SSDPP final paper - The Impact of natural disasters on ... Evidences from the Wenchuan Earthquake ... protection after natural disasters (Subbarao 2005; ... role more in the short‐ and ...

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<ul><li><p> 1</p><p>TheImpactofNaturalDisastersontheSocialProtectionSystem:EmpiricalEvidencesfromtheWenchuanEarthquake</p><p>MiguelSalazar,QibinLu,XiaojiangHu,XinsongWang,QiangZhang,LingZhouandXiulan</p><p>Zhang</p><p>1.IntroductionTheearthquakewhichoccurredinSichuaninthePeoplesRepublicofChina(PRC)on12May2008claimed69,227 livesandresulted in17,932peoplegoingmissing.Morethan374,000peoplewere injured.Nearly90counties,over900 townships/towns,andmore than9,000communities in the country suffered severe damages in terms of assets, land, jobs,livelihoods,publicfacilities,infrastructure,andhumanlives.Over13millionpeoplelosttheirhomes andmillions are now living in temporary shelters.About 1.15million farmers losttheir lands,and372,000urban residents lost their jobs.These staggeringly largenumbersmake the Sichuan earthquake the largest natural disaster in PRCs 59 yearold history,therebynecessitating implementationofthe largestpostdisastersocialprotectionschemesinChina. Numerousstudieshavebeenconductedontheissueofsocialprotectionfordisasters.Manyargueabouttheimportanceofsocialprotectionafternaturaldisasters(Subbarao2005;DelNinno2008).Evenmorepeopleprovidedesigns,suggestions,andlessonsforparticularsocialprotectionpoliciesthatmaybesuitablefortheaffectedpopulation(Lustig2000).Vakis(2006)discusses the complementing role of social protection in natural disasters, and raises theimportanceoflocalfiscal,administrative,andeconomiccapacitiesforpolicyimplementationfromthesocialriskmanagementperspective.Subbarao(2005)arguesthatsocialprotectionbeforedisastersplaysan importantrolemore in theshortandmedium termrather thanimmediatelyafterthedisasters. Severalfactorsmakethedeliveryofsocialprotectionservicesafterdisastersdifferentfromthat innormal times.Firstly, thesocialprotectionsystem itself isoftenequallyaffectedbythedisasterwith,possibly, the lossof socialprotectionpersonnel themselves, collapseofagencybuildings,damagetoequipment,andlossofdataandrecords.Secondly,damagetotheother social infrastructure (such as roads, thebanking system,etc.)alsoaffects socialprotectiondelivery.Thirdly,theaffectedpopulationhasasuddensurgeofnewdemandsthatwouldbedifficult tomeeteven if the socialprotectionsystemcould functionnormally. Insummary,checkingonhowdisastersaffectthesocialprotectionsystemmayrevealthatanysocialprotectionmeasuresthat lookgoodonpapercouldbeseriouslycompromised inthefaceofhugedisasters.Goodsocialprotectionpoliciesandpracticescanonlybeimplementedunderarobustsocialprotectionsystem. </p><p> TheauthorsareaffiliatedtotheSchoolofSocialDevelopmentandPublicPolicy,Beijing Normal</p><p>University,China. </p></li><li><p> 2</p><p>Several anglesmay be used to assess the social protection system in disaster situations.Threeoftheseanglesarereviewedinthispaper,thatis,institutionalcapacity,organisationaldisaster preparedness at the practical level, and the sociological understanding ofreconstructionbyorganisationsduringadisaster. 1.1 InstitutionalCapacityThefirstangleconcernsinstitutionalcapacity.Sincemanydisasterreliefoperationsmaytakealongtime,thepressureontheexistingsocialprotectionsystemscanbeextremelyhigh.Tothisend,disasteroftenrevealstheinsufficientcapacityofexistingsocialprotectionsystemstorespondtothedemandsofalargeandvulnerablegroup. The test of institutional capacity is harsher when relief operations are discontinued butnormaloperationshaveyettocomeintobeingwhilemanydisasterhithouseholdsmaystillfaceseriousproblemssuchaslackofpermanenthousing,poorsanitation,socialalienation,indebtedness,andsoon. It istheresponsibilityoftheStatetoaddresstheseproblemsbyestablishingmore inclusiveandcomprehensivesocialprogrammesonpoverty relief,socialprotection,employmentservices,andsocialwelfare.Duringtheperiodafteradisaster,theState faces a particularly daunting task because the number of people needing socialprotection programmes increases dramatically after the disaster. At the same time,government institutions themselvesmayalsobevictimsof thedisaster, as theremaybecasualtiesamongcivilservantsandtheirfamilies,trimmeddowntaxrevenues,andincreasedresponsibilities forboththehigher levelauthoritiesandordinarycitizens,allofwhichmaydrainthegovernmentscapacitytoeffectivelycarryoutsocialprogrammes.Lackoffundingfurthercomplicatesmatters.Whilesomeprogrammessuchasthereestablishmentofpostalservicestomanagepensionandsocialsecuritypaymentarecrucialduringthepostdisasterperiod,theyarenotintheinterestofpotentialdonors,whotendtotargettheirdonationsatmore immediatelyresponsiveprogrammes.This increases theneed forpayingattention toand closelymonitoring longtermand crucial socialprogrammes,and forbridging thegapbetweenreliefanddevelopmentprogrammes(Aysan2006;Christoplos2006).1.2 OrganisationalDisasterPreparednessThelackofinstitutionalcapacityforsocialprotectionsystemsnecessitatestheassessmentofsocial protection systems during a disaster from a second angle, that of organisationaldisasterpreparedness. Inoneway,socialprotectionagenciesat local levelscanbeseenasorganisations with certain functions to perform. Organisational disaster preparednesscomprises theprocesses,policies, andprocedures that anorganisationneeds to follow inordertorestoreoperationsthatarecriticaltotheresumptionofdailyfunctions.It includescopingwiththesuddenlossofkeypersonnel;regainingaccesstodata,communications,andworkspace;andexecutingotherprocessesafteradisaster. Organisationaldisasterpreparedness(whichisalsocalleddisastercontinuityplanningorDCP,anddisasterrecoveryplanningorDRP),hasbecomeincreasinglyimportantamongbusiness</p></li><li><p> 3</p><p>organisations in thedevelopedworld.The riseof information technologyhas fostered thestrongdependenceoforganisationalfunctioningoninformationandcommunications(Haag,Cummings, andMcCubbrey 2005). Data show that among the companies that suffer amajor lossof computeriseddataduringadisaster,43per centnever reopen,51per centclosewithintwoyears,andonly6percent surviveoverthelongterm(Hoffer2001).Thus,business organisations in theWest are rapidly devising strategies to protect irreplaceabledata.Currently,mostlargecompaniesspend24percentoftheirinformationtechnology(IT)budgetonDRP(Buchanan2000).Ascomparedtothebusinessworld,governmentagencies,eveninthedevelopedcountries,are generally lessprepared to facedisasters (Newcombe1996).At the timeof adisaster,governmentagenciesoftenbecomethelifelineforcommunitiesandvirtuallythelastresortforsurvivalformostvulnerablepeople.Buttheseverygovernmentagenciesusuallyexhibitlittle concern for ensuring the functioning of allmeans of communication in response todisasters. Many countries have learnt painful lessons from government apathy andinefficiencyduringmajordisasters.AfterHurricaneKatrinaandotherMexicanGulf regiondisasters,many US government agencies have realised that relying on a single form ofcommunicationincreasesthegovernmentsvulnerabilitytobreakdowns(Rutzick2005). GovernmentagenciesinChinaarealsoincreasinglyrelyingonstreamliningtheirinformationand communication systems, as seen in the speedy digitisation of Chinas administration(Kluver2005).This impliesthattheproblemsthathaveadversely impactedthefunctioningofgovernments inothercountriesarealsobeing foreseen inChina. It is thusnecessary toensurethatgovernmentagenciesherefollowallmeasuresforpreparednesstofacedisasters. 1.3 OrganisationalSociologyofCrisisManagementandDisasterReconstructionMerelyinstitutingagoodpreparednessplanis,however,notsufficientforanorganizationtomanage disaster situations. Sociologists studying organisations view the issue moreholistically (Lin, et al. 2006; Starbuck and Farioun 2003). The spectacular organisationalfailureinNewOrleansduringHurricaneKatrinaandotherdisastersmakepeoplewonderasto what went wrong within government agencies. Sociologists have found that theorganisationalculturesoftheDepartmentofHomelandSecurity,whereininformationflowsstrictly topdownamidan intelligenceand lawenforcementscenario,arenotconducive tofacing disasterswhen it becomes imperative to spread information as far and as fast aspossible(Perrow2007). Also, organisations tend to adopt different decisionmakingmechanisms during disastersthanwhattheydoatnormaltimes(Glenn2005).Whilethecompleteorganisationalfailureof government agencies inChinawashardly seen in the caseof the Sichuan earthquake,theseagencieswoulddowelltolearnfromtheexperiencesofHurricaneKatrina. Presently, what is most relevant to the incidence of the Sichuan earthquake is anunderstanding of how organisations adapt to new challenges while simultaneously</p></li><li><p> 4</p><p>reconstructingdamagedcapabilitiesandadaptingtothegapsleftinthesystembydisasters.When organisations experience disasters, cracks may appear in their service deliverysystems (Tausig 1987). Individuals are described as falling through the cracks.Differenttypesof cracks can be identified in anorganisations servicenetworksdependingon thenatureoftheorganisationalstructure,thedegreeof impact,andthe levelofpreparedness(Gillespie andMurty 1994). It is thus essential to identify and classify cracks to ensureresumption of the designated function (Perrow 1994). This is more critical during thepostdisasterreconstructionstagethanduringtheimmediateemergentreliefstage. Kelly(2008)summarisestheresearchondamagecausedbydisastersfromtheperspectiveofneeds and rights. This is because the government would be able to formulate betterresponseorientedpoliciesonthebasisofanassessmentof thedamagecaused topeople,assets, and infrastructure. In the case of theWenchuan earthquake, the assessment ofdamageshasbeenmainlyfocusedondefiningthe levelofthedamage,and identifyingtheregions being affected by the earthquake. Losses in terms of lives, assets, infrastructure,livelihoods, aswell as employment,health andeducationwere assessedquickly after theearthquake(Hou2009;Shi,etal.2008;Zhao,etal.2008). Asignificantbodyofliteratureisdevotedtoanassessmentoftheimpactofdisastersonthesurvivors,especiallyontheirphysicalandmentalhealthstatus.Forexample,Norrisandhiscolleagues (2002) have reviewed the studies on disasteraffected people over the period1981 to2001. Theyhave examined102 studies across29 countries, andhave found thatdisasterscouldhavea lasting impacton theaffectedpeople. In thecaseof theWenchuanearthquake,studieshavealreadyfoundsimilar impacts(Chen,etal.2009;Dai,etal.2009;Liu,etal.2009,Su,etal.2009;Xiang,etal.,2009;Zhang,etal.,2009).What is,however,missing fromthebodyofresearchondisastersandsocialprotection,aswell as on theWenchuanmega earthquake is an examination of the social protectionsystem itself.Forthispurpose,someofthequestionsthatneedtobeansweredare:Whatarethepossiblecracksthatcouldsurfaceinasocialprotectionsysteminthefaceofamegadisaster?Whatneedstobedoneforasocialprotectionsystemtofunctionproperly intheirregularsituationofadisaster?Whatmeasuresneedstobeimplementedtoprepareasocialprotection system in advance to face a disaster? This paper explores the issue of thepreparednessofsocialprotectionsystemstofacedisastersbyusingtheSichuanearthquakeasacasestudy.ThepaperfirstreviewstheprevalentdisasterassistancesysteminChina,andsocialprotectionpoliciesandpracticesfollowedduringtheWenchuanearthquake,andthenexaminesthefunctionalityofthesocialprotectionsystems.Byidentifyingtheweaklinksandthebottlenecksofsocialprotectionsystems,andbyhighlightingvaluableexperiencesinthisarea,thispaperwouldattempttoenhancethepreparednessofthesocialprotectionsysteminChina.</p></li><li><p> 5</p><p>2.DisasterAssistanceinChinaChinaisoneofthecountriesthatarethemostaffectedbynaturaldisastersintheworld.Inrecenttimes,Chinahasexperiencedmosttypesofnaturaldisastersexceptvolcanoeruptions.Thesedisastershaveincludedfloods,droughts,meteorological,seismic,geological,maritimeand ecological disasters as well as forest and grassland fires. Natural disasters threatenChina'snationalsecurityandsocialstability,stand in thewayofeconomicdevelopment insomeregions,andhaveimpededpovertyalleviationforcertainpartsoftheruralpopulation.Duringtheperiod19902005,anaverageof370millionpeopleinChina(about3percentofthetotalpopulationofthecountry)wasaffectedbydisasterseveryyear.Disastermitigationand disaster assistance are thus crucial for promoting sustainable development andmaintainingsocialstabilityinChina.2.1DisasterAssistance 2.1.1TheConceptandContentsofDisasterAssistanceDisaster assistance refers to the social security system used by a country to assist itspopulations threatened or affected by disasters. It includes providing the victims withclothing, food, shelter, transportation, medical treatment and other means required tomaintain basic living conditions, helping to extricate them from the disasters and theirconsequentdangers,andassistingthemtoreestablishtheirownlivelihood.Thebasicgoalofall thesemeasures is to enhance the ability of the people to resist disaster risks, and toreducetheirvulnerabilities.Several approaches may be adopted for integrating disaster assistance into a country'sadministrativestructure.Acommonapproach(foundintheUSAamongothercountries)istoconsider disaster assistance as an extension of civil defence, by connecting disasterassistance with national security and public order agencies. Another approach is toconsiderdisasterassistanceandreconstructionasamatterofsocialprotection,andtoassignthe main responsibility of providing such assistance to social welfare and public healthagencies.Chinausuallyfollowsthesecondapproach.DisasterassistanceisconsideredasanimportantcomponentofChina'ssocialprotectionsystem.Disaster assistance includes both the actions associatedwith the emergency relief stage(rescue of the victims immediately after the disasters, and the supply of basic needs tosurvivors),andthepostdisasterreconstructionstage.Disasterassistanceacknowledgesthefact that disaster and poverty are often connected in two ways: poverty increases thevulnerabilityof thepopulation,and thedestructionof livelihoodsandaccumulatedwealthcansignificantly increase the ratesofpovertyandeconomicdistress.Theemphasison therapidrestorationofthevictims'livelihoodsandcapabilitiesisinextricablyconnectedwithanemphasis on poverty reduction and a concomitant reduction of future vulnerability todisaster.</p></li><li><p> 6</p><p>Within this frameworkof restoring the capacityof thepeople to support themselves, thegoalsofdisasterassistancearedividedintotwostages.Thefirststageisanemergencystageafterthedisasteroccurs.Thegoalofthisstageistorestorethematerialandspiritualsurvivalconditionsrequiredbythepopulation,andtomaintaintheminimumlivingconditionsofthevictims.Thesecondstageisthereconstructionofthedisasterareasandrecoveryofproductionandliving,suchasprovidingassistanceforemploymentintheaffectedareas,andrestoringmajorindustries,amongother things.Consequently, theultimategoalof this stage is to restorepeople's livesback topredisaster levelsandbeyond,by rebuilding theirhomes, restartingeconomicdevelopment,andmaintainingsocialstability.Accordingly, the targets of disaster assistance are twofold. The first target is to provideassistance to the affected individuals in order to allow them to survive and recover. Thesecond target is to provide assistance to institu...</p></li></ul>

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