SAARC-A Regional Disaster Perspective

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Abstract: The SAARC region, one of the global disaster hotspots, is prone to transboundary disasters. Analysis of available dataset shows that majority of the countries have been able to perform better in the terms of World Risk Index by improving their adaptive and coping capacities even though the exposure and vulnerabilities are higher. While on one hand the region lacks adequate resources, the SAARC member states have made significant progress in scientific research and disaster management which if shared collectively, can go a long way in making the region resilient to disaster risk.

The authors are Scientist F, Ministry of Earth Sciences and Director, Geological Survey of India. The article should be cited as Mishra O.P. &  M. Ghatak 2020. SAARC: A Regional Disaster Perspective, Geography and You, 20(1-2): 80-87

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Avulsions are the natural processes by which flow diverts out of an established river channel into a new permanent course on the adjacent floodplain abandoning the former channel.

Biological hazards are organic substances that pose a threat to the health of humans and other living organisms. Biological hazards include pathogenic microorganisms, viruses, toxins (from biological sources), spores, fungi and bio-active substances. Biological hazards can also be considered to include biological vectors or transmitters of disease.

Cloudburst is a sudden, very intense localised rainfall of brief duration. Most cloudbursts are accompanied by thunderstorms. Violent uprushes of air withhold the condensing airdrops from falling leading to dangerous levels of water accumulation in the cloud which is then released all at once upon weakening of the uprush.

Disaster risk reduction is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters.It aims to reduce damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones, through prevention.

Earthflow, is a sheet or stream of soil and rock material saturated with water and flowing downslope under the pull of gravity; it represents the intermediate stage between creep and mudflow.

It is a term coined by Essam El-Hinnawi, which describes “people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural and/or triggered by people) that jeopardises their existence and/or seriously effects the quality of their life”.

A geologic hazard is an extreme natural event that occurs within the crust of the earth and poses a threat to life and property, for example, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis (tidal waves) and landslides.

A atmospheric, hydrological or oceanographic phenomenon that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage (includes tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, hailstorms, tornados, blizzards, heavy snowfall, avalanches, coastal storm surges, floods including flash floods, drought, heatwaves and cold spells).