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Disaster Management Planning For Earthquake

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 5332 words Published: 4th May 2017

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The risk for disaster occurs when the social, physical, environmental and economic vulnerabilities are hit by hazards. The biggest volumes of disasters are mainly a result of events originating hydrometeorogically. Even in the face of gradual understanding of the significance of reduction of disasters and disaster response capabilities, disasters continue to be a global problem especially the one of disaster management techniques. It is now globally accepted that plans should be put in place to reduce the risk of a disaster. The plans should be conceptualised and brought into action in spheres such as policies, programmes for poverty reduction and should be assisted by international and regional cooperation. Poverty reduction, proper governing and sustainable development are mutually cooperative plans along with disaster management. Efforts have to be made at a rapid pace to put in place the required plans to counter any threats posed at the regional and international level by disasters.


The occurrence of such disasters has continued to increase in a rapid succession. More than three million lives were lost due to disasters in the last quarter of a century itself. This number does not stop as billions have been affected in some way or the other. The cost of rehabilitation from these disasters has run into thousands of billions alone.

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The increase in the population of the world only enhances the chance of disaster risk which could cause massive casualties and harm to the human life in large numbers. The six billion mark in world population was reached on the 16th of November in 1999. The annual growth rate was estimated at nearly 1.33 %( seventy eight million every year).

There is a greater risk on account of the industrialization and vast urbanization since a lot of people are moving to urban areas which do not have sufficient health care and infrastructure in place.

Energy is released after accumulation in the volcanic activity or geological faults which cause seismic waves to bring about movement of the crust which is known as an earthquake.

Humans are able to only detect three thousand earthquakes from the total of five hundred thousand earthquakes that occur every year. 7 to 11 out of these 3000 earthquakes cause significant damage to property and human life though this figure has increased the past few years.

The toll of death due to an earthquake can range from as less as five to higher than two hundred and forty thousand.

One out of two cities in a developed country is susceptible to a natural hazard like earthquake. Seventeen of the twenty largest cities are situated in countries with low resources. Eighty percent of the population of the world will reside in developing countries by the year 2025 according to an estimate.

The research on natural disasters is of a lot of significance in case of developing countries.

What is a Disaster?

Many definitions have been put forward regarding disaster. Samuel Henry Prince started the study related to disasters in 1971 in Canada during the worst disaster witnessed in Canada. The disaster in point is the ship explosion occurred in 1917 in the harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His research and social exploration of the implications of the disaster paved way for further theoretical and empirical research that lasted through the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. This saw a change in the way disasters were perceived. The focus shifted from the primary physical agent to the description and definition of disasters related to the social impact caused by it. Various academic disciplines were dedicated to the study of nature and disasters during the 1960s and 1970s.

The definition of a disaster can be classified between the national and international level. The working definition of a disaster is designed in way to suit the professional background of the place where it is defined and is closely associated to the studies, work and research that is carried out. The World Health Organization has defined disaster on the base of the resultant health implications post the disaster. They have made use of the terminology called as ‘Health Action in Crises’. The International Red Cross has taken into account the factors that cause interference in human life. IN simple words, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes only acquire the status of a disaster when they leave behind a negative and disruptive impact on the living force.

Al-Madhari et al in 1997 studied if a universal definition for the term disaster is possible and came up with a definition that takes into account both the factors of economic and health implications. The definition was as follows- ‘an event localized in time and space with one or more of the following consequences occur: 1) Ten or more fatalities, 2) Damage exceeds $1 million, 3) 50 or more people evacuated.

This is the basic essence that is found in most definitions of disaster which may carry different views. All the definitions accept disaster as a situation that is beyond the cope of control of the local community which warrants the need of external help. The disasters maybe a result of naturally occurring phenomena like extreme changes in climate or weather, technological and man made threats.

Psychological stages of disaster

Heroic stage

The heroic stage is shown by the community and the individuals within that direct the various levels of energy in the tasks of help, rescue, shelter, clean up and repair. This behaviour is carried out in the span of a few hours to even days if required.

Honeymoon stage

The optimism characterized by the people in the community is the showcase of this stage in spite of the losses that occur due to the disaster. There is a wide media attention and, flow of resources inwards, and reassurances by personal visits by high profile personalities that look towards the rehabilitation process of the community. They provide the hope and belief that life will return to normalcy and no traces of the disaster will be seen. These resources though tend to exhaust by the third week of the aftermath of the crisis, there is reduced media attention and the real problems in the rehabilitation program start to develop. The energy shown by the survivors in the community gradually starts to fade away and gives way to the next stage of disillusionment.


The hard experiences, the lack of necessities and the work needed to be done to restore normalcy creeps up on the person which leads to disillusionment among the survivors. Survivors find that the various types of financial help being offered are in the form of loans instead of grant, home insurance was not the best available option and that politics played a bigger role in the decision making. Signs of disgruntlement is how by means of complaints related to abandonment, betrayal and injustice, incompetency and bureaucracy. Stress is a negative aspect that troubles the survivors which slowly disintegrates any hope that may be left.


All the work for which the base has been setup starts to show results. The applications are passed, loans are approved, and reconstruction is started. The individuals start to work at their normal capacities. People start regaining the state of normalcy with a period of six months after the disaster. Some individuals might take up to thirty six months. There is an overall sense of appreciation to aspects like life, relationship and morale towards tackling problems all owed to the lessons learnt post the disaster.

Stages of Disaster Response

Preparation stage

The main objective of this stage is to improve the healthcare system and the general system that can be improved to the extent that future disasters can be tackled with ease and efficiency.

Quick Reponses Stage

The main objective of this stage is to make sure that there is a prober health response in case of a disaster strike that may create some needs. Counselling is provided during this stage which is present in the current health system. There should be help sought from external sources to boost the resources that are available in case they are not sufficient to fulfil all the necessary needs. In many cases the local supplies may not be enough to meet the requirement of the community which is why the stock has to be filled with the help of some additional commodities obtained from other external sources.

Recovery Stage

This stage has to be worked upon continuously and lasts more than a month after the disaster takes place. This stage could go on for years depending on the resources that are available for rehabilitation and the impact and type of the disaster. The needs of the survivors are taken care of by the local providers in this stage. Federal funds may flow in case the disaster is declared as a Presidential Declared Disaster. The funding is given to those in need of individual help.

Disaster Management

Definition of disaster management

A lot of definitions have been put forward by authors on the topic of disaster management. A lot of these definitions merely explain the meaning of the term rather than completely stating the terms of preparation for a disaster. Christopolis, Mitchell and Liljelund regarded efficient and effective abilities and result of disaster response as the main themes of preparation for a disaster (2001). Creating a local response system and providing early warnings is also a big part of preparation (Integrated Regional information Networks, 2005). The definitions by United Nations Development program, McEntire and Twigg have definitions similar in theme with their own take on the preparation for a disaster. The program by United Nations holds hazard easing as the central source for disaster preparation along with the inclusion of planning in the description (2004). Similarly, McEntire and Twigg also consider hazard easing as a crucial aspect in disaster preparation saying that it should be a part of it (McEntire, 2003 and Twigg, 2002). McEntire talks about different factors relevant for disaster preparation as a local government function that includes vulnerability and hazard evaluation. The lesser highlighted aspects of disaster preparation are also very important. Izadkhak and Hosseni point out education to be the foremost media in the preparation of a community for disasters (2005). The emergency plans, storage of food, securing furniture to walls and creating inventories of storage commodities are a part of this level (Paton, Smith, Johnston, 2003 and Siembieda, 2001).

Review of preparation literature

The disaster preparedness aspect is basically dynamic in nature which keeps changing constantly. The researches find out new facts with the occurring of new disaster even with respect to the community. The disasters and crisis are consistent but the practises applied in its management still lack the capacity to provide necessary results.

McEntire has worked towards some crucial points in disaster preparedness and emergency management in his study. McEntire, Fuller and Johnston and Weber (2002) published an article reviewing the emergency management and the methods related to it. The main concern in the 2002 research was vulnerability while McEntire also finished his research related to disaster preparedness.

Dynes also provide his view on emergency planning. His views were based on research instead of military models. The problem solving methods of Dynes emphasizes cooperation and coordination as the key aspects. (1994). This concept has been used in developing many other models as opposed to the earlier practice of using military models and instead switching to a research based and discipline specific model. The best methods of disaster preparedness incline towards discipline specific objectives as in the case of emergency management.

A valuable amount of work has been spent for the identification and evaluation of the concepts and principles that are used in disaster preparedness. Some contributions have been made to development of disaster preparedness with the aim of creating a theory based practise and practise based theory (Gillespie and Streeter, 1987). The contributions from most individuals are not aimed at the creation of a complete disaster preparedness technique but individual research has helped immensely in making contributions towards building a complete disaster preparedness plan. A case in point is the research by Kirschenbaum (2002) article based on disaster preparedness from the point of view of Israel. The inferences drawn from his study were found to be applicable in a general environment. Perry and Lindell (2003) based their study on disaster management on the principles of perspective and planning and were able to identify 10 guidelines that should be used in the process of planning. Lindell was more focused on the planning while Kirschenbaum gave more importance to localized applications and principles. Each on his own was able to contribute an important aspect that led to the creation of a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan although none of the studies focused on all the aspects on the whole.

Components of disaster management

Earthquake Risk

The risk of earthquake is a seismic risk to the environment and its habitats. The earthquake risk is inversely proportional to the capacity of resisting it. Research based on social learning by May (1994) shows that the more knowledge that is available, the less is the worry and lesser in the rationale for prevention. Knowledge and the use of the knowledge in the best way are required to improve the safety measures today. There is a process known as Earthquake Risk Management that works towards the prevention of threat or danger from an earthquake, reducing risk or consequences of an earthquake. It also deals on topics like preparation for dealing with a disaster, responding to a threat due to natural disaster, capacity building and knowing the effects of the natural disasters. There are the basic points of evacuation, rescuing, relief, rehabilitate and reconstruct that are covered. The population in India was marked at over a billion in 2001 and is estimated to be doubled by the year 2050. This calculates to a population growth of 1.61% per annum. The risk of earthquake increases by leaps and bounds in such a scenario. The urban areas are been populated to the extent of being overcrowded and figure in the highest density in the world of 237 people per square kilometre. This only worsens the situation. People in thickly dense areas have no alternative but to live in conditions like low lying areas situated closely near the rivers. This makes it mandatory to keep a full time alert and be ready with a disaster preparedness plan. Gillespie and Banerjee (1993, pp.242) have proposed there is a 5 stage plan which spirals upward with more refined levels including avenues, assessment, knowledge, preparedness and practise. The central point in these levels is considered to be knowledge. As pointed by Srivastava et al (2007), the reduction in disaster risks can be brought about by the proper use of information.

Disaster management planning for earthquake

In the past few decades, a high level of importance has been attached to the effective and efficient management of information and its use as a key component of disaster management in the regions of Asia especially Pacific Asia. Disaster management information systems have been setup by a number of countries according to their own calculations and needs. The applications include early warnings, reduction of disaster risks and emergency planning.

The information plays an important part in disaster management and it should be used wisely. The needs of the information related to disaster management can be classified in two activity categories –

Pre disaster activities like research and analysis, prevention, risk assessment and preparedness.

Post disaster activities like rehabilitation, response and reconstruction.

The data related to disaster can also be classified into two categories-

Pre disaster data consisting of the risks and the country

Post disaster data showing the impact of the disaster and the resources available to counter the effects.

National Disaster Management Information System

The main aspects of a disaster management information system is a database containing the following-

Mapping of hazard assessment

Vulnerability Assessment

Distribution by Demography

Lifelines, Infrastructure and Critical Facilities

Transportation Routes and Logistics

Material and Human Response Resource

Communication Facility

The use of Disaster Management Information System is based on three aspects-

Preparedness planning

Response and mitigation


Earthquake activities

Preparation and Planning

Identifying areas prone to earthquake

Identifying problems

Identifying and using Resources

Control and command

Advance Preparatory Action

Post earthquake activities

The relief activities needed to be performed by the government are-

Maintaining uninterrupted communication

Endorsing disaster preparedness and relief measures through media like newspaper and AIR.

Evacuating and movement of commodities of essence such as petroleum should be facilitated in transport.

Making sure that essential commodities are available at a reasonable rate.

Providing adequate supply of drugs, vaccine and medicine.

Restoration and preservation of physical communication links.

Providing infrastructure such as latrines, shelter, electricity, road etc. On a temporary basis by making the necessary investment.

Mobilising financial resources.

In addition to these aspects, there are certain secondary functions that are needed by the relief efforts of the State such as –

Military aid should provide relief, restoration and rehabilitation services to the civil authority.

Backup plans for cattle preservation, crops and health measures should be put in place.

Technological and technical inputs for providing drinking water.

Providing technical assistance for water management, water budgeting and several other uses.

Coordinating activities of the voluntary and state agencies.

Knowledge Management

The knowledge related activities are dealt taken care of by the knowledge management procedure (Wiig, 1997: Civi, 2000). These activities include organizations and creation of knowledge along with share and use of the knowledge. Knowledge management can be more appropriately defined as the strategies and processes of identifying, capturing and leveraging knowledge. This definition was provided by the American Productivity and Quality Centre. Knowledge management is a field on the rise which has been able to collect considerable attention especially from the industrial community. A large number of industrial organizations have taken to knowledge management programs which serve as proof of its widespread use. These programs are helpful in making the industries more competent and improving their organizational performance. It is only a matter of time when all the companies will adopt such a program and the only factor to be accounted for is the way in which it has to be implemented to make optimum use of knowledge management and managing it properly at the same time.

Implementation of Knowledge Management

The Knowledge Management concept has caught a lot of attention due to its importance but there are only a few industries that have been able to make optimum use of the knowledge management techniques by managing the knowledge in their respective organizations. Stoney and Barnett (2000) suggest that a major number of Knowledge Management steps are bound to fail. This is due to the fact that the implementation of Knowledge Management is not an easy task that can be carried out by an organization. Technological infrastructure needs to be in place for the implementation of Knowledge Management along with change in the culture of the organization and managing knowledge of different types. Organizations that have made use of the Knowledge Management without making certain of the necessary resources at their disposal have mainly failed due to improper infrastructure and implementation.

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Implementation of the Knowledge Management is a tough task for any organization as pointed out by Drucker (1993) who is known as the father of modern management theory. He stressed on the fact the biggest challenge faced by an organization is the building of a systematic framework for the management of knowledge. Hence, it is imperative to build a perfect prototype or framework which helps the organizations before the implementation of Knowledge Management.

Framework definition

According o the Oxford English Dictionary, (2003), the framework is defined as a structure composing of parts that are framed together especially designed for enclosing or supporting anything like a skeleton or a frame. Popper (1994) has defined framework as a set of assumptions or fundamental principles of intellectual origin that form the basis for action. In accordance with these definitions, framework can be said to be a framework or a structure formed using a set of specific instructions or principles that is required to provide a base for carrying out necessary activities and actions.

Knowledge Management Frameworks

According to Rubenstein-Montano et al. (2001b), Knowledge Management frameworks are categorized as a mode of providing guidance in a specific discipline. This means that it shows the way towards the building of Knowledge Management in a specific discipline completely. Dale (1999) defines framework as a tool used for the development and laying out of plans, a guide that helps an organization to carry out a certain action that works best for their business needs at their own pace. The framework most importantly acts as a link between the practical and theoretical aspects of the Knowledge Management and eases its implementation during an emergency or disaster.

Various Knowledge Management frameworks

The frameworks that have been described in theory are made to focus on different parts of Knowledge management and achieving its various purposes. The most popularly known framework is the framework for knowledge creation created by Nonaka (1991, 1994) that explains the evolution and conversion seen between tacit knowledge (not easy to articulate) and explicit knowledge (can be easily put into words). This is not the perfect form of a framework since it is only concerned with the creation of knowledge which is nothing more than a part of the Knowledge Management.

Another type of framework that is described in theory is the one that provides information on cyclic processes of the Knowledge Management. From the studies of Rubenstein-Montano et al. (2001a), it is evident that many of these frameworks only provide activities that stress on the knowledge cycle activities. They lay importance on phases of knowledge without providing supervision in the implementation of Knowledge Management. The examples of such frameworks are plenty including the framework by Bose and Sugumaran (2003) and many of the frameworks that were studied by Rubenstein-Montano et al. (2001a).

A third type of framework is the one developed by researchers that is used to explain the performance of Knowledge Management in an organization. The framework provides reference to shoe the analysis, structure and evaluation of the Knowledge Management in various organizations belonging to different fields. They were developed by Apostolou and Mentzas (1998).

Framework requirements

The framework helps in understanding, improving awareness and gives the conceptual definition of the Knowledge management that informs the people about the processes involved in it.

Al the components can be understood with the help of a framework and puts the Knowledge Management in perspective by providing the people with a clear and concise vision which helps in its implementation.

Managers find framework as a beneficial and important tool since it helps to decide whether all the aspects related to the Knowledge management have been covered that may be easily overlooked without the framework.

It also helps in enabling the implementation process and helps coordinate the efforts put in by the organization in a controlled and systematic way.

System Approach Framework

Holsapple and Joshi (2002) laid out a three layer framework which consists of three major building blocks known as knowledge resources, activities and influences. The resources pat highlighted the pool of the knowledge of the organization that can be classified into six main forms of resources namely participant’s knowledge, infrastructure, culture, knowledge artefact, strategy and purpose. The activities block represents the processes to be used by the organization for manipulating the knowledge resources.

Holsapple and Joshi (2002) were able to identify 4 activities related to this aspect namely acquiring, selecting, internalizing and using the knowledge which means the generation and externalization of knowledge. The manners in which these activities are performed tend to be influence by a number of factors that can be seen in the next block called as knowledge influences. The implementation is greatly influenced by this block and is classified into three categories namely resource (human, financial, material and knowledge), managerial (coordination, leadership and measurement) and environmental (customers, competitors, suppliers, markets and other conditions). The three aspects when viewed collectively act as the main components in the operation of Knowledge Management.

A framework was created with the idea of four stages namely review, concept, reflect and act by Wiig et al. (1997) in order to explain a number of Knowledge Management techniques and methods. Review is the first step and relates to evaluating and monitoring the performance of the organization to find out whether the desired results have been obtained. Conceptualize has two parts namely analysis of knowledge and inventory knowledge. The former is used to identify and assess the problems, weakness, strengths threats and opportunities related to knowledge. The latter is used to find out the state of knowledge in the organization by finding out the knowledge assets. TH reflect part is used for the following-

Create teams for assessing.

Find out the Knowledge management requirements.

Collect knowledge by identifying.

Design structure to knowledge in warehouse.

Maintain technology.

Test the technology again.

Train the knowledge workers.

Show the use of Knowledge management practises.

Track the usage.

Get the system to start.

Measure the productivity and quality, measure Knowledge Management practices. Conduct assessment review of the processes.

Hygoyo Protocol

Framework of Hyogo

The priorities, mission and vision of the National Framework were created in synchronisation with the Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA) 1005-2015 that was agreed upon by all the nations in January 2005 in the city of Kobe, Japan during the UN-World conference held for Disaster Reduction. The expected result of the HFA after ten years is significant reduction in the lives and economic, social and environmental assets of the countries and communities. The following objectives have been adopted by HFA to attain the desired results-

Better integration of disaster risk considerations and accordingly makes development policies. Planning at all the levels with focus on disaster prevention, preparedness, reduction and vulnerability reduction.

The strengthening and development of institutes, capacities and mechanisms at all the levels especially at the community level that can help in building resistance to hazards.

Incorporation risk mitigation approaches in the implementation of recovery programs, response and emergency preparedness that is used in rehabilitation of the affected communities.


This particular framework relates to provision of guidelines and direction to the national, local and provincial institutions. Aspects such as capacity building and vulnerability reduction are the crucial factors that help the communities and institutions to counter disaster risks. The strategies, policy implementation are taken care by this phase and programs for the parts of disaster are provided for.

There are certain challenges that are recognized in the five major areas as follows-

Governance- legal, organizational and policy frameworks.

Risk identification. Monitoring, assessment and early warnings.

Knowledge education and management.

Reduction of risk factors.

Preparedness to improve response and recovery.

The Yokohama strategy concludes in its review the discussions in the World Conference on Disaster Reduction and the desired result that was decided can be described into five priorities of action as follows-

Make sure disaster risk is a local and national priority with a very strong institutional base for execution.

Identify, monitor and assess the disaster risks and identify early warnings.

Use innovation, knowledge to build a safety culture which is strong at all the levels.

Reduce the risk factors

Make the disaster preparedness strong for better response.

Case study of earthquake in Pakistan with respect to Knowledge Management

The earthquake in Kashmir in 2005 was a massive earthquake with its epicentre in Pakistan controlled Kashmir close to the city of Muzaffarabad that affected the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilbit Baltistan province of Pakistan. It took place at 8:52:37 PST on the 8th of October. It was similar in size to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and 2001 earthquake in Gujarat with magnitude of 7.6. Tremors of this earthquake were felt in surrounding nations like western China and Tajikistan. Four people died in Afghanistan while close to fourteen hundred people died in India controlled Kashmir according to reports. The damage caused was blamed on poor construction and major up thrust.


Network usage- the network usage was high throughout the phases of recovery. Data and voice communication was very good in Islamabad. The landline network was brought on track within a coupe of days in town hit by the earthquake and the cell network was extended post the earthquake. The areas that were hit the worst had no assistance and relief and were left with no communication. Some parts were wiped out entirely. The skills to manage the technology were available in Pakistan but the management was not properly planned.

Network Availability- At first the network was very low during recovery and later was raised to a medium level. The inconsistency of connection was the main factor rather than low bandwidth. The connection would break consistently which proved to be disruptive. The limitations were known fully in the remote areas but the staff did not pay heed to the cell coverage problem. Cell phones are not adequate in such circumstances.



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