A communications strategy for disaster relief
Folsom, Eric Michael
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The problem with current international disaster relief is ineffective communication, coordination, cooperation, and collaboration (4C). Ineffective international 4C allows chaos and anarchy to significantly hinder disaster-relief efforts. After action reports (AARs) and disaster relief (DR) materials were examined to identify system-level issues during DR missions. These issues were examined to determine if DR exhibits characteristics of a wicked problem. The results of systems-thinking analysis show that anarchy, social complexity, and stress within the DR system have a negative impact on all components of the system. To improve the effectiveness of DR missions and help mission teams to present a unified front for DR, anarchy, social complexity, and stress must be reduced. This work proposes a communication strategy for DR missions that harnesses capabilities of information communication and technology (ICT) solutions, introduces a cloud-based hierarchical trust model, and outlines a common integration interface. The strategy encourages open and transparent 4C between DR mission teams and the international DR community. Properly implemented, this communication strategy could reduce system-level anarchy and social complexity, resulting in reduced post-disaster damage, injuries, and loss of life.
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