Some years ago, I was assigned to manage a project to develop a functional BCP (Business Continuity Plan) for a major Australian-owned bank based in New Zealand. The BCP had to be aligned with the stringent BCP standards mandated by the Australian parent. Being volcano-prone, earthquake-prone and tsunami-prone as an island on the "Pacific Rim of Fire", NZ already had/has a well-established MCD (Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management)
We collaborated closely with the MCD in developing the BCP, and during the course of that collaboration I learned how well-prepared NZ MCD was for naturally-occurring disastrous events. The level of preparedness was very impressive. For example, for years now, things like mandatory building standards have taken into account the need for buildings to behave in a certain manner for maximum safety, in the event of an earthquake tremor. These standards are constantly being improved and lessons are being learned even now from investigations/reviews of the outcomes of past disastrous events - e.g., things like the recent Christchurch earthquake(s).
Things could always be improved, and will be, but I think that the current level of planning and preparedness is quite impressive anyway.
My curiosity was thus sparked by the two underlined comments by Roger Pielke Snr. (quoted in the thread above):
On the second point:
- 1. The civil defense preparedness/response to H-Sandy was apparently effective:
Also, with a storm of this magnitude, the National Hurricane Center, the National Center for Environmental Prediction, the media and public officials must be recognized and commended for their early warming. This has resulted in a much lower loss of life than would have otherwise occurred.
- 2. The implication that policy for hurricane preparedness might not be sufficiently effective re land use planning.
Regardless, how, or if, the risk from hurricane landfalls of this type increases in the future, a prudent policy path would be to reduce the risk from all plausible hurricane landfalls. through more effective land use planning.
I cannot imagine under what circumstances any civil defence responsibility could justify being negligent in not
having adequate and effective land-use planning already
in place. This when you have known for years (QED Pielke's book Hurricanes: Their nature and impacts on society
) that hurricanes are going to come rolling inland off the sea with some kind of monotonous cyclical, clockwork regularity, and that land-use planning would make a significant difference to risk mitigation/avoidance. The mind boggles.On the first point:
H-Sandy seems to have been used as a political opportunity. What I have read from various blogs and news outlets is that FEMA was apparently an actual/potential component of the effective response, and yet FEMA appears to be being used as a political football - e.g., FEMA: Did Mitt Call for its Abolition? And Why Does Barack Want to Cut Its Funding?
I cannot conceive of a natural disaster being used as a political opportunity, or civil defence being so cynically used as a political football, in little old NZ. However, I can understand why it might be politically expedient to so use it in the cut-throat politics of the US - though it seems to show an apparently acceptable, cynical and callous disregard for and indifference to human endangerment and suffering, by the Executive, the Administration, and others.
Regardless, I gather that Obama has seemed to come over as "quite presidential" in his handling of the H-Sandy opportunity, whereas the same opportunity has left Romney looking a bit weak after his "Abolish FEMA".
One wonders what might have occurred had H-Sandy not so conveniently eventuated around election-time, and whether the politicians and their mouthpieces in the MSM would have encouraged anyone to give a damn about the human victims of the hurricane.