This study carries significant value for Albany State policymakers since this study will thoroughly cover the concept of creating and maintain an effective flood protection system and disaster recovery plan.
The findings of this study can expand the knowledge about effective flood responses.
It can provide valuable data for the policy makers to make effective decisions to regulate and set higher standards where deemed necessary.
This study and its findings will become an addition to and update of existing research on natural disaster response plan.
Chapter 2: Literature of Review
What are floods?
Floods are natural disasters that occur due to a rise in the water levels that submerge, disrupt normal human activities and operations (Schneid, 2007). It is important to note that floods are a natural disaster and that their severity is determined by the water levels and the force and content that the water carries along (Geological Abstracts, 2008). Floods are considered the most destructive of all natural disasters because they are the most common.
Analysis of Flint River Basin
The Coastal plain region has historically been covered by a large majority of pine trees. Due to the constant degradation of the environment through seeking trees for timber and other products, the land has been left bear and very prone to natural disasters and irregular weather patterns. Increased amounts of precipitation and rains leads to the formation of storms that equally affect neighboring regions like the Flint River. All individuals in the area, including Albany State University, are affected by these.
Of particular interest in this paper is the Flint River basin. This land is an area that is clearly marked and demarcated by the government as a river basin land and is selectively offered for development. Before the 1994 flood disaster, the land acquisition in the county was not well controlled. This led to the haphazard development of both residential and infrastructural amenities on the Flint River Basin (Leavesley, 2007). A good example is Albany State University, which was founded in 1903 on the banks of a know risk and hazard, the Flint River.
The major attractive aspect was to sell the land at very attractive rates. Fifty acres of land, which later became Albany State College, was purchased for less than $2,600.00. The resultant scenario was the mushrooming of development projects where social amenities and residential points were quickly built and the corresponding developments accomplished on the acquired land. Attempts to caution residents of the looming dangers in a foreseeable flood did not make sense, only until the 1998 flooding (Coppola, 2007).
Effects of floods
Floods mainly have an effect on the social, health, economic and the environmental imbalance. The effects are mostly felt immediately as the water levels rise beyond a certain point and become quite a nuisance to the survival and the well being of creature within the population.
From a social perspective, floods cause a break in the social patterns and cycles. Per OECD (2009) in his study on Japanese scenarios explains that the introduction of excess water into the environment creates a dispersed distribution population. With a dispersed distribution the patterns and the commonality of a population is lost and the individuals lack proper identity. Albany, Ga. was not different, but Albany State University was different. There are traces of multicultural interference and distortion caused by the 1994 and 1998 Floods in Albany, but there is no available data for ASU (Wrobel & Wrobel, 2009).
Economically the GDP of the state reduces significantly due to immediate and unexpected change in expenditure and budgets. Economic analysts in the years of the flood depicted that the GDP of the average citizens dropped by 5.72% in the year 1994. This is a clear indication of the impact that the effects would have on the government as well as domestic economy throughout the country.
In health aspects, the Floods became the medium for the transfer of water-borne agents of diseases. The likely diseases are bilharzias, flu, chronic chest congestion, and epidemics such as cholera and dysentery (Mitchell, 2009). The health implications have a serious long-term effect on victims who survive through. For a majority of those caught up in the floods, the high levels of malaria and typhoid, creates an ideal environment for the falling out and dying off of individuals in such areas. Wohl (2000) makes a medical view of the situation and advocates for complete evacuation from the flood zones and its environs once the area is identified as a disaster hit region. The most prudent action during such emergencies is the prevention of disease causing agents.
Responses as earlier discussed in the problem statement are best attacked by categorizing into three distinct categories: the immediate response, the short-term response actions and the corresponding long-term actions.
The immediate response covers the provisions of food and water to victims, evacuation and resettlement and offering emergency aid to injured and incapacitated victims (Michner, 2002). Additionally, all the relevant aid that is offered to avert further loss in the event of a natural disaster will be classified as immediate aid that is offered to individuals who are caught up in the disaster (Coppola, 2007). The overall goal is to avert any possible escalation of a disaster.
Case scenarios from studies by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (2001) depict that in floods, other related risks such as electrocution and drownings are higher and if immediate aid is not offered, the victims would end up suffering double tragedy.
Short-term response incorporates the involvement of social groups, NGO's, government bodies in providing temporary shelter and the immediate disinfection of floods hit areas to mitigate the risks of diseases (Conrad, 2008). Care must be taken to record water levels and the major affected areas in the flood. This data aids in the long-term planning and development of more comprehensive systems for the checking and detection of floods.
Long-term responses are critical, especially in flood disasters.
As per Wrobel & Wrobel (2009), long-term responses are critical especially in flood disasters. The response actions are all geared at recovery and rebuilding of the destroyed regions in the community. These long-term responses also aid in preparations for any such events. Long-term responses are specifically in the planning and policy making for flood analysis and detection, policy also in land use and the demarcation of the river basin regions, building mitigation avenues such as dykes and improvement of the drainage system.
According to the USGS, there is need for the adherence to the flood disaster best practices. The best practices as per American Society of Health-System Pharmacy, (2008) gives guidelines for the prevention of sewer mess within the society and the observance of the main mitigation practices to avert looming danger. Cooley & Vold (2007) suggest that for people in flood prone zones should accept to register for flood insurance which is readily available in the U.S. market.
The Flint River has in the recent past enjoyed the benefit of proper and well forecasted plans. The river basin has been calibrated ever since 2005 through joint efforts with the incumbent community and supporting authorities such as the Dougherty County.
The Albany flood was such as disaster, that it made then president Bill Clinton to declare the Albany region as a disaster region. This led to the entrance of heavy rescue and support missions to the area, but their work was hampered by the opposition from the accessibility to the area as shown by Sene (2008). Other challenges include a lack of ample budgetary allocation for such disasters, the overstretched services of emergency services like ambulances and health workers plus an initial opposition by residents who defied evacuation orders, Coppola (2007).
Dougherty County is very challenged by the sudden monetary requirements from such disasters. This leads to the borrowing of funds and the topping up of such deficits through the use of donations and contributions from the society and especially from firms.
According to Burnett (2008) the emergency services in the 1994 disaster had their carrying capacity being overstretched due to the rising case of illnesses and injury that resulted from the floods. Additional backup from police and other paramedic services had to come in and helping attending to victims while widening the areas of rescue coverage.
Mitchell (2009) explains the need for alternative access point and means in getting to citizen in the inland regions. The floods cut out road transport and walking throughout the flooded water poses a threat to the individual. In a disaster recovery venture the terrain is very vital in tackling rescue and recovery tasks. At times rescue operators met serious opposition from the residents due to their perceived feeling that the waters will soon get to lower levels. Such individuals…