Relatively minor damage to transportationsystems can paralyse a megacity
• can have very complex patterns, butthese are capable of being understood• results from knowledge not utilised• poses complex problems of rescue• casualties are heavily concentratedin urban-metropolitan areas• reveals poverty-vulnerability linkage.Seismic vulnerability
Stairwells areoften the mostvulnerable partof the buildingduringearthquakes,and the firstpart that peopleuse as they tryto escape.
Situations that are complex• logistically• culturally• ethically• morally...requiringhuge levels ofsustainedcommitment...
• typically in internationallydeclared disasters up to 70 nationsparticipate in the relief effort• in the Haiti earthquake of 2010more than 120 countries contributed• very large fluxes of relief goodsmanaged with inadequate port facilities• disputes arose over distribution priorities• ad hoc strategy does not takeadequate account of all factors.The problem of international co-ordination
The dilemmas of humanitarianassistance in the modern world:-• faced with situations of injusticeand political polarisation it may beimpossible to maintain neutrality• humanitarian assistance can causeunexpected and undesired effects• the strong reaction to majordisasters masks a lack ofprevention and preparedness• badly planned assistance cando more harm than good.
• 12 nations affected = 12 differentdisasters - complex situation• temporary export of Europeanhealth and civil protectionsystems to Asian countries• huge imbalance of donations• the Swedish case (SEMA)• difficulties with mass mortality:body handling arrangements,arrangements for the bereaved.The Indian Ocean Tsunami of Dec. 2004
• International assistanceshould complement, notsubstitute, local resourcesHumanitarian assistance shouldhelp a country reach generaldevelopment goals, not onlyhelp disaster victims to survive.Two principles
• it is slow to mobilise• it is constrained by national sovreignty• it includes highly varied motivationsand levels of professionality• it is a reactive system that does littleor nothing to reduce disaster risk.The international disaster reliefsystem is expensive and inefficient
• 43 FFHs studied in three disasters• average cost: $2000/bed/day• occupancy <50%• "No FFH arrived earlyenough to provide emergencymedical trauma care".Foreign field hospitals: Von Schreeb et al.[2008 - PDM 23(2): 144 et seq.]
Non era una situazione insolita....In the Bam, Iran, earthquake of2003, 1,600 rescuers from 43nations saved only 30 people
In the January 2010 earthquake inHaiti only 133 people were rescued,and only nine of them after day five
• lacking in the necessary equipment• inefficient and often ineffective• dangerous for the responders• dangerous for the rescued person• no substitute for professional rescue.Operations such as this are...
• areas at risk need local fullytrained and equipped SAR groups• technology and expertise needto be transferred preventativelyto where they are needed• twinning, exchange between SAR groups• better building standards, moreunderstanding of SAR requirements.To avoid scenes like this...
More than 1000 humanitatian agencieswork in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh
The essential role of governance:decision making bydemocratic participation
• logistical support adequate in the field?• can disaster-related problems bedistinguished from endemic ones?• can local leaders and stakeholder groupsbe identified and dialogue started?• what sort of assistance is really needed?• is inter-agency co-ordination adequate?.Some practical considerations
The controversy over transitional shelter:post-disaster shelter solutions haveseldom considered urban area problems:-• lack of space for building• need for high-density solutions• intensive provision of services.
UN-OCHA Clusters:-• Emergency telecommunications• Water and sanitation (WASH)• Emergency shelter• Infrastructure• Early recovery• Agriculture• Education• Health• Food
• radical changes are needed to adaptthe world relief system to new realities• currently the system is inefficientand still too heavily based onreaction rather than prevention• integration is a matter of voluntarycollaboration among a heterogeneousgroup of agencies, according toa somewhat arbitrary set of rules.In synthesis...