Disaster Preparedness and Response

Disaster Management can be defined as the organization and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies, in particular preparedness, response and recovery in order to lessen the impact of disasters.

Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluation and improvement activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.
In the preparedness phase, emergency managers develop plans of action to manage and counter their risks and take action to build the necessary capabilities needed to implement such plans. Common preparedness measures include:

  • Communication plans with easily understandable terminology and methods.
  • Proper maintenance and training of emergency services, including mass human resources such as community emergency response teams.
  • Development and exercise of emergency population warning methods combined with emergency shelters and evacuation plans.
  • stockpiling, inventory, and maintain disaster supplies and equipment
  • Develop organizations of trained volunteers among civilian populations. Professional emergency workers are rapidly overwhelmed in mass emergencies so trained; organized, responsible volunteers are extremely valuable. Organizations like Community Emergency Response Teams and the Red Cross are ready sources of trained volunteers

Industrialization, struggle for economic and religious supremacy, rapid population expansion and movement, technological advances, and other human activities are having a knock-on effect on the world and environment to the extent that disasters are not only becoming more frequent, but more complex in character and dimension. This is posing as both a challenge and constraint to humanitarian institutions engaged in the management of disaster situations.

In response to the ever growing need to address disasters, there is need to develop preparedness and response capacities of communities, volunteers and staff. Having experienced decades of response to disasters by humanitarian institutions, there is new for a strategy to address both causal and effect as the former results in disaster risk reduction, less cost in terms of resources and loss of life and livelihood. In the same vein, since communities comprise both victim and first responders, attention is shifting to building the capacity of communities for effective disaster management.

In a bid to more effectively manage disasters the NS aspires to develop a disaster preparedness and response policy, intensify community based disaster preparedness and response trainings, strengthen community response structures in terms of building capacities of communities, volunteers and staff alike.

Copyright 2011 The Gambia Red Cross Society Developed By Allan R. Caulker - Unique Solutions