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1 MANAGING DISASTERS BEFORE THEY MANAGE YOU Dr. David Ratnavale.

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Presentation on theme: "1 MANAGING DISASTERS BEFORE THEY MANAGE YOU Dr. David Ratnavale."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 MANAGING DISASTERS BEFORE THEY MANAGE YOU Dr. David Ratnavale

2 2 December 26, 2004 WHAT HAPPENED ?

3 3 WHAT IS A “TSUNAMI”? Japanese, for “Harbor Wave” Sweep the oceans when earthquakes occur at the bottom of the sea Disturbance emanates below sea level Pulses are massive walls of water. Could travel at 800 kilometers per hour Overall force so great causing damage in Indonesia Sri Lanka Thailand India, Maldives, Malaysia, Seychelles, Kenya and Somalia

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5 5 Statistics: Sri Lanka About: 38,000 people dead 6,000 missing 1,060 children lost both parents 3,414 lost one parent 150,000 families displaced 160 Km of railroad tracks damaged hundreds of miles of coastal highways damaged or destroyed 1,117,000 houses damaged or destroyed 161 schools damaged or destroyed 22,600 households lost power 80% of coastal fishing areas destroyed

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10 10 In an article “Apocalypse”, a Lanka journalist notes: 1.The tsunami was a revelation 2.Showed how powerless we are in the face of natures’ forces 3.How unprepared we were in the face of a crisis of unprecedented dimensions 4.What divine or bestial levels humanity can rise to or sink to

11 11 What are the lessons identified? What was the total response and the relief effort to date? What have we learnt? What must we do?

12 12 WHAT IS A DISASTER? Two words, “DIS” = failure or opposite, and “ASTRUM” = Astrological notion, “ill starred”, Major planetary upset. Like Disease, Displaced and Disconnected, we have Disaster STRESS REACTIONS: Individual and collective responses Extreme fear can neither fight nor fly (Shakespeare)

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14 14 DEFINING Sudden event causing: Great damage Ecological disruption Suffering Loss of human life and property Circumstances? Needs exceed the coping capacity of communities and require external assistance

15 15 ASSYMETRIC THREATS Markedly disproportionate to the effects they bring; ChemicalBiologicalDigital RadiologicalNuclear USA in the context of 9/11 - A small group attacking a big country in a way that harms thousands. Physical or Mental and Psychological Fear and anxiety rapidly spreading through the society: Spreading Rumors…suicide bombing impacting large groups or poisoning source of water or food

16 16 “ALL-HAZARD” APPROACH TO DISASTER MANAGEMENT An integrated hazard management strategy - incorporates planning for and consideration of all potential disasters Natural and technological hazard threats, including terrorism September 11, 2001 (9/11) and December 26 th 2004 (12/26), reveal that the critical issues and lessons identified are basically the same? NEEDS OVERWHELM AVAILABLE RESOURCES

17 17 COMMON DENOMINATOR The crisis is of such magnitude that the available resources for prevention and resolution are inadequate. Therefore, to be unprepared is to be deficient in available resources. Existing resources within an individual, a community or nation may be temporarily unavailable (inaccessible) during the throes of a disaster Local Disaster Management Capacity – level of preparedness Extent of infrastructure disruption Leadership stress and political stability The speed of delivery of external aid Local conditions for aid distribution Disaster side effects

18 18 DISASTER VULNERABILITY Compare - Developing Countries versus United States Of the nearly 2500 disasters in the 20th century, nearly 84% occurred in developing countries. People have far fewer resources to help them cope Death toll and damage is greater High population density Poverty United States: Exposed to a wide range of natural hazards. Extraordinary natural, climatic, and geographical diversity - $20 billion annually, that includes; Loss of life and property Disruption of commerce Response and recovery costs

19 19 IN DISASTER CIRCUMSTANCES Routine procedures and resources are insufficient to meet the demands Lack of reliable information and limitations on accurate assessment of need compromise relief capability Incremental increase in the number and types of responding groups, agencies and jurisdictions Requires alterations in traditional divisions of coordination among responding participants

20 20 IN DISASTER CIRCUMSTANCES Multiple organizations, disciplines and volunteers operate under high tension and fluctuating conditions Often results in flawed command control and communication Duplication of effort Turf issues get very heated over chain of command and weak linkages Omission of essential tasks Some activities could actually worsen the situation A wrong decision may lead to an ill-timed strategy Obstruction Overreaction could compromise community safety

21 21 IMPACT Individuals and also the societies in which they live will experience various forms of Stress reactions Physical Mental PSYCHOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT: The psychological “footprint” exceeds the size of the medical “footprint” Medical Footprint Psychological Footprint


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