Mitigation is the act of preventing or reducing the effect of an action. In this case mitigation focuses on the methods that should be employed to ensure that the effects of natural catastrophes are brought to the minimum. Natural disasters are uncalled for and if they don’t happen for a long time the government takes a relaxed position, which in effect reduces its preparedness. Most Developing countries have insufficient technology, a fact which has made them inadequately equipped to predict future weather conditions. Their disaster preparedness and planning are thus poorly organized.
Mitigation plans are costly and this has been a stumbling block to every attempt to develop plans aimed at mitigating the effects of disasters. National income is often engaged in economic and social activities thus ignoring the uncertain future. Any plans to invest in securing preparation plans are swept under the carpet only to resurface when disaster strikes.
Reforms on disaster management cannot take place without proper information. The public should be educated on how to react in case of a natural calamity. Some disasters are human induced and thus proper knowledge helps to minimize the probability of such occurrence (Sjoberg & Winroth, 1986). With the right information the effects of a disaster can be reduced. The Kyoto protocol implementation has been slow due to the uncooperativeness of some governments.
Most governments assume low rather than actual potential risks. This is done intentionally to avoid panic in economic activities. The governments give contradicting information in an attempt to avoid blame in case of a disaster. For instant British Petroleum’s oil spill affair at the Gulf of Mexico is an evident of how governments try to run away from their responsibilities. It also showed how the economic sectors are much more concerned about profits than the welfare of the society.
In case of a disaster occurrence, it becomes quite hard for the government to let in other assisting groups and still maintain full control of the matter. This is because involvement creates a conflict of interests for the government. For instance the government may want to check how much information is being released to the media and the public when the other groups involved are keen on updating the public on the progress being made. At the end of it all, a disagreement may ensue between the two parties and throw the whole operation in jeopardy (Slovic, Fischhoff & Lichenstein, 1982).
In order to be accountable to its citizens both in security and in financial aids, the government should be in total control and thus take full responsibility of disasters (Gardner & Stern, 1996). The other assisting parties should come in simply to offer complementary assistance in cases where the government’s resources are stretched. More often than not, the resources needed to cover disaster related operations are quite enormous which makes governments better placed to handle disasters since governments are capable of raising such amounts at short notices (American Geological Institute, 1998). The government is also better placed to go for short notice loans lenders unlike aid groups whose main source of income is donations from well wishers.
When governments are politically motivated there is reluctance to make policies that go against the wishes of the countries citizens, specifically the electorates, hence their obsession with regulation of information that reaches the public. The dilemma arises in their obligation to release genuine information when he same information carries the potential of creating panic. Creation of panic is considered suicidal to policy makers’ careers. On the other hand, aid groups are more concerned with welfare provision to the people without restrictions to issues related to political survival.
American Geological Institute. (1998). Government Affairs Program. Retrieved September 4, 2010, from http://www.agiweb.org/hearings/ppp2000.html
Gardner, G. T. and Stern, P. C. (1996) Environmental Problem s and Human Behavior. Boston Allyn & Bacon.
Sjöberg, L. and Winroth, E. (1986) Risk, moral value of actions, and mood, Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 27, 191–208.
Slovic, P., Fischhoff, B. and Lichtenstein, S. (1982) Why study perception? Risk Analysis 2, 83 93.
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