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BHS00366 Cultural Contexts of Disasters (Ian Morrison)
Transcript of BHS00366 Cultural Contexts of Disasters (Ian Morrison)
Notice his statement at 3:32 when he states:
"Nobody will be left to walk this journey alone. New Zealand will walk this journey with you. We will be with you every step of the way. Christchurch this is not your test as this is New Zealand's test." "The earthquake is unprecedented in a number of ways. We believe it has generated the largest number of claims ever handled by a single insurance organisation in the Southern Hemisphere. In terms of cost, it is the largest ever insurance event in New Zealand’s history. It is also likely to rank globally as the fifth most costly earthquake ever for insurers after Northridge, California, in 1994, Central and Southern Chile in 2010, Tokyo in 1923, and Kobe, Japan, in 1995. Our insurance cover is unique in the world and is a credit to those who had the foresight to establish what is now known as EQC in 1944 after earlier earthquakes, particularly those of Napier in 1931 and Wellington and Wairarapa in 1942 ... We believe no other insurer in the world covers residential land, let alone at no cost to the policy holders.
http://www.eqc.govt.nz/downloads/pdfs/newsletters/Ru-Whenua-21-december-2010.pdf Since the 4th September 2010 earthquake there have been approximately 3800 aftershocks in an around the same faultline. The most destructive of these was on the 22nd February 2011. This earthquake occurred at 12:51pm, had a magnitude of 6.3 and was located 5km underground and approximately 10km from the centre of Christchurch. The earthquakes damaged many cultural and historical buildings. In this video, which was filmed immediately after the February 22nd 6.3 earthquake it is possible to see the extensive damage caused to the Christchurch Cathedral. Critical Evaluation Critical Evaluation Disaster Culture Drabek's Disaster Life Cycle Matrix Circles are used
related subjects Boxes are used for the analysis of key concepts Brackets are specifically used
for sections of critical evaluation In text references are highlighted Drabek's disaster
life-cycle matrix Disaster definitions Disaster mythology Disaster culture Individuals Groups Communities Societies Preparation Response Recovery Mitigation Risk awareness Safety culture Collective Mindfulness Academic Popular Panic Zombie's Looting Chaos Considering their relatively low magnitude the earthquakes have been abnormally damaging. This can be attributed to a number of factors relating to:
1. the high amount of energy released in the rupture of the fault.
2. The direction that energy was released.
3. What has been termed a 'trampoline-like interaction' between the geological layers under the city.
4. The close proximity between the earthquake epicentre and a highly populated urban centre.
A far more comprehensive account of these reasons can be found on this website:
http://www.gns.cri.nz/Home/News-and-Events/Media-Releases/Multiple-factors The aftershocks on the 22nd February were significantly more damaging than its predecessors. Size denotes importance If something is bigger on your screen then I consider that it is more important. That said, all the information should be able to be read either in that screen or following ones. Furthermore, if something isn't totally clear then you can use the contrls to zoom in or out. This earthquake resulted in 181 victims;
170 victims were identified through the disaster victim identification (DVI) process,
Six victims were visually identified at Christchurch Hospital,
Four victims remain unidentified. 115 people died in the Canterbury TV (CTV) building. On 16th May 2011 an inquest concluded that nine people who were never found had died in the building. A before and after perspective of the CTV building Following the 4th September earthquakes the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management was so concerned with myths about how to survive earthquakes coming from international sources that they released a press release to the New Zealand media attempting to refute these myths. In particular it criticised the view that "people who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed". Rather it pointed out that international best practice shows that this is most often the safest option.
The full press release can be read below (you will have to zoom in a fair bit): Approximately one week after the earthquakes the Education Minister, Anne Tolley, commented that approximately 15 000 students were affected by building damage that meant that students were unable to attend classes. the media often present disaster as being a unique experience. This is rarely if ever the case. Recovery is by far lengthier than the original emergency and immediate response Initial shock is usually followed very closely by heroic efforts to save lives Those who themselves survive the immediate impact are the ones who sve the most lives. Simplified models are often inclined to quantify the more obvious factors. For example, in a post-disaster situation it is easier to measure loss of life and property but harder to assess the subtler issues emotional and social well-being. References
GRANOT, H. 2002. The Choreography of Death: observations from Turkey and Greece. Disaster Prevention and Management, 11, 389- 394. GRANOT, H. 2002. The Choreography of Death: observations from Turkey and Greece. Disaster Prevention and Management, 11, 389- 394. Only five days after the September earthquakes the government was stating that its response was shifting from disaster response to disaster recovery. This is contained in the following press release that was released by the main civil defence organisations Thomas E. Drabek The idea that there are phases of disaster solidified during the 1960's Emergency activities do not cease suddenly, to be replace by other types of activities. There is a blend of activity, with different groups of people working on different phases of recovery activity at the same time Disasters are complex events. Process models can reduce this complexity so that specific facets can be researched and similarities between disasters be realised. Drabek's model has been criticised for being too linear and failing to fully recognise that post-disaster events often take a more free-flowing approach. For example, in the case of post-earthquake situations the likelihood of aftershocks means that emergency managers must be considering preparation and mitigation strategies whilst still responding to the initial event. In 1986 Drabek studied the existing sociological disaster research in order to identify different trends and fields. He concluded that there were several sub-areas of research (namely planning, warning, evacuation, emergency, restoration, reconstruction, perceptions and adjustments), which he ultimately placed under the major headings of preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. (Drabek 1986) Critical Evaluation Drabek himself has commented himself that often theoretical models are oversimplifed to the point where they stop being seen as 'beng relevant to emergency management' and start being seen as a 'theory of emergency management'. Rather, he has argued that the research field is still relatively young and that broad-based prescriptive theories are still largely untested. This is succinctly put in the statement that, "let’s remember that we must walk before we can run. We are just now taking our first steps toward a long term, but worthwhile goal." (Drabek 2004: 9) The Passive Image The Panic Perception The Anti-Social Myth This myth comments that post-disaster people "appear dazed, stunned, apathetic, passive, immobile or aimlessly puttering around". (Drabek, 1986: 147) Government's take disaster myths seriously. Critical Evaluation Scanlon succinctly places the reasons behind disaster mythology in perspective, "Practically everyone is wlling to express opinions about what will happen in disasters, yet most in Western society have limited experience with such events" (Scanlon 2007: 416) This is because media contingents are rarely large enough to cover this. Instead the impulse is to show the Government's response, command and control. The Christchurch earthquakes only saw rare instances of anti-social behaviour such as looting despite significant media attention. The most publicised issue was that one person was arrested for looting whilst impersonating a rescue staff officer. Ultimately fourteen people were arrested for post-disaster anti-social behaviour. This is an extremely small amount when placed in context of how many people were affected.
Follow the link to read and watch a story that did not understand the broader context.
http://www.smh.com.au/world/ghoulish-australians-among-earthquake-looters-police-20110225-1b7iw.html In May 2011 the Office of the Prime Minister's Science Advisory Committee released a document detailing what it believed would be the overall psychosocial effects of the February earthquakes. It made several key points:
In terms of long-term recovery the aftershocks of the Christchurch earthquakes have meant that this process is highly complex. Essentially, the aftershocks mean that acute stress is combined with other later-phase stresses.
That approximately 95% of people affected by the earthquakes will recover relatively quickly. The remaining 5% will have "on-going significant psychological morbidity requiring professional help".
That the process of recovery is generally about empowering the individual. The reasons behind this are stated as being "The earthquake was a disempowering event – an event that individuals had no control over and that leaves them essentially with no control over how they live. The need to regain some sense of some control over one’s life is central to the recovery process. Disempowerment essentially reinforces the initial trauma."
Certain groups are a higher risk of psychosocial effects. These groups include women (especially women with young children), children and those with prior history of mental illness.
A full copy of this report can be found by following this link:
http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Christchurch-Earthquake-Briefing-Psychosocial-Effects-10May11.pdf Following the earthquakes the Office of the Prime Minister's Science Advisory Committee refuted many of the ideas behind the dependency and control myths by stating that the initial response to disaster (and in particularly these disasters) were marked by initial 'heroism' in which "people help and don't count the costs" whereas mental helth issues were more likely to emerge during the later recovery phases A culture of safety exists when "safety has a special place in the concerns of those who work for the organisation" Safety culture is a characteristic of groups not of individuals. A common definition of safety culture states that it is "The assembly of characteristics and attitudes in organisations and individuals which establishes that as an overriding priority, ... safety issues receive the attention warranted by their significance." (Reason 1997: 194) The alternative usage is that all groups can be said to possess a safety culture with some groups emphasising safety whilst others deny it. These are frequently labelled positive or negative safety cultures. Organisations with a 'culture of safety' have been identified to have emphasise certain characteristics. These are:
Flexibibility Some organisations (such as nuclear power stations) have significant and inherent risks. Despite this they suffer relatively few accidents. This is because the organisations that manage these facilities recognise the consequences of failing to recognise the dangerous environment and develop a 'culture of collective mindfulness'. (Hopkins 2007: 13) Disaster research indicates that prior to disasters there are always some warning signs whose significance is missed or dismissed. (Drabek 1999: 19) The characteristics of risk-denial are:
The belief that management recognises the hazards in question and therefore the accident will not be realised.
Unconcious normalisation of evidence so that over time the risk becomes an everyday rather than extraordinary hazard.
Ad hoc criteria for what consitutes a 'hazard',
Ignoring warnings that only show up occassionally rather than consistently
Relying on the existence of conclusive proof before acting
A high level of 'group-think' where those concerned with safety are constrained by the dominant risk-denying view. The New Zeland government has stated that understanding risk is important for two reasons. These are:
Know how risk emerges is the first step towards reducing it.
Being able to analyse risk means that it be calculated and prioritised against other risks.
Importantly, the second reason is based on the idea that risk management often involves financial, environmental, economic and social costs. Implicitly involved is the idea that the New Zealand culture accepts some level of risk. (CDEM 2011) Based on its seismic history, NewZealand should experience 10 to 20 magnitude 5 earthquakes and one magnitude 6 earthquake each year, and a magnitude 7 earthquake each decade. However, earthquakes are not evenly spread over time and they often occur
in clusters. The last 60 years have been relatively quiet with only two onshore earthquakes greater than magnitude 7. But a damaging earthquake could happen at any time. At least a million NewZealanders (around 25 per cent of the population) are expected
to experience shaking great enough to damage household contents and buildings in the next 50 years. In 2007 the New Zealand government commissioned the National Hazardscape Report which was tasked (for the first time) with identifying the most significant hazards and disasters that New Zealand was in danger of facing. It identified seventeen major hazards, one of which was earthquakes. Disturbingly it made several predictictions that came eerily close to what has now occurred. One of these predictions is quoted below: If you are interested in reading a holistic evaluation of disaster risk faced by a State then the National Hazardscape report is a good place to start. It can be found at:
http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/memwebsite07.nsf/wpg_URL/For-the-CDEM-Sector-Publications-National-Hazardscape-Report?OpenDocument This Act also identifies the statutory powers for allowing that government to declare a national state of emergency. Essentially, one can only exist when the emergency is beyond the resources of the local management group. "In reality anyone has the right to propose a definition of disaster, and the definition proposed depends on the purposes or interests of the definer" (Perry: 2) Policy Related
Definitions There is no basis in logic and little hope in practice that a single definition can be devised that meets [the requirements] and is universally accepted and useful. are "usually used in making decisions about official disaster declarations or resource allocations" (Perry 2007: 2) The Civil Defence Emergency Management Act (2002) defines an emergency as "any happening, whether natural or otherwise, ... causes or may cause loss of life or injury or illness or distress or in any way endangers the safety of the public or property in New Zealand or any part of New Zealand; and cannot be dealt with by emergency services, or otherwise requires a significant and co-ordinated response under the Act." In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes the New Zealand government accepted limited international assistance. The most significant of this was the 439 police and specialist rescue personnel. The most largest contingent was the provision of 323 police from Australia alone however personnel and equipment also emanated from Singapore, China, Thailand, Japan, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. "In response to the earth would like to pay special tribute to the 439 police and specialist personnel from outside New Zealand who have been working shoulder to shoulder with our officers. We have been extremely grateful for the provision of 323 police from Australia alone, as well as personnel from countries such as Singapore, China, Thailand, Japan, Israel, and the United Kingdom. These individuals have been carrying out a range of general policing functions, and providing specialist expertise for the highly demanding and complex task of disaster victim identification. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to them and to their Governments for providing this support to us in our time of need. It is deeply appreciated." (John Key- NZ Prime Minister) "I was sitting at lunch at the Beehive (the NZ Parliament) with the Congressmen and a group of parliamentarians when I received at 12:53 p.m. a text message alerting me that a major seismic event was occurring on the Mainland. I stepped out of the lunch, called the embassy, emailed my colleagues still in the earthquake zone, and spent the next 10 minutes assessing the situation.
Back on the North Island, we divided into teams focused on our two main imperatives when crisis hits: locate and assist American citizens (AmCits) in distress, and mobilize U.S. Government resources to assist local authorities in preserving life and addressing urgent humanitarian needs.
My friend Jeff Bleich, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, emailed to offer assistance. We took him up on his offer, and four consular officers and staff arrived from our sister Mission in Australia within 18 hours of the quake. Nathan Austen, the American Vice Consul at Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh, happened to be in Christchurch on holiday. Once we safely evacuated his wife and infant child to Wellington, he jumped in to assist as well.
In Wellington, I issued a formal declaration of disaster, cabled my findings to Washington, and submitted a list of requests to the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). OFDA immediately granted the embassy $100,000 in emergency relief funding, which we in turn wired to the New Zealand Red Cross to support their humanitarian relief work. OFDA also put specialized search and rescue teams on standby in the United States so that we could react quickly to any request for assistance from the Government of New Zealand.
To read the whole blog go to:
http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/christchurch_earthquake_teams_in_motion The Australian police contingent deployed to Christchurch needed to be sworn in as temporary New Zealand police officers in order to exercise full police powers whilst patrolling and undertaking their tasks. Interestingly enough this case-study demonstrates how quickly the disaster phases can change from preparation to response. In this instance a contingent of the Singapore Armed Forces was conducting a simulation exercise with the New Zealand Army. Almost immediately after the disaster had struck these two forces were tasked to manage transport in and around Christchurch. Disaster preparation is interlinked between different social units as they form broader communities and groups. A significant aspect of preparing a society for disaster involves educating children. This is because: The New Zealand government maintains an excellent example of an preparedness education programme. Whilst having all of the details (albeit in a simplified form) that the official emergency management website has it is also more interactive, colourful and involves teacher-friendly resources such as quizzes. I recommend that you have a look at the website: This is demonstrated by how New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world to have an earthquake commission tasked with using insurance premiums to cover citizens against damage from natural disaster. New Zealand understands that in preparing for disaster it is important to test how the society is likely to respond. Consequently, New Zealand has one of the world's most comprehensive practice exercise regimes that frequently involve all levels of government as well as the NGO and corporate sectors. In 2006 the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management conducted a 2-day exercise that simulated a 7.6 Richter magnitude earthquake on the Wellington fault line that was estimated to have affected 200 000 people and severely damaged infrastructure, transport and utililities. The main objectives of the exercise were to improve:
Ensure that role responsibility was understood by the organisations most likely to participate in disaster response;
Improve and embed planning arrangements.
Improve coordination between local, regional and national authorities;
One of the significant results from this exercise was that "The extent of effort required by all participants to ‘dust off and polish up’ arrangements in the lead-up to the exercise did however indicate that there has been inadequate time investment in ‘readiness’ on an ongoing basis between exercises and events."
Ultimately this led to significantly more organisational preparedness being implemented on a whole of government basis. Since the original 4th September Canterbury earthquakes the New Zealand Earthquake Commission has counted fourteen significant aftershocks. However, since this increases the complexity of providing insurance to the people affected it has chosen to recognise each as a distinct earthquake. Popular Disasters ... have a significant cultural dimension. Following catastrophic events, survivors and responders also engage in a wide range of cultural production. They tell jokes and share stories about the events... Makeshift memborials are created to allow survivors the opportunity to share their emotions and remember those they hadlost. (Webb 2007: 430) In the post-earthquake situation there was widespread popular message of the stoicism of the earthquake affected public. This message was frequently propogated by the media and politicians however this image shows a more grass-roots approach. Several blogs emerged where people could share their stories and frustrations about the earthquake. One of these is the Christcchurch Earthquake Community Journal (http://www.chcheqjournal.com/) which focuses on stories of recovery and attempting to understand the reasons behind the destructiveness ofthe earthquakes. Following the disaster domestic and international politicians used multiple descriptions to define the post-disaster social situation. These messages were frequently used by the media to define the event as the most socially destructive event that New Zealand had ever faced. On the 23rd February the New Zealand Prime Minister described the earthquake as "New Zealand's darkest day." The Queen said in a message: "a dreadful event." Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard stated that "I'm sure many Australians like me have watched the images on TV today and they have been truly shocking. Images of people wandering around with blood literally streaming across their heads and faces." In a joint statement to the Australian Federal Parliament Prime Minister Gillard and OppositionLeader Abbott described the earthquakes as a "a major catastrophe for New Zealand", In a statement on behalf of President of the United States Obama the White House Office of the Press Secretary described the February earthquakes as a 'tragedy'. There was also a broad range of emotive statements describing the earthquakes made by New Zealand parliamentarians. For example:
For a more detailed account of these descriptions and defintions then follow the link:
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/4/8/c/49HansD_20110223_00000017-Ministerial-Statements-Earthquake-Christchurch.htm "There is disagreement about how disasters should be studied, how the definitions proposed by different groups (citizens, policy formulators, etc.) should be treated" On a professional basis numerous artists have used the post-disaster situation as inspiration for the creation of interpretive art describing the affect of the earthquake. This has even reached point where 40 earthquake affected artists banded together to jointly exhibit their work. Emotive "Shattering" and "devastating event" (New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister) "the darkest and grimmest time of our lives" (Leader- ACT) "nightmare" (Deputy Leader - Labour) Critical Analysis The most significant mitigation strategy that has emerged from the earthquakes has been the government's decision to undertake an active residential policy of encouraging people to resettle away from areas that are likely to suffer from severe earthquake damage in the future. Essentially, damage within Christchurch was assessed and placed into three zones:
Green zone: no significant earthquake related issues.
Orange zone: requires further analysis.
Red zone: even small aftershocks could severely damage these areas. Consequently repairs are an uneconomic option and the government will offer financial options to encourage residents to move away from these areas.. Here is a section of the current map dividing Christchurch into zones. In order to encourage residents with earthquake insurance to move out of the red zone the New Zealand Government has offered two options, namely:
To purchase the entire home an contents (at 2007 value)
To purchase just the home and allow residents to deal with their insurer about the contents. Whilst it is by no means clear what is proposed for the vacated land in the red zones there has been an extensive political push made by New Zealand's 'green groups' to redevelop the area as a large green corridor which they argue provides benefits to the area whilst also factoring in future seismic activity, sustainability and sea level rise.
A more detailed description of the political viewpoints surrounding this issue can be found here:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/5192137/Parks-downplayed-for-red-zones Ian Morrison
BHS00366 Social and Cultural Contexts of Communities and Disasters
Hope you Enjoy! (eg, disaster mythology) (eg. how individuals responded to the earthquakes) Political Policy-related A distribution map displaying the 4th September earthquakes and aftershocks in and around Christchurch There was also another 164 people that were severely injured. Follow the link to go on a virtual tour through the damaged areas.
http://eqstreetcam.co.nz/1001100170#1001100365 Following the February 22nd earthquakes the national government treasury estimated that the financial cost to the New Zealand economy would be between NZ$10 billion and NZ$15 billion. This was 2 - 3 times the NZ$5 billion cost of the previous earthquakes. The national government expects that rebuilding Christchurch will directly cost it $8.8 billion (or 8% of GDP). How the geotechnical engineers decided the reasons for classifying certain areas is explained (in a very Kiwi fashion) in this video. Craig Foss, the Minister for Civil Defence, Racing, Senior Citizens, Commerce and Local Government. Holds the power (in coordination with the national Cabinet) to declare a state of national emergency. Rarely, if ever, in the multitude of media reports, political statements and community commentary about this event did anyone define it as a natural hazard that was predicted to occur in the Christchurch and Canterbury region in the near future. The Christchurch earthquakes has been largely defined as a social disaster. The earthquake was just been the source of disaster whilst the deaths and community upheaval was 'the disaster'. Though it destroyed many buildings the 4th September was not universally defined as 'disastrous'. This changed on the 22nd February when human lives were lost. Disaster definitions were used interchangeability depending on the audience. Consequently, the word 'catastrophe' was used to describe both the fatalities as well as the destruction of buildings Risk analysis and the development of a 'culture of safety' is about combining mitigation with preparedness in order to respond and recover effectively. New Zealand's propensity to natural hazards has resulted in significant sections of its culture to be informed by a close relationship to disaster and risk management. Explicitly (in preparedness and mitigation strategies) it is recognised that mitigating all aspects of disaster risk involves financial, environmental, economic and social costs. The New Zealand safety culture therefore accepts some level of risk Disaster culture impacts upon all aspects of the disaster life-cycle and disaster often results in changes to the culture. A good example of this is how quantitative research by the New Zealand government have seen the importance of earthquake preparedness education rise in the minds of the general public. Though the words are slightly different New Zealand largely follows Drabek's model in devising its disaster life-cycle plan. Kelly argues that disaster modelling is important for a number of reasons, namely that:
Modelling can simplify complex events and therefore better allow researchers to distinguish between what is more/ less important and superfluous detail.
Modelling allows emergency managers to compare and contrast between the perceived situation and what the model predicted. Having a grounded perspective can then assist planning and future prediction.
Modelling allows all research collected during the disaster to be categorised, which consequently means that the effects of the disaster can be quantified.
Modelling establishs a common level of understanding of the situation and means that actions are concerted. However ... Drabek's model does provide the distinct advantage of being able to divide up the Christchurch earthquakes and therefore this assignment, which would be a mess without it. International news reports frequently had titles like the American ABC's report "Christchurch earthquake liquefies ground, sows panic". Additionally many of the reports featured videos which supposedly displayed panicked behaviour. Rarely, if ever do these videos actually display panic. More often than not orderly conduct combined with some initial shock is displayed. People believe that disaster responses are characterised by disorganised flight by hysterical individuals and the rise in anti-social behaviour Scanlon comments that; "panic is rarely an issue in emergencies; it is so rare it is difficult to study. Instead of being dazed, confused, and shcoked, the injured and uninjured survivors of widespread destructive incidents usually do most if not all of the initial search and rescue." Attempting to displel the myth that when there is an emergency people panic forms part of New Zealand's Earthquake Commission's education campaign. It states that:
"Experience and research show that panic is rare. Dr David Johnston of the Massey University and GNS Science Joint Centre for Disaster Research, says that generally people react to natural disasters by doing the best they can for themselves and those with them. They might make mistakes from lack of knowledge or confusion, but this is not panic." (Commission, 2011) Studies over the past 15 years reaffirm that there is very little panic or anti-social behaviour during the initial response period. Instead there is an outpouring of concern on behalf of the victims and the affected community. Another report published by the Los Angeles Times reported of a Christchurch woman who:
"sat and waited, enduring one of the 24 aftershocks that hit between midnight and noon Thursday alone. She was shaded by a billboard encouraging Christchurch residents to keep their stiff Kiwi upper lip after the magnitude 7.1 quake that hit Sept. 4: "Rebuild, brick by brick," it reads."
As with many of these reports the people featuring in them are often completing another task (eg. waiting for a shop to open) rather than sitting aimlessly.
For the full report go to:
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/24/world/la-fg-new-zealand-quake-20110224 Consistently, research has indicated that whilst shock does occur that it is an atypical phenomenen. Omer and Alon (1994) comment that this myth has further repercussions "by turning victims into passive invalids the myth of shock undermines functional continuity. Often, the assumption that victims cannot cope leads to the conviction that they should be transferred to more "comfortable" surroundings in which they can be quietly treated. By severing victims from their social milieu, this unfortunate policy also shatters interpersonal continuity" This myth often hampers processes of evacuation since people are required to go through many pointpoints and police are tasked to 'prevent' outbreaks of looting. On a broader scale the propogation of this myth can decrease the long-term trust that communities have in one another. This could be a particular fear in Christchurch where continued aftershocks could result in a sustained environment of distrust. Many of the stories featuring the myth of anti-social behaviour and looting emanated from international news media. This is video is a good example. It features the widely published concept that the AUstralian police contingent that responded to this disaster were tasked with preventing an outbreak of crime. In reality their task was largely concerned with traffic management and victim identification. In the following report the news reporter states that following the 4th September eathquakes that there were many Christchurch residents on the streets "walking around like zombies".
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/07/3005302.htm The media and in particularly international media outlets played a key part in distributing several myths about the response to the Christchurch earthquakes This was certainly realised in this disaster. In reality the population most directly affected (the residents) reacted rationally and in a goal-oriented manner. However, this failed to be represented in the broader media. Critical Evaluation Similarly to many other disasters in the world the New Zealand government and public recognised too late that Christchurch was in a volatile area. This is perhaps unsurprising when the difficulties of predicting earthquakes is taken into account. It is clear however that earthquakes will continue to occur in and around Christchurch. Both social and organisational communities appear to have recognised these truths and are seeking to mitigate future earthquake damage. It is likely that mitigating the structural damage to communities will save lives and prevent further social damage. This new mitigation strategy is part of the establishment of a new 'disaster culture'. This is a process that will occur over a longer period of time. A wide range of natural disasters occur on a frequent basis and impact New Zealand communities This informs the 'disaster culture' of all levels of social organisation within the country Consequently a high level of both community and organisational readiness exists This meant that when these earthquakes occurred the Government had a 'nest egg' of approximately $5.6 billion that had been accumulating for approximately 60 years that was able to be deployed as disaster assstance. However this sort of preparation could only have occurred if the different social units worked together (eg. individuals payed for disaster insurance, communities supported the concept and the government provided the organisational capability) Education, Training and Disaster Simulation is an intergral part of disaster preparation however different sections of society achieve it differently. If you zoom in you can look at the preparedness case-study for each different social unit. I figured that it would take too much time (as part of the broader show) to look at them individually. Individuals are taught the safest techniques to survive an earthquake from an extremely early age. This has been simplified into an easy to understand format (drop, cover, hold) so that individuals from all backgrounds and nationalities can understand it. Additionally individuals are advised to 'quake safe' their home through the simple mantra of 'fix, fasten, forget'. This information is provided in multiple languages (as seen by this government website: http://www.eqc.govt.nz/quakesafeyourhome.aspx) so that the largest number of individuals are educated. http://www.whatstheplanstan.govt.nz/earthquake.html
and watch the video on the clips and pic page:
As a final demonstration of a good interactive preparedness tool I recommend that you play the 'Stop Disasters Game' on this website:
All three of these resources are effectively used by the New Zealand government as a preventative disaster tool for children There is no guarantee that the parents will be present when the disaster occurs,
Studies show that well educated children are more resilient during and after disaster,
Knowledgeable children are likely to motivate the broader communities that surround them to implement disaster preparedness plans. This is the Government's disaster management and coordination body. This group maintains a high level of preparedness even to the point that it is self-sufficient if utility services fail. It is even contained within a building that is able to withstand a significant seismic event. One of the most prominent groups active during this disaster was the the staff of the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) It also conducts regular training and simulation exercises. You can get a description of one of the by following the arrow into the 'societies' section. The New Zealand Government participates in key preparedness planning with UN organisations in order to test international response and coordination mechanisms. The New Zealand Government also undertakes preparedness exercises with other States. For all intents and purposes the New Zealand public was extremely well prepared for disaster. This preparation ranged through from the individual to the international level. This level of preparation is representative of a 'culture of safety' existing. Disaster operations often do not reflect that they are made up of a multitude of individual acts. The best example that I have seen of this being presented is in this media release:
http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/27346.html This was certainly demonstrated in this disaster where media contingents rarely paid much attention to the rescues made by ordinary people Extensive media coverage however was given to covering the individual actions of individual rescuers. This was especially by non-New Zealand news services which were able to add a local element to their reporting. A good example were reports commenting that international rescuers were 'converging' on Christchurch. Approximately a fortnight after the earthquake the United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa wrote a large blog entry detailing his personal experiences and how he and his team worked within the international response mechanisms. For me, this really placed two things in perspective:
How localism and globalism merge;
How pre-established personal relationships assist the immediate recovery.
A telling exerpt from the blog says: Here is a quick view of the tasks of the Singapore contingent A significant theme that emerged has been that the communities ability to recover has been impaired by constant aftershocks which have been significant in their own right. Several community based themes emerged from the earthquakes. With each of the themes the title of a newspaper article is also included in order to show how it was represented. Mourning Heroism Stoicism This earthquake resulted in a typical response at at individual, community and international levels of society New Zealand's earthquake preparation combined with already having ongoing recovery operations meant that there was an quick and concerted official governement response. Togetherness "Time to recover, not squabble" Manawatu Standard 'Today all NZers grieve' The Press The media used distinguishable themes when describing the initial response to the disaster Pain "This is a community in agony" Dominion Post "A community discovers true grit" Sunday Star - Times Many of these themes were represented in the initial response of the political sphere. "Anzac spirit lives on after earthquake" Sun Herald Whilst it took longer after the more damaging February earthquakes this indicates the comprehensiveness of the societies preparedness for earthquake. That the resources and recovery mechanisms were already in place when the February earthquakes occurred meant that there was a relatively smooth shift between initial response and long-term recovery. In a newsletter published by the Earthquake Commission in December 2010 it was commented that the recovery processs was in many instances unique due to the level of financial preparation for such an occurrence. Essentially, this has meant that the extremely expensive financial cost of community recovery could be managed within the New Zealand economy. Some media reports have commented that the effects of the continued aftershocks is comparable to 'a warzone'. One, for example, used the facts that demand for womens refuge services has increased by 30% as have instances of domestic violence and prescriptions for anti-anxiety medicinehave risen in order to substantiate this claim. It is difficult to fully critique the recovery process since it is still ongoing. The aftershocks have meant that it has been even more difficult to map the changes between response, recovery and mitigation. This has meant that many of these phases are occurring simultaneously. New Zealand's comprehensive preparation and experience has meant that the shift to recovery operations has been both quick and smooth. Organisations with a 'culture of collective mindfulness' have been shown to exhibit certain similar characteristics, namely:
A preoccupation with failure due to the belief that success leads to complacency. Therefore any safety failure must be scrutinized;
A reluctance to simplify processes since this may result in safety processes not being observed;
A focus on how present operations impact on future events;
Organisationl flexibility that encourages a quick response to any safety issues. Due to the size and scale of the destruction of the 4th September earthquakes the New Zealand government and the Earthquake Recovery Commission hired the New Zealand companies Fletcher Construction to manage all reconstruction work specifically to ensure that this was done by accredited workers and buildings were of an acceptable standard. Additionally, the government engaged geospatial consultants Tonkin & Taylor in order to survey the damaged areas. This has resulted in mitigation and recovery strategies largely becoming merged (see. mitigation in the next few slides).
http://www.eqc.govt.nz/downloads/pdfs/newsletters/Ru-Whenua-21-december-2010.pdf Zoom in for a closer look. (Geonet, 2011) (Geonet, 2011) (GNS Science, 2011) (New Zealand Police, 2011) (EQC Earthquake Commission, 2011) (Romanos, 2011) (Treasury, 2011) (Perry 2007: 2) (Perry 2007: 2) (CDEM 2002: 10) (CERA 2011) (Baird, 2011) (St James Theatre, 2011) Hopkins 2006: 11) (Hopkins 2006: 6) (Weevers 2007) (Drabek 2003) (Omer 1994: 276) (Kelly 1998/1999: 17) (Kelly 1998/1999) (Hopkins 2006:5) (EQC 2011) (Malkin, 2011; ONE News, 2011; New Zealand Police, 2011; Scanlon, 2007: 417) (CERA 2011) REFERENCE LIST Australian Associated Press. (2011). Christchurch stress as high as war zone. Bulletin Wire, 16 June 2011.
Baird, T. (2011). Quake inspired graffiti on Worcester Boulevard Christchurch Earthquake Community Journal.
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Drabek, T. (2004). Theories Relevant to Emergency Management Versus A Theory of Emergency Management. Emergency Management Higher Education Conference. National Emergency Training Center, Emmitsburg, Maryland: University of Denver.
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Hopkins, A.(2006). Safety, Culture and Risk: the organisational causes of disaster, Sydney, CCH Australia Ltd.
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Malkin, Bonnie. (2011). Christchurch Earthquake: rescue workers converge on New Zealand as hope of finding survivors fades. The Telegraph, 24 February 2011.
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ONE News. (2011). Quake victims' families hear harrowing details. TVNZ, 16th May, 2011.
Perry, R. 2007. What is a Disaster? In: RODRIGUEZ, H., QUARANTELLI, E. & DYNES, R. (ed.) Handbook of Disaster Research. New York: New York: Springer Science + Business Media.
Reason, J. (1997). Managing the Risks of Organisational Accidents, Aldershot, Ashgate.
Scanlon, J. (2007). Unwelcome Irritant or Useful Ally? The Mass Media in Emergencies. In: RODRIGUEZ, H., QUARANTELLI, E. & DYNES, R. (eds.) Handbook of Disaster Research. New York: Springer Science + Business Media.
St James Theatre. 2011. Christchurch Artists Go to Wellington [Online]. Wellington: St James Theatre Ltd. [Media Release] [Accessed 1st July 2011].
Romanos, A. (2011). Up to 15,000 students affected by quake damage to schools. NZ Herald, 28 February 2011.
Webb, G. (2007). The Popular Culture of Disaster: Exploring a New Dimension. In: RODRIGUEZ, H., QUARANTELLI, E. & DYNES, R. (ed.) Handbook of Disaster Research. New York: Springer Science + Business Media.
Weevers, M. (2007). National Hazardscape Report. Wellington: Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. You will need to zoom in further if you want to read these in detail. I hope you have enjoyed!