Pakistani Assessment of Disaster Response “Lessons Learned”

An article written for the Pakistan Information Network by a major in the Bangladesh Army summarizes a study identifying major challenges faced by humanitarian agencies during emergency response efforts after earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. The author looks at the earthquake case studies and applies major lessons learned to disaster management planning in urban centers like Dhaka.

Urban populations, with a mix of rich and poor residents, often experience less cooperation than rural areas after a disaster, the study says. Education, community planning, religious leaders, local radio, print and electronic media are all crucial to spread helpful information after a disaster.

Cooperation between government, military and humanitarian institutions is also important, as demonstrated when NGOs and the U.N. began airdropping relief supplies after the roads and airports of Port Au Prince were destroyed. Because the airdrops were unplanned and uncoordinated with local government and military, they did not satisfy local demand, the author writes.

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