India's National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has announced plans to build a national disaster database by 2020, that will provide information such as economic losses, number of people affected and mortality rates in disasters.
An important feature of the national database would be collation of disaggregated data. For instance, the numbers for affected population would be broken down into categories such as gender and income class, and economic losses calculated in a sector-wise fashion, reports Hindustan Times.
The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters states that India suffered the third largest number of disasters in 2016. India is affected by over 30 types of disasters, including droughts, cyclones and earthquakes.
Although scattered data on disasters has been available at the state level for many decades now, much of it is not digitised nor easily accessible in a nationwide database.
Mr Rajesh Sharma, a disaster risk information and application specialist at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)—one of the UN agencies working on the national database project with the Indian government, told govinsider.com that by getting detailed data on natural disasters at the local level, “governments can really target their investments at the relevant areas”.
Small but frequent disasters can have a huge impact on economic development, but they often get less attention than they need from national and local governments. Analysing the data can help create awareness of the impact of smaller disasters. Local authorities implementing projects such as building roads and schools should use the kind of disaster data made available through the national database in their daily work.