Budget Authority and Other Hindrances
By Joseph Parish
One could argue that the lack of both statutory and budget authority hinders not only national efforts but also international EM operations as well. Being realistic the countries of the world have slowly been engulfed in various financial and economic crisis dilemmas placing the assorted nations to the brink of potential recessions. The drastic increase in the cost of oil and the onset of war being raged globally has taken its toll upon the budgetary restraints of international emergency operations.
While most agencies and nations may provide token amounts of aid both in monetary measures and in material support they simply can not provide the quantities for which are necessary for proper emergency operations and recovery efforts. Characteristically, international governments are facing various “problems of the day” which need immediate attention leaving the authorities with a limited set of options for which they must select the most practical ones available.
Although Adam Smith the Scottish philosopher, felt that all wise and virtuous man should sacrifice their own interests in defense of the greater interest of the state this concept fails to hold merit in today’s cost conscious world. Usually necessary funds are low on the list of priorities when it concerns Emergency Management within the poor 3rd world nations.
One of the most devastating disasters to occur was the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami of 2004. What made this crisis so severe was the large number of poor nations which were affected by it. The resulting casualties were figured at approximately 230,000 deaths making this the fifth most deadly earthquake in history.
What started out as a mega-thrust undersea earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra quickly escalated into a deadly tsunami? Fourteen countries were involved in this coastal disaster contributing to the rumors of waves reported to be as high as 100 feet. Indonesia was considered the hardest nation hit followed by the countries of Sri Lanka, India, and finally Thailand.
After the 9.1 and its counterpart 9.3 earthquakes, the entire planet shook for about 10 long minutes instigating the plight of these affected countries and prompting a world wide humanitarian effort. Since most of the nations involved lacked the necessary budgetary resources to contend with the horrible aftermath the world wide community donated in excess of $7 billion dollars in humanitarian aid.
The United Nations promptly estimated that the relief operation would entail the most costly recovery in human history. Coupled with the fact that it was determined that the reconstruction would likely take at least five to ten years we would be surprised if any results are viewable today. Results of any sort of mega-thrust earthquake upon poor or developing countries create additional economic woes upon those nations which may already be on the verge of economic collapse. The impact on dependent fishing communities which are traditionally the poorest people in a country is usually devastated by this sort of disaster causing considerable losses of income.
During any event where a vast amount of damage has been accomplished to the infrastructure it is likely that a great deal of humanitarian aid will be required. There will be shortages of potable water and edible food. The possibilities of major epidemics are frequently of special concern to the managers and leaders of nations experiencing these disaster consequences. The major immediate goals would need to be the necessity of food and water with an aggressive approach towards prevention and spread of cholera, diphtheria, dysentery, typhoid or hepatitis A and B.
In these days of weak currencies nations around the world are finding themselves in embarrassing financial strives when emergencies occur and it doesn’t rally matter if it’s a poor nation or an advanced industrial country.
Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish