Disaster analysis is essential in the management of disasters. It assists in the identification of gaps in the management cycle within a given region. Management of disasters occurs in four cycles including planning or preparedness, response, recovery, as well as mitigation. Planning is an essential tool in all the phases of the cycle. The primary aim of disaster response is to offer immediate aid to improve health, sustain life, as well as assist in the improvement of the morale of the affected population. Recovery phase aims at restoring the infrastructure as well as the operations of the community services to normal. Mitigation involves actions taken by a particular community to reduce the impact of the disasters before their occurrences. When disasters occur, they affect various sectors of the economy. It is crucial to assess the level of damage on the infrastructure to determine the real impact of the disaster. Timely response to a particular disaster is also essential in ensuring the reduction of prevention of some of the effects. The paper evaluates the Tsunami disaster of 2004. Additionally, it covers the activities undertaken to reduce the effects of the disaster.
Keywords: Mitigation, disaster, disaster analysis, impact, recovery
Analysis of disasters is essential for the prevention or control of similar disaster in future. Disaster analysis is an important part of an emergency management process (Bhattacharya, 2012). Analysis of disaster involves examination of the preparedness or planning, response, mitigation, as well as recovery. All these phases are essential to managing the impact of a given or expected disaster. This paper examines the Tsunami disaster of 2004. Moreover, it analyses the activities conducted to reduce the consequence of the disaster.
Introduction and Overview
Disasters occur in all the regions of the world. The disasters are estimated to claim approximately twenty-five thousand lives every year (Kontar, Santiago-Fandiño, & Takahashi, 2013). Additionally, three billion dollars is lost to the natural disasters. There has been an upward trend in the occurrence of the disasters. Therefore, it is crucial for the governments to institute measures to ensure that individuals are protected from the natural events. The most affected individuals are the poor, children, as well as women. These people often reside in houses that are easily destroyed during disasters such as the tsunami. They live in dangerous environments that expose them to the disasters.
Social power, as well as limited resources, makes the less fortunate vulnerable to the disasters. They incur both direct and indirect losses through the impact of the disasters. In 1976, the earthquake in Guatemala affected mostly the poor people who lived in the areas prone to landslides. Floods that occurred along river Oder affected the less fortunate individuals in the area. The costs of recovering from the disasters in developing countries are approximately higher than in the developed nations. Therefore, it is essential for a country to plan for the management of disasters. The planning should start from the preparedness to recovery stages of management of disasters (Izumi & Shaw, 2015).
Background of the Disaster
In 2004, the Tsunami struck the Indian Ocean claiming the lives of approximately two thousand lives. Most of the individuals who died in the disaster lived in areas that had poor recording systems. Therefore, it was difficult to determine the full extent of the loss of lives. The impact of the disaster on the economy was limited, but the effects on the communities continue to be felt. The most affected countries were Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, India, as well as Sri Lanka. The 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean has been regarded as one of the deadliest natural disasters (Kontar, Santiago-Fandiño, & Takahashi, 2013). The earthquake measured approximately 9.1 on the Ritcher scale. The earthquake's epicentre was in Indonesia.
In Thailand, the tsunami was first felt on the Similan Islands. The effect of the tsunami was felt far beyond Thailand and the surrounding countries. It affected the economy of the hit countries since the earthquake occurred during the peak season for tourists. During the response stage, the Thai government declined financial assistance from financial institutions. This led to massive losses in the affected areas (López-Carresi, Fordham, Wisner, Kelman, & Gaillard, 2013). After assessment of the situation, Thailand requested technical assistance to assist them in the evaluation of damage, reconstruction, as well as rehabilitation. Additionally, support was also needed in environmental assessment as well as rehabilitation.
Forensic experts, rescue teams, as well as transportation units, were dispatched to Thailand. Several international institutions provided the technical assistance requested by the country (Daly & Feener, 2016). It was noticed that Thailand did not adequately prepare for any disaster. However, they responded effectively to the earthquake. The country was able to respond to the disaster within a short period. The government employed a centralized approach that aimed at ensuring that a chain of command is authorized. The biggest problem with the approach is that the affected were viewed as victims rather than the stakeholders. Their contributions to the recovery process were not realized or appreciated.
Disaster management has four distinct phases. These phases include preparedness, recovery, response, as well as mitigation (Izumi & Shaw, 2015). Preparedness involves the activities that are undertaken before the occurrence of a given disaster. The primary aim of preparedness is to ensure that the adverse effects of the disaster are minimized or prevented. They are often short-term activities aimed at preparation. Such activities include warning systems as well as plans for the evacuation of people. The response phase involves reacting to the disaster. It includes activities carried out immediately a disaster occurs. It includes activities such as search, rescue, emergency assistance, aid, as well as cleanup of the site. All activities with the aim of bringing the affected communities back to normal are often regarded as being in the recovery phase. These occur after the completion of the response phase. These activities include temporary housing, medical care, as well as grants.
It is often very challenging to coordinate the response activities due to the immediateness of the disaster. The emergency phase of a disaster management involves performing activities necessary for saving lives. Decisions are often made under pressure to ensure the impact of the disaster is reduced. At the time of the disaster, there is no time for consultation and decision-making. There is also poor coordination of activities leading to social and economic conflicts (Kontar, Santiago-Fandiño, & Takahashi, 2013). In most disaster incidences, the government becomes the sole decision maker. However, this affects the communities that believe they need to participate in decision-making on issues that affect them. In the planning process, it is crucial to engage the communities. Public participation is essential in all the phases of disaster management. The victims may be profoundly affected, but their rationality may be intact.
Preparedness refers to an ongoing cycle of organizing, planning, exercising, training, evaluating, as well as taking corrective actions to ensure that there is effective coordination when disasters strike (Bhattacharya, 2012). Disaster planning and preparedness is one of the stages of a national disaster management. They enable the country to prevent, respond, as well as recover from natural calamities. It is crucial for the management of the whole cycle of a given disaster. Besides, it establishes priorities, identification of performance levels, and capability requirements. It also assists the stakeholders in learning their roles before, during, as well as after the occurrence of a disaster. Better preparedness is essential for a particular region to cope with the effects of disasters. The disaster preparedness planning generates a national disaster preparedness plan (NDPP). The document can then be used to prepare other documents necessary for disaster response, mitigation, as well as recovery.
In planning for preparedness, it is essential to engage the humanitarian partners in a given area. A meeting or workshop is then organized for the stakeholders to deliberate on the preparedness of the country (López-Carresi, Fordham, Wisner, Kelman, & Gaillard, 2013). Some of the most common stakeholders include civil society institutions, corporate sector, police, army forces, as well the Red Cross. After a series of meetings, it is vital to collect relevant information on preparedness activities. The existing information has a potential to assist in the identification of gaps. Once the gaps have been identified, a final meeting is held in consultation with the partners. The central objective of the meeting is to develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan. The document highlights the key risk areas within the country for action. The roles and responsibilities of every stakeholder in disaster management are also highlighted in the report. This is essential to avoid confusion at the time of preparing a comprehensive disaster plan.
Disaster preparedness in the Asian region is done through the assistance of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC). The centre is located in Thailand with the aim of reducing disaster for sustainable development. It promotes awareness of disasters as well as developing local capabilities for disaster management (Kontar, Santiago-Fandiño, & Takahashi, 2013). In 2004, the ADPC provided incentives for planning, response, as well as recovery from the tsunami. Additionally, it assisted the affected governments in assessing damage and loss. However, the plan provided by the ADPC was not very effective since it did not allow for public participation. In the post-tsunami disaster, the APDC conducted a comprehensive report on the impact of the calamity.
Once a disaster has occurred, the amount of time taken to respond determines its impact on the affected population. It is crucial for the response team to be in place to assist in the reduction of the effect of the calamity. It is the second stage of the disaster management process. The primary aim of disaster response is to offer immediate aid to improve health, sustain life, as well as assist in the improvement of the morale of the affected population. It is focused on ensuring that the basic needs are met until the government can provide a more permanent solution (López-Carresi, Fordham, Wisner, Kelman, & Gaillard, 2013). The humanitarian institutions often work harder to ensure the impact of the calamity is reduced or controlled.
Certain features characterized the Thai tsunami response. In fact, these features made Thailand to be applauded for its quick responses. The government of Thailand refused any financial assistance from the international organizations. However, it accepted technical support in the form of forensic experts, search, rescue teams, as well as recovery experts. Additionally, the Thai government activated the Civil Defense Act of 1979. This bypassed the need for the creation of a new office for tsunami response, mitigation, as well as recovery (Falk, 2014). The private, as well as the public sector, offered financial support to ensure the response phase was successful. The local, as well as the international media, played a vital role in ensuring that the affected individuals received the much-needed support during the disaster.
The government initiated one of the fastest disaster responses in the world. These included the provision of healthcare services, forensic operations, compensation of survivors, the utilization of the military to aid in the recovery process, as well as the construction of temporary structures for shelter (Falk, 2014). Some of the main reasons for the success of the Thai response team were the emphasis on long-term reconstruction and technical competence rather than financial support. Besides, the central committee for coordination of disaster response took leading roles in ensuring disaster response was prompt. Mobilization and channelling of resources from the relevant ministries to the most affected areas was aided by the activation of the Civil Defense Act (CDA). The coordination of the tsunami response from the central point was unnecessary. The elimination of central coordination made the response effective as well as efficient than in other affected areas.
The activation of the CDA of 1997 led to a swift action by the government as well as the relevant ministries. The act released resources to the affected areas including staff, money, as well as army resources to the heavily affected regions (Daly & Feener, 2016). The government officials were sent to the local authorities to assist in the coordination of relief efforts. Various ministers were also assigned some of the affected regions so that they inspect, command, direct, as well as solve pertinent issues. The Social Affairs and Human Security (SAHS) ministry assisted in the construction of temporary shelters as well as the provision of psychosocial support to women and children. The Thailand armies supported search and rescue of the victims. Besides, they aided in the construction of shelters for all the affected individuals.
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department (DDPM) mandated the police teams to assist in the collection of samples for DNA testing. This helped in the identification of the missing individuals. Additionally, it created guidelines for the repatriation of bodies as well as the issuance of death certificates (Daly & Feener, 2016). The DDPM and the Civil Defense Committee (CDC) set up a tsunami relief centre. The main purpose of the centre was the management of domestic and international call centre. Moreover, it acted as a public donation centre. The centre operated a 24-hour system for receipt of grants.
The international agencies also responded through the technical support requested by the government. Forensic scientists search or rescue experts, as well as economic recovery officials, were sent to the nation. United Nations Children's Funds (UNICEF) provided assistance in an attempt to restore the children facilities destroyed by the tsunami (López-Carresi, Fordham, Wisner, Kelman, & Gaillard, 2013). It also initiated health services that ensured the protection of children from infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Health education was also conducted in collaboration with the ministry of health. The financial aid provided by the World Health Organization was channelled towards water purification, food safety, as well as repair of essential sanitary facilities.
Disaster recovery involves a set of activities aimed at restoring the infrastructure as well as the operations of the community services to normal (Izumi & Shaw, 2015). The phase is crucial since it assists the affected individuals in getting back their way of life after the disaster. It occurs approximately two weeks to 3 months after a given disaster. However, the time for initiation activities depends on the magnitude of the disaster (Falk, 2014). The Thai recovery phase involved four areas of attention. The areas include livelihood recovery, disaster preparedness, environmental rehabilitation, as well as social protection and housing.
The government made a major announcement regarding accommodation in the third week after the tsunami. It agreed to offer free housing to the households that were affected. Construction work was done by six agencies including the Thai Army, Air Force, Navy, National Housing Authority (NHA), Defence Ministry, the private sector, as well as the Province. The DDMP was the principal overseer in the construction of shelters. In most cases, temporary shelters were constructed on public lands (Daly & Feener, 2016). Approximately five hundred and six million Baht was allocated for the construction project. The government used the disaster to regulate as well as plan land use in urban and rural settings. The government carried out mobilization of architects, design students, as well as planners to assist the affected individuals in the construction of permanent buildings.
Additionally, the government supported the victims to recover their livelihood. The dramatic drop in the tourism industry as well as the destruction of productive assets affected the economy of Thailand (Ritchie & Campiranon, 2014). The government prioritized the reconstruction of these critical facilities to ensure that the life of the Thai people gets back to normal. The tourism industry was the leading employer before the occurrence of the tsunami. Rebuilding of tourist facilities and giving assurance to the tourists regarding their safety was the first step in restoring employment opportunities. The Labor Ministry trained the unemployed individuals to ensure they possess the necessary requirements for the job market (Ritchie & Campiranon, 2014).
A committee on the coordination of Internal Assistance (CIA) was established with the support of the UNDP and the World Bank. The primary role of the committee was to coordinate, map, and request for technical assistance for the restoration of the environment. Moreover, the government worked towards the development of certain early warning signs in the most affected areas (Bhattacharya, 2012). The DDMP budgeted for the construction of sixty-two warning towers. These towers were meant for the provision of training in risk reduction to the local leaders. A disaster preparedness centre was also set up to ensure continuous monitoring of risks involving earthquakes. A regional earthquake alert centre was also established to broaden monitoring of seismic waves.
Tsunami Mitigation Measures
Development of mitigation plans is essential due to the inevitability of disasters. Mitigation refers to the actions taken by a particular community to reduce the impact of the disasters before their occurrences (Bhattacharya, 2012). Mitigation measures are necessary since they save lives as well as properties. Additionally, they facilitate response and recovery from disasters. The mitigation of tsunami can be done in two ways. The community at risk can be moved away from either the suspected area or the reduction of the physical threat. In Thailand, evacuation towers have been constructed to assist in the evacuation of the victims during a certain disaster. The shelters can withstand earthquakes of particular magnitudes.
Additionally, the government has conducted education and training centres for use by the community members. The central purpose of the education and training is to ensure the community understands the warnings to ensure monitoring the tsunami (Daly & Feener, 2016). Moreover, it prepares the populace on some steps that should be taken during the tsunamis. The government has also enacted laws that require training on disaster management in schools. This is to ensure that every individual can positively react in the midst of a natural calamity.
Effects of the Tsunamis
The effect of the tsunami on families was enormous. The government should employ mechanisms that allow for unity among the members. As highlighted in the core values of Saint Leo, it is crucial for the government to respect all individuals as well as their various cultures when employing particular strategies. Approximately two hundred thousand persons lost their lives while several others were displaced. The death of more than three thousand three hundred foreigners affected the economy of the country (Daly & Feener, 2016). Most of the foreigners who died were tourists. This made countries to issues travel advisories to their citizens. The use of advanced technological methods in the detection of the dead people also had a lot of impact on the economy since the country funded the search. The damage to the health infrastructure was severe. Several hospitals were destroyed. This affected the provision of health leading to several deaths.
The tsunami affected several parts of the world. However, certain areas such as Thailand and Sri Lanka were the hardest hit areas. The analysis of such a disaster is essential since it offers the stakeholders a chance to identify the gaps in the management of disasters. It is important for a given region to have a plan for the management of a given disaster. In the management of any disaster, it is crucial to apply the Saint Leo core values of excellence. These values assist the community to stay and belong together for a common purpose.
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