Week 4 Project: Case Study The Asian Tsunami

On December 26, 2004, an undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 9.3 on the Richter scale occurred off the west coast of Indonesia. It triggered a devastating tsunami (known as the Asian Tsunami). With waves exceeding 100 feet, this tsunami killed more than 275,000 people in 11 countries. This international incident was one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history.

Research and assess the destruction brought about by the Asian Tsunami. Design an emergency management plan for the purpose of protecting an American coastal city from the same type of disaster. Consider the short length of warning time in a disaster such as a tsunami.

Your plan must be comprehensive and address the fundamental disciplines of emergency management.

Write your plan in a 4–6-page Microsoft Word document and submit it to the Submissions Area by the due date assigned


A Management Plan to Protect an American Coastal City

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A Management Plan to Protect an American Coastal City

Designing an effective emergency management plan requires the concerned people to address all the tenets of the five crucial phases. Hiltz, Van de Walle, and Turoff (2014) state that the core phases of the emergency management plan include prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. The five phases, along with the tenets in each stage are well thought-out, and the natural and human-made disasters in the history of humankind, have been the underlying motivation for the plan. In 2004, the destructive nature of the Asian Tsunami reminded us of the need to adjust our plans to prevent the effects of such incidences. An undersea earthquake triggered this tsunami with its epicenter at the west coast of Indonesia.

The high energy produced by the earthquake formed waves reaching a hundred feet in height, thus destroying properties located on the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean. Some of the nations that sustained the damage from this tsunami included Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Maldives, Australia, and South Africa. Notably, this tsunami resulted in the death of approximately 275000 people and destruction of property valued in the region of $15 million (Dosomething.org, n. d.). Most experts resonated on the observation that this was the most destructive natural disaster experienced for over four decades. Even so, the most worrying thing about this tsunami was not its destructive nature. Rather, analysts claimed that most of the worst affected nations lacked the necessary emergency management plans. Therefore, adopting an effective emergency plan has the potential to prevent American coastal cities from the destructive impacts of undersea earthquakes, which could trigger tsunamis.

Prevention is the initial phase that must be considered when developing an effective emergency management plan. The phase involves protecting the identified city, region, or population from the destructive impacts of natural and human-made disasters. Hiltz, Van de Walle, and Turoff (2014) reveal that this phase seeks to provide permanent protection to the city, although some disasters cannot be prevented. Notably, using effective design standards, environmental planning, and good evacuation plans could potentially scale down the incidences of injuries, deaths, and destruction of properties. For instance, protecting the American coastal city might involve building a wall along the coast to prevent the high waves from going beyond the seashore. However, it might be difficult to settle on the height of the wall. In the Asian tsunami, the earthquake produced high waves with some reaching the height of one hundred feet. One of the challenges at the protection stage is determining the expected magnitude of the disaster. In the case of the American coastal town expected to be hit by a tsunami, it would be much easier if the planners have prior knowledge of the expected magnitude of the waves. In this way, it becomes easy to design the wall and other environmental landscapes that would work to safeguard the city from the waves. Therefore, the uncertainty of natural disasters creates major challenges when designing the landscape to protect the coastal city. However, the protection phase scales down the impacts of human-made disasters by significant margins. In particular, the protection phase would prevent some of the impacts of terrorist attacks on the coastal city. Therefore, the concerned authorities must adopt frameworks with efficacy to thwart human-made disasters. It would be worrying if the city would hardly have protection from the tsunamis induced by natural events but also sustain damages caused by the terrorist attacks. Concisely, redesigning the environmental landscape, adopting new standards, and developing effective evacuation plans all exist in the prevention phase. All these undertakings would raise the potential of eliminating the natural and human-made disasters that might strike the city.

Preparedness is the second phase of developing an effective emergency management plan. Canton (2019) revealed that the preparedness phase is a continuous process that involves cycles of taking corrective action, evaluating, exercising, equipping, training, organizing, and planning. Concisely, this phase entails evaluating the readiness of the relevant authorities and bodies to dealing with emergencies and hazardous incidents that might arise following the occurrence of a natural or human-made disaster. After the occurrence of disasters, the city must have a plan to address the impacts that arise from the incident. In the case of a coastal city, there must be a plan in place to address the injuries and other emergencies that occur after the disaster. For instance, this coastal city will adopt a 10-minute and 30-minute plan to respond to natural and human-made disasters, respectively. The relevant authority will be trained to detect the hazards existing in the affected part of the city within ten and thirty minutes of the occurrence. In that time, the team needs to know the kind of equipment to help in the evacuation of the victims. The relevant authority will conduct periodic drills to evaluate the preparedness of the teams to counter disasters.

Response entails the management and coordination of resources to address the impacts of disasters. Concisely, this phase seeks to provide optimal safety to environment, property, and life in the event of disasters. Canton (2019) states that this phase determines the reaction of the concerned authority to disasters. More importantly, the response of the relevant authority depends on the management of the resources needed to move to the affected areas within the shortest time possible. For the case of the coastal city, this phase will involve ensuring that evacuation equipment, cars, trucks, and other resources are functioning as needed. In this manner, there would be periodic checkup and maintenance of the equipment aimed at ensuring that all the necessary equipment are functional and could facilitate the movement of the teams to the scenes of disaster within the 10-minute and 30-minute response time plan.

Recovery and mitigation are the fourth and fifth phases of the emergency management plan, respectively. Hu and Kapucu (2016) revealed that the recovery phase entails those activities that stretch beyond the emergency time. After the occurrence of disasters, it is essential for the relevant authority to work towards restoring the critical community functions, thus stabilizing society. Notably, this phase ensures that the life of the victims is restored to some degree of normalcy. In this manner, this phase starts immediately after the threat to human life has been eliminated. Therefore, the coastal city must adopt a relevant plan to address the critical functions that had been affected by the disaster. Conversely, the mitigation phase entails those activities aimed at scaling down the loss of life and destruction of property caused by emergencies and disasters. Therefore, this phase involves the adoption of non-structural and structural measures to lessen the impacts of disasters. In this phase, the coastal city could erect a tall wall along the seashore of the city and incept other flood control projects to undermine the impacts of tsunamis.

To conclude, the five phases of disaster management, along with the tenets in each stage are well thought-out, and the natural and human-made disasters in the history of humankind, have been the underlying motivation for the plan. These phases include prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. The relevant authority in the American coastal city must adopt effective measures in each phase to prevent loss of life and destruction of property.


Canton, L. G. (2019). Emergency management: Concepts and strategies for effective programs. Wiley.

Dosomething.org. (n. d.). 11 facts about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Dosomething.org. Retrieved from https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-2004-indian-ocean-tsunami

Hiltz, S. R., Van de Walle, B., & Turoff, M. (2014). The domain of emergency management information. In Information systems for emergency management (pp. 15-32). Routledge.

Hu, Q., & Kapucu, N. (2016). Information communication technology utilization for effective emergency management networks. Public Management Review, 18(3), 323-348.

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