Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Tsunami 2011 - Disaster Management Lessons

The Sendai earthquake(2011) and the resulting Tsunami in Japan is probably one of the most horrific disasters facing Japan since the atomic bombs that destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki marking the end of second world war. It is interesting to see how Japanese built their country from the impact of the atom bombs and devastation caused by the great war to being the world's third largest economy by 2010.
This disaster is equally bad. In the words of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, "The world is shocked and saddened by the images coming from Japan this morning". It is probably one of the worst disasters faced by any single country in the last decade. Although in high probability nature's fury unleashed in the form of earthquakes and tsunamis cannot be escaped or avoided, the recovery is what needs careful examination. For a disaster of this proportion any country would need help, but, by the virtue of their culture and contribution to the field of management made possible by their DNA, the management of this disaster and recovery needs careful study by all those who wish to excel in the discipline of management.
The very first and the most important thing was to address and assure the nation that was quickly done by prime minister Naoto Kan. Taking into account the propensity of this damage and comparing it with other disasters such as the hurricanes that hit United States or the Terrorist attacks at Mumbai in India, this has been the quickest. Moreover keeping the nation calm is the foremost thing to be done in such a scenario.
The second thing was to assess the damage. The damage to two of its nuclear reactors was quickly analyzed and experts from the United States were flown in to help in correcting the problems and avoiding a potential radiation leak. Thirdly, people around Fukushima were told to evacuate (in a Tsunami) and in no time the evacuation routes have increased swiftly to avoid damage in case of a leak. This shows the DNA of Japanese people and the capacity to fight back despite earthquakes, tsunami and radiation. The rescue and rehabilitation operations will go on in Japan but as students of management it is necessary for us to understand the dynamics of successful planning and execution of this entire operation.
I wholeheartedly pray for the people of Japan and I hope things soon return back to normal.