The Role Of Local Governments In Disaster Response

If there is one thing that distinguishes our modern world from primitive ones, it is the conduct of law and order in society. There are laws in place to ensure fair and just treatment of everyone and there are governments in each nation that create, uphold, and protect these laws. Aside from collecting taxes and providing most basic services, the government is also the first one to come to the people’s aid in times of conflict and disasters both man-made and natural.

No matter how prepared people are or even the government itself, there are always instances when nature surprises us and hits us with a fury only Mother Nature is capable of doing. Human lives are lost, families are displaced, and properties are destroyed making recovery doubly harder. Yet, there are resources that the government can tap into in times of crisis. But if you look closely into America’s history, disaster relief hasn’t always been the federal government’s priority and it has been evident with the way they respond to disasters in the past.

America and its citizens are vulnerable at all times to natural disasters, be they hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, floods, fires, even volcanos. It is never a question of if – it is always questions of where and when disasters will strike.

With computer modeling, we can predict where these events are likely to occur with greater accuracy. Thus, we know areas of the country that are more likely to be affected by natural disasters. It makes sense to focus on areas of the country that are vulnerable and empower local authorities to take the lead in preparation and management, with the help of state and federal governments. 

Every American should be issued an emergency response and identification card. This card would identify the person, his or her address and would contain life saving information like blood type, next of kin and other germane information.


Even progressive countries like America and Europe is vulnerable in the face of natural disasters. When the people are at a loss and social order has been lost, the public often relies on the government for help because real chaos happens when the people start relying on their instinct to survive – to each his own becomes the people’s mantra. In the wake of major catastrophes, it is often the collective effort of the government and the private sector that makes recovery works faster and so much better. No matter how resilient a community or nation is, it still suffers when access to the most basic of services is lost and survival is the only thing the people have on their mind.

Hurricane Harvey isn’t just a major test for the millions of people in and around Houston whose homes are inundated. In the coming weeks, it will also present perhaps the country’s greatest public policy challenge since President Donald Trump’s was inaugurated.

How Congress handles that challenge — and if it completely screws it up — will have enormous consequences for the millions of Texans and Louisianans in the hurricane’s path.

The federal government goes through at least three discrete stages when responding to a natural disaster on the scale of Hurricane Ha rvey. Right now, we’re still in the first: the immediate search-and-rescue efforts.


Indeed, it is a test of President Trump’s capacity to lead the country after the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey. It has already happened several times in the past but still, the same thing happens again and you’d see how unprepared many people are during a crisis. Hence, it is easy to understand why it is the local government that matters most in times like this since they are the authority in power in that area and they have access to funds, supplies, and facilities that the people may need in short notice. They are also familiar with the land and even with the people, so they can work faster and more effectively than any other outside agency or nonprofit organization can ever do.