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  The response of public authorities to a local emergency: the Demerara Road incident
 
 
Titel: The response of public authorities to a local emergency: the Demerara Road incident
Auteur: David F. Brown
Timothy Mooleedhar
Verschenen in: Human systems management
Paginering: Jaargang 17 (2001) nr. 1 pagina's 49-62
Jaar: 2001-04-01
Inhoud: The fact that public health, environment and settlement issues are inevitably linked is especially obvious when an emergency situation occurs. At these times a wide range of government agencies may be called upon to collaborate on providing both emergency response and ensuring that the situation does not re-occur. The effectiveness of public authorities in rising to the occasion often reflects the administrative structure and operational mentality of each organisation. This case study traces the response of public authorities in Trinidad and Tobago to the discovery that the vast majority of residents in a squatter settlement, known as Demerara Road, had been subjected to lead poisoning due to the use of toxic waste as landfill. While initially the issue was treated as a health problem, the medical authorities soon realised that the matter would have to be dealt with as a settlement and land pollution issue. As the perception of the solution to the problem moved from immediate health care to evacuation, permanent resettlement and land decontamination, many other ministries, and the Cabinet itself, became involved. Time also played a role. Currently, more than four years after the discovery of the poisoning, both the residents and the contaminated soil are still in place at Demerara Road. This paper examines the role that various agencies played in resolving the problem. Special attention is given to differences in the way the issue was perceived and the mandate, resources, strategies and apparent values of key agencies. Conclusions are presented concerning the need for a strategic approach to emergency response, the need for balanced, specialised agencies that are linked through effective communication and co-ordination, and supported by appropriate environmental and settlement policy.
Uitgever: IOS Press
Bronbestand: Elektronische Wetenschappelijke Tijdschriften
 
 

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