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Environment and Disaster

Disasters of natural or man-made origin occur in the environment, affect environmental resources, functions and services, supplies, and thus, disrupt the life-support system of the inhabiting human communities and other lives, causing damages and losses to property and economies. Therefore, managing 'Disaster Risks' calls for greater and organised 'Environmental Management' intervention at higher intensities and in planned and objective fashion.

Natural or human-induced disturbances in the equilibrium of the environmental systems alters the dynamics modifying the geo-hydrological processes, atmospheric functions and biological interrelatedness, causing hazardous processes to emerge or aggravate the already prevailing hazards. Loss or environmental resources, in terms of quality and quantity, leads to short supply to human communities and development process and results in socio-economic disparities, poverty and conflicts resulting in increasing vulnerability.

Disaster risk reduction is a core component in the framework for sustainable development as deliberated in the World Summit for Sustainable Development (Rio+10) 2002 Johannesburg, following the Agenda-21. Later the experiences of International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR 1999-2000) and Hyogo-framework for Action (2005-15), UN-ISDR publications, dialogues, documentations and publications (Yokohama strategy, Rio, WSSD, IPCC, ISDR, UNEP, IUCN, UNDP/GEF, DFID, etc.) have made the global community realize that the environmental management and disaster risk are inextricably linked, and one has a bearing on the other. Environmental degradation may result in or aggravate a hazard whereas on the other hand also increased physical, structural and socio-economic vulnerability of human systems, besides hampering the coping mechanism and capacities for response, resistance and resilience. Natural resources management, therefore, is at the core of the two. Hence, an understanding of the interrelations and options of convergence in the programmes and mainstreaming towards development is a prerequisite.

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