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close this bookTrainee's Manual on Disaster Preparedness (European Commission Humanitarian Office, 59 p.)
close this folderModule III. Planning in the Handling of Disasters
View the documentSession III. NEEDS ASSESSMENT
View the documentSession V. THE COUNTER-DISASTER PLAN (CDP)


A. Organization

The need for a counter-disaster organization is imperative. It must be capable of coping with the stresses and pressures of disaster events. It is, therefore, important that its components (e.g., communications, warning systems and facilities) should function at the highest possible level of efficiency and that they should be safeguarded as far as possible from disaster effects. It is at this stage that an inventory of existing organizations responding to or not responding to disasters (missing?) is made which means that those organizations who are not responding to disasters may not be aware or find difficulty of extending assistance for reasons of whom to coordinate with.

For purposes of utilizing or availing of the resources and capabilities of existing organizations in an area, they should be made to understand that:

· The DCC is structured in such a manner that almost all agencies of government have to perform certain functions as mandated; and,

· The organization does not:

* duplicate normal government organizations

* act independently of government

* control other government departments

* act outside the terms of reference given to it by government (except perhaps in cases of extreme urgency)

· Government policy will have a strong influence on the broad national organizational framework on disaster policies.

· (Operations Requirement) The type of operations required in response to the threat will also have a direct bearing on the organizational system.

· Availability of Resources is a major part of the planning process. This needs to cover all possible availability of government, non-government and international assistance resources.

· (Definition of Responsibilities and Functions) A much-needed prerequisite to the framing of a disaster management organization is that there should be clear definition of the responsibilities which the organization is required to cover and the function it is to perform.

· (Utilization of Existing Structures and Organization) A disaster management system should be an adjunct to the existing government structure. It should be capable of maximizing the utilization of existing organizations (both government and non-government) for disaster-related purposes.

· (Requirements for Direction and Management) Arrangements for the organization’s direction and management are needed and these include adequate provision for:

* policy direction from government;

* ministerial responsibility;

* a central body responsible for implementing government policy and ensuring effective management during non-disaster and disaster times;

* a disaster action group responsible to the central body which undertakes the tasking of resources organizations;

* appropriate arrangements throughout the system for handling day-to-day disaster management activities;

* optimum coordination of counter-disaster effect; and,

* community involvement and participation

· (Incorporation of Organizational Components) All counter-disaster organizational systems need to contain and operate a number of different components covering aspects such as warning, information management and so on.

B. Resources

To ensure effective management of disasters, resources will have to be assessed. These are of primary importance during response operations. However, these also play a key role in recovery programs. Consequently, resources considerations need to be taken fully into account during preparedness assessment.

Operational response tasks usually require a considerable amount of movement by land, sea, and air. Action by counter-disaster units and teams much of which may be carried out on a deployed task force basis. In the context of response operations, it does need to be borne in mind that loss of commodities may occur due to disaster impact. Disaster management authorities therefore, need to ddp an ongoing operations check on the balance between assessment of commodity needs, availability and timing of local commodities and availability and timing of international assistance supplies.