Programs and Policies That Ought To Be Implemented For Coping With Future Disasters

Quarantelli, E. L.
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Disaster Research Center
There will be more and worse disasters in the future. Researchers have detailed and documented this elsewhere. This negative consequence will result from the last stages of two worldwide social trends: industrialization and urbanization. However, crisis planning and emergency managing policies can be established and steps can be taken that will reduce and weaken some of the negative effects of the disasters of the 21 st Century. Among six major ones are: 1. It is necessary to explicitly accept the fact that all disasters are essentially social occasions that primarily have to be dealt with by social means; far more attention needs to be paid to disasters rather than hazards. 2. The distinction in planning between natural and technological disasters must be dropped; there should be a move to a more generic approach to all kinds of crises. 3. Disaster mitigation should be made at least as much a priority in planning and application as emergency preparedness, response and recovery; this would be to take a proactive rather than just a reactive stance to disasters. 4. An effort should be made to more closely integrate disaster planning with the developmental planning or social change processes of the social system involved; disasters do not occur in isolation from larger social processes. 5. An attempt should be made to ascertain in what ways disaster problems are similar to and different from other environmental problems; there may be similarities that can be concurrently addressed. 6. Newer technologies ought to be implemented in the four phases of the disaster cycle; however, the limits of the technotogies must be recognized and the fact that implementation might be more fruitful for certain phases of the cycles than others. There is no doubt that if the right policies and measures are put in place, the future will not be the past revisited nor will it be only the present repeated.
future disasters , industrialization , urbanization , programs , disaster coping , disaster mitigation , policies