The first South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMex- 2015) hosted by the Government of India culminated with the South Asian countries coming to a common consensus for the need to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) as a key component in any planning process for emergencies. Over the past two decades, the number of recorded disasters has almost doubled. Nine out of every ten of these disasters have been climate related. For most of us, these seem to be the first real signs of climate change; the first signs that the ‘impossible’ can happen. The usual holistic approach of disaster management calls for identifying appropriate and viable preventive and mitigation measures juxtapose adequate preparedness for timely response which actually determines the success of any such initiative during emergencies. The focus of this “Emergency Response” is on meeting the basic needs of the people so as to contain or lessen the effects of these disasters. While it is impossible to plan for every disaster separately due to varying dynamics, failure to do so can lead to asset damage, mortality, and revenue losses and hence, stakeholders keep harping about the need for a systematic approach and assistance in carrying out efficient response. Similar National experiences and the increasing number of disasters worldwide are a warning signal corroborating the fact that disaster response STILL needs better “preparedness”.
Preparedness has traditionally been framed in terms of disaster response, with preparedness mostly playing a supporting role to response. As such, these preparedness activities are more immediate than long-term, focusing on preparing to respond quickly when disaster strikes. While preparedness historically “serves” response, it does not neatly fit within the arena of response. It does not at all focus on development of community-based or localized capacity enhancement. Therefore, despite common elements, these fields developed parallel, un-coordinated, and sometimes conflicting operations, which did not lead to optimal outcomes. As the ‘preparedness community’ is trying to erase its traditional boundaries and have embraced a term that represents holistic views that leap across the strong disaster management-DRR gap: RESILIENCE. The “silo oriented” attitude is beginning to fade, and there is a rise of more inclusive perceptions of preparedness.