4 things governments can do to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters

Governments face many challenges when trying to recover from a natural disaster. In this article, we’ll explore the 4 ways government can help address the negative impacts of natural disasters.

Reaching people with disabilities

One of the challenges governments face in the aftermath of natural disasters is reaching people with disabilities, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It can be very expensive and very difficult, especially in developing countries. A project funded by Civil Protection and European Humanitarian Aid Operations [ECHO] is currently being deployed in parts of Africa, with the aim of improving disaster preparedness and rapid response. The project will include the purchase of assistive devices for children with disabilities who are affected by natural disasters.

In many ways, people with disabilities face the greatest challenges after natural disasters because they may not understand what is going on and have no one to help them get to safety.

Rebuilding communities

Another difficulty encountered following a natural disaster is the reconstruction of communities. Natural disasters can destroy all communities, destroying people’s homes and critical infrastructure. After a natural disaster, governments must rebuild entire road networks and people’s homes, and must also relocate people in the meantime. Rebuilding communities, according to this bar chart from Compare the Market Energy [located below], can be very expensive. Haiti’s reconstruction costs amounted to nearly $ 14 billion after the 2010 earthquake, and they are still not fully recovered. After Hurricane Katrina, the US government had to spend more than $ 120 billion to repair more than 204,000 homes and relocate more than 800,000 citizens.

Civil unrest

After natural disasters, civil unrest is common. Riots, protests and violence usually ensue, as people tend to be generally unhappy with their government’s response. This added stress on governments can interfere with their stimulus packages as they often have to deploy military and law enforcement units in large numbers to quell riots and looting. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, widespread violence and looting were reported.

Maintain confidence

Unfortunately, unless they are warned, governments are seldom prepared for natural disasters. Those who go on strike suddenly leave people with a bitter taste in their mouths, unwilling to trust their government. One difficulty faced by governments following natural disasters is rebuilding that trust. Trust is a very important thing that governments must cultivate. If their citizens do not trust them, they will not obey orders and warnings, even if it is in their best interests.

Natural disasters are on the increase in the world. Governments must strengthen preventive measures to protect their citizens. Without plans and strategies in place to deal with natural disasters, the consequences could be massive and far-reaching.

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