Marrakech Earthquake 2023: 5 Lessons in Disaster Preparedness and Resilience
From a Business Continuity Consultants perspective
The deadly earthquake that struck Marrakech, Morocco, on September 8, 2023, resulted in a tragic loss of life, with at least 2,100 people dead and 2,500 injured by September 11, 2023. The earthquake, along with ongoing aftershocks, caused significant damage to property and disrupted normal livelihoods and businesses in this bustling city, renowned for its markets and shopping in the old city, Medina.
The Need for Disaster Preparedness
This devastating event underscores the importance of enterprise risk management and business continuity in the face of natural disasters. Earthquakes are just one example of the various natural disasters that can disrupt cities, including tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, landslides, volcanoes, wildfires, and more. Therefore, it is crucial for both governments and organizations to prepare comprehensively to minimize loss of life and property and respond effectively when such disasters occur.
- Conducting Risk Assessments: Governments and organizations must regularly conduct risk assessments specific to their regions, considering historical data and expert opinions.
- Customized Disaster Preparedness Plans: Develop tailored disaster preparedness and response plans outlining procedures, roles, and responsibilities for various scenarios.
- Resource Allocation: Adequate resources should be allocated, and early warning systems established to provide timely information to the public. These systems may include seismometers, tsunami detection buoys, weather forecasting, river and rain gauges, radar, and satellite technology.
Community Engagement and Resilient Infrastructure
Engaging communities and educating staff within organizations is vital for enhancing preparedness efforts. Investing in resilient infrastructure, such as earthquake-resistant buildings, flood-resistant facilities, elevated roads, and backup power systems, helps mitigate the impact of disasters.
Effective Response and Cooperation
In response to disasters, effective multi-agency cooperation and crisis management teams are essential for evacuation and shelter planning. International collaboration, as seen in Morocco’s case with assistance from countries like the UK, UAE, Qatar, Spain, and France, can significantly aid in search and rescue operations.
To build resilience, governments should update legislation and allocate funds for disaster management. Organizations should establish documented policies, procedures, and plans related to enterprise risk management, business continuity, emergency response, and disaster recovery. Additionally, providing psychological support for survivors is crucial for their well-being in the aftermath of disasters.
In conclusion, the Marrakech earthquake serves as a tragic reminder of the importance of proactive disaster preparedness and resilience-building measures. Both governments and organizations must work diligently to protect lives, property, and the continuity of essential services when facing the ever-present threat of natural disasters.
ARTICLE AUTHORED BY
Mr. EMMANUEL WABWIRE
CONSULTANT – BUSINESS CONTINUITY AND ENTERPRISE RISK
SENTINEL AFRICA CONSULTING