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Q:Listen: to This American Life Episode 296: After The Flood (September 9, 2005) 60 min http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/296/after-the-flood
~ Try listening while driving, cooking, folding laundry or doing other household tasks if you find it difficult to listen without visual input J
Reflect on the following:
1)The act of blame between government officials on who should be responsible for the mitigation of disaster is what shocked me. The federal government failed to step in on Friday when the governor of Louisiana declared an emergency.
As a member of the recovery team, I consider the evacuation of people from the affected area as challenging. The storms took place in the eastern and western part of Louisiana. There were no enough rescue places to accommodate people who were affected. At one point, hospitals could only take in people who had gunshots and snakebites. Resources to support those misplaced could be considered a challenge.
The challenges experienced by the recovery team in evacuating people could have been avoided if there was a clear procedure on who was in charge of the emergency. Evacuation would have been easier had the federal government acted earlier when the governor issued an emergency. Had people started to evacuate earlier then it would have been easier to handle a few who might have been got up by the storms.
2)What “Act” stuck out to you the most? Why?
The “Act” that stuck out to me most is when Ira Glass interviewed Denise Moore. The interview focused on the role of the United States government during Hurricane Katrina. She claimed that there lacked humanity, and survivors were treated like animals. The two white nurses kicked the survivors out of the facility. Denise’s mother was an employee at New Orleans Hospital, yet her daughter was not given refuge. Denise Moore returned home alone only for the ceiling to crash down on her. Lack of humanity led to the suffering of Denise Moore and other survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
What would you find the most challenging as someone involved in Emergency Management or as part of a Recovery team?
As a member of an emergency management and recovery team, the most challenging activity would be the provision of long-term support to the survivors of the incidence. In most cases, the available reliefs offered by charity organizations, governments, and NGO’s are only available during the disaster. Due to the destructions of their properties, assets, and source of livelihood, survivors end up in critical conditions (Jacobs et al., 2016).
How might these experiences have been prevented?
Increasing government expenditure and adequate planning remain as essential strategies in preventing experiences of a disaster. The preparation must involve pre-planning, collection of adequate information, and acquiring funds and infrastructure. Many disasters result in severe damages due to lack of preparation.
What can we do to build more resilient communities BEFORE a disaster strikes, so the impact of such a disaster is lessened?
Formation of resilient communities results in the recovery of societies after the occurrence of a disaster. One way to build more resilient communities involves encouraging collaboration and teamwork among the members of society. Also, forming of support groups, educating the members of disaster management, and identification of vulnerable infrastructure can help build more resilient communities (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2003).
What must be done AFTER a disaster in this context to build community recovery and resilience?
After the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina, the government and other stakeholders should focus on restoration of critical resources and infrastructure such as water, healthcare services, and electricity. Also, the relevant agencies must conduct a damage assessment. Lastly and most importantly, the government should provide counseling, shelter, food, and jobs to the survivors (Jackson & Cook, 1999).
Jackson, G., & Cook, C. G. (1999). Disaster mental health: Crisis counseling programs for the rural community. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Jacobs, G. A., Gray, B. L., Erickson, S. E., Gonzalez, E. D., & Quevillon, R. P. (2016). Disaster mental health and community‐based psychological first aid: Concepts and education/training. Journal of clinical psychology, 72(12), 1307-1317.
US Department of Health and Human Services. (2003). Developing cultural competence in disaster mental health programs: Guiding principles and recommendations (DHHS Pub. No. SMA 3828). Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The government should work towards ensuring that federal, state, and local government officials are working together in sharing information to assist in coming up with immediate decisions. Coordination by government emergency communication should be set up immediately after such emergencies. Efficient communicates it possible for responders and victims to communicate for ease of location and evacuation.
After the disaster, the community and government should set up better medical response team. Deaths were faced in hospitals that lost power and communication to the outside. People should also be encouraged to uphold the American spirit by taking in those who lost their homes completely. People also require being educated on the health issues that could arise due to hurricane Katrina.
3)1. What “Act” stuck out to you the most? Why?
The “Act” that stuck me most was the second. It was unfortunate to see the police lie to desperate people they would get buses to ferry them. Besides, it was astonishing to see the police turn back the disaster victims who wanted to cross the bridge. In fact, the armed Gretna sheriffs began firing the weapons to them without even listening to them. This was too cruel and inhuman. Moreover, I was stuck to see racism and discrimination manifested openly when the cops informed Larry and his group that if one was poor and black there was no room to get out of New Orleans. Allowing only eight people to cross the bridge was surprising in a matter of life and death. Also, it was sad to see a police helicopter fly close to the camp of desperate people blowing everything they had away. To me, this was very strange and inhuman to come from people who should protect the public.
2. What would you find the most challenging as someone involved in Emergency Management or as part of a Recovery team?
In my view, the most challenging aspect I would find in emergency management would be integrated execution in real time due to demand for collaboration with various agencies to avoid interference, conflict, or endangerment of others. This could be the most challenging due to demand for skillful coordination of aid workers, equipment, and organizations across professions, agencies, jurisdictions, levels of government, and the public and private sectors considering these agencies have little or no prior experience working together (Madsen & O’Mullan, 2016).This challenge would be escalated by the presence of a large number of survivors in need of humanitarian services and who are in great fear of police making it difficult to convince them I am after helping them.
3. How might these experiences have been better prevented?
These experiences could have been better prevented if the local and state government took the initiative of helping the victims. Besides, the experiences would have been prevented if the local communities were allowed to find their way out without restrictions against crossing the bridge by the cops. Also, it would have been prevented better. Lastly, the experiences would have been prevented if the local communities had been sensitized enough about the impacts of the anticipated floods and response techniques prior to occurrence.
4. What can we do to build more resilient communities BEFORE a disaster strikes so the impact of such a disaster is lessened?
To build more resilient communities BEFORE a disaster strikes so as to lessen its impact, there is a need to invest more on the prediction of weather patterns in order to predict unfavorable weather patterns early enough. This will be useful in giving early warnings and have adequate time for evacuations before disasters strike. Furthermore, it would be necessary to empower communities living in disaster-prone areas economically (Madsen & O’Mullan, 2016). This would strengthen communities’ ability to evacuate independently without relying on local or state governments during disasters. From the audio, I noted most victims who died were those who did not have cars. Lastly, it would be necessary to create awareness about disasters to communities living in disaster-prone areas. This will equip them with knowledge and skills of how to handle disaster incidents.
5. What must be done AFTER a disaster in this context to build community recovery and resilience?
In my view, communities require counseling after disasters as a way of helping them gain resilience ability to recover from the impacts of the disaster (Linnenluecke & McKnight, 2017).Besides, it is necessary to finance the restoration of critical infrastructure and resources such as water, electricity, and health services in order to aid the community in functioning normally for them to recover individual loses and gain resilience of life after the disaster.
Linnenluecke, M. K., & McKnight, B. (2017). Community resilience to natural disasters: the role of disaster entrepreneurship. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, 11(1), 166-185.
Madsen, W., & O’Mullan, C. (2016). Perceptions of community resilience after natural disaster in a rural Australian town. Journal of Community Psychology, 44(3), 277-292.
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