Government to Reevaluate the Disaster Preparedness

Government to Reevaluate the Disaster Preparedness

Gov CIO Outlook | Friday, August 19, 2022

The government must continue to invest in solutions that strengthen people's resilience and ability to bear future shocks. The approach to all phases of catastrophes, from prevention to recovery, must be rethought. It is the only method to achieve more reliable outcomes.

FREMONT, CA: Each year, the government prepares for hurricanes, heatwaves, earthquakes, and wildfires, but each year, the damage seems to surprise all. People publish on social media, keep people affected in their thoughts or prayers, and hope that the incident will never occur again. But it does. Numerous disasters are cyclical, and the climate crisis exacerbates their severity and frequency. In the previous two decades, the number of natural disasters has nearly doubled to more than 7,300, costing the global economy $2.97 trillion. The government is currently in an era of reckoning for which people are unprepared.

A New Approach: Prevention, Planning, and Forecasting

Prevention is a painstaking activity that attracts camera crews infrequently. Yet, expenditures in prevention made upstream are typically a good use of time and money. Some prevention actions, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, need broad mobilization, but even tiny steps can have a significant impact. For instance, the government may assist farmers in planting drought-resistant or salt-tolerant crops and assist communities in adopting nature-based strategies to increase resilience.

Preparation is necessary where prevention is insufficient. Leaders of non-governmental organizations must collaborate with governments, the commercial sector, academics, and community members to properly plan physical and human infrastructure. For instance, digging a community well provides immediate health and productivity benefits due to the availability of clean water. With a smart strategy, it is possible to involve the community in developing water management plans that account for future risk and nurture the social capital that enables people to weather future storms.

In regions that experience recurrent emergencies, the government must routinely prepare for the next obstacle. For example, in Kenya, which currently experiences more intense rainy seasons, the government can pre-position crucial supplies, such as hygiene kits necessary for sanitation during floods. This facilitates the mobilization of first responders and ensures community needs are satisfied.

The preparedness of a group is contingent on their ability to get deeper insights. The government must utilize environmental, economic, and health analytics to foresee impending difficulties like pandemics and famines. Current early warning systems may mitigate the effects of a disaster, but few provide precise, scientifically sound data with sufficient lead time to avert one. This is a challenge across all industries.

Rapidly And Effectively Responding

A prompt and effective response is required when calamities cannot be avoided. This needs NGOs to coordinate well in advance of a disaster. Many forward-thinking contributors contribute multi-year catastrophe preparedness funds to support the work. This simple yet groundbreaking strategy enables NGOs to enhance the capacity to respond faster and more effectively instead of spending precious time securing funding when lives are at stake.

The government will not always have the ideal plan when natural disasters strike, and compounding variables can complicate our response. In South Sudan, for instance, climate shocks, violence, and Covid-19 interact to exacerbate already difficult situations. To accommodate this complex reality, the government has assembled emergency teams with professionals in everything from emergency food delivery to psychological first aid and sanitation services. This strategy enables people to serve various conflicting needs in a changing environment more effectively.

As natural catastrophes become more frequent and severe, organizations may need to evaluate their response capabilities. Even organizations that have not historically responded to disasters should now have procedures in place to ensure continuity of operations and support for the people that depend on them. Clear responsibilities and advanced staffing plans can offer all nonprofits the clarity and speed they may require.

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