A disaster management guide has been published by the charity, Disaster Action, and has been well received as a valuable resource for emergency planners and responders.
Controversy surrounds many disaster funds, even decades after they were launched, a spokesperson for the charity told FIRE. "Little guidance is available to those who take on the responsibility of managing and distributing funds in accordance with the wishes of the donors." The report, Disaster Funds, is according to the charity, a "unique report that fills that gap. It is an essential resource for emergency planners, fund trustees, administrators and managers."
Minister for Tourism and Heritage John Penrose said: "This report will be incredibly valuable in providing useful guidance for everyone involved in planning and responding to disasters. In these situations it's imperative that victims receive the right support promptly and I'm glad DCMS was able to fund this report, which will help all those involved in future."
Disaster Funds draws on the first-hand experience of beneficiaries, administrators, fund managers and trustees. Case studies include events such as the Cumbria floods (2009), the London bombings (2005), the South East Asian Tsunami (2004), the Ladbroke Grove rail crash (1999), the Zeebrugge ferry sinking (1987), the Bradford football stadium fire (1985) and Aberfan (1966).
Sophie Tarassenko, Co Chair of Disaster Action, told FIRE: "Disaster Funds should make a substantial difference. The real beneficiaries will be those whose lives have yet to be affected by disaster. Our thanks go to the DCMS humanitarian assistance unit for providing the funding for the report."
Setting out lessons learned from numerous disasters, the report contains specific guidance that should help prevent negative experiences - often described as 'a second disaster' - by future beneficiaries of disaster funds. The guidance is also available as a separate leaflet for easy reference.
Margaret Lally of the British Red Cross Society said: "We have a responsibility to ensure that how we manage disaster funds is transparent and sensitive to the needs of individuals who have already had a traumatic experience. Any money distributed should help them rebuild their lives and be a light hope in a dark period. This report provides excellent learning for all of us involved in the management of disaster funds."
Disaster Action is a charity founded in 1991 by survivors and bereaved people from UK and overseas disasters of different origin. Current membership includes those affected by 25 disasters, such as the 2004 South East Asian Tsunami, the 2005 London bombings and other recent terrorist incidents overseas. Disaster Action was the winner of the Society Guardian Charity Award 2004.
Disaster Funds: Lessons & Guidance on the Management & Distribution of Disaster Funds, was written for Disaster Action by sociologist and disaster management consultant Dr Anne Eyre, Foreword by Professor Iain McLean (Disaster Action, London 2010, ISBN 978-0-9538331-1-5). It is free to download from the Disaster Action website: www.disasteraction.org.uk, or £25 for a hard copy. The short guidance leaflet is also available as a separate document, free to download from the website.
Updated December 13th.