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CONTINGENCY ACTION PLAN
Natural calamities, of one description or the other, affect nations all over the world. Because of the large geographical size of the country, India often faces natural calamities like floods, cyclones and drought occurring fairly frequently in different parts of the country. At times, the same area is subjected to floods and drought situation in successive seasons or years. While not all natural calamities can be predicted and prevented, a state of preparedness and ability to respond quickly to a natural calamity can considerably mitigate loss of life and property and the human suffering and restore normalcy at the earliest. It is, therefore, of paramount importance that a plan of action for dealing with contingencies that arise in the wake of natural calamities is formulated and periodically updated.
Types of Natural Calamities
Different natural, calamities can be distinguished from each other in terms of their nature and extent of their impact. Calamities like earthquakes, hailstorms, avalanches, landslides, etc. occur quite suddenly but they are restricted in their impact in terms of time and space. Similarly, though floods and cyclones occur with some element of .warning yet their occurrence is confined in duration. Drought, on the other hand, spans over a much longer time-frame and its adverse impact on the economic activities and life of an area is of a more lasting nature. The measures required to meet the threats posed by different calamities, therefore, differ considerably in terms of disaster preparedness and amelioration of the economic and social life of the affected people.
Major and minor calamities
Natural calamities may be broadly grouped into major and minor types depending upon their potential to cause damage to human life and property. While natural calamities like earth-quakes, droughts, floods and cyclones could be regarded as major, hailstorms, avalanches, landslides, fire accidents, etc. whose impact is localized and intensity of the damage is much less can be categorized as minor calamities.
Minor calamities like hailstorms, avalanches, landslides and fires also occur without any appreciable degree of forewarning and cause damage to properties and lives. However, areas prone to such disasters also could be identified and certain precautionary measures taken in the context of potential threat requiring general awareness and an ability to relate to a predefined system of appropriate responses on the part of the local administration.