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A REPORT PAPER ON RED CROSS KENYA'S RESPONSE TO DISASTERS

RED CROSS, REPORT, KENYA, DISASTERS

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. CHAPTER ONE
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Background of the study
1.3 Statement of the problem
1.4 Purpose of the study
1.5 objectives of the study
1.6 justification of the study
1.7 assumptions of the study
1.8 Limitations of the study
1.9 Research questions
2.0 scope of the study

3.0 CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Theoretical framework
3.3 Empirical framework
3.4 Conceptual framework

4.0 CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.1 Population demography
4.2 Sampling method
4.3 Primary data collection methods
4.4 Secondary data collection methods
4.5 Data analysis


1. CHAPTER ONE
1.1INTRODUCTION
Events occurring in our lives today call for concerned effort and undivided attention in responding to emergency needs. Since such events are uncalled for and are unexpected, provision for speedy and efficient relief is vital since victims in such situations are in life risk(s). The objective of providing emergency relief is to provide remedy so that loss of lives is avoided or is made as minimal as possible. Information and technology is the last resort in provision of efficient and effective emergency relief.

Information Technology is the acquisition, processing, storage, and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textural, and numeric information by microelectronics. Computers and telecommunications are the major components of information technology.

A disaster according to the Red Cross, which is the main volunteering body responding to emergency situations, is a catastrophe that suddenly affects people which are beyond human control and for which immediate action is necessary? Embracement of Information Technology is important to alleviate human suffering in emergency situations.

1.2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The world we are living in has become prone to emergency situations. For an organization to be able to meet the needs of victims of such situations, information technology has come up to integrate activities so as to provide the best service and ensure less or no loss of life is encountered in emergency situations. Integration between the internal and external environment is vital for the system to be effective in emergency situations. Communication between these systems should be accurate and as fast as possible.
Providing disaster recovery assistance and responding to emergency needs is a great challenge. The extensiveness can be portrayed by the 4 consecutive hurricanes which hit the U.S in 2004 i.e. Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. The devastation was so great that the U.S could not handle the recovery efforts. Response to the devastations the Tsunami and hurricane Katrina also proved futile. In Kenya disaster events have occurred causing the need for emergency response for example the 1998 bomb blast, the Bombolulu tragedy, Elnino rains, Budalangi floods, collapse of Nyamakima building and lately the post election clashes.

1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The research tries to establish whether it is possible to attend to disaster cases in faster means in Kenya in order to reduce the loss of lives incurred in disaster situations. The research tries to establish whether there is less Information or little machinery mobilized in handling emergency cases in Kenya. The research tries to reveal whether the humanitarian organizations on the field embrace IT when dealing with emergencies. Could it be that the cost of the standard technology is too high to be embraced by these organizations? Is Kenya lacking machinery and how can all these be acquired? The research tries to establish this. The effort of the media in Kenya in its attempt to urge people to undertake disaster management courses is appreciated.

1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Due to the problems highlighted above (in the statement of the problem) the researcher carries out the research for the following purposes:
a) To establish the reasons behind the slow response to disaster cases in Kenya.
b) To identify how IT assists in quick response to emergency situations.
c) To establish if there is a room for future improvement in efficiency in handling disasters.
d) To identify if enough IT has been assimilated in the society to deal with disasters.

1.5 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The researcher during the study intended to meet the following objectives;

1) To find out the systems used by humanitarian organizations to alleviate disasters

2) To show the importance of IT in responding to emergency situations

3) To find out the barriers of application of IT systems in emergency situations

4) To investigate the extend to which application of IT assists those making use of it.

1.6 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY

Carrying out this research can help people understand how vital IT is in disaster management. Understanding IT importance can help humanitarian organizations install them which will assist in making recovery operations in emergency situations faster and more efficient. This study also tries to establish if there can be a room for improvement in the future in dealing with disaster management. The study tries to put it clearly the importance of dealing with disasters more efficiently. The study is to establish whether our societies are exposed to Information Technology well enough and what can be done to improve the situation.

1.7 ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY

While carrying out the research, the researcher made the following assumptions

Organizations involved in alleviation of human suffering during emergency situations make use of IT

Organizations dealing with emergency situations understand the effect if IT

Those conversant with IT are ready to install and use it.

Lack of implementation of IT brings about ineffectiveness in alleviating human suffering in emergency situations.

1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

The constraints encountered by the researcher during the study are;
I. Financial constraints due to transportation means and resource gathering e.g. preparing questionnaires.

II. Time constraint as sometimes other activities which could take research time came up.

III. Climatic conditions as at times it could rain when the researcher was on the field thus slowing the research down.

1.9 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1) How often do you deal with disasters?

2) What IT systems are applicable during emergency situations?

3) How informed are the employees on use of IT?

4) Is lack of IT a hindrance to response to disasters?

5) What factors hinder your organization from embracing IT in tackling disasters?

6) Does the society have any role to play in embracing IT to solve disasters?

2.0 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The research work was carried out by taking Red Cross (Eldoret) as a study case. The researcher examined the activities undertaken by the organization during emergencies. The role played by the organization in the society was examined to what extend the organization has embraced IT in dealing with emergencies.

2.0 CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 INTRODUCTION

Natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, drought and many others come to mind when the word disaster is mentioned. The hazards themselves are not disasters but rather factors in causing a disaster. Disasters can be classified as rapid, cataclysmic, and continuing. Cataclysmic disasters are large-scale events and cause a lot of damage and destruction. They are tremendous but their effects are short lived. They include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclic storms or floods. Continuing disasters hangs about for some time and the situation might even deteriorate. They include drought failure, crop failure or prolonged civil strife. Continuing disasters usually cover a more extent area than a cataclysmic disaster.

2.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Red-Cross defines disaster as a catastrophe that suddenly affects people and which are beyond human control. These catastrophes need immediate action to redeem those affected. Looking back at the events of 2004 tsunamis i.e. Ivan, Charley, Jeanne and Frances examining the woes they left behind can make one have a clear picture of what a disaster is. It an enemy of human social life. Many countries in the whole world have encountered disasters at different times. In the morning of 26th December 2004, the great Tsunami struck. In Sri Lanka alone, it killed more than 35,000 people and damaged over 100,000 homes in 12 of its districts. Traces of the effects of the Tsunami still linger around even today. It was a ruin, tragedy, adversity, catastrophe, calamity, and a misfortune to many. The largest earthquake to hit the U.S was at Missouri in December 16th 1881. Since then many other great tremors have hit the earth. Conflict, famine, and humanitarian crisis in Sudan have been cited twice by Medicens San Frontier (MSF) as an under reported disaster in the last seven years. Carrol Bogget of human rights watch wrote an article in the Los Angeles Times in April 2004 many others which have occurred in various parts of the world.

Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textural and numeric information by microelectronics. People need information as much as they need water, food or shelter. Information can save lives, livelihoods as well as resources. Many disasters could have been avoided with better information and communication.

Early warning is the most obvious way in which accurate, timely information alone can save lives. In the Caribbean, during the 2004 hurricane season, most countries successfully alerted their population of approaching storms and saved many lives as result. The key to their success was putting people not just technology at the centre of their warning systems. In Aceh Indonesia, red-cross helped re-unite 3400 tsunami survivors with their families using satellite phones. In Sri-lanka many people feared the waves where a divine punishment, the Belgian red-cross helped dispel these myths by explaining the science behind the disaster. Good information is equally vital to ensuring disaster relief.

Promoting better media coverage of the world’s neglected humanitarian disasters is a pivotal priority if global aid is to be apportioned more fairly. The plight of Sahel was over shadowed by the events in Darfur and Indian Ocean. The Sahel region of West Africa has suffered near famine triggered by drought and locusts which put the lives of 9 million people risk by mid 2005.

2.3 EMPIRICAL FRAMEWORK

Once fed and sheltered, disaster survivors are hungry for information on how to get back to work, how to participate in construction and how to influence the recovery agenda of aid organization. In Tamil Nadu, the Indian state hit hardest by the tsunami, local civil societies formed a coordination to capture people’s priorities across 100 disaster struck villages and report back on what aid officials were planning. Responding to the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, aid agencies distributed impressive amounts of relief aid. But despite this, some needy groups were missed out.

Information is vital form of aid itself. That is not to say disaster survivors are passive victims. In absence of official early warnings, people affected by the tsunami use mobile phones to warn others. They found sources of help through civil society’s networks or websites. They exchange information amongst themselves through electronic and face to face with far greater openness than many international organizations. Today’s technology resources for internal disaster response have opened up new responsibilities for gathering and giving information. Newcomers can quickly get an overview of the disaster zone by helicopter surveillance.

In the few days of Banda Aceh’s tsunami, agencies had to take key decisions based on very little field information. “We mobilize logistics before any assessment it was guestimate, made after three days, with an assumption of 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs)”, said the international committee of red-cross (ICCR) head of delegation, Boris Michel. Priorities were quickly identified, clean water, food and basic shelter. Relatively, few people were injured thus medical needs were not immense. Searching the rubble was fruitless as one could have escaped drowning. Communications remained problematic during Banda Aceh and with Jakarta Indonesia.

The situation on the west coast witch bore the brunt of the tsunami remained the unknown. More than 700 KM of read were affected and over 100 bridges were swept away. Many organizations admitted were overwhelmed and lacked the time to undertake detailed assessment or consultation with the affected people during the first weeks.

According to Ole Hague, the international federation head of delegation in Indonesia, “the field assessment in coordination team was made up of 6 to 7 people it should have been much bigger. Some of them were busy with operational issues they had no time for proper assessment.”

2.4 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Emergency team deployment

After conducting the research, it emerged clearly that IT has to be integrated in the disaster management team for it to be efficient. In Kenya, there has been slow response by both the government and humanitarian organizations. The reluctance on the governments part is on the improvement of infrastructure mostly transport. It has been a cause of slow response in that transport of emergency relief is delayed. On the other hand, lack of preparedness and poor planning causes many humanitarian organizations attend to disasters hours after disasters have occurred and sometimes even take longer time preparing on how to attend to the disaster after it has occurred. This means that many lives could have been saved had more efficient measures to deal with disasters been put in place. There are many loopholes which need to be repaired by both the humanitarian organizations and the government in order to handle disasters cases in a better way in the future.

GRAPH SHOWING THE FACTORS HINDERING DELIVERING EFFICIENT DISASTER RELIEF SERVICES

Lack of preparedness and coordination as most development actors subscribe to the sphere project as a cause of slow response. Insufficient funds have made it impossible for humanitarian organizations to put adequate technological facilities and much less to cater for all the needs of the disaster victims. Poor infrastructure makes it almost impossible to access disaster stricken areas. Poor infrastructure makes communication very slow thus hampering disaster relief efforts.

MEASURES TAKEN BY THE KENYA RED-CROSS TO CURB SLOW RESPONSE TO DISASTERS
The Kenya Red-Cross as a humanitarian organization has put down some measures to try improving the slow response situation to disasters. Among the successful ones is the training and sensitizing the public about disasters. This broadens the volunteer network to assist in curbing disasters. The Kenya Red-Cross also encourages people to undertake IT courses to familiarize themselves with the use of various technologies. The organization has and is still pressurizing the government to improve infrastructure in the country. This will bring about utilization of equipments like radio call and satellites in the remote areas which will ease communication in these areas.
Soliciting for enough funds through looking for support from the government and donors will provide more advanced equipments. The various branches are encouraged by the main office to follow the sphere projects. Strengthening the National Society has also been put in place so that the organization may be able to sustain itself in terms of materials and equipments so as to avoid donor over dependency.

The government has a role and a major role in improving the slow response to disasters in the country. Security is vital in dealing with disasters since it gives peace to the victims. Infrastructure such as roads in the remote areas should be improved and vehicles should be provided when disasters occur to transport the affected people and also those providing the relief. The government should acquire tools and adequate machinery to deal with disasters.
Introduction of IT classes in schools is necessary to enable people acquire skills in handling machines. Personnel working in governments bodies should be trained on disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and the same case should apply to the public. The government should ensure that a disaster rescue team is placed at strategic points and on high alert always to ensure quick response.

3.0 CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This chapter explains the methods used to collect data. Primary and secondary methods of data collection were used. In primary methods, the researcher used interviewing, observation and questionnaires. In secondary data collection techniques, it involved the use of library books, grey literature, internet and reports of various disasters.

POPULATION DEMOGRAPHY

A population is an entire group of individuals, events or objects having common observable characteristics. The population targeted by the researcher was all humanitarian organizations. The accessible population was the Red-Cross (Eldoret). Red-Cross has 56 branches in Kenya.

3.1 SAMPLING METHOD

Sampling is taking a proportion of the population selected to represent the entire population. The method used by the researcher is a purposive method. This allowed the researcher to cases that have the required information with the objectives of the study.

3.2 PRIMARY METHODS

3.2.1 INTERVIEWS

This method where there is a face to face between the respondent and the interviewer. The researcher conducted formal and informal interviews. This method enables the researcher to obtain detailed information which is quite relevant. Through informal interview, it is able to extract the negative information. The major hindrance to this method is that it consumes a lot of time and resources.

3.2.2 QUESTIONARES

This is a method of using a list or a set of questions designed to collect information or data which is used for analysis. The questions give the respondent complete freedom of response. They permit greater depth if response. The questioners demand the same type of information from respondents since they are similar. However they cannot be used by the illiterate people.

3.2.3 OBSERVATION

The researcher used the non-participant observation method. In this method, the researcher used information based on the cases where the Red-Cross had attended to disasters before.

3.3 SECONDARY METHODS

3.3.1 INTERNET

This is a global network of computer networks linking together millions of computers which can share information. This method helped the researcher get literature from the latest journals, articles, and policy documents of various humanitarian organizations. The various website information was used where reference was relevant and necessary

3.3.2 BOOKS

Books from the library were used for reference. They provided relevant secondary information. They provided various materials and less time and cheap cost.

3.3.3 GREY LITERATURE

This literature includes written information which has not been published like lecture notes. They provided information at less cost and within short time. Their information was shallow though and had to be supplemented.

3.3.4 PERIODICALS

These are journals, magazine, and newspapers published periodically. The researcher used world disaster reports periodicals published by the International Federation of Red-Cross and Red-Crescent societies.
DATA ANALYSIS

THE FINDINGS

It is important to define the phases of a disaster since these phases are ordinarily used to describe actions and activities by agencies. After most disasters, 3 phases can be identified; the emergency, the transitional, and the reconstruction phase.

The emergency phase is characterized by actions that are necessary to save lives. They include search and rescue attempts, first aid,medical assistance or restoration of emergency communication and transportation networks. Other actions which can be taken at this phase include initial disaster assessment and emergency repairs to critical facilities.

The transitional phase initially includes people returning to work and the permanent repair of infrastructure, damaged buildings and other activities to help the society get back to normal. This phase normally concides with the period in which emotional recovery normally occurs.
Reconstruction is characterized by the physical re-ordering of the community and the physical environment. People reconstruct buildings and repair roads and other community facilities. Life returning to the normal.

No two disasters are alike. Over the years it has become a standard practice to supply certain goods to disaster stricken areas. Each of this is appropriate to only certain limited number of situations. The research identified that there is a high accountability on the technology made use of in that its accuracy and reliability has been the success towards salvaging disasters. The mostly used technology in Kenya is mobile phones and the media.

There has been slow response to disaster cases in Kenya. This has been due to various factors but the most outstanding are poor infrastructure, lack of technological know-how, unpreparedness, and insufficiency of funds. This has affected both the humanitarian organizations and the government. Therefore both the government and these humanitarian organizations have roles to play towards improving the efficiency in responding to disaster strikes.

ROLES PLAYED IN IMPROVING THE SLOW RESPONSE TO DISASTERS

The chart above shows the percentage of efficiency improvement which should be shown by both the government and the humanitarian organizations in making response to disasters better.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Zschall, Jochen and Kueppers, Andraes(eds). Early warning systems of Natural Disaster Reduction. Berlin: Springer Verlag 2003.

2. Twigg, J. Disaster Risk Reduction Mitigation and preparedness in development and emergency programming. HPN Good Practise Reviews number 9. London: Overseas development Institute, 2004.


3. Darcy, J. and Hofmann, C.A According to need? Needs assessment and decision making in the humanitarian sector. HPG Report15. London: overseas Development Institute, 2003.

4. Dyre, Willie. ‘20004 U.S Hurricane season Among The Worst on Record”


WEBSITES
ALNAP- http://www.alnap.org
MSF- http://www.msf.org
SEWA-http://www.sewa.org
ICRC- http://www.icrc.org
NOAA-http://www.hurricanes.nooa.gov
Published: 2009-02-14
Author: NZOMO AGGREY KAVALU

About the author or the publisher
I am a graduate of Moi university kenya in Linguistics and Foreing languages. I am aged twenty two and a good narrative and descriptive writer. i currently write with an online company the Allwriting.net. i have with me finished poems and short stories. i also write sex episodes and i have four episodes so far. i am a single male of an African origin.

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