A perfect storm is hitting the Gaza Strip.
Before Israel’s military assault this past July and August, the 1.8 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip were living under a suffocating economic, cultural and political siege that made life unbearable.
In 2012, the United Nations even warned that the Gaza Strip might be unlivable by 2020. In May 2013, UNRWA issued a response — Gaza in 2020 — to highlight the challenges UNRWA would face, the programmatic response required and estimate the resources required to meet those challenges.
No one could have anticipated Israel’s barbarism over 51 days, killing more than 2,000 Palestinians and destroying homes, businesses, hospitals, utilities and infrastructure.
The New York Times reported that “the fighting has displaced about a fourth of Gaza’s population. Nearly 60,000 people have lost their homes, and the number of people taking shelter in UNRWA schools is nearly five times as many as in 2009. The cost to Gaza’s already fragile economy will be significant: the 2009 conflict caused losses estimated at $4 billion — almost three times the size of Gaza’s annual gross domestic product.
This interactive map prepared by the New York Times shows the location of the destruction in Gaza.
Today I received a request from a friend in Gaza for information and resources … “something that can assist in preparing materials for emergency conditions and crisis management training…even some people to communicate with in this regard in the USA or around the world”.
Where to begin? The UNDP has experience working with the Arab States in Crisis Prevention and Recovery, see here.
In the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has many resources for communities preparing for disasters as well as recovering from disasters.
Certainly, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies disaster and crisis management program is worth checking out.
The American Planning Association has a Hazards Planning Research Center and in 1998 published the “Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction” (PAS Report No. 484/484, December 1998).
Disaster Recovery Journal includes many links to sample plans, outlines and other resources.
Crisis Management in Government – list of books and articles
Many cities have disaster management programs, such as the City of Albuquerque.
Crisis Response Team Training is part of the National Organization for Victim Assistance
Georgetown University has a continuing education program called the Executive Master of Professional Studies in Emergency and Disaster Management, see here.
The Johns Hopkins Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center has online training modules.
I’m going to reach out to professionals in the morning and add to this list as I learn more. I have a hunch that the disaster we see unfolding in Gaza is of such a magnitude that even the professionals will be dumbfounded.
In addition to the emergency and disaster managers, the people in Gaza need our prayers.