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A career in disaster management: What you should know

July 29, 2013 13:05 IST

A career in disaster management: What you should know


Shiphony Pavithran Suri, Careers360

An MA/MSc/MBA in Disaster Management helps you become an expert who will have a critical role to play in rescue and rehabilitation operations. Read on to know how what it takes to pursue a career in it

Programme: MA/MSc in Disaster Management
Key institutes: National Institute of Disaster Management, University of North Bengal, International Centre of Madras University, Mahatma Gandhi University, Disaster Management Institute, Centre for Disaster Management, Maharashtra
Job areas: Emergency services, relief agencies, non-governmental organisations and international agencies
Positions: Emergency Planning Manager/ Officer, Database Analyst, Security Administration or Operations Analyst

The recent devastation and suffering streaming out from the state of Uttarakhand is yet another cruel knock from nature.

It was triggered by a mighty cloudburst washing away homes, roads and bridges, leaving thousands stranded.

Unfortunately, we make a hue and cry for disaster management training and services only when calamities strike.

“Disaster management depends on the response of the society at large -- in preventing, mitigating, expanding relief and rehabilitation post disaster,” says Dr Jayant Singh, Director, Centre for Disaster Management at National Institute of Administrative Research.

This emergency management is not limited to just floods, earthquakes or cyclones; in fact it reaches out to industrial, urban disasters as well.

In India, half of the population is moving into urban space, swelling the size of population -- it can lead to outbreak of H1 virus or leakage of gas.

Since nature is unpredictable, Jayant advices “Disaster management is the serious need of the hour”.

Networking and facilitating exchange of information, experience and expertise are in demand when natural disasters strike without any warning.

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Image: A pilgrim is helped by a villager as she tries to cross on a pathway damaged by landslide in Rudraprayag in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters


Experienced professionals can earn upwards Rs 1 lakh

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Job prospects

Disaster managers create a framework for communities to handle disasters.

For Shekhar Chaturvedi, a Research Associate at National Institute of Disaster Management, Delhi, it’s all about service.

“Without a genuine feeling for the community, you cannot carry out good rescue operations.”

His latest role for Uttarakhand landslides involved sharing information about sending immediate resources like lamp, boat, gas cutter, to affected areas; discovering disaster trainers in the state; documenting entire sequence of disaster; meeting victims and spreading awareness among public.

If the field inspires you, then you can spot jobs in emergency services, local authorities, relief agencies, non-governmental organisations and international agencies.

A fresh postgraduate can expect a salary of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per month and with experience s/he can target above Rs 1 lakh.

What you learn

Interestingly, the MA in disaster management programme admits students from diverse backgrounds, be it science,engineering, arts or commerce.

It trains you on how to respond to the needs of the disaster-stricken people, evacuation process and distribution of materials like food, clothes, medical aid, shelter and rehabilitation services.

Be bold

At the operational level, the quality of management systems must be well placed.

For instance, medical aid and rehabilitation services must be available 24x7.

And at human resource level, says Prof Indrajit Pal from Centre for Disaster Management, Hyderabad, “Your motivation should be far above a soldier who is prepared to give his life for the country.”

Image: Members of a rescue team from the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority
Photographs: Reuters

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