Command-and-control, emergency powers, and the failure to observe United Nations disaster management principles following the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake

Angelo Jonas Imperiale*, Frank Vanclay

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

Onderzoeksoutput: ArticleAcademicpeer review

25 Citaten (Scopus)
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Using the disaster risk reduction paradigm and United Nations principles for post-disaster interventions, we analyse the actions of the Italian civil protection agency following the April 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila (Abruzzo, Italy), especially the use of a command-and-control approach and emergency powers. We consider the immediate response, the militarization of the emergency area, the establishment of red zones, the provision of emergency shelter and temporary housing, and the utilisation of disaster myths. We discuss the failure of the command-and-control approach to respect internationally-agreed principles of disaster risk reduction. The tragedy and multidimensionality of disaster impacts should induce disaster agencies to carefully consider the social dimensions of disaster in planning interventions. We found, however, that decision makers often adopt a `command-and-control' approach and rely on emergency powers. These institutional arrangements mean disaster agencies implement top-down planning without transparency or accountability. There is no systematic approach to disaster risk reduction, community empowerment or resilience building. Post-disaster interventions are influenced by myths and misconceptions, and do not acknowledge the social dimensions of disasters. They increase dependency on external support, annihilate the potentialities of local communities, create further environmental and social impacts, violate human rights, while worsening vulnerabilities and risks. All this facilitates disaster capitalism and corruption, ultimately resulting into a second disaster.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Vroegere onlinedatum25-feb.-2019
StatusPublished - mei-2019

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