THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN NIGERIA AND USA
1Disaster refers to an emergency caused by natural hazards or human induced actions resulting in a significant change in circumstances over a relatively short time period. Typical examples are death, displacement, disease, loss of crops, damage to physical and service infrastructure, depletion of natural and social capitals, institutional weakening and a general disruption of economic and social activity. A broad definition of disasters include the fact that they are dramatic, sudden, unscheduled events that are often accompanied by large losses of human life, suffering and affliction to a society or a significant part of it, and a temporary breakdown of prevailing lifelines and systems. Such events cause considerable material damages and interrupt the normal functioning of an economy and of society in general (Otero and Marti, 1995). All communities face some risk of natural disaster or other emergency, and how it is handled at the local, state and national levels determines the impact of the aftermath of the disaster. Developing nations in particular, experience pervasive risk of devastation, human and property loss resulting from human and natural disasters. According to Henderson (2004), this level of risk can be attributed to socio-economic stress, aging and inadequate physical infrastructure, weak education and preparedness for disaster and insufficient fiscal and economic resources to carefully implement the preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery components of integrated emergency management. Disasters are clearly a development problem. First, because certain natural phenomena, including those of hydro-meteorological, geodesic and vulcanological origin tend to have greater effects on developing countries than on developed countries. Second, because several factors associated with a low level of development exacerbate such effects. Thirdly, the impact of natural phenomena on the prospects for long-term development is considerably greater in less developed countries (BID, CEPAL, 2000). Emergency Management or Disaster Management is the effective and efficient organization and management of resources and responsibilities when dealing with all aspects of emergencies, disasters or terrorist attacks. Emergency management involves plans, structures and arrangements established to engage government, volunteer, businesses and nonprofits in a comprehensive and coordinated way to mitigate the implications of a disaster, terrorist attack or emergency (Coleman 2005). Emergency management is divided into three distinct phases. Three Phases of Emergency Management are:
Following a disaster, certain steps have to be taken in order to initiate a response to the crisis, and ultimately ensure recovery of the infrastructure. This response requires intergovernmental relations (as discussed in Module 4 in class). These interactions are necessary in order for the roles and responsibilities of the different levels of government to be carried out effectively. This paper explores the roles and responsibilities of the various levels of government in an emergency situation, and seeks to answer these questions: What are the roles and responsibilities of government(s) in emergency response and management in both countries? How effective is government in responding to natural disasters, both in Nigeria and USA? METHODOLOGY
The method of research for this paper includes perusing of academic journals, newspapers, literature articles, and other secondary data, as well as exploring case studies, specifically pertaining to the Nigerian 2012 floods, and the Mississippi 1993 floods. This will allow for an in-depth analysis that answers the research questions already presented in the Introduction part of this paper, and will offer recommendations based on the findings.
RELEVANCE OF TOPIC TO GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS
The importance of this topic to governmental relations is that it gives a visual representation of how the various levels of government relate with one another in response to such situations, and will help us pinpoint certain similarities as well as differences that exist between these two countries. LITERATURE REVIEW
According to James M. Wright (2000) in his account of the historical perspective on government in flood disaster management, disaster reduction efforts initially centred on structural measures to control flooding. However, changing needs, values, and priorities resulted in new approaches to adjust future development and modify flood risk. The environment became a value in itself. During the last 30 years of the 20th century, the nation significantly progressed in applying new mitigation measures to reduce economic and environmental losses. In Vivian Henshaw’s article “What really happened during the 2012 floods in Nigeria” (Henshaw, 2012), an account is given of the floods that almost engulfed many rural communities in the states of Nigeria. Excerpts from interviews of victims were also contained within the article. Galloway Jr., Charles in his paper entitled “Learning From the Mississippi Flood of 1993”, presented in the US-Italy Research Workshop in Perugia, Italy, 1995, offers a historical evolution of the role of government in emergency situations. The Yale-Tulane Moc Special Report Mississippi River Spring Flooding 2011 is a special report compiled to keep the citizens up to speed with the flood prone areas, as well as the recovery efforts being made by the government. A Look at Nigeria’s Bourgeoning Emergency Management System: Challenges, Opportunities, and Recommendations for Improvement by Abdul-Akeem Sadiq gives insight into the emergency management system in Nigeria, and offers recommendations and areas of improvement.
AN OVERVIEW OF GOVERNMENT ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. As outlined in the course readings and lecture notes, notably in the Module 1 re...