By Majur Deng Nhial
Course: Challenges in Project Management
Instructor: Sean Milligan
Project and Program Management
Brandies University, Graduate Professional Studies
We view with awe a release of power on this scale. We know that this power is greater than that of our species — nature holds us in its hands. We may be able to mitigate some of the consequences; in some cases, we may be able to give advance warning of the threat; but we are not in control; the tsunami has demonstrated this ancient truth – William Rees-Mogg
On December 26, 2004, the disaster hit through an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 9.1 that struck the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia (CNN Library, 2017). This Tsunami is considered the third largest disaster ever after the other two stronger earthquakes occurred in 1900s. The tsunami split about 8 minutes after the rupture, sending energy pulses east towards the Sumatra coast and west across the open seas in the Bay of Bengal at a speed up to 800 km an hour (the speed of a modern jet plane at full throttle). The eastward-moving wave traveled through first, pulling water away from shores. So, the westward, long-distance tsunami processed crest first. The height of the leading tsunami wave increased to as much as 24.4 meters as it approached in 28 minutes the shallow waters of the Aceh province of Sumatra (National Geographic, 2005). Meanwhile the long-distance tsunami widened its arc as it continued west, affecting coastal areas of Thailand, Myanmar, India (Tamil Nadu, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania. The initial energy released by the eruption was estimated at about 25 Hiroshima bombs (Lay et al.2005).
The historical largest of all tsunamis took place on May 22, 1960 in Chile (9.5) and the second largest on March 28, 1964 in Alaska (9.2), (CNN Library, 2017). About over 227,898 people were presumed dead (CNN Library, 2017). The damages and material losses were worth $10 billion and insured losses were worth $2 billion. India, Thailand, and Sri Lanka were also affected as well as other Asian and African nations through the Indian Ocean water waves’ effects. The results of this disaster vary based on the research as other source indicates that the tsunami killed more than 275,000 people, while 114,000 people injured and more than 1.7 million displaced from their homes and over $8.3 billion in damages in the five most affected countries (Fretty, 2007). This topic was chosen because the impacts of the disaster could enrich the research based on it economical cause and relief effort from varies international communities who took the bold initiatives to help providing humanitarian assistance on ground.
The 2004, Indonesian Tsunami remains the deadliest and most memorable tsunami recorded in human history. The earthquake, which was a magnitude M w 9.3 and a rupture length of approximately 1200 km (Stein and Okal 2005, 2007), that triggered a tsunami which reached about 30 m in height (Synolakis and Kong 2006) and caused at least 230,000 human fatalities in fifteen African (Fritz and Borrero 2006; Weiss and Bahlburg 2006) and Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Maldives (Borrero et al. 2006; Jaffe et al. 2006; Goff et al. 2006; Ruangrassamee et al. 2006; Fritz et al. 2006), and other island countries in the Indian Ocean (Okal et al. 2006b, c). Lessons were learned, and good practices were later developed because of this event. Far-field tsunami hazards from other possible sources were also studied after the 2004 event, focusing on various countries (Løvholt et al. 2006; Burbidge et al. 2008; Latief et al. 2008; Okal and Synolakis 2008; Suppasri et al. 2012a, b). Besides, disaster risk-reduction elements, such as tsunami early warning systems, evacuation buildings, tsunami memorials, tsunami museums and disaster education programs, were later developed in the concerned areas. The presence of many international organizations in the affected areas triggered other issues such as wasted efforts due to lack of effect communication and duplication of similar tasks from aid agencies (Fretty, 2007). This research paper presents a summary of the progress made regarding disaster preparedness over more than 10 years in Indonesia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand based on the gathered studies, observations, and collaborative activities from experts and researchers in the field of Tsunami.
Economic Toll and Recovery
Overall economic losses from the 2004 disaster were approximately $10 billion, with most of the loss attributed to the damage in the Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India (Lee, 2015). The tsunami waves caused most of the property damages. It was noted by the shorelines and along coastlines that in most of the affected countries, buildings were situated closer to sea level than is typical of higher latitudes, exacerbating the impacts (Lee, 2014).
In the aftermath of the disaster, the international relief efforts across the Indian Ocean were effective, yet there were wasted efforts due to lack of effective communications, resulting into duplication of resources (Fretty, 2007). There was a need for clear communication among agencies because poor communications among them doing project could hinder the project progress or lead to the project failure. It is very crucial always to establish effective communications among network partners, so each organization can stay focused on its area of expertise to avoid duplication efforts of resources (Fretty, 2007).
However, the longer-term recovery does work in some regions where residents have been struggling due to the overwhelming numbers of people displaced from their homes. There are, of course, examples of well-executed reconstruction efforts such as Build Change—a partner organization of RMS that has been working with tsunami survivors in Banda Aceh, Sumatra to rebuild safe, sustainable homes (Lee, 2014). Fourteen years after the disaster, evidence of the destruction wrought by the tsunami remains in the high-impacted areas.
There was total or partial destruction of assets, including buildings, infrastructure, stocks, natural resources, and etcetera. Damage occurs during or immediately after the disaster. Damage is measured in physical terms, and a monetary replacement value is assigned to it (Asian Disaster Preparedness Center). Besides, observed were changes in economic flows caused by the disaster. These include production not obtained, and corresponding higher production costs; higher operational costs and lower revenues in the provision of essential services; unexpected expenditures (humanitarian assistance, demolition and debris removal, relocation of human settlements; they occur from the time of the disaster until full reconstruction and economic recovery are achieved; they are measured in monetary terms at current prices (ADPC).
It was also noticed that losses in productive sector, which is largely private owned doubled the occurred damage in the following: Social Sectors such as housing, health, education, cultural and religion; infrastructure such as transport, communications, energy, water and sanitation, flood control, irrigation works; Production in term of agriculture and livestock, fisheries, industry and Trade; cross sectoral environment , governance and administration Bank and Finance (ADPC).
One of the challenges was indebtedness to big merchants and informal money lenders with whom many had current borrowings, lack of access to markets and credit, absence of social security nets thus increasing vulnerability (ADPC). Secondly, salt intrusion causing major environmental changes would affect the livelihoods based on freshwater aquaculture and agriculture as well as difficulty to shift livelihood because of lack of skill (ADPC).
Good Practices (ADPC)
- Efforts to establish community-based livelihood recovery programmed.
- Establishment of community-owned micro-credit funds for income-generation
- Boat Banks and Village Banks Training in alternative livelihoods Special attention to be given to economically fragile communities and families
- Establishment of Fisherman’s Cooperatives
- Establishment of Cold Storages and Solar drying of fish, Moving up the Value Chain Promotion of Eco Tourism
From the perspective of modern history, the human casualties from the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami have no historical equal although certain tsunamis in the Indian Ocean had certainly occurred many times before in the past. More than 230,000 people in fifteen countries lost their lives in the disaster, with most of the loss of life occurring in the near field in Sumatra, Indonesia (Fritz and Borrero 2006; Weiss and Bahlburg 2006). In Indonesia, the tsunami destroyed virtually every village, town, road, and bridge along a 170-km stretch of coast less than 10 m above sea level (Lee, 2014). In Sri Lanka’s Eastern and Southern provinces were severely impacted, with fatality rate among the population within 1 km of coast between 15% and 20%. In India, entire villages in Tamil Nadu were destroyed (Lee, 2014).
In Thailand, the tsunami affected local inhabitants and foreign tourists in the densely inhabited Phuket Island and the fatalities among the tourists were a significant proportion of the overall loss of life, as many were on the beach or in hotels near the sea at the time the tsunami waves struck (Lee, 2014). In addition, the initial tsunami wave in Phuket, which was east of the rupture, began with a receding wave. Most of the tourists who were not indigenous to tsunami-prone coastal regions were unfortunately not familiar with the early warning signs nature of tsunami waves (Lee, 2014). In many disasters, but not all tsunamis, the first movement of the sea is a withdrawal. Any occasion when the sea level recedes rapidly and inexplicably should be taken seriously as a signal for immediate flight to a higher ground (Lee, 2014).
Managing Tsunami Risk in the Aftermath
The 2004 Indonesian Tsunami highlighted inherent vulnerabilities in most of the world’s coastlines and the inhabitants who have been living there. Coastal populations are on the increase in many parts of the world, mostly due to the exploitation of sea resources or tourism-related activities (lee, 2014). It was a necessity to develop adequate tsunami mitigation measures— such as tsunami warning systems, education, and land use planning that could be put in place to save lives, property, and the livelihoods of those living on the coastlines (lee, 2014).
The importance of traditional Wisdom that indigenous people on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were thought to have escaped the tsunami thanks to traditional warning systems that interpret bird and marine animal behavior (Asian Disaster Preparedness Center). They fled for safety at the first indications of such changes in bird calls —that something was wrong
Because there were many international agencies that were willing to help in the affected areas, one of the main hurdles was effective communications among the network partners that involved in rebuilding and lifesaving projects on the ground to maintain the wasted efforts and duplication of resources because some of the projects ended doing the same projects (Fretty, 2007). Therefore, a division of labor would have been put into place where by medical projects should have focused on health of those affected; project food providers should focus on hunger; and infrastructure projects should focus on building roads, bridges and other construction needs (Fretty, 2007).
Such operational efficiency of running networks of projects would need effective communications among the projects involved in the aftermath because poor communications among project team members could hinder the project progress or lead to the project failure. It is very crucial always to establish effective communications among network partners, so each organization can stay focused on its area of expertise to avoid duplication efforts of resources (Fretty, 2007).
Project responders should have stay Focused on the areas of their expertise to execute, control and monitor the assigned deliverables to team members.
The way forward was practiced planning during the planning phase through effective communication and throughout the project lifecycle because it would prepare those project involved to assign the needed tasks ahead of the schedule and stayed confident in their humanitarian works (Fretty, 2007).
Another burden encountered during the humanitarian facilitation was Livable Logistic because flights traffics especially cargo shipment at airport in Banda Aceh, Indonesia where most of goods and other supply materials were being unloaded on the ground, which created both bottlenecks and waste (Fretty, 2007). AS such, wasted efforts occurred because most of the organizations initially failed to establish warehousing capabilities by accessing and surveying environmental changes, gathering relevant data on ground about storage facilities before sending the bulks of goods and material supplies in the affected areas (Fretty, 2007).
According to Lynn Pharr at United Way of America, there are three phases of disaster projects to note and focus on; these are relief, recovery, and rebuilding (Fretty, 2007). When providing relief, the operational project managers and project team members must conduct short-term survey needs and address those identified potential issues in urgent services such as shelter, transportation, food, water, clothing and medications (Fretty, 2007). When implementing recovery efforts, aid agencies must develop a common direction and mitigate strategies to produce and implement restoration plans, mobilize volunteer and financial resources, as well as connecting social services to needs (Fretty, 2007).
Rebuilding the affected communities is all about establishing long-term recovery needs and this process requires critical leadership and resources in place (Fretty, 2007).
Development of Tsunami Early Warning Systems
The occurrence of the 2004 disaster has alerted the world to the dangers of tsunami hazards and worldwide response to the disaster resulted into the establishment of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System in 2006. It was first developed under cooperation between the Indonesian and German governments in 2005 (Münch et al. 2011; Pariatmono 2012). It was launched in 2009 and the present status is reviewed by Lauterjung et al. (2010). Since its development, the system has been tested by both near- and far-field actual tsunamis (Muhari and Imamura 2014). The primary aim of an early warning system is to disseminate the information that a tsunami might occur after the occurrence of an earthquake; the Indonesian tsunami early warning system (Ina-TEWS) is able to issue a tsunami warning within 5 min after an earthquake (Pariatmono 2012).
Disaster Reduction Education
Because of the lessons learned post-aftermath, new efforts were put forth in disaster reduction awareness in Thailand, at the government level, and Indonesia, at the local level. According to Siripong (2010), it reported that, in Thailand, three government agencies have been providing disaster reduction education: The Ministry of Education, for schools and universities, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, for operational and rehabilitative academies, and the National Disaster Warning Center (Suppasri, et al., 205). These agencies played important roles by collaborating with international organizations to promote disaster awareness in the regions. For examples, there was collaborative workshop between Japanese and Indonesian universities as well as provision of visual educational aids, such as computer graphic of tsunami, and exercises, such as evacuation drills and the preparation of evacuation maps, were judged to be effective educational tools (Goto et al., 2010).
Design of Evacuation Buildings
The art of an emergency preparedness and predictable future challenges prompted some organizations to initiate a concept of establishing an evacuation building in Banda Aceh, which has been designed with four stories and an overall height of 18 m, as incorporates 54 columns each having a diameter of 70 cm (Suppasri, et al., 205). The roof consists of a helipad for helicopter landings. To build confident on prototype and testing of such a large-scale tsunami, an evacuation drill which was held on 2 November 2008, a helicopter was landed there smoothly (Suppasri, et al., 205). Based on the lesson learned, the second floor has a height of approximately 10 m, as indicated by the 26 December 2004 tsunami wave height at the location of the building (Suppasri, et al., 205). The first floor is left open with no partitions or hollow structures, following the concept of the mosque and the purpose of that, is to avoid the wave force of future tsunamis.
The building is designed to withstand earthquakes with a moment magnitude of 10 on the Richter scale and can accommodate the evacuation of 500 people ((Suppasri, et al., 205). The stairs leading to the upper floor are made of two parts. One main staircase has a width of approximately 2m and another one has a width of 1m with the slope designed to accommodate the use of wheel chairs in emergency situations (Suppasri, et al., 205). The building is also equipped with facilities for emergency situations and serves as a community center that is surrounded by villagers who are alert and ready to mitigate the effects of disasters (Suppasri, et al., 205).
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