Comments on: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Versus Disaster Risk Creation (DRC) Tue, 16 Oct 2018 23:23:59 +0000 hourly 1 By: Necati Dedeoglu Tue, 11 Jun 2013 12:03:56 +0000 Lewis and Kelman have shown insight into the real nature of disasters: Endangerment and impoverishment. What is going on, especially in developing countries where cards are played more openly is not only bad and ugly but is disgusting and hideous. Negative aspects of human nature such as greed,incompetence, corruption do play a role but main determinants are social and economic; external as well as internal. I would like to examine my own country as an example.

Why It Is Not Possible To Get Prepared For Disasters in Turkey

Year after year Turkey experiences many natural disasters. Unfortunately, instead of decreasing with experience, causalties are increasing. The same mistakes are made over and over again( Such as hospitals and schools collapsing first in earthquakes, such as obstinately constructing houses in river beds, such as chaos following even minor disasters etc). Why don’t we take any lessons from disasters?

1. Most of the citizens are uneducated, and poor. They do not care much about future disasters becouse they have to live day to day. They have immediate worries and problems. Every day the people are continuously faced with minor disasters such as hunger, accidents, infectious diseases, street violance. An earthquake that might strike within 10-20 years does not carry much weight.
2. The uneducated and poor people do not have resources ( material, psychological, time, strength ) to make any preparations such as buying safe but more expensive houses, retrofitting dangerous houses, making a family disaster plan or making unstructural mitigation at home.
3. Moreover, poor people do not value their lives so dearly. Life and death are common and interwoven in daily life. Raising a family is difficult They might have to trade off poor quality but cheap housing to safe but a little more expensive housing. In cities they mostly live in unplanned, unhealthy slum areas or in adobe and stone houses in rural areas that collapse even after a heavy rain. 4. A feeling of helplessness grows in people in face of uncontrollable forces of nature, especially in societies technically insufficient.. Moreover, it is not psychologically feasible to live in constant fear and stress. To be able to cope with life and retain sanity under such conditions, denial and forgetfulness are commonly utilized mechanisms.
5. Wild and unleashed capitalism which is practised in the country does not care much about disaster preparation. On the contrary, building bad houses in alluvionus ground or in floodplains and then rebuilding them after disasters is more profitable. Therefore neither the private sector nor the government is much enthusiastic about reducing.disaster risks
6 The political leaders that the poor and uneducated elect are not the ones that represent the people but those that represent the rich and powerful. Therefore government ministers and mayors of towns do not care to make any public preparations in cities as well ( Such as retrofitting bridges, museums and historical sites, educating and training citizens, building durable infrastructure, making emergency plans etc.). The public resources are spent to benefit the favored and the already rich.The administrators also close their eyes to contractors that choose improper building sites, build unsafe houses, to factories and workshops which do not take any measures to protect their workers. Similarly, no one is tried and punished for corruption or mismanagement even when thousands unnecessarily die after disasters, or when workers die of silly accidents or easily preventable causes at workplaces.
7. The government has privatised every common public utility from harbors to communication, from health to education. Even supervision activities are private. For example construction of private and public buildings are supervised by private companies and they are paid for their services by the contractor. Big construction companies have set up their own supervision companies to supervise their own constructions. Many of these buildings collapse without an earthquake. Everything in the country is organised on the basis of profit.
8. On top of all these there is a culture of negligence in individuals which is a byproduct of years of alieniation, exploitation, belief of fate, of experiencing many disasters.
It is apparent that the economic system, capitalism , which breeds exploitation and greed is the main factor behind the ignorance of disaster risks. Therefore, the only correct and effective thing to do is to replace this system and its extension imperialism by a system which assures power sharing, equal distribution of resources, respect to human rights and to all living things and peace, within and among nations, achieving a universal well-being. Any intervention less than that will sooner or later end up with disappoinment, as frequently experienced. Those in power will find a way to modify it to serve their own interest.