Examines how public officials in the US, China, Japan, and Indonesia have interacted with communities affected by natural disasters.
Survival in times of disaster is a question of utmost importance to both the victims of those events and to the professionals and people in authority who are there to serve them. In Disaster Emergency Management, Liza Ireni Saban examines what leads some nations, communities, and individuals to rise to the occasion during these times of trauma, while others do not. Utilizing case studies of China, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States, she focuses in particular on the dilemma faced by local emergency officials who, rather than elected officials, find themselves "on the front lines," suddenly confronted with complex public problems. Recent studies have pointed to a breakdown of government and bureaucratic decision making in the face of intense crisis situations. Saban demonstrates the inadequacies of grappling with what are in truth contested ethical issues within a framework whose approach is technical-rational. She draws on communitarian ethics to redefine the role of the bureaucrat so that community resilience, through attention to local values and needs, is fostered prior to the actual crisis.
Liza Ireni Saban is Senior Lecturer in the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel. She is the coauthor (with Alberto Spektorowski) of Politics of Eugenics: Productionism, Population, and National Welfare.