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What are the challenges of disaster response?

We learn about the impact of the 2010 Pakistan floods through first-hand accounts and ask what makes a quality response to a disaster.
It’s been a long day today. Reaching 20,000 people is not an easy task at all. We hope we can do more, but the resources that we have and the time doesn’t allow more actually. Actually, we’re stretched to the limit. We are scaling up in all areas now. We started in K.P.K. and A.J.K. and Bolochistan and now we are extended to Punjab, but still the need is everywhere - it’s everywhere - and all angles. So we need more support. We talk about Pakistan floods 2010. It was quite interesting story. Water everywhere. Three out of five provinces completely submerged under the water. 20 million people directly or indirectly affected by the disaster.
When the flood came, they left their houses, they left their farms and so on and they run - flee - to the higher land. On those higher lands, they have nothing there and they stayed there for two or three days. No food, no water, nothing. Nothing at all! This is the people that we are trying to reach. This is not river water - this is flooding water. And we try to reach them, assess the situation and set up distribution points. In order to provide them with relief supplies and water and food. If we have boats we can facilitate – move them across to where the resources are.
There are no resources here at all because they’ve been cut off by this water. The only way to reach them is via boat or helicopter. There are very, very few boats and helicopters here, so we need more resources in order to reach those people. Look how many. Look, how many! There are waiting for support. The flash flood took everything with it. The carcass of animals, body even - the graveyard of the human being – all taken away by floods. And they use open wells as a source of water. All of this become like a soup - mixed together. So the danger is - they drink this water and they will get more diseases and we will have multiple problems.
The initial response was haphazard, was ad hoc, not coordinated and was difficult to coordinate as well. Ok, there is no government, no support thus far. No NPA have come here, no MNA, no army, no police. We are doing this, doing it for himself. Our family are on the road - they have no food, no water. We lost everything – our home, our business. So many people had been affected badly by this and the first thing that comes to my mind is where to start, where to start? How to cope with other demands, for example, like co-operating with the government, coordinating with other key players. This is also time-consuming.
Doing proper assessment and getting proper information on time is also challenging and time-consuming. But at the same time I have many people knocking my door asking for urgent assistance like food, water, whatever, whatever, whatever. With so much confusion on the ground what gives people the quality response they deserve? That is the question.

Watch the video where Moustafa talks about the issues faced by those involved in the aftermath of the Pakistan 2010 flood, and how that initial response was poorly managed.

Course note: some learners may find the content in the above video upsetting or of a sensitive nature. Please note that the video content chosen is for the purpose of understanding the educational context around the subject matter.
Note down any key points of the issues discussed in the video. This is a good opportunity to consider what challenges are being faced and what a more effective response would look like.

Your task

After watching the above video, answer the following question:
What are the challenges of disaster response?
Post your thoughts in the comments area and see what your fellow learners think.
This article is from the free online

Humanitarian Action, Response and Relief

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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