Previously, we have seen that response is the provision of assistances and services during or immediately after a disaster with primary goals to save lives, reduce the impact of the diseases or health-related, providing health services and providing basic needs required by the affected people/communities.
We can use a reference from The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR, 2009):
The provision of emergency services and public assistance during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected.
As above reference, we can see there are two stages of response, namely:
- Response given immediately after a disaster or as we know is the emergency response. The main activities at this stage are save lives and evacuation, fulfillment of basic needs and health care delivery. Emergency response period is usually set by the government for a certain period of time based on the recommendation from the agency or a special team tasked to assess and consider the conditions and impacts that occurred shortly after the disaster.
- Responses given during the disaster, this stage we know as well as the transition period. At this stage the provision of basic needs and health services still on-going and began providing assistance to improve vital infrastructure in order to support socio-economic activities as soon as possible. However, activities at this stage are temporary. Sometimes this phase continues until the recovery period.
Preliminary information about disaster events can be obtained from various sources, from the public reports, local government, mass media, the internet or other reliable sources. This early information must include the required data, namely:
- What: type of disaster
- When: day, date, time
- Where: location
- Who: number of casualties and infrastructure damage
- Why: the cause of the disaster
- How: what efforts have been made
Based on the preliminary information, the government or other professional organizations typically directly send their assigned Rapid Response Team to immediately conduct a quickly and accurately assessment as well as provide the necessary support services for emergency response. In general, the team will conduct an assessment by using references from the initial information received and other secondary data. The report of rapid assessment must contain the necessary data, namely:
- Describes the type of disaster.
- Describes the exact time when disaster occurred.
- Describes the exact location or disaster area.
- Describes number of casualties (death toll, severe injured, minor injured, sick, missing) and the number of refugees, destruction of buildings and vital infrastructure that are damaged.
- Make a brief analysis of the causes of the disaster.
- Make a brief analysis of the available resources in the closest area to the disaster site and urgent resources needs.
From the report of assessment from Rapid Response Team, then usually the government will determine the status or level of disaster and set the next steps that should be taken to respond.