Prospects for Public Sector Disaster Management in the 1990s: An Indication of Current Issues with Particular Reference to Victoria, Australia

November 1990 (VOL. 8, NO. 3)

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Public sector disaster managers have not conducted a systematic evaluation of the operational and policy issues that they will confront in this decade. This is despite increasing community expectations for disaster management, political requirements for increased performance and accountability, and reduced resources that will put significant pressures on disaster managers to critically evaluate this area. Key issues disaster managers will have to consider include:developing a clearer understanding of \\"disaster\\"; understanding that disasters are social events; appreciating the increasing range of hazards to which people are exposed; applying a range of technologies to disaster management; and critically evaluating assumptions about disaster management and operations. Such considerations are not likely to occur spontaneously. Reviews and incremental changes may be generated by political, community, and resource depletion pressures. However, substantial change to disaster management policy and practice is only likely to be achieved if researchers act as a catalyst by making their findings more widely available and by stimulating the public sector to undertake critical analysis of disaster management.