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How Networks Impact the Myanmar, China Disaster Responses

June 4, 2008

The recent disasters in China and Myanmar underline the network aspects of the crisis response, says emergency management expert Donald Moynihan, associate professor at the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Organizations from all over the world are trying to work together to provide basic services. Their capacity to succeed depends a good deal on the level of cooperation they receive from the governments of China and Myanmar.

“In Myanmar, in particular, the government has obstructed the flow of information about the scope of the problem, and has prevented aid organizations from establishing a coordinated approach,” Moynihan says.

“The government has, in effect, weakened the ability of responders to learn about the nature and location of needs, and to understand how they can best combine forces with other responders,” he adds. “The lack of trust the government has shown toward aid agencies has weakened the range of skills and resources the crisis network can bring to bear to respond to the situation.”

Moynihan has just published the book “The Dynamics of Performance Management: Constructing Information and Reform.” He also has expertise on how emergency responders learn from their performance during and after crises.

Moynihan is available to speak with reporters about international crisis response and can be reached at (608) 263-6633, dmoynihan@lafollette.wisc.edu.

FROM: Karen Faster, (608) 263-7657, kfaster@lafollette.wisc.edu

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