Emergency Response Post Natural Disaster Natural disasters are destructive and damaging, striking many countries and devastating hundreds of people. They are also inevitable, therefore, the only way to defend a country from their effects is through effective emergency response. The recovery from a natural disaster requires adequate support and funding, as well as an efficient team to aid in the rescue of people and restoration of disaster-struck areas. ASEAN has established multiple policies regarding emergency response for natural disasters, however, many of these are not carried out as expected.
Currently, the disasters striking New Zealand that are the most costly and destructive are floods, storms, and earthquakes, with the Canterbury earthquake in 2010-2012 being “by far the most damaging and expensive natural disaster in New Zealand’s history.” Earthquakes affect over a thousand people and cause deaths and building damage, and four earthquakes have already struck in the past decade, hitting New Zealand’s economy as well. On the 31st of August 2012, the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), the crisis management command centre of New Zealand, issued new operating orders for ‘International Assistance Cell (IAC)’.
The IAC lists the standard operating procedures for requesting and providing international assistance. New Zealand also supports the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). Outlined in the agreement, the member countries will provide 1) Emergency Relief, 2) Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, and 3) Prevention and Mitigation. New Zealand has followed these requirements by providing support to emergency situations to rescue and rebuild, and has met the Earthquake Prone Building policies as listed in the Building Act 2004 to reduce damage in the future.
New Zealand strongly believes that the first step to decrease damage is to pass and enforce laws regarding the mitigation of disasters. In many developing countries, laws have been passed, however, due to lack of funding, some building companies do not put their houses through a testing process because it is too costly. New Zealand has a destructive testing process to test two different types of timber buildings to assess their stability. The testing process ensures the stability of the house. The second step to efficient emergency response is to appoint a certain group to take charge in all emergency situations, such as the NCMC. At present, the IAC is run by the NCMC along with the Emergency Coordination Centre, NCMC Logistics, New Zealand Fire Service and New Zealand Police. They are in charge of requesting and providing international assistance only. However, with expansion, the NCMC could also coordinate with international and national humanitarian agencies to aid in the rescue of civilians during the disaster. Postdisaster, the NCMC would aid the recovery with the help of agencies as well. Continuing on after the recovery, they would be able to check standards of buildings in the country and confirm that the policies regarding these buildings are followed. Funding is also another major issue the prevention of natural disaster devastation. To help with this, New Zealand proposes that countries set aside a certain percentage of their gross domestic product (GDP) to be used for emergency response. The money would be put forth to the recovery of the nation when needed.
The natural disasters are destructive and inevitable events that can be combated by reducing the damage caused and providing recovery. Countries should consider saving money for future use when an emergency occurs. New Zealand believes that appointing one centre to be the head director in any natural disaster will ensure that the emergency relief is efficient and effective, and is willing to work with other countries in ensuring the safety and preservation of human rights of civilians.