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close this bookDisaster Preparedness - 2nd Edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 1994, 66 p.)
close this folderPART 1 - Planning for disaster preparedness
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentVulnerability assessment
View the documentPlanning
View the documentInstitutional structure
View the documentInformation systems
View the documentResource base
View the documentWarning systems
View the documentResponse mechanisms
View the documentPublic education and training
View the documentRehearsals
View the documentCASE STUDY
View the documentSUMMARY

Information systems

Disaster Preparedness Framework

Vulnerability
Assessment

Planning

Institutional
Framework

Information
Systems

Resource
Base

Warning
Systems

Response
Mechanisms

Public Education
and Training

Rehearsals

Early warning systems are normally comprised of various elements. They can stem in part from information provided by meteorological offices, by a Ministry of Health (for example, nutritional surveys), or by a Ministry of Agriculture (for example, crop forecasts). One major criterion for an effective plan is an established system to ensure the coordination of all these different inputs. An interministerial information committee can serve this purpose. This sort of committee has to have clear-cut guidelines, reporting formats and mechanisms as well as established reporting procedures. It is essential to link the disaster preparedness focal point to this committee. Perhaps the focal point might serve as the chair organization for this interministerial information committee.

An added complication involves the combination of this information with grass-roots information, the “early warning” information obtained from those most directly threatened, which is highly relevant and often ignored. Ensuring that appropriate information systems are in readiness includes stimulating information exchange systems within each agency in the emergency environment, between organizations and between the organizations and the public.

The most appropriate means of gathering and disseminating early warning information must be carefully assessed and well defined within the disaster preparedness plan. It is imperative that early warning messages be understood by the people for whom they are issued.

Vulnerability assessment updates and the coordinated approach to early warning should encompass all the standard features required of any monitoring system. This includes determining changes in patterns of disaster threats, numbers of vulnerable people, and preparations for response. Monitoring must include an overall disaster preparedness assessment process in which essential physical aspects of the plan are reviewed system-wide (for example, available transport fleets and warehousing facilities) to ensure that when disaster strikes, all that the plan anticipates is in place. Monitoring must also include an assessment process after a disaster strikes. This is meant to ensure that the implementation of the plan is efficient, and that appropriate and timely relief is being distributed to targeted beneficiaries. (See Figure 3).

Specialized studies, such as transport capacity studies, will enhance the type of information and issues that should be built into early warning systems, vulnerability assessments and evaluations of resources required to implement the disaster preparedness plan.