National Disaster Management by Federal Interagency Working Groups Collaboration Emphasis Housing Matters Article

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¶ … inter-agency collaboration to facilitate cross-departmental efforts to deliver emergency preparedness response including an integration of the Housing for Urban Development program to the National Disaster Housing Strategy. The research shows that Federal policies administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), and the Housing of Urban Development, proved ineffective in handling the emergencies faced domestically, notably the lack of a coordinated response to Hurricane Katrina. The Federal emergency response is contingent on the integrated network of communications linkage between the responsible agencies and inter-agency collaboration has shown to be the framework to enable coordinated responses to mitigate future disasters.

Background

Since the creation of modern government administration, Federal Inter-agency Planning has been non-existent in the framework of departmental management in government affairs. This assertion has indirectly resulted in necessary collaborative inter-agency efforts to yield long-term recovery efforts after a federally declared disaster. In part, the history in the development of emergency inter-agency disaster collaboration has arisen from the 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes. "Because of the many stakeholders involved in recovery, including all levels of government, it is critical to build collaborative relationships." (Czerwinkski, 2009)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Article on National Disaster Management by Federal Interagency Working Groups Collaboration Emphasis Housing Matters Assignment

Research into emergency response performance information revealed strategic changes that will enable more efficient and effective recovery efforts in future disaster responses. A report generated via collaborative efforts involving intergovernmental relations between federal, state, and local government, and an inter-agency effort between the cabinet level federal agencies bullet-pointed specific initiatives that will impact recovery efforts. Namely, these include the creation of an implementable recovery plan, provide the resources to facilitate state and local government autonomy where federal assistance can be afforded, create and implement disaster related business recovery plans, and collaboratively create a plan that eliminates fraud, waste, and abuse in government administration.

A national response framework will enhance these collaborative and facilitate a comprehensive network of emergency response systems for federally declared disaster areas. The framework conceptualizing the strategy of the system involves mitigating the responsibility of the limited state and local resources in severe catastrophes where loss of life and loss of property are considerable and widespread. Therefore, the framework identifies groups that are pertinent to integrate into a network of response organizations to assist when disaster occurs. "Thus, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from major disasters requires partnerships between the federal government and non-federal stakeholders, such as state, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations." (GAO, 2008)

The DHS issued the National Response Plan late in 2004 (December) to align local, state, and federal level efforts to maximize national disaster emergency response. The National Response Framework is derived from the efforts of the plan and was published in 2008 (January). The NRF is a directive to instruct disaster response relief effort between public and non-public agents, such as coordinating response efforts from government and nongovernmental and private sector organizations.

The Emergency Support Function (ESF) does "provide the structure for coordinating Federal interagency support for a Federal response to an incident." (FEMA, 2008) ESF's facilitate intergovernmental emergency disaster response relations by enabling Federal assistance to the State level including Federal to Federal support as defined for Federally declared emergencies under the Stafford Act and for non-Stafford Act emergencies. ESFs are designed to maximize operations in fifteen areas. "Transportation, Communications, Public Works and Engineering, Firefighting, Emergency Management, Mass Care Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services, Logistics Management and Resource Support, Public Health and Medical Services, Search and Rescue, Oil and Hazardous Materials Response, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Energy, Public Safety and Security, Long-Term Community Recovery, External Affairs." (FEMA, 2008) ESFs are branched off into factional segments that identify and coordinate the primary and secondary disaster response. Each component of the ESF segment provides an effective transition "between preparedness, response and recovery activities." (FEMA, 2008)

The National Disaster Housing Strategy (NDHS) provides housing to disaster relief victims and identifies a new direction to better satisfy the needs of affected disaster relief victims and communities. Secondly, the NDHS ensures disaster housing efforts utilize emergency technologies and novel ideas to develop and design an assortment of housing strategies leading to a variety of options for to fit the diverse needs of displaced disaster victims. Practices also ensure that efforts remain cost effective and performance-based to ensure best practices remain followed. "Above all, this new direction must institutionalize genuine collaboration and cooperation among the various, local, State, tribal, and Federal partners, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to meet the needs of all disaster victims." (FEMA, 2009)

However, current efforts in providing housing to disaster victims vary in the scope of disaster and range from the provision of short-term shelters to permanent housing in severe cases. Severe disaster relief efforts such as the efforts provided to aid the relief victims of Hurricane Katrina presented long-term housing challenges for the organization to provide housing to a large number of families over a sustained period of time. In such cases, "The Federal Government stands alongside the States as an engaged partner, maintaining disaster housing resources and ready to deploy those resources, if required, to fill any gap." (FEMA, 2009)

Disaster Management, Recovery and Interagency Collaboration

Management of Natural Disasters is amongst the most inherently problematic of public policy challenges. Indeed, disaster management hinges often on the occurrence of uncontrollable events and the intercession of these events with human subjects. Disaster management will concern the preparations for defense against disaster, the activation of strategies for the minimization of disaster casualties and the capacity to respond to disaster in all contingencies.

The attendance to these responsibilities requires a concerted and continuous recognition of that which is likely in the event of 'predictable' disasters, such as those, which are naturally occurring and related to detectable presumptive evidence. Therefore, post-disaster strategy has traditionally instigated the investigatory appendages of public governance as a means to delivering a final statement on the causes of a disaster, used as a source for deriving recommendations for future defense, casualty minimization, and responsiveness in the event of a similar disaster.

To this end, governments have often as a knee jerk response to any evidence of disaster mismanagement unleashed the "public inquiry" as a means to better understanding 'what went wrong' and, thereafter, engaging in widespread administrative reorganization in order address perceived challenges. Quite frequently however -- and particularly in the United States, where skepticism of public officials is fairly high -- public inquiry falls well short of addressing the full scope of public interests and, as a consequence, strategies for interagency collaboration often fall short of critical disaster management goals. A discussion on the National Response Framework as it has been reorganized in light of both the 11th of September attacks and Hurricane Katrina reveals that on many levels reveals the many bureaucratic obstacles which stand in the way of proper interagency collaboration.

NRP & IMPT

Certainly, this is a claim that reinforces the article by Hayhurst et al. (2010) that describes that aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Council put forth several directives to the National Response Plan (NRP) to buttress and enable the ability of the Federal Governments emergency preparedness response system to domestic disaster areas. A function of this reorganization of the NRP, a 'permanent planning element' would be established and labeled as the Incident Management Planning Team (IMPT).

This new on-call staff of emergency responders is a product of the Homeland Security Department. According to Hayhurst, "the IMPT is part of a larger, collaborative planning effort under development at the Department of Homeland Security. The IMPT collaborates with other planning elements in the Department to establish a shared planning system with the long-term objective of establishing a homeland security planning community within a shared national planning system." (p. 2) the IMPT has evolved into the Integrated Planning System with the goal of enabling guidance to administer interagency compliance to the system. "DHS began developing the Integrated Planning System in December 2007 and implemented an interim version in June 2008." (Brown et al., pg 9)

Failure in Coordinated Disaster Response

The overall attainment of these goals does remain unknown. However, it is clear that massive failure on the part of the federal government both at distributing its resources and at maximizing the optimal use of local or state resources would contribute to widespread suffering after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Some research would also proceed on the argument that this was evidenced following the 9/11 attacks as well, with the federal government demonstrating a clear lack of preparedness to coordinate and mobilize local-level first-responders, emergency relief and disaster management personnel.

Harrald (2006) indicates this failure on the part of the federal government, contending that the reports, which would be forthcoming from the tragedies in New Orleans and elsewhere, were demonstrative of this breakdown in essential federal responsibilities. Harrald reports the finding that "a catastrophic incident may cause significant disruption of the area's critical infrastructure, such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, and Public Health and medical systems.' The total loss of infrastructure in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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