Project Management

Haiti: A Crisis Management Nightmare (Part 2)

Bob Weinstein is a journalist who covers technology, project management, the workplace and career development.

In the first week following the Haiti earthquake, it wasn’t possible for holistic strategic coordination to take place among the myriad multilateral, bilateral and NGO assistance organizations, according to Eric C. Martin--an associate professor of management at Eastern Connecticut State University who played a leading role in coordination of development assistance in Bosnia in 1999.
“You need to know a lot about the situation on the ground and the activities of all key stakeholders before you can coordinate effectively,” he explains. “You need to be able to hold a meeting, gather contact information, make plans.”
Complicating the matter is that it’s impossible to divide search-and-rescue efforts geographically because new teams are arriving in Haiti every day, Martin adds. When there’s little idea of what to expect, how does someone on the ground reallocate resources? It can’t be done, thus making strategic coordination of resources an impossible task. It’s easy to understand how new rescue teams wonder why ground rescue efforts lack coordination.
Media distortion doesn’t help
Rescue efforts are further complicated by poor news coverage, adds Mark Ghilarducci, vice president, western region, of Washington, D.C.-based crisis management firm James Lee Witt & Associates. Many of the on-site reporters focused on…

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