A hazard is any abnormal natural activity that can prove dangerous. However, this does not always have an impact on human life or property. When there is loss of human life and property, then a hazard is interpreted as a disaster. In the present era disasters have increased several fold. As the seventh largest and second most populated country in the world, with a vast range in its geological and geomorphological settings, as also socio-economic status of its people, India remains extremely vulnerable to natural and anthropogenic disasters.
In addition to frequent natural disasters like flood, drought, landslide, earthquake, forest fire, cyclone, tsunami, avalanche, and heat waves, India continues to remain vulnerable to anthropogenic disasters like rail, air, road and industrial disasters too. Over, 68 per cent of the country is drought prone; 60 per cent is earthquake prone; 12 per cent flood prone and 8 per cent cyclone prone (unisdr.org, 2005).
Since such a large area of India is vulnerable to major disasters, it is necessary to have trained personnel and resources to handle disasters effectively. Disaster management programmes at grass roots and other levels are an imperative in India. Today, there are number of universities and institutes imparting education and training in disaster management. Some of the universities/institutes running certificate, post-graduate, masters, doctoral and post-doctoral programmes in disaster management are given in table 1.
Career openings in disaster management
There are ample job opportunities for trained manpower in various government and private organisations in the country. Students of disaster management can look forward to openings in the government organisations (table 2).
Besides these organisations, several private organisations require trained manpower for various disaster management activities. A student with basic knowledge in geology, geophysics, geography, sociology, economics, psychology, environmental science, climate science, agriculture, physics, remote sensing, geographical information system, ocean technology can avail of far more opportunities in disaster management. The salary package and position a disaster management professional commands depend on his expertise and experience. However, disaster management is certainly a good option for those desirous of studying natural and anthropogenic activities, while striving to lessen losses to human life and property.