TODAY -

Understanding disasters and disaster management
with special reference to Manipur
- Part 2 -

Laishram Sherjit Singh *

 TMap showing Earthquake zone in  locations in North-east India
Map showing Earthquake zone in locations in North-east India



Case Study: Manipur earthquake 2016

On 4th January 2016 an earthquake of Mw 6.7 occurred near the Noney village of Tamenglong district, 30 km WNW of Imphal, Manipur. The focal depth of the earthquake is 38km. This is the largest earthquake to have occurred in the region during last six decades.

The earthquake is of moderate MM intensity VII. As the epicentral zone is in forest area damage is less. Some 8 deaths are reported in India and some in Bangladesh. Some 165 houses collapsed in Imphal and a few partially collapsed at Guwahati and Silchar. Damage in Imphal is more as it is on a soft sedimentary basin and is close to the epicenter.

LANDSLIDES; landslides may be defined as failure of a slope, mainly under the action of its own weight. In another words, landslide is mass movement of slope forming materials composed of rock and soil. This movement takes place under gravity and is facilitated by moisture which acts as lubricating agent.

Causes
o Deforestation
o Jhum cultivation
o Intense or prolong cultivation
o Erosion by wind, water
o Excavation and quarrying
o Earthquake

Impacts
o Loss of lives
o Serious problems in transportation
o Damages lines of communication and electricity
o Damage may occurs to buildings
o Destroy crop fields

Mitigation
o Providing drainage
o Constructing retaining walls
o Slope treatment
o Afforestation and reforestation
o Providing reinforcement by way of rock bolts or anchors

Case study: Joumol Landslide 2015

This is the worst landslide that hits Manipur since the massive landslide killed 20 people in the remote Joumol Village, Chandel district, Manipur. The whole village was buried on 1st August 2015. Many houses of neighboring villages- Hollenjang, Wayang and Tuitung village were also swept away.

The landslide is triggered by heavy rain. Due to the excessive rain roads had been cut off and many people rendered homeless.

BIOLOGICAL DISASTERS: A biological disaster is the disaster which causes sickness and fatalities in human beings, animals and plants at large scale due to micro-organisms such as bacteria, virus and fungi etc. Destruction of crops and plantations by pest are also falls in this category.

Causes
o Main causes is the contact with the pathogen
o Bio-terrorism
o Low public awareness
o Poor health and malnutrition
o Congestion in urban areas

Impacts
o Loss of live and livelihood
o Post-traumatic stress disorder
o Laborers crisis
o Enhances vulnerability due to economic consequences and levels of poverty

Mitigation
o Ensure availability of vaccines and drugs
o Providing effective and timely treatment
o Mass awareness and reliable public information system
o Develop an effective network of surveillance systems to detect outbreak of epidemics/pandemics
o Maintaining high standards of hygiene and sanitation in the communities

BUILDING FIRE: Fires are largely man-made disasters caused by negligence, poor maintenance or sabotage. The fires in buildings could develop into major disasters.

Causes
o Electrical short-circuit
o Kitchen fires
o Careless smoking
o Riots and arson

Impacts
o Loss of lives and property
o Carbon monoxide poisoning

Mitigation
o Good house keeping
o Use ashtrays when smoking
o Faulty electrical appliances should be repaired or replaced immediately
o Welding and cutting work should be carried under strict supervision
o Keep matches and crackers away from children
o Switches and fuses should conform to correct rating of circuit

FOREST FIRE: A forest fire is large, destructive fire that spreads over a forest or area of woodland. The origin of forest fire can be either natural or man-made. In India, most of the forest fireshave man-made origin.

Causes
o Careless burning of fields after harvesting
o Burning by local villagers for better growth of some plants and other minor forest product
o Camp fires by picnickers and trackers
o Careless throwing of burning cigarettes and matchsticks
o Sometimes hunters also burns forest

Impacts
o Loss of valuable timber resources and other forest products
o Soil erosion
o Loss of lives and livestock
o Degradation of catchment area
o Loss of wildlife, habitat and biodiversity

Mitigation
o Making fire line
o Prevention of slash and burn agriculture
o mass awareness and making strict rules for forest conservation
o Peoples’ participation in forest (fire) management

AIR POLLUTION: Air pollution is basically the presence of foreign substances such as dust, fumes, gas, mist, smoke or vapor in the air which is sufficient to be injurious to human, plant and animal or to property.

Sources
Natural source
o Volcanic eruption
o Pollen grains
o Storm
o Forest fires

Anthropogenic source
o Automobiles and trains
o Industries

Impacts
o Irritation of respiratory, eye or other system
o Smog formation
o Green house effects
o Los of agricultural productivity
o Acidification of soil and water through acid rain
o Mutagenic or carcinogenic actions

Mitigation
o Use public transport system
o Stop burning of crop residue after harvesting
o Replace fossil fuel with alternative renewable energy
o Improvement of combustion efficiency of solid household fuels

WATER POLLUTION: Water pollution may be defined as the presence of foreign substances in water that degrades the quality to constitute a hazard or impair its usefulness. In short, water pollution is the contamination of water bodies, usually as a result of human and natural activities.

Sources
o Natural processes- decomposed vegetation, animal and weathered products
o Anthropogenic process- waste from industry, agriculture and domestic source

Impacts
o Destruction of ecosystem
o Disease like cholera, typhoid, hepatitis etc.
o Affects the food chain when toxins and pollutants in the water are consumed by the aquatic animals
o Petrochemicals can cause cancers
o Pesticides can damage nervous system
o Lead can accumulate in the body and damage Central Nervous System

Mitigation
o Proper treatment of sewage
o Sanitary landfills instead of open dumps
o Minimize the use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides
o Don’t dispose chemicals, paints and toxic substances in water supply and drains

DEFORESTATION: Clearing of forest across the earth in large scale has been occurring for many years. This process is called deforestation. It involves the cutting down, burning and damaging of forests. If the current rate of deforestation continuous,world’s rain forests will vanish within 100 years.

Causes
o Population growth and expansion of settlement area
o Logging
o Over grazing
o Shifting cultivation
o Building of Dams

Impacts
o Loss of biodiversity and extinction of plant and animal species
o Affects global carbon cycle
o Affects hydrological cycle
o Soil erosion
o Can cause flooding

Mitigation
o Only way to ensure mitigation of deforestation is to stop destroying of forests. Since, it seems impractical, so only thing we can do is to use the forest products in moderation.
o Reforestation and afforestation
o Controlled land use planning
o Stop shifting cultivation

Concluded ....


* Laishram Sherjit Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at sherjitlaishram(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on July 24 2020 .



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