The 2018 Kerala Flood: Best practices and lessons learnt

By: Shailendra Rai
It is imperative to reconnoiter the potential best practices, lessons learned and way forward from the Kerala 2018 floods, which include community response to disaster risk reduction and institutionalising capacity building for flood risk management. In order to support this review the significance of social capital in initial response as first responder and the need of institutionalising this social capital is critically analysed. The paper also suggests a way forward for flood risk reduction.
Disaster Education

Managing disasters requires a strong supporting multi-agency collaboration to undertake various types of tasks at various stages of the disaster management cycle (Sulaiman et al. 2019). Communication is a core component of disaster planning, response, and recovery. Numerous studies have documented a variety of factors that at times communication can pose barriers to inter-agency coordination. Drabek (1985) observes that inadequate communication during multi-organisational search and rescue networks constrain coordination. Different persons and different units create an overlap, redundancy and separation without coordination. Kapucu and Demiroz (2010) analysed several aspects of Collaborative Emergency Management (CEM) such as leadership, decision making, intergovernmental and inter-organisational relations and technology applications. To improve the coordination Houston et al. (2014) puts forward a framework which can be used to facilitate the creation of disaster media tools, formulation of disaster related social media implementation process and scientific study of disaster related social media efforts. Janssen et al. (2010) discusses expanding it further and identifies the role of information, enterprise architecture, coordination and related human efforts aimed at improving multi-agency disaster management practices.

Kapucu (2005) analyses interactions among public, private and non-profit organisations which suggested effective response requiring inter-organisational networks and trust between governmental agencies at all levels and between the public and the private sectors. Longitudinal analysis in terms of the evolution of inter-organisational coordination network was studied by Abbasi and Kapucu in 2016 that shows that social network analysis is a useful method for exploring this complex phenomenon. During disasters the rate of communication increases and creates the conditions where organisational structures need to move at that same pace to exchange new information. This may serve as the basis for developing preparedness among agencies with an improved perspective for gaining effectiveness and efficiency in responding to natural disasters.

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