Is it reasonable to utilize mitigation actions or techniques for international or humanitarian disasters? Discuss why or why not. What are some of the challenges that may be encountered?
Mitigation and preparedness has been recognized as a central element in reducing the impact of disasters worldwide. Due to the ongoing demographic growth, migration movements, and climatic shifts, there is compelling evidence that the frequency and effects of humanitarian disasters (such as flooding, droughts, famines) will increase and therefore there is a growing need for better preparedness and mitigation efforts. The usual methods of mitigation and preparedness, such as promoting resilient infrastructure and pre-positioning relief inventory in countries prone to disasters, are problematic because they require high investment in various locations and are hard to implement at reasonable costs, because the place, time, type, and magnitude of the disaster cannot be known in advance. Investing in disaster management capabilities, such as training staff, pre-negotiating customs agreements with countries prone to disasters, and harmonizing import procedures with local customs clearance procedures, are all challenges that may be encountered.
Kunz (2014) mentioned that for international or humanitarian crises, often the step of mitigation is neglected as funding for these crises comes from donors, who insist that their money be directly spent on helping victims. Funding pre-disaster activities is seen as a form of insurance policy against an uncertain future disaster, which most donors are not willing to pay for. This is because some mitigation techniques such as stocking and pre-positioning relief supplies in warehouses or building infrastructures, are often specific to one location and can hardly be reallocated to disasters occurring in other countries, leading to high investment costs that donors find unreasonable and often reluctant to finance. Although I think it is reasonable to utilize at least some of the mitigation actions, as a lack of investment in preparedness activities leads to severe and long-term vulnerabilities of the affected communities resulting in excessively high costs during the response phase.
Another obstacle that was recognized was the lack of pre-disaster exemptions from customs duties in some countries, limiting the ability of organizations to stock in-country inventories during the mitigation and preparedness phase. But, as its been suggested in Coppola, mitigation can be incorporated in disaster recovery and reconstruction. Despite the death, suffering, and destruction, disasters allow for a new start. With proper planning, the community can build in a more resilient way to the hazard that brought about its previous destruction, as seen in Aceh (Indonesia), where locals were encouraged to rebuild using earthquake resilient materials following the 2004 tsunami. It is vital to fully assess the future risks of the region based on the latest information gained in the aftermath of the disaster and incorporate all those findings into any relief and reconstruction project. This also gives them the opportunity to fine tune public education efforts, giving them a chance to be better prepared for future disasters.
Kunz, N., Reiner, G., & Gold, S. (2014). Investing in disaster management capabilities versus pre-positioning inventory: a new approach to disaster preparedness. International Journal of Production Economics, 157, 261-272.
Chapter 4- Mitigation, Coppola. Introduction to International Disaster Management.
KovÃ¡cs, G., & Spens, K. M. (2007). Humanitarian logistics in disaster relief operations. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 37(2), 99-114.
Sometimes when disaster strike, the response to this disaster exceed the nation abilities to manage it. In this case, the government of this countries seeks help and request resources from the international response community. The collaborative disaster response is known as the international disaster management. The international disaster management is like the nationa disaster management it goes through the four phases, mitigate the risk, prepare the community, response to the disaster and help the community to recover (ATHA, 2014). According to Coppola (2015), Mitigation is any action or procedure done by local, state, federal and international level to reduce risk likelihood and consequences.
In the history of international disaster and mitigation, the United Nations state the 1990s to be the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). The purpose of that was to enhance the international collaboration to decrease damage and losses which caused by natural disaster and increase the awareness of risk reduction (Coppola, 2015). Another international mitigation response is the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, the goal of that is to build community and nation resilience and reduce disaster losses (World Meteorological Organization, n.d.).
one more international mitigation and risk reduction is the international day for disaster reduction. The United Nations called for this day in 1989 to enhance risk awareness and disaster reduction in the global. This day held every 13 October, on this day they celebrate how communities in all over the world reducing their exposure to disaster (United Nations, n.d.). Different countries participate in this day such as Cambodia, Nepal, and Iran. Moreover, last year the United Nations International strategy for disaster reduction establish Sendai Seven campaign, the campaign goal is to reduce mortality around the world.
Here are some challenges that we need to encounter during disaster risk management or reduction:
- Poor coordination between stakeholders.
- Build consensus among international organizations and citizen.
- Find out strategies that work with different communities.
- Difficult to predict the number of countries that will be affected by the disaster.
In conclusion, international mitigation can perfectly work in countries that face disaster before and can predict what they might have in future and prepare for it.
A. (2014, June 30). Preventing and Mitigating Humanitarian Emergencies through the Reduction of Disaster Risks and Vulnerabilities: The challenges for the humanitarian sector. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from http://atha.se/content/preventing-and-mitigating-h…
Coppola, D. P. (2015). Introduction to international disaster management. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heineman.
“Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions” at NAP.edu. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2018, from https://www.nap.edu/read/11671/chapter/8#239
Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). (n.d.). Retrieved February 05, 2018, from https://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/hfa
International Day for Disaster Reduction. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2018, from https://www.unisdr.org/we/campaign/iddr
Taylor, B. H. (2009). The Right to Survive. doi:10.3362/9780855988418