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Handbook of Disaster and Emergency Policies and Institutions

By: John Handmer


Hardback | Oct 2007 | #168831 | ISBN-13: 9781844073597
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NHBS Price: £60.00 $79/€68 approx

About this book

From the Asian tsunami to hurricanes Katrina and Rita to the recent earthquake in Pakistan, disasters both natural and human-induced are leading to spiralling costs in terms of human lives, the destruction of homes, businesses, public buildings and infrastructure and the resulting financial and human crises that inevitably follow in the wake of such catastrophes. Yet the failures in planning for, and responding to, such disasters can often be traced to poor disaster policies that are unsuited to the emerging scales of the problems they confront and the lack of institutional capacity to implement plans and manage disasters when they happen.

This handbook, written by two top authorities on disaster policy and management, seeks to overcome this mismatch and to guide the examination and development of a policy and institutional framework and associated strategies. In particular, for the first time it brings together into a coherent framework the insights of public policy, institutional design and emergency and disaster management, stressing the cognate nature of policy and institutional challenges between disasters and sustainability. This is indispensable reading for all disaster planners, policy makers and managers across the world seeking to improve the quality, robustness and capacity of their disaster management. The vast human and financial costs of natural and human-induced disasters are often needlessly high as a result of poor planning and response stemming from inadequate disaster policy.

'In this timely and insightful book, Handmer and Dovers develop a systematic understanding of the policy processes and frameworks needed to set the foundations for success when hazards threaten. It will be highly appreciated by policy makers and practitioners in rich and poor countries alike.' Reid Basher, Coordinator, Policy and Inter-Agency Coordination, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction 'Too much emergency response to disasters has the hallmarks of panic or the deployment of immediate tactics without a strategic vision. This book is a significant contribution to seeking to correct this tendency. It does this admirably, by emphasizing both the practical and the tactical within a strong strategic framework that should help to make emergency response both better and more sustainable.' Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Head, Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University, London, UK 'Emergency management, public policy and institutional settings are inextricably linked but the interactions are poorly understood. Handmer and Dovers have provided new and perceptive insights which will have far-reaching influences on understanding and future directions. I wish this book had been available when I was head of Australia's federal emergency management agency.' Alan Hodges, AM, Former Director General Emergency Management Australia 'This book is a must-read for anyone who hopes to understand and influence emergency policy. Covering the nature of emergency management and the complex institutional framework within which it operates, the authors' comprehensive treatment of the subject is learned, internationally relevant and, yes, passionate.' Paul Gabriel, Manager, Emergency Management Policy, Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, Melbourne, Australia 'This is a fresh, invigorating and above all challenging look at emergency management. It takes a big-picture view, going beyond mere 'disaster events' to explore the links between emergency management and sustainability in the contexts of institutions and policy. All those who have leadership roles in the field should read it carefully: it will re-shape the way they approach their task.' Chas Keys, former Deputy Director General of the New South Wales State Emergency Service, Australia 'A clear, concise, in-depth makes a pivotal contribution to our understanding of hazards' DeMond S. Miller, Disasters.


Preface; Part I: Constructing the Problem; The Nature of Emergencies and Disasters; The Nature of Policy and Institutions; Part II: Constructing the Response; A Policy and Institutional Framework for Emergencies and Disasters; Owning the Problem: Politics, Participation and Communication; Framing the Problem: Identifying and Analysing Risk; Responding to the Problem: Policy Formulation and Implementation; Not Forgetting: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning; Institutional Settings for Emergencies and Disasters; Part III: Constructing the Future; Constructing the Future; Index.

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John Handmer is Innovation Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Adjunct Professor, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University and Visiting Professor, Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University, London. Stephen Dovers is Professor (Policy and Institutional Analysis), Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University and Adjunct Principal Research Fellow, School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University.

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