Disaster and Disaster Response

DISASTER: The CMDR COE defines disaster as a sudden change or failure in collective routines caused by an extreme event - natural or human-induced, or a multitude of events, which disturb system functions and thereby necessitate urgent collaborative intervention to reinstate routine or to adapt to disruption underlines the social nature of any emergency situation. A disaster inherently involves a hazard factor, which, in its interaction with populaces (human systems / social systems and structures), makes critical underlying vulnerabilities surface. In their totality, these vulnerabilities cause or aggravate social disruption. The speed of onset, scope, duration, and magnitude of impacts are therefore contingent upon societal resilience. Social relations, particularly equality and cohesion, play a crucial role for overall preparedness.


DISASTER RESPONSE: Responding to a disaster hence involves the coordinated, targeted, tailored, and timely decisions and (re)actions during and/or immediately following a disaster taken by disaster management actors with the aim of expediently coping with immediate effects. Disaster response is an immediate (re)action, mostly in the form of expedient mitigation (i.e. clearing debris, containing hazardous materials), emergency assistance (evacuation, search and rescue, medical care and shelter) and relief (items) aimed to prevent aggravation (further loss of life and property), maintain life (contain or mitigate impact) and improve living conditions (restore order and return to normality). There is a high multiplicity of actors involved in any give emergency situation, both local and regional / international, state and non-state (i.e. NGOs), nevertheless, first responders are usually state and local authorities who possesses the instruments and tools for immediate response (fire, police, and emergency medical services agencies).

Effective and efficient response is contingent upon a risk-informed preparedness, including information dissemination coupled with a culture of preparedness, institutional memory and engagement in practical cooperation to facilitate deployment of response elements. Disaster response exist in a cycle with the other phases of disaster management - preparedness, recovery and reconstruction.



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