There is not a single country that can be considered free from various types of disasters. There is no doubt that the vulnerability of the people in the underdeveloped country is more than those of their developed counterparts. This can be attributed to various factors. One of them is extensive research and awareness generation activity undertaken by the governments of these countries. This could be possible only in those countries who understand the long term effects of disaster on the overall economic development of the country. Now even the under developed countries are realizing the need to take steps to mitigate the effects of disasters. But the problem is lack of expertise availability. I come from the area in Gujarat, India that has been affected by the worst earthquake of the century. I wish to learn the methods that will be helpful in mitigation and thereby help in reducing the vulnerability of the people not only in my own country but in other underdeveloped countries as well.
Right from my childhood, I was a compassionate person; always ready to help people in any possible way. I also used to take initiative in management of various activities, if not by direct involvement then by supporting the organizers. But I was not aware about the field like disaster management. During any disaster it is essential that the people affected are treated with compassion and their needs are taken care off.
I came to know about such specialize organizations and their role after joining the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA), which has been established after the earthquake that not only Gujarat but many other states of India. I have been very lucky in being a part of one of the world’s biggest rehabilitation and reconstruction project ever undertaken. Today, the organization is very well renowned not only in India but also globally. The UN Sasakawa award of merit for Disaster Reduction has been awarded to GSDMA.
After obtaining more than three years experience in this organization, I wish to serve humanity so as to reduce their sufferings during the times of disaster. In order to fulfill this wish, I felt that it is essential to have better understanding of the causes of disasters, the different methods of mitigation and reducing the peoples vulnerability, and creating awareness about what steps an individual can take to ensure his and family’s safety. Education is essential, and this has led to my decision of pursuing further education in disaster management.
My current job profile at GSDMA includes looking after the matters related to housing and emergency communication system. The housing sector is responsible for monitoring of the owner driven house construction that is taking place in the earthquake-affected areas of Gujarat. We have to deal with public grievances that arise at taluka and district level, solve this and also take up policy level decisions as per the different packages declared for the assistance that is to be provided to the affected population. The job includes meeting the beneficiaries who come with their grievances. It is essential to understand the problem and then present it to the decision maker after proper interpretation of the information and correlating the same with the provision laid-down. In the emergency communication system the best means of communication during emergency had to be determined. It has been the experience that the regular means of communication fail to meet the demands during emergency, so other means of communication like the VHF/HF radio, satellite phones, etc have to be used. The basic requirement and permission (license) to operate a VHF trans-receiver has been obtained by me. The Central Government Ministry of Wireless Communication issues the license.
Along with all this I have been lucky in being allotted a set of diverse tasks which further helped me in understanding the need for specialized training requirements. I have been given the task of documentation and therefore could go thorough reports highlighting the works done by different countries, their approaches etc. The nature of taking a lead in any management task helped me in being a part of the team organizing various workshops and seminars where I could informally talk to participants from different fields and countries. I have been very impressed by the visit of the team from FEMA (they came for a workshop which was organized by GSDMA), and the way they organize themselves before reaching any area affected by any disaster. Their training and professionalism made my resolve to get further training and knowledge in this area firmer. The work of monitoring various website for observation of any developments and occurrence of any event around the country helped me broaden my horizons and made me think about people of those countries way behind on the development ladder.
I aim to serve not only people of my country but people around the world suffering due to any kind of disaster are natural. But to do that proper training during crisis knowledge is essential. I wish to obtain my MSc Disaster Management and Sustainable Development from University of Northumbria, which is one of the few organizations offering this kind of specialization. A renounced institution like your will help me not only by providing me with better knowledge by will give me an better understanding of steps to reduce suffering that befalls humanity.
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