South Carolina flooding

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Introduction

Community-based disaster preparedness has become a major point of focus for policy formulators of disaster preparedness, response, and management. The main focus of the community-based disaster preparedness should be mitigation and planning in order to reduce casualties. Natural disasters have the ability to devastate entire communities. In the United States, the most recurrent and costly natural disaster is flooding. This was experienced in October 2015 when there was the North American Storm Complex that resulted in a statewide flooding in North and South Carolina. There were at least twenty-five causalities and the destruction of property worth billions of dollars in the State of South Carolina. The rainfall reached a 500-year event levels. The rains displaced at least forty thousand people, brought a standstill to business and general life in South Carolina

Disaster Management and Response in South Carolina

Emergency response and coordination of the disaster management happened at the community, county, state and national level in that order. The response to the flooding was coordinated by the respective government departments and the different humanitarian groups. The response included the evacuation of people, provision of food, water and shelter and the recovery of property (Mizzell & Malsick, 2016). Communication channels that were established included the internet, through donation and volunteer websites, mobile communication, the social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and the mainstream media. Communication is vital to any disaster management and response systems. It is worth noting that the storm destroyed power lines which could have affected some of the communication channels, especially for people that had been affected. However, the media, social media and other internet platforms were used efficiently for notification purposes. The government was able to warn the residents before the coming of the floods. However, the uncertain nature of such natural disasters made the management of the disaster much harder. Notification minus the concept of public education is useless.

The components of an internal emergency operations plan for natural disasters typically include communication, protective actions for life safety, personnel training and preparedness and public education. Protective actions for life safety include evacuation, sheltering and lockdown (Mizzell & Malsick, 2016). In South Carolina, the State emergency response system worked in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide these protective actions for life safety. Evacuation of thousands of people was done through helicopters and other means. The Government and other private entities that provided shelter for the affected persons. Disaster recovery centers were also set up to coordinate the efforts of the disaster management teams.

The management and response of a disaster extend beyond evacuation and provision of shelters (Morishima & Rauber, 2016). There should also be elements of community recovery and property recovery from the disaster. In South Caroline, FEMA coordinated a majority of these efforts. First, more than twenty-eight thousand victims of the flood received $89,548,894 for individual and housing rehabilitation. Out of this amount, the$77,714,396 was used for temporary housing and repairs that aren’t covered by insurance while $11,834,498 was used for medical bills, moving expenses and other necessities (Mizzell & Malsick, 2016). The State and county governments also received   $74,920,813 in terms of public assistance (Mizzell & Malsick, 2016).

Public education and notification is one of the most important parts of the Community-based disaster management. In the period leading up to the disaster, there was very little public education on the management of a natural disaster of this magnitude. This further complicated rescue and evacuation efforts.  Some of the lessons that can be learned from South Carolina include developing a disaster response system that gives more focus to public education and notification. Public education requires equipping the public with the skills and knowledge that would assist them in response to the disaster. Public education benefits the disaster management staff since the response efforts will be more coordinated and organized (Scott, 2012). However, the unpredictability and uncertainty of natural disasters sometimes make the coordination of such efforts lack efficacy.

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  1. Mizzell, H., & Malsick, M. (2016). The Historic South Carolina Rainfall and Major Floods of October 1-5, 2015. Journal of South Carolina Water Resources Volume 3, Issue 1, 3-7.
  2. Morishima, A., & Rauber, A. (2016). Digital Libraries: Knowledge, Information, and Data in an Open Access Society: 18th International Conference on Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries, ICADL 2016, Tsukuba, Japan, December 7–9, 2016, Proceedings. New York: Springer.
  3. Scott, L. A. (2012). Fostering Local and Federal Disaster Preparedness Partnerships. The Journal of South Carolina Medical Association Vol 108, 69-75.
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