Sri Lanka Army

Defender of the Nation

30th August 2019 12:12:36 Hours

“Recovery Measures after a Disaster Provides Significant Scope for Development” - Major General (Retd) Muniruzzaman

DAY TWO Sessions of the ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2019’ at BMICH began this morning (30) amid foreign delegates and other participants under the theme ‘Military Readiness in the Contemporary Security Landscape’, chaired by Admiral (Retd) Prof. Jayanath Colombage, Director of the Centres for Indo-Lanka Initiatives and Law of the Sea of the Pathfinder Foundation, Member of the Advisory Council of ‘Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka’, Guest Professor at Sichuan University and Leshan Normal University in China and an Adjunct Professor at National Institute of South China Sea Studies, Haikou, China.

Major General Muniruzzaman (Retd) (Bangladesh), President, Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) and Chairman Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) in his contribution to the forum touching on the question of ‘Disaster Mitigation and Management’ said that disasters destroy years of development initiatives and recovery measures after a disaster provides significant scope for development programmes.

Giving a comprehensive account that speaks of challenges related to disasters, he added; “Disasters are as old as mankind. The first description of Disaster and its management came from “Noah” and his ark. Similar Flood Tales are widespread in Greek Mythology, Puranas, Mesopotamian storries and many other cultures”.

“A disaster can be defined as an occurrence either nature or man-made that causes human suffering and creates human needs that victim cannot alleviate without assistance. (American Red Cross) A disaster is any occurrence that causes damage, ecological disruption, loss of human life, deterioration of health and health service on a scale, sufficient to warrant an extraordinary response from outside the affected community or area, according to the WHO”.

“Limited access to power structures and resources, ideologies built on political and economic systems, lack of training, local investment and press freedom and macro-forces such as rapid population change, rapid urbanization and deforestation attribute to those conditions”.

It is also due to unsafe conditions like, physical environment, local economy, social relations and public actions and worth inquiring into the causes for a disaster.

Natural hazards collide with the progression of vulnerability and hazard impacts on vulnerable people in all cases. Therefore, the classification of disasters is relevant. For example, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and other geologic processes are natural disasters while man-made disasters, like stampedes, fires, transport accidents, industrial accidents, oil spills, nuclear radiation and nuclear explosion, etc.

It is equally important to take care of the consequences of disasters in terms of health, structural damage, ecological and economical damage, etc.

Touching on ‘Disaster Mitigation,’ he related the minimizing of the effects of a disaster. Example: Building codes and zoning, vulnerability analysis and public education, etc. It refers to the measures taken in order to remove or decrease the risks and impacts of hazards through proactive and predetermined measures.

The main motive of mitigation is to reduce the loss of life and property by attenuating the impact of disasters. He also in his presentation spoke about components of disaster mitigation and analyzed vulnerability of the situations and the nature of hazards.

Here are the excerpts of his presentation to the forum;

Phenomenon: It defines the type of disaster and its intensity.

Vulnerability: It states the predisposition and the capacity of local response.

Impact: It denotes the effect on population.

Vulnerability Analysis

Factors that increase risk are:

Number of people exposed by the hazard

Area covered by the hazard

Intensity of power of the hazard

Time duration of the hazard

Frequency of the hazard

Structural and Non-structural mitigation

Structural Mitigation

It deals with construction projects that are aimed at reducing the economic and social impacts

Non-structural Mitigation

It involves measures that seek to reduce the likelihood of risk through modification in human behavior

Structural and Non-structural Measures

Structural Measures

Strengthening infrastructure

Checking dams

Building codes and policies

Non-structural Measures

Public health campaigns

Vaccination programmes

Definition of Disaster Management

It is an applied science which seeks, by systemic observation and analysis of disasters, to improve measures relating to prevention, emergency, response, recovery and mitigation.


Identify and minimize the risks posed by the building, its equipment and fittings, and the natural hazards of the area.

Example: Carry out a building inspection and alter factors which constitute a potential hazard.


It refers to the steps for getting prepared to cope with disasters.

Example: Keep together supplies and equipment required in a disaster and maintain them.


It refers to the measures taken when a disaster strikes.

Example: Follow established emergency procedures for raising the alarm, evacuating people and making the disaster site safe.


It refers to the initiatives taken in order restore the disaster site.

Example: Rehabilitate the disaster site.

Role of Medical Sector

Pre-hospital emergency services

Assessment of immediate health needs

Identification of medical and health resources

Temporary field treatment I

nternational Cooperation

United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: It is responsible for all international disaster response.

United Nations Development Programme: It works on mitigation and prevention aspects.

United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination System: It streamlines institutional arrangements for disaster response.

Disaster and Development

Disasters destroy years of development initiatives.

Recovery measures after a disaster provides significant scope for development programmes.

The Emergency Operation Plan (EOP)

It describes how a facility will respond to and recover from all hazards.

It includes 6 critical elements:


Resources and assets

Safety and security

Staff responsibilities


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