FUTURE OF DISASTER
Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Turkey... In recent times, our planet has been hit by an alarming number of natural disasters. Indeed, the occurrence rate of these events is clearly increasing. It is evident that 21st century organisations need to be ready for "what might be" with well-tuned capacities for anticipation and adaptation, innovation and collaboration.
Global reach, global losses
CRISIS / EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Even with hardly any direct damage, the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano eruption in 2010 highlighted the vulnerability of the networked global economy; alerting us to the risk of disruption for the ever more interconnected markets in the event of a more serious hazard.
In its report Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters
, the World Bank estimates that annual global losses caused by natural disasters may triple to $185 billion by the end of this century.
As the number of natural, technological and terrorist disasters rises, there is a general feeling of unease amongst the general public.
Governments, non-profits and business have set out to provide the means for effective preparedness:
Emergency management goes mobile
- The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gives instructions to build an emergency kit
- The Red Cross sets up a Ready-To-Go Emergency Preparedness Kit
- Japanese company Muji offers a wide range of emergency Kits
When telephone lines collapse, the Internet has proved to be a resilient means of communication. And when the power is out, smartphones (charged through car batteries) often become the only gate to the outside world.
Moreover, mobile apps to improve the emergency response have flourished:
Social media steps up to the plate
- Developed after Hurricane Katrina, the app Life360 allows to track and locate friends and family members during an emergency.
- Guardian Watch allows people in an impacted area a real-time visual read of the disaster. It also enable users to immediately report an emergency.
- The FEMA app Are you Ready? contains safety tips and a map with shelters.
Social media have become the primary source of information during emergencies.
Within hours of the Haiti disaster, the Facebook group Earthquake Haiti
had already added over 14,000 members.
After the Japan earthquake, and in less than a day, the twitter account of the company operating the Fukushima power plant gained 190,000 followers
Retweeting is the new broadcasting and twitter users are the new information gatekeepers.
Rumour management becomes a number one priority for organisations. Prior to the oil spill, BP had no dedicated social media staff. By the height of the incident, BP had 50 employees countering inaccurate Facebook and Twitter information