The Role of Disaster Response
Disaster response is the provision of emergency services and public assistance during or immediately after a disaster. It aims to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of those affected by disasters. The responsibility to do this falls largely on the government of the country where the disaster occurs, but often it is carried out by humanitarian organizations.
The disaster response phase follows the prevention and preparedness phases of the Disaster Management Cycle. As human development patterns continue to trend upwards, more people live in urban areas that are more susceptible to natural and man-made disasters. Disasters can be devastating to these communities and have far-reaching consequences. This makes it important to understand the role of disaster response and how it can be used to mitigate future disasters.
There are four key stages of disaster relief: hazard mitigation and emergency preparation, response and recovery. Disaster relief begins with preemptive action, such as fire drills and evacuation rehearsals. During the preparedness stage, strong analytical skills are invaluable for identifying potential threats and hazards. It is also important to have the ability to create strategies and structural changes that can mediate these risks.
During the response phase, an effective disaster management team can respond to a catastrophe rapidly and efficiently. This is particularly important in the case of large disasters that require a lot of resources and may have unpredictable consequences. The key to a rapid response is to be able to access these resources quickly, which can only be achieved through preplanning.
The disaster recovery stage is aimed at returning the community to normal or near-normal conditions. This includes restoration of basic infrastructure and repairing social and economic losses. It can also involve addressing environmental damage, such as debris cleanup and restoration of wildlife habitats. The final stage is rebuilding a stronger, more resilient community in the wake of the disaster.
A disaster can lead to many unforeseen consequences, including terrorism. Terrorists often take advantage of the chaos following a disaster to cause further destruction and bloodshed. It is therefore important for disaster managers to examine the causes of a disaster and identify any causal factors that can act as magnets for terrorists.
There are many challenges involved in disaster response, but a comprehensive approach to disaster management can lessen the impact that disasters have on humans and the environment. The disaster recovery cycle focuses on the prevention, response and recovery phases, each of which is an opportunity for innovative solutions. This can include anything from improving the efficiency of waste disposal to providing smarter emergency response systems. A degree like Maryville University’s Bachelor of Arts in International Studies can provide the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful leader in this field.