Home Emergency Management News Tsunami Preparedness and Non-Profit Organizations: Filling in the Gaps

Tsunami Preparedness and Non-Profit Organizations: Filling in the Gaps


By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

The Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 was unbelievably devastating.  After a 9.3 magnitude earthquake, hundreds of thousands of people were lost in a matter of minutes when a tsunami struck several countries. Since then, books have been written about the disaster and what could have been done to prevent such widespread tragedy.

In the aftermath of the tsunami, many non-profit organizations continue to come together to provide support and to prevent such widespread disasters from occurring again. One of the organizations that is working to have a positive effect on Sumatra after the terrible tsunami is SurfAid. The organization is providing numerous means of support that will help numerous communities to remain resilient after a disaster strikes. The work of non-profit organizations is essential for how it compliments the work of the government to help keep communities resilient.

The Importance of Non-Profit Organizations

There are a lot of arguments in the public administration literature arguing for the importance of non-profit organizations when it comes to emergency management. Certainly during the management of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the coordination of multiple organizations was needed to effectively handle the situation.  Of course, there are several factors that directly contribute to the overall effectiveness and coordination of organizations in the midst of a disaster. Non-profit organizations contribute to this mix providing support where government agencies may not be able to provide support. Further, non-profit agencies are simply part of the collaboration when managing a disaster.

SurfAid, Unicef and Tsunami Preparedness

SurfAid is an organization that works to “bring positive change to communities.” Their efforts include developing evacuation routes and conducting disaster drills. They also work with communities to develop disaster plans. They have participated in the emergency management efforts of several tsunamis. The assistance SurfAid provides both in the preparedness and response phases of emergency management has a tremendous effect on the communities they serve. Unicef is another organization working to assist in preparedness and response efforts.  Unicef worked to help in numerous ways during the relief efforts following the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Some of these efforts included distributing non-emergency food items, and providing drinking water to tsunami victims.  Organizations like SurfAid and Unicef are essential in helping to manage the ensuing crisis.  Together, they help to provide relief efforts. Further, they add a dimension of community resiliency working to tighten the emergency management efforts when a crisis occurs.

Non-profit organizations are essential to the overall management of an emergency, but also to the development of a community’s resiliency. Without non-profit organizations, many essential programs for emergency management may not be as strong as they are with them.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.