Learning from experience, including that of other countries, is an important element of our knowledge about earthquakes and other disasters that affect major urban areas. The United States can learn from a recent report that assessed the response to the damaging earthquake that affected Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury Region in New Zealand in February 2011.
The event’s aftermath brought to the fore issues frequently faced in the U.S., such as how to scale up an emergency response, how to overcome organizational deficiencies and how to maintain continuity in a community that is suffering from major outages of power, water and sewage systems. Although New Zealand’s form of government and governance system for emergency management differs from that found in the U.S., there is still much to learn from the New Zealand event.
One feature was strikingly apparent: Organizations of any kind that were well prepared in advance responded much better than those that were not.
See What the U.S. Can Learn from the Christchurch Earthquake, by Claire Rubin for Emergency Management.