diseases.

Disasters prevention is very important, and should be done continuously and sustained by all of us.

Therefore, in January 2005 during the World Conference on Disaster Reduction held in Kobe, Hyogo-Japan, 168 countries agreed to adopt a 10-year global plan for natural disaster risk reduction called the Hyogo Framework for Action. It offers guiding principles, priorities for action, and practical means for achieving disaster resilience for vulnerable communities.

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What is Disaster ?

The following are some definitions of a disaster that can be used as a reference:

  1. A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources (The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction – UNISDR)
  2. Event or series of events that threaten and disrupt the lives and livelihoods caused by both natural factors and / or non-natural factors and human factors that lead to the emergence of human casualties, environmental damage, loss of property, and the psychological impact (Indonesian Law Number 24 Year 2007)
  3. Exceptional events which suddenly kill or injure large number of people (Red Cross/Red Crescent).
  4. An overwhelming ecological disruption occurring on a scale sufficient to require outside assistance (PAHO 1980).
  5. A situation or event which overwhelms local capacity, necessitating a request to a national or international level for external assistance (The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster – CRED).
  6. An occurrence that causes damage, ecological disruption, loss of human life, deterioration of health and health services on a scale sufficient to warrant an extraordinary response from outside the affected community area (World Health Organization, 1998).


From the above definitions, we can see that in general the disaster is an extraordinary event and require external assistance. The disaster could be caused by natural factors, non-natural and human factors.

Below are the examples of disaster events:

1. Natural Disaster

  • Weather-related: floods, landslides/mudslides, windstorms, tornadoes, thunderstorms, winter storms, droughts, forest fires, etc.
  • Geophysical-related: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tidal waves.

2. Man-made Disaster

  • Non-intentional: transportation accidents (road/sea/air), fires, building/bridge collapse, etc.
  • Intentional: race/ethnic conflict, terrorism, civil war, etc.

3. Non-natural Disaster: epidemic, diseases, radiation, etc.

From the above examples, we can see that there are disasters in small-scale, medium-scale, large-scale or an extraordinary event such as epidemic.


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