Poverty and war, Flooding and drought, Earthquakes and environmental disasters. Billion people were affected by disasters in the past. The impact is high; leaving people traumatized by the death of family and friends, their lives devastated by the loss of homes, possessions and stocks of food.
Disasters are becoming more complex, with increasingly long-term consequences as they strike countries with economic problems or political instability, and weaken already fragile public services such as health, water and sanitation. Recurrent crises, such as floods year after year, give people and their crops no time to recover.
Disasters disproportionately affect the poor: over 90 per cent of the total of disaster-related deaths occur in developing countries, where the economic losses they cause hit far harder than in industrialized nations and can wipe out years of economic development.
As a result, the impact of disasters has increased dramatically in the last few decades in terms of the number of people affected and the length of time they are affected for. This trend is expected to keep rising in coming years.
Bringing emergency relief to refugees and victims of poverty and disasters has been a key activity of the Red Cross and its member Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for the last several years.
The emergency phase of a relief operation aims to provide life-saving assistance; shelter, water, food and basic health care are the immediate needs; along with a sense of humanity and a sign that someone cares. Subsequent needs include reconstruction and rehabilitation. These needs can continue for several years, particularly in the case of refugees and victims of socio-economic collapse. IRCS approaches to disaster response on these lines and works to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance provided to beneficiaries. The Indian Red Cross Society has been equipping itself with its manpower and physical infrastructures for a nation-wide Disaster Preparedness/Disaster Response (DP/DR) programme. .The urgent and serious need for substantial disaster preparedness measures in India had been recommended by a number of agencies (including DFID and the UK Disasters Emergency Committee) after major disaster response operations for the 1998 Super Cyclone in Orissa, the 2000 floods in Assam and the massive earthquake in Gujarat in 2001,Tsunami in 2004,Floods and earthquake in 2005.It is proved that the amount spent in prevention pays richly and saves a lot in relief
The Indian sub continent is highly prone to droughts, floods and other natural calamities. Among the states as many as 22 states are said to be multi-disaster-prone regions.
Among all the disasters that occur in India, floods are the most devastating. Over 40 million hectare of land has been identified as flood prone. An average of 18.6 million hectare of land is flooded annually. The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin, which carries 60 % of the nation's total river flow causes floods.
Another killer is the earthquake -the most dangerous and disastrous. About 57% of the total area in India is vulnerable to seismic activity of varying intensities. Generally areas located in the Himalayan and sub Himalayan region and Andaman and Nicobar islands are vulnerable to earthquakes.
Drought is an eternal feature of Indian livelihood. 18% of the country's total area is drought prone. Approximately half of the Indian population is affected by drought annually. 68% of the total cultivated area is estimated to be drought prone.
India has the gift of having long coastline, running to about 8040 km. This is exposed to tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea in the ratio of 4:1. The Indian Ocean is one among the six key cyclone-prone regions of the world. The coromandel coastal line is more prone - about 80% of the total cyclones generated in the region hit here.
Indian Red Cross with the assistance of the Federation and other National Societies reach humanitarian services to the victims of calamities.