Disasters and disaster management Essay
I - Disasters and disaster management Essay introduction. INTRODUCTION:
Natural Disasters are a part of the world we live in today. Since the inception of life on earth, we have been bombed continuously with Mother Nature’s force; some of us died whilst some of us survived. Managing ourselves during the times of such crisis has been an essential element in recovering from the forces on which we have no control. This is what Disaster Management is all about. Disaster Management, a subject that is a part of environmental psychology enlightens its audience with several aspects of natural disasters and how they can be managed. There are several career options and the need for professionals in this field grows with the growing number of disasters today.
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From hurricane Katrina to super cyclone Guno, in each disaster, we have witnessed losses of lives and money. The natural disasters are unavoidable as they are powerful forces of Mother Nature but what we can do is to offer the best management techniques for such disasters; enlightening people on what they can do during such calamities can reduce losses to a great extent.
Disaster Management helps us realize the immense strength of Mother Nature on which we cannot have any influence. Neither their direction nor the nature can be changed in any way but what we can do is to prevent damages that may result due to such powerful natural disasters. Based on the reports by several natural disaster detecting machines that detect the direction or precedence of these unfortunate events, people can be evacuated from their homes to safe places that would help prevent loss of lives, which I believe is the most essential reason as to why we actually have disaster management today…
II. DISASTERS AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT:
The disasters vary based on where and how they occurred. Emergency Management, otherwise also known as the disaster management is the reconstruction of the society after the natural disaster followed by preparedness before the disaster as well as management of the disaster crisis after the natural calamity has occurred. The aid is derived from several institutions and organizations and groups are organized in the form of individuals. The disaster management team helps in minimizing the loses and the disaster managers help in preventing loss of lives and properties by scheduling advance check-ups before the disaster and help in area evacuation and public protection (Arnold, 2006).
There are several organizations that help in the recovery of disasters and calamities that take place in the world. International organizations such as Red Cross or Red Crescent and United Nations help in the universal management of disasters. There are several national organizations as well. EMA (Emergency Management Australia), Public Safety Canada and Ministry of Emergency solutions (EMERCOM- based in Russia) are a few national organizations known in the world for their emergency support and management during such crisis (Wikipedia, 2007).
Disaster management crisis needs the aid of the public in general to help the area recover back to its normal routine. Disaster managers, also known as the emergency managers are known for their specialized skills that help in the disaster recovery. The role of emergency managers includes the following:
They are knowledgeable regarding the potential threats to a community.
Emergency managers are responsible for mitigation and prevention activities.
They are able to plan for emergencies.
They are known to work best in the emergency situations.
Recovery actions are best instructed under emergency managers (Morton County Emergency Management, n.d.).
Every disaster has its own phases and extremes that relate to how it can be managed. Areas that are prone to disasters are the main focus of the emergency management where awareness is made for the public and all the necessary actions have been taken in order to manage during such calamities. To control the emergency situation is the main aim of disaster management. If we take the example of Tsunami that occurred three years ago, we see that the country, India (Tamil Nadu) was not prepared for such a natural calamity that took them by surprise. Therefore, they were unable to withstand the effects of the calamity. The disaster was managed later onwards by helping the survivors move towards refugee homes and the last step of mitigation was implemented where recovery of the entire area was taken under the responsibility of the government. The recovery phase also included giving aid to the survivors and recovering all the bodies from the sea (Sify.com, 2004).
Disaster management requires preparedness and this requires the disaster managers to concentrate on the “foursome code”. As Alen Krischenbaum and Marcel Dekker in their book, “Chaos organization and disaster management” state,
“For a considerable time, perhaps out of convenience, both disaster researchers and managers have relied heavily on accepted but empirically ambivalent disaster management concepts. These concepts have guided practitioners and have been sanctified in the classic disaster management foursome code of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery (Lindell and Perry 1992). Without a doubt, preparedness appears to be the key to opening up the disaster black box precisely because of its impact on activities linked to mitigation, response, and recovery” (Krischenbaum & Dekker, 2004).
The technology developed thus far has yielded results that help in tracking of such disasters. The Geo-information technology stands as an example today that helps easy tracking of disasters thereby to provide aid for the aftermath of the disasters that include earthquakes and other natural calamities. However, India had lacked this technology initially and thus failed to detect the upcoming natural disaster (Directions Magazine, 2005). Neal Connan in his article, “Analysis: disaster reduction and prevention” states,
“Today, we’re talking about the money; 350 million has been pledged by the US government for aid in the tsunami victims thus far. Americans, private individuals, have donated a like amount. The question today is: How should that money be spent? We can’t stop earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis; we can’t forecast a lot of natural disasters, but experts say we can and should reduce their impact. In other words, they argue that as governments and NGOs plan how to spend this money, disaster prevention should be part of the reconstruction goals” (Connan, 2005).
What we really understand through these events is that we learn lessons from each disaster that takes place. Every natural disaster occurs differently and thus, for different reasons, we need different management techniques that would help us manage situations much more effectively. Hurricane Andrew in the early 1990’s drew a major attention by the damage it caused followed by Hurricane Katrina and Rita last year. Furthermore, the Kobe Earthquake in Japan hit $147 billion direct damages, excluding lives, properties and many other damages (Christine, 1995). There have been so many natural disaster events that we remember and we forget as time passes. Therefore, what remains are vague memories as we move on in life…
I believe that the disaster management is an essential part of our lives today as such events are unprecedented… They are unexpected and thus, their news of arrival may come as a surprise to us even though we have sophisticated machines. Disaster management prepares an individual on what can be done during a short period of time when such a crisis occurs. Instead of blatant confusion and worry during such a crucial and critical time of crisis, it would help us to deal with such crisis rationally; thereby reducing the casualties as well as loss of properties. Risk managers play a vital role in such events and thus, such professionals draw an insight that would help us foresee the situations and their consequences in advance. Disaster management is not only meant for professionals related to this field but for everyone in general as natural disasters don’t pick places, people or timings… they have their own course of occurrence…
Christine, Brian (1995). Disaster Management: lessons learned. Risk Management. Published on the 1st of October 1995; Retrieved online on the 23rd of June, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-17610277.html
Sify.com (2004). World scrambles to help Asia tidal wave victims. Retrieved online on the 18th of July, 2007 at http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=13637781
Directions Magazine (2005). Geo-information for disaster management. Published on the 12th of February, 2005. Retrieved online on the 18th of July, 2007 at http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=750&trv=1
Arnold, Margaret (2006). Disaster Reconstruction and risk management for poverty reduction. Journal of International Affairs. Vol. 59.
Krischenbaum, Alan (2004). Chaos Organization and disaster management. Marcel Dekker; page 42.
Wikipedia (2007). Emergency Management. Retrieved online on the 18th of July, 2007 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_relief
Morton County Emergency Management (n.d.). Role of emergency managers. Retrieved online on the 26th of July, 2007 at http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:zcUqMBMwpHgJ:www.co.morton.nd.us/vertical/Sites/%257B90CBB59C-38EA-4D41-861A-81C9DEBD6022%257D/uploads/%257B91F5BD6E-16E3-4E9E-8350-C9ACE455279B%257D.PPT+role+of+emergency+manager&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1
Connan, Neal (2005). Analysis: Disaster reduction and prevention. Talk of the Nation, NPR. Retrieved online on the 27th of July, 2007 at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-104163246.html