Disaster and Risk Mitigation in Athens, Georgia

Georgia is a state that is prone to natural disasters. The critical infrastructure in Athens has been developed in a way that light and mild disasters cannot cause much harm and destruction. The city of Athens is prone to many natural disasters and man-made disasters alike. It is prone to earthquakes, floods, storms and fires as well as terrorist attacks (Agency, 2017). The number of people who live in Athens are estimated to be around one hundred and ninety three thousand people. This number puts the city in a situation where the eventuality of a natural disaster is difficult to effectively mitigate. The terrain of Athens has a lot of variations, there are plains that are prone to heavy flooding, water bodies in form of rivers and streams. The city also has constructions that have been put up to cushion it against damage during storms.  This kind of terrain is highly prone to natural disasters. The political status of Athens has been rigid for a long time. The voters always work along racial lines (Grimmes: Republicans haven’t really Chnaged Georgia Politics, 2013). The citizens voted Barak Obama while all the other cities around them voted for Romney the republican candidate.

The risk portfolio of Athens is very high. The area’s proximity to the ocean exposes it to floods and storms. The areas that do not flood are prone to wildfires disasters. These array of disasters makes Athens the right area to use as a case study for disaster management in relation to the Department of Homeland security jurisdictions. Athens is also a high-value terror target because it is home to most of the racial composition of the city. The list of the risk factors that Athens is prone to comes naturally because it has been reported to be one of the most affected places in the United States by earthquakes, floods, storms and wild fires. Athens has a low population which makes it easy to plan for risk management. However, where the lives of people are concerned there can never be enough preparation.

The local hazard mitigation plan has been active in finding ways of dealing with the disasters that occur in Athens. There are measures that have been put in place to prevent the disasters that can be prevented. The local hazard mitigation has mastered the areas that get most affected by the disasters that strike Athens.  The city of Athens has been affected by disasters like Hurricane Katrina. During such situations, the people act in panic and end up slowing down rescue operations because they jam the roads making them impassible (Agency, 2017). The Department of Homeland Security assessments is necessary in Athens to ensure that the federal government takes the concerns of the local authorities seriously. For instance, the department of Homeland Security is supposed to be in charge of the safety of the American citizen (Bellevita, 2011). In Athens, the department has to be aware of the situations that could crop as a result of natural and manmade disasters. The input of the Department could bring the required attention to the risk situation in Athens given its history with devastating disasters. 

The most critical facilities in Athens are the transport and communication facilities as well as the storm water constructions that are spread throughout the city. These two facilities work hand in hand to develop a system that can be used to effectively manage a disaster when it occurs. In the case of floods, the transport facility has to be effective in order to help the local hazard mitigation plans to be effected. The transport and communication systems have to be considered when disaster mitigation plans are put together. The local hazard mitigation body in Athens works under the Georgia Department of public health. This department has taken care of all possible disasters in terms of preparedness and even has emergency housing plans and humans services catered for (Health, 2017). The local hazard mitigation plan has space for working with other bodies to reinforce their plans and ensure that the disaster management is effective and adequate.

When a flood, forest fire or earthquake occurs, the transportation will be affected. An earthquake may destroy roads and trigger mudslides that will block those which have not been destroyed. This is a situation whereby the rescue teams have been adequately trained and equipped but they cannot gain access to the places where people need their services. The transport and communication systems can render the whole disaster area inaccessible if they fail which what happens usually when a disaster strikes. The storm water construction have to be well renovated from time to time to ensure they are in good condition and prevent failure when there is a storm.

Floods usually leave people homeless and displaced. In extreme cases people die when floods occur.  The recovery period after a flood is usually a very long time which requires that transport and communication systems work effectively. Forest fires on the other hand are detrimental to the environment and it is impossible to fully recover the dame caused. The same applies to mudslides. The only disaster that is possible to remedy is drought. When a drought area is well irrigated and forested gradually, the drought situation gets elevated. 

In this case, the infrastructures of communication and transport are important in making the process of managing these disasters. The communication allows the people on the ground to relay the information as it is to the people with the ability to help the situation. The transport system makes it possible for evacuation procedures to be conducted as well as medical, fire and security services to access the disaster struck areas.

The probable cascading effects of the disaster to the local area with regards to transport. The transportation infrastructure if affected by a disaster in Athens may present challenges to business in the whole state. There may be states that rely on the Athens’ roads to transport their products from the Atlantic Ocean harbors. When the transport in the state of Athens has been committed to managing the disaster that has occurred like when the dams threatened to break banks and flood part of the states, the business in other states will have to be stopped. The disaster situation in Athens can also cause international disturbance. The stretch of Athens that is along the beach is significant. It connects that United States to other nations. Such a long stretch means that it is a popular tourist destination and home to several ports. When Hurricane Katrina hit the state of Georgia business was lost, people lost lives and property. Some have never recovered their homes since the disaster struck.

References

Agency, G. E. (2017, April 30). Georgia Disaster History. Retrieved from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency: www.gema.ga.gov/Recovery/Pages/ga_disaster_history.aspx

Bellevita, C. (2011, August 11). The Challenges of Developing a Homeland Security Discipline to Meet Future Threats to the Homeland. Retrieved from Homeland Security Watch: www.hlswatch.com/2011/08/08/the-challenges-of-developina-homeland-security-discipline-to-meet-the-future-threats-to-the-homeland

Grimmes: Republicans haven’t really Chnaged Georgia Politics. (2013, June 3). Retrieved from Online Athens: onlineathens.com/opinion/2013-06-03/grimes-republicsna-haven’t-really-changed-georgia-politics

Health, P. (2017, April 30). Emergency Preparedness and Response. Retrieved from Public Health: www.publichealthathens.com/prepare/

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