Open Spring of Ideas List

Post Earth Quake Disaster Management

The fact of life is that earth quivers very often than what we think, it does. Occasionally there are severe tremors which we call earth quakes. Every time an earthquake takes place in India, many geophysicists will come out with their pet theories, working scientists bid for more equipment (which govt. sanctions), the there are several other rush jobs from food, to temporary shelters etc.

When I was in TIFAC, we did a lot for the post earth quake management in Kutch during 2001. It included use of TIFAC supported natural fibre composites for quick shelter construction (they are good even now in 2007), fibreglass toilet blocks etc. Also help BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Limited) to develop some special machinery to help rescue operations. In addition we brought out a special film (in English Nasiruddin Shah was the anchor; in Hindi Faruq Sheikh was the anchor). The film brings out various elements to be taken care of in new constructions for seismic proofing, and also to save existing buildings from serious damages be they of :

  • Concrete REC type construction
  • Masonry structures
  • Ordinary other huts/houses

There was also a detailed report……

These were only a small part of what all need to be done.

There were, of course, high level Committees. Now a Disaster Management Authority (DMA) is formed. Of course, in the tortoise like manner some useful systems may emerge. Note that DMA has to concern itself with floods (annual features) as well.

If we concentrate on Earth Quakes, there are a number of activities such as Earth Quakes, there are a number of activities such as Earth Quake Proofing consultancies that can be done on a regular basis; temporary housing structures can be thought of as rentals including for areas in which big infrastructure projects are expanding; etc.

I envisage some severe earth quake once in 5 to 6 years in India. I am looking at the pattern over the past 30 years. You count and see. Severity nowadays is not on the technicality of Ritcher scale alone. Population has increased. Human habitats are expanding. Many built without any case for earth quake proofing. So damages are higher; so lots of human misery; so general shouts when it takes place. Then as good Indians, we forget.

But if some of you who reads this piece can coolly think of business models and plans around many of these activities required post-Earthquake as well as regular year round activity of proofing of existing building against earth quake damage (work with insurance companies also) you have many business opportunities (preventing potential earth quake damages and also delivering post-earth quake services. Even IT persons have opportunities in supply chain management for disaster relief; updating information about reliable NGO's with good track records, data bases on willing doctors etc... you have to imagine !!

Don't think I am asking you to make money out of disaster. Well without money, there is no disaster relief. But by providing an organised business system, you will be ensuring an efficient, quick acting delivery system for those who are affected by disasters. No different from private sector health care system.

Are you ready to plan for and venture into this new type of service industry ?