(Chapter – 1)
The term “Disaster” is derived from the French word “ desastre” means a bad or evil star which brings sudden calamity, misfortune and miseries to the humanity, leaving serious impact on human life, economy and environment.
(A) Disaster is an unusual occurrence characterized by :
(i)Sudden calamitous event, having great material damage, loss and distress.
(ii)A complete definition of disaster may be ‘an event, concentrated in time and space, which threatens a society or a relatively self sufficient sub division of a society with major unwanted consequences as a result of the collapse of precautions which had hitherto been culturally accepted as adequate’. (Turner, 1976).
Many serious train accidents are also disasters and hence, every Railway staff should be in a position to identify the characteristics of different disaster situations. However, Railway board have defined the disaster in Railway parlance as below:-
“Railway Disaster is a serious train accident or / and an untoward event of grave nature, either on the railway premises or arising out of railway activity in that area, due to natural or man-made causes, that may lead to loss of many lives and / or grievous injuries to a large number of people, and / or severe disruption of traffic, necessitating large scale help from other government / non –government and private organization”.
(B) CLASSIFICATION OF A RAILWAY ACCIDENT AS A DISASTER :
Disaster in the railway context is defined as a major train accident leading to serious causalities and long duration of interruption to traffic. This compendium of instructions has been prepared for dealing with such disasters, and not normal train accidents. In case of a serious accident the Administration would take a conscious decision whether the situation is to be classified as a Disaster or not.
PCOM is the authorized officer to declare an accident as a Disaster. Such declaration will be issued to all concerned with the approval of General Manager. If the accident is declared as a Disaster, all instructions as contained herein this Disaster Management Plan would automatically come into force, and officers and staff of all departments would take action as laid down in this book.
Guide lines for Declaration of the DM
1.Disaster in the railway context is defined as a major train accident leading to serious causalities and long duration of interruption to traffic.
2.As a thumb rule, any accident involving more than 100 injuries (Grievous + Simple) should be termed as a Disaster.
3.This compendium of instructions has been prepared for dealing with such disasters, and not normal train accidents.