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Disasters have been mankind’s constant companion since time immemorial. Natural disasters continue to strike unabated and without notice. Natural disaster is a high impact phenomenon, which has potential to wipe out years of development in a matter of few minutes or hours or over an extended period of time. Although disasters cannot be prevented fully, their impact can be reduced with better disaster management strategies aided by latest technological development. The International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, which began in January 1990, had embraced efforts to reduce death, injury and property losses stemming from rapid-onset natural disasters. Our expanding science and technology base makes possible this concerted cooperative international effort, and communications is a central part of that effort — for public education, early warning, evacuation and coordination of post-disaster relief.

Mass communication is inextricably entwined with disasters and hazard mitigation. Media plays an important role in creating awareness about disasters and various preventive, mitigative and preparatory measures necessary for efficient management of disasters. Media highlights the sufferings of people and exposes various loopholes in the systems which should prompt necessary corrective measures. Reflecting the public's great interest and concern, the electronic and print media extensively cover natural disasters and significantly affect how and what the public learns and perceives natural hazards. Improving the linkages between the media and disaster-mitigation researchers and practitioners could prepare the public to act promptly on warnings, helping to mitigate disasters. This could also accelerate the shift of the societal emphasis from post-disaster relief toward pre-disaster initiatives. Various stakeholders (both print and electronic media have their own advantages which can be tapped for better disaster management information dissemination.

  • BBC World Service Trust:
    BBC World Service Trust is a non-profit arm of BBC that uses media and communications to contribute to the reduction of poverty and the promotion of human rights in developing countries. The Trust works in four main programmatic areas: health, governance, learning for livelihoods and humanitarian response. An additional stream of work on the environment is also being developed. The Trust partners with civil society, local media and governments to produce creative programmes in multi-media formats that inform and engage audiences around key development issues; and strengthen the media sector through building professional capacity and infrastructure.
    Website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/trust
  • Disaster Watch:
    Disaster Watch is an initiative by the Huairou Commission and GROOTS International to support grassroots women to build community resilience. The Huairou Commission envisions a widely practiced system of disaster response that leads to long-term sustainable development by deeply involving women and their communities in practice planning and policy setting. This initiative is coordinated by Swayam Shikshan Prayog, India.
    Contact: disasterwatch@gmail.com
    Website: www.disasterwatch.net/
  • Times Foundation:
    Times Foundation is a development house set up by the Times of India Group to promote equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The Times Foundation has five core verticals. These are information dissemination, public policy initiatives, corporate social responsibility, capacity building and public private partnerships.
    Website: timesfoundation.indiatimes.com
  • Relief Web:
    Relief Web is the global hub for time-critical humanitarian information on complex emergencies and natural disasters.
    Website: www.reliefweb.com

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