The Answers Are Out There: Disaster Preparedness

The Answers Are Out There:

At two minutes to noon on Sept. 1, 1923, the ground began to tremble in Tokyo and nearby Yokohama. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake had struck Japan. The shaking lasted for nearly five minutes, causing gas stoves to topple, which in turn ignited thousands of wooden buildings. The fires eventually claimed more lives than the quake itself — more than 140,000 people died in all. Although Japan had experienced earthquakes in the past, this one was different and for a singularly important reason: It inspired the Japanese to focus intently on disaster preparedness.

Almost nine decades later, that readiness was put to the test in extreme fashion. On March 11, 2011, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake struck Japan. Within 10 minutes, a tsunami — which in some places towered as high as a 10-story building — crashed into the coast and swept as far as six miles inland. Unlike in 1923, however, this time Japan’s government and its citizens were ready.

(Via Foreign Policy)

Check it: after natural disasters they assess and make adjustments. In between the Japanese practice. They train. They analyze.

How about Bangladesh?

Because of the country’s susceptibility to frequent flooding, it is also vulnerable to the spread of diarrheal diseases, such as cholera. When flooding struck in 1988, such illnesses caused 27 percent of the resulting deaths in one rural area in the country. Yet when Bangladesh was hit by unprecedented floods in August 2017, which damaged or destroyed nearly 700,000 homes, there were virtually no deaths from diarrheal diseases, according to the website Third Pole. The reason? More effective public health measures, including better-equipped medical facilities and greater awareness of the need for preventive action.

And France?

Having learned a bitter lesson in 2003, when the worst heat wave since 1540 killed some 15,000 people there, the country was prepared when a heat wave nicknamed Lucifer stuck Europe in August. Temperatures reached a record-breaking 106.9 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of southern France.

There were no reported deaths in France during the Lucifer heat wave, and the United Nations has cited France as a model for how other nations should respond when temperatures spike.

The article lists many examples of how the French learned and managed.

I love this line about Morocco’s efforts:

In an effort to reduce its vulnerabilities, the country has taken a different but equally important approach: focusing on financing risk reduction rather than recovery.

They don’t waste time or effort on theater, that act where governments and organizations decide they want people to feel safer.

I wonder what lessons my governments learned and what adjustments they’re making in the wake of the natural disasters we’ve faced in the United States & Assoc.

Bringing it around to the professional, how is your organization preparing to avoid and manage risk in advance of weather related issues?

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