Disasters can be defined as some dangerous situation or event that can happen unexpectedly anywhere at anytime. The word disaster originated from the French word 'desastre', which is a combination of words ‘des’ (bad) and ‘aster’ (star) and therefore disaster indicates bad star. Disasters that cause serious threat to normal life, property, environment as well as the process of development may be rapid or slow and can be classified as natural disaster, man-made disaster and hybrid disaster. Natural disasters are those which result from natural forces like earthquakes, floods, tsunami, cyclones, volcanic eruption etc. Man-made disasters like blast, terrible accidents, gas calamity, etc are caused from human beings interaction with artificial environment. Hybrid disasters (eg. epidemics) are those disasters that result from a compound of both natural or man made disaster. The increasing population, deforestation, industrial growth etc can be sighted as the reasons for both natural and human made disasters.
Disaster management also called as Emergency Management is all about dealing with all kinds of disasters. Its major objective is to reduce the shocking effects of a disaster on the affected community and to help them return to normal life within a short period. Disaster management is a multi disciplinary area covering a wide range of issues like monitoring, evaluation, search and rescue, relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation operations. This highly responsible profession includes the plans and actions before, during and after the disasters. It is a combination of mechanisms such as timely warning, alerts, fast response and efficient coordination. Even though we cannot stop or avoid natural disasters, it is possible to resist aftermath calamities of such disasters.
Disaster management is the method of controlling a disaster by using skillful ways. Its techniques or methods are based on the economic status of a country and hence it varies from country to country. Disasters are managed better and quicker by the developed countries than the developing countries. Developing countries are reporting high number of deaths related to disaster, and Pakistan has second place in it due to its geographical position, climate and geological setting. The course is beneficial for social workers.
In Pakistan, the state and central government take responsibilities of disaster management and the government has included disaster management as a program to study. Many institutes offer courses in Disaster management that would help one to get into the field of emergency supervision. Many government and non-government organizations need emergency management professionals to work for the betterment of society. It is a fairly paid industry and in spite of all the risk, disaster management is one of the careers that give mental satisfaction to those who wants to serve the society.
Eligibility & Course Areas
Disaster management courses are offered at the short term certificate, undergraduate, postgraduate degree and diploma levels. Basic educational qualification, i.e Higher Secondary Certificate Examination (10+2) is needed to pursue a career in disaster management. But for masters or MBA, the student should be a graduate in any field (even from a professional field such as engineering or medicine graduate), who has a minimum average of 50 percent marks from any recognized institute or university.
Disaster management courses aim at enhancing knowledge, capacities and skills, and perspective on disasters. The course covers different areas of disaster management which include management of the situation of emergency, response to the needs of the people and the area, evacuation process, distribution of food and medical care for the injured people. Some of the topics of the course are approaches and planning for the disaster, conflict and its analysis, data management and analysis, disaster risk reduction strategies, legislative structures for controlling disasters, development planning; Geographical Information System (GIS- a computer based information system which is used to digitally represent and analyze the geographic features present on the earth surface and the events that take place on it) its design and application etc. Basic Economics, disaster financing, and logistic management are other topics that are included in the study area along with psychological care and public health planning.
Disaster management professionals should be mentally and physically fit to be able to handle all types of circumstances at any time. Timely action is very much needed for this profession, there fore one who aspires to be in this profession should be alert and should be able to implement apt plans immediately for any situation. Disaster management professionals are not only responsible for other's well being but also for self's life and health. They should be ready to take huge responsibilities. Good communication skill is essential for this career, as they have to communicate easily and effectively. Good organizing capability and team spirit are other skills that one should possesses to perform well in this industry.
Job Prospects & Career Options
Managing and protecting the mass from different hazards is a very important duty and it needs to be carried out with extreme care and caution. Disaster management is more of a service related field, so one should enter the field fully prepared i.e understanding the pros and cons of the field.
Disaster Management personnel should be well prepared to manage emergency situations and should respond to the needs of the people and areas affected, in a quick and efficient manner. They have to be prepared and should have a plan in mind as to how to combat any disaster if it occurs. The right planning helps to decrease the intensity and impact of the disaster.
Civil servants, civil engineers, police and defense personnel, paramilitary personnel, fire fighters and other protective service workers on their training period will undergo training and workshops on disaster management which would be very helpful for them.
Pakistan, being a country prone to frequent natural calamities in its diverse landscapes, the need for disaster management professionals is on the rise. In this field, employment opportunities are offered in the disaster management departments of government agencies such as fire departments, drought management departments, law enforcement authorities, relief agencies etc. and Insurance companies, industries in the high-risk fields like chemicals, mining, and petroleum which have their own disaster management cells. One can work as a social worker, environment expert, rehabilitation worker etc. Engineering professionals in the field of disaster management can design buildings that help resist disasters. Graduates in disaster management can start their own consultancies as well.
NGOs and International organizations such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Organisations (UNO), Red Cross, UNESCO offer various opportunities for professionally trained disaster management professionals. They are recruited for conducting training and workshops on disaster management to the general public and for other related activities.