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The identification and analysis of scenarios is where Emergency Preparedness Planning starts. We must know what we are planning for, but we cannot plan for every possible eventuality. Nor can anyone organisation provide the total emergency response: an inter-agency collaboration is fundamental to successful planning and responding.
Several questions in relation to possible scenarios must be asked:
 What are the likely scenarios? Which of these can be addressed?
 Which are the most difficult to manage?
 How many people might be affected?
 With which agencies are we going to collaborate?
 What is our collective capacity to respond?
 In responding, how many people can we care for?
In any scenario the impact on different individuals or communities will vary with their capacity to cope. Probably about 50% will find a haven with friends or relatives: the remainder may require humanitarian assistance.
Scenario complexity in many countries makes it difficult to identify the few scenarios upon which to base the planning. The existence of numerous political, racial, tribal groups or the varying geographic locations, each of which manifests different planning problems, will complicate the process. Even without this level of complexity, finding agreement on the selection of a few scenarios may be elusive.
Where there are different geographic areas, separate planning processes may be desirable. This may be accomplished through different sub groups comprising regional or district agency representatives planning separately while the separate parts are brought together at central level in one Plan with consistent elements. The separate plans will require coordination through the participation in the regional meetings of at least one representative from the central planning committee.
Scenarios. A good start is to brain storm the possibilities for a particular district or area. This must include local people. The result may be:
- tsunami
- floods
- storms and lightening
- fire
- drought
- cyclone
- landslides
- bomb blasts
- coastal erosion
- epidemics
- road/industrial accidents
- local conflicts
- war
- earthquake
- meteorite impact
Risk. At the present time, many groups will start with tsunami, because that is fresh in memory. The list must now be reordered according to the risk of occurrence. „Risk‟ is the likelihood or statistical probability of occurrence. The risk can be determined by studying historical records (with possible input from Geological Survey and Meteorological Departments). Now the list will take on a different order: tsunamis will have a lower risk than floods, and may be placed at the bottom, but above meteorite impact.
Management difficulty. Selection of a few scenarios for immediate preparedness planning can be related to risk of occurrence. Now rearrange the list according to difficulty of management. This will help focus on numbers of people affected. Then select a few scenarios to be covered by the plan. i.e
Heavy rainfall
-- - - -
Breach of dams - - - - -Fire outbreak
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