American Red Cross (ARC) which is a humanitarian organization responded to a crisis such as Hurricane Harvey that recently hit Louisiana and Texas by having vigorous response capabilities that allow the team to provide their assistance significantly without compromising the needs of the victims. ARC has many trained disaster workers who are employed in the affected states to offer their services that also include monitoring both physical and mental health of victims. Since this was a huge disaster, ARC responded by deploying various Red Cross societies around the world from Colombia, Finland, and Spain to help victims come back to their normal lives as soon as possible..
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They also work together with other organizations such as FEMA who ensure that food and medical supplies reach victims in every affected state. The team worked closely with disaster victims and other neighboring states that were yet to be affected by educating them on how to develop emergency plans such as preparing emergency kits, replenishing their food supplies, having flashlights, first aid kits and medication in their houses and taking pictures of their pets.
All these efforts were suggested to enable the response team to a recovery of people and their pets with the health status they are in after the disaster as their pictures will be readily recognized. ARC responded to the Hurricane Harvey by assessing the situation to establish the scope of the crisis and determine which approach was the best to use for such scenario since it was spreading to different states very fast. Communication during the crisis has been of important to the organization as each member provides their report to the team spokesperson to be able to evaluate the information and decide on how much the detail of information is appropriate for the media and other people to prevent misinformation. ARC makes sure that victims are respected and compassionately addressed to avoid suffering from stress-related diseases such as depression. Psychologists, therefore, talk to these victims throughout their recovery process. They make sure that the information about missing relatives is precise, accurate and conveyed in a comforting manner (Sellnow & Seeger, 2013).
The organization, however, did not manage to efficiently respond to victims of Hurricane Harvey, most victims were unable to get assistance at the time they needed Red Cross the most. Their phone calls were not going through and in some areas they failed to show up despite them promising people that they would be back to help them. Their communication was not prompt and credible. In as much as there were donations to be distributed to the victims, ARC was unable to help the victims and they majorly attributed it to the fact that there was poor coordinated communication among staffs and lack of proper planning and preparation for disaster response (Justin & Decca, 2017).If there had been satellites installed in areas where phone calls could not be reached, then other volunteer staffs could have been able to communicate with the senior team and let them know of how the situation on the ground.
The shelters that were provided at the unused district building hosting almost 400 people for the three days the shelter was opened. It only had two volunteers who were inexperienced and did not know how to manage the housing provided. The food supplied by ARC was not sufficient, and some that were provided as ready to eat had gone bad already. Many people were emotionally stressed as some of their family members were still missing and they were not getting the necessary information that they needed (Lindsey, 2017). Many people were disappointed by the fact that ARC was nowhere to be seen when they were needed yet they had assumed that they were adequately prepared to respond to such disaster because they had adequate resources to execute the operations.
ARC has also been accused of mismanaging the funds that are collected for every catastrophe that occurs which does not reflect the help they provide to disaster victims. The foods given to victims are insufficient while their officials get to spend their night in luxurious hotels. These revelations raised many questions to the public and the donors as to whether to continue donating to ARC or not as they do not see their donations being utilized efficiently (Lindsey, 2017).To effectively respond to hurricane Harvey, ARC could have had a plan and implemented different strategies on how to respond to such crisis.
Planning different scenarios of a wide range of crisis that can occur and being flexible to the responses so that in case of any uncertainty, for example if food and other essentials cannot be distributed to victims due to inaccessible roads, ARC workers and volunteers can still use helicopters to reach the victims. To resolve communication issues, they should have many workers who respond to the calls made by people. Installation of satellites where there were network problems could have been of great significance in responding to the victims as people from different states could have been reached easily.
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