The state Disaster Management Action Plan (DMAP) has been prepared
for its operationalisation by various departments and agencies of
the Government of Maharashtra and other Non-Governmental Agencies
expected to participate in disaster management. This plan provides
for institutional arrangements, roles and responsibilities of the
various agencies, interlinks in disaster management and the scope
of their activities. An elaborate inventory of resources has also
The purpose of this plan
is to evolve a system to
· assess the status of existing resources and facilities
available with the various departments and agencies involved in
disaster management in the state;
· assess their adequacies in dealing with a disaster;
· identify the requirements for institutional strengthening,
technological support, upgradation of information systems and data
management for improving the quality of administrative response
to disasters at the state level;
· make the state DMAP an effective response mechanism as
well as a policy and planning tool.
The state DMAP addresses the state's response to demands from the
district administration and in extraordinary emergency situations
at multi-district levels. It is associated with disasters like road
accidents, major fires, earthquakes, floods, cyclones, epidemics
and off-site industrial accidents. The present plan is a multi-disaster
response plan for the disasters which outlines the institutional
framework required for managing such situations.
The state DMAP specifically focusses on the role of various governmental
departments and agencies like the Emergency Operations Centre in
case of any of the above mentioned disasters. This plan concentrates
primarily on the response strategy.
1.1 Planning Assumptions
This action plan can function optimally only if a prior study of
the risks and vulnerability of a particular area is undertaken and
the institutional setup responsible for disaster mitigation is understood
1.2 Objectives of the DMAP
It also provides for a uniformity in approach and clear perception
of the various issues at hand, thus avoiding undue complications.
At the same time, the plan provides for the coordination of different
agencies from the field level to the central government. The objective
is to provide a quick and effective response in emergency situations.
Although, effective disaster specific plans have been previously
prepared by different departments/agencies, there is a growing awareness
of the need for a multi-disaster action plan in order to tackle
multi-faceted effects of disaster. This essentially concentrates
on the institutional setup and information flow, providing hazard
specific responses along with the roles of primary agencies involved.
Such an approach allows flexibility in response at the local level,
while still under the direct supervision and control of the state
While the action plan assumes an element of preparedness on part
of the administrative authorities, it also calls for substantial
involvement of the NGOs and private initiatives. Community participation
is one of the most effective inputs for the management of disasters.
Training of the community and key social functionaries thus become
essential elements for the successful execution of a disaster management
1.3 Policy Statement
Although containing disasters will basically be at the district
level, it is important to build confidence and self reliance at
the district level, which can be best effected through timely, supportive
and planned interventions by the state.
A Disaster Management Plan is backed by continuous
preparedness. Only a sustained effort at preparedness can make a
disaster management plan effective.
2. INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS
This multi-disaster action plan proposes that all the agencies
and departments with their disaster specific functions come under
a single umbrella of control and direction, to attend to all kinds
The existing arrangements, therefore, will be strengthened by this
administrative arrangement, which proposes to have the chief secretary
as the team leader supported by the relief commissioner with branch
arrangements at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Mantralaya.
The objective is to have a simplified and uncluttered system of
2.1 Emergency Operations Centre
The Emergency Operations Centre is proposed as the hub of activity
during a disaster. The structure of the EOC, can expand or contract
depending on the situation.
The primary function of an EOC is to implement the DMAP which includes
coordination, policy-making, operations management, data collection,
record keeping, public information and resource management.
The EOC, its system and procedures are designed in such a way that
information can be promptly assessed and relayed to concerned parties.
Rapid dissemination contributes to quick response and effective
decision-making during an emergency. As the master coordination
and control point for all counter-disaster efforts, the EOC is the
centre for decision-making under a unified command. In a disaster
situation, the EOC will come under the direct control of the chief
secretary or any other person designated by him as the chief of
The EOC, under normal circumstances, will work under the supervision
of the relief commissioner. It is the nerve centre to support, co-ordinate
and monitor disaster management activities at the district level.
Under normal circumstances, the activities of EOC are primarily
the responsibility of relief commissioner’s office, with training
and research inputs from YASHADA. The usual activities of the EOC
will be to
· ensure that all districts continue to regularly update
the District Disaster Management Action Plan and encourage districts
to prepare area-specific plans for areas prone to specific disasters;
· identify and interact with the central laboratories, research
institutions and NGOs to evolve mitigation strategies and setup
study groups and task forces for specific vulnerability studies;
· serve as a data bank and ensure that due consideration
is given to mitigation strategies in the planning process; identify
agencies and institutions for locating inventory items;
· upgrade and update the state DMAP according to changing
situations in the state;
· disseminate information about the state DMAP to other departments
of the government of Maharashtra and state level agencies;
· monitor the training imparted to state level officials,
private sector and NGOs by YASHADA;
· organise post-disaster evaluation and update the state
· ensure that the warning and communication systems and instruments
in the EOC are in working condition.
On the receipt of warning or alert from any such agency which is
competent to issue such a warning, or on the basis of reports from
Divisional Commissioner/District Collector of the occurrence of
a disaster, all community preparedness measures including counter-disaster
measures will be put into operation. The Chief Secretary/Relief
Commissioner will assume the role of the Chief of Operations for
The occurrence of disaster would essentially bring
into force the following :
· The EOC will be on full alert. The EOC can be expanded
to include branches with responsibilities for specific tasks.
· An on-going VSAT, wireless communication and hotline contact
with the divisional commissioner and collector/s of the affected
The Chief of Operations will
spell out the priorities and policy guidelines, coordinate services
of various departments and agencies including national and international
aid agencies, and central government agencies. The EOC in its expanded
form will continue to operate as long as the need for emergency relief
operations continue till the long-term plans for rehabilitation are
For managing long-term rehabilitation programmes, the responsibilities
will be that of the respective line departments. This will enable
the EOC to attend to other disaster situations, if need be.
The main branches in the EOC during a disaster situation will be
operations, services, resources, infrastructure, health, logistics,
communication and information management. Each branch will have
specific tasks to perform with a branch officer of the rank of Deputy
Secretary or Joint Secretary. The capacity of the various branches
to coordinate amongst themselves and with the field units will ultimately
decide the quality of response.
The facilities and amenities to be provided in the EOC include
well-designed control room and workstations for the branch and nodal
officers equipped with VSAT, wireless communication, hotlines, and
intercoms. The EOC as a data bank will keep all district and state
level action plans and maps. Provision of a car with wireless communication
will be made for the EOC during normal times.
Three categories of staff are being suggested for the control room:
Regular, staff -on-call and staff on disaster duty. Regular staff
will consist of a deputy secretary in Mantralaya from the relief
commissioner’s office as the branch officer-control room.
The EDP manager will be a technical person thoroughly conversant
with computer technology. Two deputy secretaries will make up the
staff -on-call. Staff on disaster duty will be the additional staff
who will shoulder additional responsibility in case of a disaster.
They will be in the nature of a reserve and may be drawn from the
various departments experienced in control room and EOC operations.
In disaster management, there is a need for coordination between
different levels of the government to have a unified command system
for coordinated action by all the agencies. The objective is to
ensure that the state action is organized in a disaster situation
· effectively and efficiently meet needs;
· avoid waste and-duplication of effort; and
· ensure that resources are distributed equitably and to
areas of greatest need.
The District Control Room has been organised in a similar fashion
to the Emergency Operations Centre.
The flow of information between the EOC and the DCR has been described
under normal conditions and disaster situations. Effort is made
to evolve a system by which the DCR can set-up site operations centres.
The DCR will report all the field activities to the EOC.
In case of disasters which have an impact on more than one district
in a division, the role of the divisional commissioner comes into
prominence. The commissioner’s responsibilities shall include
exercising general supervision over the contingency plan and work
undertaken by the collectors in his division as also on the relief
and rehabilitation operations in those districts.
2.2 Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs)
and Voluntary Agencies
The capacity of non-governmental organisations and voluntary agencies
to reach out to community groups and their sensitivity to local
traditions of the community, gives them an added advantage during
disasters. Some of the agencies, both from within and outside the
state, have technical expertise and capabilities which can be brought
into managing difficult situations.
During the post-disaster phase, therefore, efforts should be made
to enlist partnership of some of the NGOs with relevant expertise,
to assist the district administration in the process of relief and
2.2.1 Community Participation
The EOC is expected to ensure and monitor the nature of community
participation sought at the disaster site. Identification of agencies
to monitor and evaluate various aspects of community participation,
their impact on efficiency in operations and in the recovery process,
is one of the responsibilities of EOC during post-disaster evaluation.
The DDMAP expects the district administration to enlist community
participation in the entire disaster cycle.
Community participation can be ensured by:
· identifying opinion, positioning leaders in the community
and voicing administration’s confidence in their capabilities
to undertake the tasks;
· consultations and dialogues expressly indicating the need
for assistance to encourage the community and its leaders to come
· having regular feedback meetings and an open book approach
to demonstrate transparency; and
· involving community in decision making at local levels.
Community participation would also include:
Ø maintaining of security and law and order during evacuation;
Ø helping in emergency evacuations;
Ø containing panic behaviour, maintaining orderly movement
towards community shelters (safe zones) and taking preventive steps
to avoid injuries and accidents;
Ø organise cultural and recreational activities;
Ø encouraging self-help;
Ø contributing labour (loading, unloading, distribution,
temporary constructions, salvage and restoration of water supplies,
Feeding centres, relief camps, cattle camps etc.); and
Ø maintaining standards in sanitation and disposal of waste.
3. RESPONSE STRUCTURE
In a multi-disaster response plan, the response structure recommended
is specific to the type and severity of the disaster, its potential
impact on individuals, damage to infrastructure, disruption of services,
environmental effects, economic and social consequences and secondary
effects. The document lists the specific needs to combat the possible
A diagrammatic presentation of disaster specific responses includes
the need for updating information, coordination, technical assistance,
resource mobilisation, control, monitoring and extraordinary arrangements
with the various departments and agencies, including NGOs at every
Response structure on occurrence of warning
Response chart on occurrence of disaster
4. DISSEMINATION OF STATE DMAP
In order t make the state DMAP effective it must be
disseminated at three levels :
· to the central government departments, multilateral agencies
(aid agencies), defence services, state level officials;
· to the district authorities, government departments, NGOs,
other agencies and institutions within the state; and
· through mass media to the general public.
The responsibility for dissemination of the plan should be vested
with the Relief Commissioner at Mantralaya, carried out by YASHADA,
as well as through awareness programmes organised by each of the
agencies participating in disaster management. The Relief Commissioner
should also involve state-level NGOs in preparing suitable public
awareness material to be distributed to the public.
In addition to dissemination of literature related to the state
DMAP, the Relief Commissioner should ensure that disaster response
drills are conducted by the district authorities and other agencies
on a regular basis especially in the disaster prone areas.
4.1 Plan Evaluation
The purpose of evaluation of the state DMAP is to determine the
adequacy of resources, coordination between various agencies, community
participation and partnership with NGOs.
The plan be updated when shortcomings are observed in organisational
structures or when technological changes render it obsolete. The
plan can also be updated following reports on drills or exercises
A post-incident evaluation should be done after the completion of
relief and rehabilitation activities, in order to assess the nature
of state intervention and support, adequacy of, the organization
structure, institutional arrangements, operating procedures, monitoring
mechanisms, information tools, equipment and communication systems.
Impact studies on the above operations for long-term preventive
and mitigation efforts are to be undertaken.
At the community level, evaluation exercises may be undertaken to
assess the reactions of the community members at various stages
in the disaster management cycle and to understand their perceptions
about disaster response.
4.2 Plan Update
The state DMAP is a “living document” and the relief
commissioner along with YASHADA will update it every year. An annual
conference for DMAP update will be organised by relief commissioner.
All concerned departments and agencies would participate and give
recommendations on specific issues.
5. OPERATING PROCEDURE GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS
“Operating Procedure Guidelines and Standards for Monitoring”
given in a separate document include procedures for warning, operating
procedures for evacuation, comprehensive operating procedures for
the departments as well as standards of services and specifications
for relief camps, cattle camps, and feeding centres.
5.1 Operating Procedures for Warning
A warning system is essential to indicate the onset of a disaster.
This may range from alarms (e.g., for fires) and sirens (e.g., for
industrial accidents) to public announcements through radio, television
etc. (e.g., for cyclones, floods) and other traditional modes of
communication (eg. beating of drums, ringing of bells, hoisting
In most disaster situations, experience has shown that a loss of
life and property could be significantly reduced by preparedness
measures and appropriate warning systems. The importance of warning
systems, therefore, hardly needs any emphasis. However, the opportunity
for warning does not exist in all cases. Indiscriminate warnings
may result in non-responsiveness of the people. It is, therefore,
necessary that with respect to every disaster, a responsible officer
is designated to issue the warnings.
The district administration is the prime agency responsible for
issuing disaster warnings. Additional technical agencies authorised
to issue warnings have been listed.
5.1.1 Important Elements of Warning
· Communities in disaster prone areas are made aware of the
· Alternate warning systems must be kept in readiness in
case of technical failures (eg, power failure).
· All available warning systems should be used.
· The warnings should, to the extent possible be clear about
the severity, the duration and the areas that may be affected.
· Warnings should be conveyed in a simple, direct and non-technical
language to incorporate day-to-day usage patterns.
· The do’s and don’ts should be clearly communicated
to the community to ensure appropriate responses.
· Warning statements should not evoke curiosity or panic
behaviour. This should be in a professional language devoid of emotions.
· Spread of rumours should be controlled.
· All relevant agencies and organisations should be alerted.
· Wherever possible, assistance of community leaders and
organised groups should be sought in explaining the threat.
· Once a warning is issued, it should be followed-up by subsequent
warnings in order to keep the people informed of the latest situations.
· In the event of a disaster threat passing, an all clear
signal must be given.
5.2 Operating Procedures for Evacuation
Disasters by their very nature will be different and may require
evacuation of communities. It is important to understand the nature
of threat and the procedures to be adopted. All agencies involved
in evacuation must have a common understanding of their roles and
responsibilities in order to avoid confusion an panic behaviour.
Different situations demand different priorities and hence the responsibility
for ordering evacuation is assigned to different agencies.
All evacuations will be ordered only by the Collector, Police, Fire
Brigade or by the Industries Security Officer. For appropriate security
and law and order evacuation should be undertaken with assistance
from community leaders. All evacuations should be reported to Collector
or District Superintendent of Police immediately.
The following steps should be taken for evacuation
· Shelter sites should be within one hour's walk or 3 miles
(5 km) of dwellings.
· The evacuation routes should be away from the coast or
· Evacuation routes should not include roads likely to be
submerged in floods, but may include pathways.
· Ensure proper evacuation by seeking community participation.
· Families should be encouraged to take along water, food,
clothing and emergency supplies to last at least three days.
· People should listen to a battery-powered radio and follow
· If the danger is a chemical release, then people should
be instructed to evacuate immediately.
In case of marooned persons, evacuation must be carried out as soon
as possible and the persons transferred to transit camps. If evacuation
is not possible within 3 hours of the disaster, marooned people
must be provided with water, medicines, first-aid and cooked food.
Emergency transport for the seriously injured can be arranged through
speed boats or helicopters. A senior medical officer should accompany
the rescue team along with required medical kits and ensure priority
shifting of those seriously injured or requiring immediate medical
5.3 Operating Procedures for Departments
Operating procedures for different departments include the Preamble,
Planning Assumptions, Normal Time Activity, Action Plan Objective
in a Disaster Situation, Activities on Receipt of Warning or Activation
of District DMAP (DDMAP), Evacuation, Relief and Rehabilitation
– Field Office Priorities and Head Office Priorities. These
Operating Procedures are given for the following departments : MSEB,
Police, Public Health Department, Irrigation Department, Agriculture
Department, Animal Husbandry, MWSSB, Public Works Department, DOT,
Railways and AAI.
6. INFORMATION AND MONITORING
The institutional framework and the response structure would not
be effective unless it is operationalised through information tools
and monitoring mechanisms. Such tools define the direction and content
of information as also the source. The flow of information calls
for accountability and the source provides the authenticity. The
Information and Monitoring Tools are given in a different document.
In this context, this section presents information and monitoring
tools for agencies during preparedness, alert or warning, activation
of plan, damage assessment and relief and recovery stages. The tools
are evolved keeping in view the requirements of an effective administrative
response, efficiency in decision making, evaluation and assessment
of on-going disaster stages and requirements of future preparedness.
These tools are also expected to help administration in identification
and reaching out to the most vulnerable and devastated groups.
WORKING GROUP ON MAHARASHTRA DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Chairman, Disaster Management Council
Project Leader, Advisor and
Chairman, Committee on Earthquakes
and Special Commissioner, Earthquake Rehabilitation,
Chairman, Committee on
Floods and Cyclones
Chairman, Committee on Industrial and Chemical