India to get national database on disasters by 2020
India will get a national database on disasters, which includes information on deaths, people affected and economic losses, by 2020.
Although scattered data has been available at the state level for many decades now, much of it is not digitised or easily usable in a nationwide database.
A report by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters stated that India suffered the third-largest number of disasters in 2016, after China and the United States. Half the people impacted by disasters globally in 2015 and 2016 hailed from the country.
India is affected by over 30 types of disasters, including droughts, cyclones and earthquakes. Urban disasters such as slum fires are also emerging as a major area of concern.
As India is a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, an agreement that sets targets for disaster management, it has become imperative for the country to have a database ready by 2020. The targets include reduction in deaths, number of people impacted, economic losses and infrastructural damage. Without a baseline, it will be impossible to track the achievement of these targets.
An important feature of the national database would be collation of disaggregated data. For instance, the numbers for affected population would be broken down into categories such as gender and income class, and economic losses calculated in a sector-wise fashion.
“We will try and provide data that’s as disaggregated as possible, by space and gender,” said Kamal Kishore, a senior official of the National Disaster Management Authority. “For a large country like India, aggregated data collected at the state level is not as useful. It has to go down further to district and, preferably, block levels.”
A baseline, using data from 2005-15, will be developed in order to track improvements in disaster management.