Natural disasters entail those disasters linked to geological events and the weather such as hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. These disasters pose grave dangers to both individuals and the environment and can cause death, injury, mental and physical health issues, and economic and environmental degradation. Risk management refers to the process of identifying, evaluating, and controlling risk or threat of disaster to an organization. It seeks to minimize the negative impacts of these disasters and maximize the response. This article explores the two basic categories of natural disasters and proceeds to explain the impact these disasters have on the risk management process.
Categories of Natural Disasters
There are two categories of natural disasters. The first kind is those that give a warning before the occurrence, such as floods and hurricanes. These disasters give room to estimate the risk and institute plans to minimize their effects and maximize the response.
The second category entails those that occur abruptly, without any warning, such as earthquakes and tornadoes. With these sudden disasters, there is no chance to calculate risks or minimize their impact. It is advisable always to have a standby risk management strategy for any disaster.
Some of the impacts natural disaster have on an organization’s risk management include:
In any disastrous event, the key undertaking is human life preservation and casualty minimization. In saving other lives, the first respondents put themselves in danger, getting injuries, while some even lose their lives. Natural disasters expose the workforce to the potential injury that may affect their ability to deliver services. That is why several rescue teams always practice how to avert the crisis while maintaining a low casualty level and minimal property damage.
Distraction of the Workforce
Whenever a natural disaster takes place, the workforce is psychologically distracted. People with rescue expertise could be caught up in the rubble. Others would be worried about their families, making it hard for them to focus on the task at hand. The risk management process may be left short-handed as a result of absenteeism. Alternatively, employers can be brought in from different areas so that the ones affected are allowed to tend to their families and other personal needs.
Natural disasters can paralyze the healthcare delivery system in several ways. First, a prolonged power outage in a given area would make it hard to operate healthcare equipment such as computers. Second, during natural disasters, patients' flow into the available facilities supersedes available resources making service delivery difficult. Similarly, the supply of healthcare resources such as pharmaceuticals is made extremely arduous in a natural disaster. Risk management depends on a sustainable healthcare system, without which it is significantly affected.
Supply Chain breakdown
The supply of resources such as food and medicine into an area affected by a natural disaster is essential. However, in most instances, it is marred by the disruption of the transport systems or hindered by extreme weather conditions. Risk management relies on the supply chain to gain access to and distribute disaster relief supplies; hence a breakdown in the supply chain greatly affects the process.
Raunak is part of the content and community team at Specialty Fuel Services - providers of emergency fuel continuation services, in locations affected by catastrophic events.