It is difficult but possible to fight successfully against our traditional natural enemies that is flood, cyclone, earthquakes etc. Disaster in today’s world is part of the environment in which we live. Since man lives by geological consent, so life on earth needs to be environment friendly when it is not friendly and threat is of vast magnitude then it brings disaster to life and property which may be generated by natural cause or human error. All most all the countries of the world are facing time to time these disasters in a different way. In 1988 Armenia faced devastating earthquake where 50,000 human lives were lost. ETHIOPIA lost 2 million people due to draught in 1984-85. Even china, America, India is affected by various disasters. Disaster invites poverty, famine, epidemic and economic downfall simultaneously.
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2. In case of Bangladesh painful memories of 1998 flood, which continued months together where maximum part of the country was affected and it caused serious damage to our economy. Devastating cyclone of 1991 where 138,000 people died. Flood of 1999 in Comilla along the belt of river Gomoti was also severe. Tragedy of Dhaka University Hall collapsed in 1986 and the recent earthquake of Moheskhali can be also mentioned. Beside these Bangladesh has got a record of 200 years old traditional natural disaster of many kinds.
3. Bangladesh is worst sufferer from natural disaster because it is a law lying area and having mostly of cluster of flat islands along the bay of Bengal in the western and southern part of Bangladesh. The coastlines from Sundarban to Teknaf on the southeast are prone to cyclone and tidal waves. April, May, October, November and December months are crucial for cyclone. It starts from Andaman and finally proceeds to hit Bay of Bengal. The geography, peculiar as it is, immediately makes Bangladesh vulnerable to killing cyclones, tidal waves and floods. Army with it’s flexible organizational structure can suitably adjust and effectively undertake the responsibility of most immediate tasks like rescuing affected people, providing emergency medical treatment and essential relief materials to the needy and helpless people.
4. The aim of this presentation is to discuss disaster management by Bangladesh Army with a special emphasis on flood management operations.
5. The subject will be presented in following sequence:
Types, causes and effects of disaster.
Disaster management plan and management cycle.
Flood as a disaster and its management.
Role of Bangladesh Army on disaster management operation
Showing of video clip.
6. Now I will discuss about two main definitions. Those are:
a. Disaster. An event, concentrated in time and space in which a society or a community undergoes severe danger and incurs such losses to its members and physical appurtenances that the social structure is disrupted and the fulfillment of all or some of the essential functions of the society is prevented.
b. Management. Management means according to dictionary. The process of dealing with or controlling people or things, help people with the management of their problems.
Types, Causes and Effects of Disaster
7. Type of Disaster. There are mainly two types of disaster in broader sense for which Army may be deployed in aid of civil power. They are:
b. Artificial/manmade disaster.
Causes of Disaster.
8. The causes of various natural calamities are discussed below:
a. Natural Causes. Following causes can bring various disaster as per their characteristics:
Low pressure in coastal areas.
Lack of Rain.
Rise of mean sea level.
b. Artificial Causes.
Farakka barrage and other internal barrage.
Big Fire incident.
(6) Major accidents. (Chemical, Industrial, Road, Rail, Air, sea).
(7) Collapsing of buildings.
(8) Ethnic problems.
(9) Civil unrest /riot.
(10) Severe political unrest.
(11) Manmade floods.
9. Effects of Disaster. Major effects of disaster tend to be:
Loss of life.
Damage and destruction of property and national infrastructure.
Disruption of production, life style and essential services.
Loss of livelihood.
Destabilization of national economic development.
Disaster Management Plan, (Main Activities) and Management Cycle
10. Disaster Management Plan. A well thought out plan based on the national disaster policy is a prerequisite. It must provide the modus operandi as to how crisis could be manage. Any disaster management plan should include the following elements as a logical sequence of stages to deal with the situation. These are :
out of these I will describe prepared and recovery.
a. Preparedness. This is the most important stage. It’s enable governments, communities and individuals to respond rapidly and effectively to disaster situations. Examples of preparedness measures are:
(1) The formulation and maintenance of realistic and up date counter disaster plans, which can be brought in to effect whenever required at short notice.
(2) Prediction, forecasting and early warning system.
(3) Special provisions for emergency action, such as evacuation of people on the temporary movement to safe havens/shelters.
(4) Emergency transportation and communication system.
(5) Training programmes including exercises and tests for executives, management and workers dealing with disaster in all sectors.
Public education and awareness on disaster management.
(7) Individual and Family preparedness.
b. Recovery. Following activities are considered necessary for recovery from any disaster related damage/losses:
Restoration of all essential services for the affected people.
Provision of food, medicine, temporary housing and accommodation.
Restoration of repairable homes and other buildings/installations.
(4) Rehabilitation of physically and psychologically disabled people particularly women and children.
(5) Reconstruction of damage roads, bridges railways and communications system.
(6) Restoration of telecommunication system.
11. Application to practical disaster management. Every country will have separate disaster management as needed. For us training programme of public education and awareness, day to day disaster management activities are required to maintain government impetus behind disaster management.
12. Disaster Management Cycle. As already indicated, the disaster management plan and action programme should be formulated based on certain elements. For better understanding it may be put through cycle management functions which include all activities related to disaster management.
b. Alternative format.
13. National Disaster Management Organization.
14. Flood as Disaster. When an area goes under water and remains so for sometime we may call it inundated. But if such inundation causes damage to property and life, disrupts communications and brings harmful effects to not only human beings but to flora and fauna, we call it flood. Webster’s dictionary defines flood as ” great flow of water especially a body of water, rising, swelling and overflowing land not usually thus covered”.
15. Types of Flood. Floods both normal and from damaging point can be classified into four main types they are:
16. Categories of Flood. Floods in Bangladesh may be further characterized according to their intensity extent of inundation and severity. These are grouped into four categories as under:
Normal (annual) Flood.
17. Main causes of Flood. Main causes are:
a. The increase in the volume of sediments carried by the river systems. Brahmaputra caries 750 million tons of sediment and Ganges 375 of sediment annually.
b. The reduction in river flows through the withdrawal of water mainly for irrigation.
c. The construction of dams and embankments in the basin.
d. Rise of mean sea level.
e. Peak flood synchronization.
18. Main Characteristics of Flood in Bangladesh. Snowmelt in the Himalayas and pre-monsoon rainfall in Assam causes flood in rainy season through river Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Jun, July, August & September is more vulnerable month for flood. Water levels
on adjoining floodplain fall slowly because of low gradients and congested drainage and substantial depression areas stay submerged.
Flood management operation.
19. Stages of Flood Management. There are four stages of flood management programme:
a. Pre-disaster Mitigation. This includes measures to reduce the impact of or prevent a flood event. Example range from structural measures to public education.
b. Pre-disaster preparedness. At this stage a response plan for the flood is development in advance; a warning system for flood is installed and the people responsible for implementation of preparedness are trained and the institutional mechanism for implementation is specified.
c. Response Disaster. This includes activities which are undertaken during and immediately after flood, such as emergency aid, evacuation to pre designated shelters, flood fighting; and assistance and taking measures for minimizing secondary damage and recovery operations.
d. Post-flood Recovery. At this stage support is provided for a return to vital life-support system to minimum operation levels, which is continued until the community returns to normal life.
20. Option for Flood Damage Mitigation. Measures that can be adopted for flood damage mitigation can be classified into two categories:
a. Direct or structural measures. ( storage reservoir, channel improvement)
b. Indirect or non-structure measures.(Forecast, warning flood fighting, evacuation )
21. To minimize flood losses, the following steps may be taken:
a. Increasing the forecast lead time be strengthening the flood forecasting and warning system through the installation of effective equipment for collection of hydrological and meteorological data through adequate training for related personnel.
b. Setting up an efficient system for the dissemination of flood warning.
c. Encouraging the introduction of zoning laws,, especially in urban areas covered by newly-built water control structures.
d. Education of the public about flood hazards, especially through the development of flood-risk maps.
e. The inclusion of disaster relief and preventive health measures in development programmes.
f. The maintenance of an effective infrastructure for emergency relief operations.
g. Where reservoirs have been constructed its operational pattern may be properly designed and monitored so that artificial flood is not created at downstream locations.
h. Where embankments have been constructed, its maintenance is essential to have it effective during flood events.
National Flood Protection.
22. The ministry of IWDFC prepared a detailed in November 1988 and suggested a package of short-term and long-term measures. Pending realization of regional cooperation, efforts of national level have been identified and were suggested for consideration on a priority basis. These are as follows:
a. The existing embankments along both banks of the major rivers, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and lower-Meghna, should be upgraded, extended and made continuous.
b. Extensive river training works should be taken up in all the rivers so that the embankments may be located with minimum set back distance in order to protect more land from inundation and minimize resettlement problems.
c. Flood forecasting and warning system should be improved and modernized as far as possible.
d. Dredging of the three main rivers should be considered but only of selected sites which would be identified from river cross-sections and bed profile in addition, all the confluence’s and off-taken of distributors that are badly sited may be dredged.
e. The medium and minor rivers should be desilted for efficient post monsoon drainage.
f. It should be investigated on priority basis how much reduction in flood levels and flood flow could be achieved in the Brahmaputra and the Ganges if water is diverted should also be ascertained with regard to old Brahmaputra, Meghna, Dhaleswari, Mathabhanga, Gorai, Bhairab, Arial Khan, etc.
g. An independent flood projection and drainage scheme for Dhaka city should be planned and implemented at an early date.
h. All highways, railway and road embankments should be built in harmony with natural drainage patterns of concerned locations.
23. Implementation of the recommended plan will involve a huge cost. Among the non-structural measures the following were suggested:
a. Watershed Management. Total elimination of flood is neither feasible nor desirable in view of the agora-ecological environment of the country. But can be reduce by: –
(1) Controlled Flooding. In this method water should be let into a polder, when rise of river about danger level has been predicted. The depth of water inside should be determined by the stage of crop growth. Thus overtopping breaching of dike and subsequent washing away of crops would be prevented.
(2) Afforestation. Denudation and soil erosion is a slow natural process, which is accelerated by deforestation under the natural equilibrium of environment, it takes about 300 to 400 years to generate 100mm topsoil. Great harm is done to soil by removal of vegetal Connor leading to erosion and subsequent sediment in rivers. Therefore, a planned programme of afforestation should be taken up.
(3) Adjustment of cropping Pattern. It should be possible to adjust cropping pattern to accommodate severe flooding.
24. Beside all these there are few foreign agencies plan. Some of them were alike Bangladesh and some gave different view like not economical, confrontation approach etc. Plans are known as.
The French plan.
The UNDP plan.
The US aid study.
The Japanese plan.
World Bank’s Flood action plan.
Role of Army in Disaster Management and Area of Responsibility
25. Basically AHQ (MO Dte) maintain close contact with the concerned authority for deployment of Army. Army plays role through three stages. They are:
(1) Identify the places, which are likely to be affected by the disaster, collect and maintain necessary information about the area.
(2) Issue warning order to all concerned giving necessary details.
(3) Impart refresher training if time permits and brief all ranks on relief, rescue and rehabilitation and their impending tasks.
(4) Maintain constant contact with concerned organizations and carryout necessary co-ordination.
(5) Maintain and prepare necessary equipment, which will be required for relief and rescue operations. Procure additional equipment from available sources.
(6) Mobilize troops to the places, which are likely to be cut off during disasters.
(7) Establish disaster control cell at all appropriate levels.
(8) Establish contact with local administration, social and political leaders.
(9) Brief all ranks on relief, rescue and rehabilitation and their impending tasks.
(10) Organize and earmark a ‘task Force’ of following elements in each formation to act as disaster control team:
A full infantry company.
An engineer platoon.
A platoon strength of doctors and medical assistants.
(11) Earmarks a reserve force for reinforcement if necessary.
b. During Disaster Stage.
Deploy troops in the affected areas.
Carryout rescue, relief and rehabilitation in affected areas.
(3) Carryout damage assessment and determine immediate requirement of relief materials and process the same in normal chain of command.
(4) Collect, transport and supervise distribution of the relief materials in the affected areas.
(5) Organize medical team and direct their activities.
(6) Establish, co-ordinate and supervise functioning of relief camps.
(7) Arrange drinking water and take appropriate measures to prevent epidemics.
(8) Co-ordinate the relief activities of the non-government organization (NCO) at the local level.
(9) Maintain close contact and carryout co-ordination with Bangladesh Air Force and Bangladesh Navy for transportation of relief materials of relief including food medicine clothing etceteras.
(10) Carryout co-ordination with “Disaster Situation and Relief Activities Monitoring Cell” and concerned ministry for the allotment of emergency funds.
(11) The local civil authority and the local force commander will mutually decide employment of troops, if not otherwise specified.
(12) Direct any other action felt necessary from the humanitarian point of view.
c. Post Disaster Stage.
(1) Determine the actual damage and recommend priority for rehabilitation works.
(2) Undertake repair works of important roads and restore communication in close co-ordination with roads and highway division.
(3) Assist in the construction/reconstruction of houses, school. Madrasa’s etc.
(4) Assist the civil administration in all possible way to provide technical assistance.
(5) Recommend any other measures to be under taken by the government.
26. Modus Operandi.
a. Declaration by the Government. Depending on the situation government decides about the employment of the army in aid of civil power. The decision is usually communicated through the supreme Command Headquarters. Initially concerned formation is provided with available information and general guideline about the pattern of deployment probable tasks. A detail order is given covering essential aspects.
b. The Disaster Control Cell. On declaration by the government disaster control cell are activated at Army Headquarters and lower Headquarters for smooth functioning.
c. Deployment of Troops. Normal battle procedure is followed at different levels and deployment made in affected areas in coordination with civil administration.
d. Area of Responsibility. Bangladesh have been divided into 8 areas. Formation wise areas of responsibility is shown on the screen:
Area of Responsibility
Area HQ SAVAR &Area HQ MYMENSING
Dhaka district (Except Metropolitan Area and Keranigonj Upazilla), Manikgonj, Gazipur, Tangail, Jamalpur, Sherpur, Mymensing, Kishorgonj and Netrokona districts
Area HQ BOGRA
Joypurhat, Bogra, Sirajgonj, Pabna, Natore, Naogaon, Chapainawabgonj and Rajshahi districts
Area HQ CHITTAGONG
Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati and Khagrachari districts.
Sylhet, Sunamgonj, Moulovibazar, Hobigonj, Brahman Baria, Comilla, Chandpur, Laximpur, Noakali and Feni districts.
Area HQ Jessore
Kushtia, Maherpur, Chuadanga, Jhenidah, Magura, Narail, Jessore, Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Barisal, Jhalokati, Pirojpur,Gopalgonj, Madaripur, shariatpur, Faridpur and Rajbari districts
Area HQ RANGPUR
Thakurgoan, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, and Gaibandah districts
14 Independent Engineer Brigade
Narsingdi, Narayangonj, Munshigonj, districts and Keranigonj Upazilla of Dhaka.
46 Independent Brigade
Dhaka Mertopolitan Area
27. Likely Tasks. Likely task that to be carried out by different Arms and Services of Army may be as follows:
a. Armored, Artillery and Infantry.
(1) Collect preliminary information on the extent of damage by physical reconnaissance of disaster affected area.
(2) Carryout emergency relief, searches and rescue operation.
(3) Evacuate distressed people.
(4) Organize relief camps, establish gruel kitchen and supply cooked food for short duration.
(5) Assist local administration in mass burial of dead bodies.
(6) Establish temporary shelter, assist local people to reconstruct their dwellings.
(7) Assist in preparing Helipad and in preventing to looting.
(1) Provide search and rescue party with fast moving shallow watercrafts.
(2) Assist in the emergency repair and construction of damaged roads, bridges, culverts, and houses, replace damaged bridges with military bridging equipment.
(3) Establish water points and sink tubewel in the disaster affected areas.
(4) Provide earth-removing equipment’s to clear debris from damage area and roadways.
(5) Reconnaissance and establish relief camps. Constructs field latrines and arrange drainage system in the relief camps.
(6) Assist in construction of cyclone shelter embankment in the coastal areas.
(1) Provide wireless communication from district headquarters to central monitoring cell.
(2) Provide Communication between affected areas and headquarters.
(3) Provide telephone facilities to public.
d. Electrical mechanical Engineers.
The establishing of public service like electricity and water supply.
(2) Reconstruction and development of Railway.
(3) Reconstruction of damage national industries.
e. Supply and Transport.
(1) Receiving and storing of relief goods from donors.
(2) Arrange transportation of relief goods.
(3) Arrange packing and loading of emergency supply for helidropes.
(4) Carryout evacuation of men and materials.
(5) Maintenance of Prime Minister’s relief store.
f. Army Medical Corps.
(1) Keep emergency medical ready for likely diseases, which might breakout in case of disaster.
(2) Establish field hospital in the disaster-affected areas.
(3) Carryout emergency evacuation of the people from disaster area either to local hospital or to military hospital by military ambulance service.
g. Army Aviation.
(1) Carry out aerial survey of the disaster affected areas and report extent of damage to AHQ.
(2) Evacuate serious patients/casualties to the nearest hospital if suitable means of transportation (preferably helicopter) is available.
(3) Assist search and rescue operation by directing search party to the marooned people.
h. Military Police.
Assist in maintenance of law and order in the relief camps.
(2) Assist in traffic control.
(3) Carryout announcement of warning of an impending disaster, if required.
(4) Assist mob and refugee control.
Training on Disaster Relief
28. Based on experience of handling of disaster and from the feedback received from officers and men involved in relief operation it is suggested that the various aspects of disaster management to be incorporated in the training syllabus of Army to have an uniform standard.
29. Bangladesh facing natural disaster almost every after one-year. Loss of lives, property and economic downfall is common to us. Severe effect of 1998 flood and cyclone of 1991 threatened the survivors of starvation, disease and death, dislocation of communication system and crop failure etc. So it is imperative for us to have an effective system to fight against various disaster.
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