Disaster Response Models (DRM)
What are they?
Both natural and man-made disasters have always affected patterns of human development and have provoked a variety of economic and environmental concerns.
There is an every growing need, therefore, for a systematic approach for the management of risks. The immediate response to a disaster and the inevitable process of rehabilitation and reconstruction varies considerably from country to country and is dependent
on a number of factors.
Various systems approaches for responding to a disaster throughout the world have been formulated, such as the one shown below, which takes account of factors that would influence the potential management of a disaster from any one country.
Many wealthy countries can afford to analyse the risk of any one disaster, its potential effect, and subsequently efficiently address problems that would be expected to arise. For example, in Japan, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, every year one day is devoted to acting out and performing procedures that would have to be taken in the event of an earthquake. These include turning off gas supplies, moving from home or work to designated assembly areas, and performing basic first aid. Earthquake insurance is even made available for residents of larger cities.
Such an effective response system is clearly dependent on the economic resources available. Japan, as one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world would have little difficulty in finding funds for such research, but in less developed countries the emphasis is put on immediate aid and not on minimising the potential effects of a recurring disaster. For example, although there are zoning restrictions in Indian cities prone to earthquake activity such as Ahmedabad in the province of Gujarat, to protect hospitals and other emergency services from falling buildings, these are largely ignored. There is no established authority to enforce such laws or to stop people from erecting high-rise buildings in areas where their collapse could cause a great deal of damage and hamper rescue efforts following the disaster.
In summary, the major factors influencing the disaster response of any country are…
- Money available for research into methods of reducing the scale of disasters
- The dependence of a country on vulnerable industries, such as tourism, which could be adversely effected by a disaster, and perhaps be permanently damaged in an area particularly prone to a disaster
- International structures put in place to help in warning before and in reconstruction after an event. Committees on natural disasters may exist within a country, and the efforts of these could be aided by UN agencies and charity bodies such as the Red Cross, Oxfam, Trócaire etc.
- The ability of local communities to respond to the disaster. Their response would depend heavily on education and resources made available to them following the event