Disaster risk reduction as career

Ranjan K Baruah
We are aware of disasters which may be natural or even by human beings. Disaster is a serious disruption occurring over a short or long period of time that causes widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins and both are dangerous. When we talk about disaster we also talk about reduction or management of disasters. In today’s edition we shall discuss an option which is related to disaster.
Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It aims to reduce socio-economic vulnerabilities to disaster as well as dealing with the environmental and other hazards that trigger them. Here it has been strongly influenced by the mass of research on vulnerability that has appeared in print since the mid-1970s.
We should be aware that allocation for emergency response is approximately 20 times higher than for prevention and preparedness, countering sustainability principles. There is no such thing as a natural disaster, only natural hazards and risk is the combination of hazard, exposure and vulnerability. Death, loss and damage is the function of the context of hazard, exposure and vulnerability Data and analytics tend to compartmentalize risk, to make it seem simple and quantifiable - which is dangerous - a focus on numbers emphasizes direct short-term consequences.
The most commonly cited definition of Disaster risk reduction is one used by UN agencies such as United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), also known as the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): “The conceptual framework of elements considered with the possibilities to minimize vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout a society, to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) the adverse impacts of hazards, within the broad context of sustainable development.”
This year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction which is observed on 13th October is all about governance. One can measure good disaster risk governance in lives saved, reduced numbers of disaster-affected people and reduced economic losses. COVID-19 and the climate emergency are telling us that we need clear vision, plans and competent, empowered institutions acting on scientific evidence for the public good.
There are courses like disaster management which can be opted by aspirants who want to work in this field. Course related to disaster management focuses on the causes of disasters and how to minimise their impact. It enables students to learn different areas of disaster management, which includes management of the situation, response to the needs of the people and the area, evacuation method, supply of food and medical care for the hurt people. There are many colleges and universities and other institutes which provide courses related to disaster management mostly in the masters level.
There are different job opportunities for individuals who are trained or skilled in the field of disaster risk reduction. One may get jobs in international organisations like different UN agencies or other humanitarian organisations working with the people at the time of emergency like disasters. There is option in the government departments too as state and central government have different departments focused with disaster management. There are NGOs working in this field in different disaster prone areas. We may not stop natural hazards like earthquakes, floods or tsunamis but we can cope up and live with it without causing much loss to life and properties.
The author is a career mentor and skill trainer and can be reached at 8473943734 or [email protected]