Emergency Management Disasters Are Political Essay

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President Bush during his administration ascertained that grave disasters call for substantial federal influence and powerful role of the armed forces. President Bush viewed a top-down system compared to bottom-up perspective as a perfect strategy in disaster management.

The response of the government during Hurricane Katrina was dysfunctional and disorganized. The government had restructured FEMA reaction's response abilities in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks and this led to the breakdown of the whole response system. FEMA did not implement effectively the NRP (National Response Plan). After declaration of the disaster by the president, decisions to make NRP to seek the services of civilian and military resources of the Federal government to help the local and state agencies did not come in time (Palser, 2007). . The delay instigated more harm with New Orleans flooding causing destructions to properties and people. Over one thousand and two hundred lives were lost in Mississippi and Louisiana. FEMA failed to work with local and state leading to marginalization of donations from the private sectors. It was not clear who was in charge of the response phase during Hurricane Katrina.

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The deprived response was because of failure to control several risks. Moreover, the dispersed temperament of U.S. intergovernmental response mechanism also made weak the response given that some federal responders did not acknowledge the need to engage actively with other teams of response (Palser, 2007). Institutions to manage the team of responders at government level were not sufficient. The response team entailed inter-governmental (state, local and federal) and cross-sectoral ( non-profit, private and public).

Essay on Emergency Management Disasters Are Political Assignment

The recovery phase was also unproductive with no agency taking full responsibility of the process. Communications among the parties involved was incomplete and sporadic. The communities across the affected areas were struggling with the slowed FEMA and increasing bureaucratic. The competent FEMA disaster mangers were replaced with contractors from DHS and this constantly slowed the phase of recovery. Following the effects of Katrina disaster, the Department of Homeland Security disassembled FEMA's role in emergency management. The director of FEMA seized to be a Cabinet member and the emergency management programs spread across agencies and the Department of Homeland Security. After deconstruction of FEMA, mitigation seized to be the basis of the FEMA management system. However, According Wenning (2006), the use of information and communication technology in organizational and human context facilitates mitigation measures.

The failure to react to warning characterized the federal team of responders. They lacked the need and urgency and they treated Katrina as a normal storm. Senior Staff from White House never reconvened when the calamity seemed imminent (Wenning, 2006). The tragic occurrences that took place in Katrina's wake, have served to underline the significance of disaster management. The interplay between organizational and technical considerations has been underlined. Dealing with diverse responsibilities undermined the response efforts. The federal responders failed while they waited for certain requests to help the local and state authorities. Moreover, the diverse responsibilities made the efforts more intricate due to lack of a unified command. The lack of unified command was a result of new strategies that did not establish rules on how the response team needed to act.

More Proactive Disaster Policy

Natural disasters are known for demoralizing effects on human life, environment and economy. In this regard, efforts can be made to lower the impacts of natural disasters through effective disaster management policies. Disaster management policy is a key component in good leadership and it is a term interchangeably utilized with the phrase emergency management. Effective disaster management policies includes plans, arrangements and structures introduced to engage normal efforts of the government, private agencies and voluntary organizations in a detailed and organized manner to react to the entire continuum of emergency requirements. All actions are centralized at government agencies and department (Wenning, 2006).Disaster policy refers to the procedures and processes linked to management and control of natural and fabricated disasters. The process increases the capacity of people and organizations in reducing impacts of disasters and vulnerabilities. Effective disaster management calls for planning, organizing, mobilization of resources and completion stages akin to public project management. Effective disaster polices hold a distinctive temperament of services and products, offers the temporary nature of the product, knowledge, skills and tool required to effectively manage the disasters.

A more proactive disaster management policy must entail



Emergency relief



The major activities in these proactive actions include mitigation and preparedness, response and the recovery process. The policies can be more proactive when mitigation and preparedness are performed in the prediction stage (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2010). This entails taking structural measures to lower adverse effects of disasters. The measures are carried out prior to any disaster to guarantee effective response to disaster. There should be issuance of effective and timely early warnings and removal of properties from threatened areas.

The warning stage entails provision of effective and timely information through recognized structure that allow persons exposed to the danger to take action well in advance to lower their risks (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2010). Emergency relief calls for provision of intervention and assistance during and after calamity to achieve basic existence and life preservation needs to the affected. Rehabilitation entails actions and decision taken in the aftermath of a disaster to enhance and restore pre-disaster living status of the affected people (Wenning, 2006). Reconstruction entails important actions such as mitigation and preparedness actions. Mitigation actions include non-structural and structural measures carried out to lower the negative effects of natural hazards, technological and environmental degradation.

Preparedness includes measures and actions carried out to guarantee productive response to effects of disasters. However, an integrated perspective to disaster management could be more proactive. This approach must include risk identification, risk-grounding activities of mitigation, preparedness and response in the prediction and warning phase. Risk assessment and risk identification are the most crucial activities in managing disasters (Wenning, 2006). Constant assessment, information quality and accuracy are crucial inputs for productive minimization of negative effects of calamities. Risk assessment should be based on evaluation of technical aspects such as probability, frequency, intensity, location, and assessment of economic, social, physical and environmental vulnerability and exposure dimensions (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2010). The integrated approach puts responsible governmental units in hierarchal order. Proactive perspective allows mitigation; warning and preparedness before disaster take place.

Obstacles To A More Proactive Disaster Management Policy

The greatest obstacles to a more proactive evolution of emergency management include

Ineffective institutional arrangement

Lack of coordination and collaboration among major stakeholders in disaster management

Lack of supportive regulations and laws; supportive regulations hold a positive effect on upshots of disaster management

Ineffective or lack of information management system; information is crucial for planning, warning, reconstruction and rehabilitation

Incompetent managers and team members; disaster management fails with due to lack of conceptual, administrative and technical skills. These skills are crucial for planning, execution and management of disasters.

Ineffective consultation with target beneficiaries and major stakeholders; participation is crucial for positive upshots

Ineffective communication systems; disaster management is powerfully connected to co-operation and communication between stakeholders.

Unclearly defined commitments and goals by the stakeholders

Ineffective logistics management; productive logistics are crucial before during and after calamities. Most of logistics problems arise from lack of organization for relief works, transportation bottlenecks and poor infrastructures.

Insufficient disbursement and mobilization of resources


Over the past decade, natural disasters have led to severe destruction and has comprised of 10 to 15% of an exposed nations' annual gross domestic Product. Natural disasters come with devastating impacts to human life, the environment and the economy. As a result, special authorities and powers are crucial in handling disaster conditions and political officials elected in the government offices to serve the people hold the ability to provide powers in disaster management. Professional managers of emergencies cannot operate by themselves given that there are disaster legislation in every state that allow exercise of power by elected officials who acts as representative of citizens. While there is not means of neutralizing all unenthusiastic effects of disasters, efforts can be made to lower the impacts of these disasters. This calls for effective disaster management policies and good governance from all the agencies involved.


Garrett, Thomas A., and Russell S. Sobel. (2003). The Political Economy of FEMA Disaster

Payments. Economic Inquiry, 41 (3): 496 -- 509.

Gasper, T., & Reeves, A. (2011). Make it Rain? Retrospection and the Attentive Electorate in the Context of Natural Disasters. American… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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