Emergency mutual aid

bottom up crisis management.

Through the cold war we saw disaster situations managed through large scale civil defence. Even at the end of the cold war the mass migration that followed was handled with a military humanitarianism.

With the rise of global austerity since 2008, civil defense with the care sector in general has been get eroded. Cuts to public services reduce there capacity to respond.

overall the public respond well to disasters, but new formations of disaster management are not without complications.

how can gaps be filled more effectively?

how can training be provided that meets unkown needs?

how do we prevent difficulty from becoming dispair?

I have been doing research through actions. Seeing the migrant crisis as a training ground for the crisis of the future. Working with a mobile footcare clinic and trying to extract the best practice as we moved through the small camps of italy and down to serbia. dealing with medical issues and truck logics

how do we repilcate skilling up?

how do we deal with elite panic? ie large organisations in dissarray due to poor leadership.

how do we get people to thrive in high stress enviroments?

most of us can think of times when we have risen to the challenge of tough situations.

what are the emotions and logistics behind that happening?

relating it to policy ideas

working with at talking to poeple about barriers. not being able to get the time off of work. not being allowed to take 4 weeks at once is very common. Even when they would be developing useful transferable skills.

chronic embitterment within organisations that seem incohernent.

this has been a big issue in the NHS. there is a large intrest in opencare from medical professionals. addressing its internal issues or just giving greater flexibility to the staff would give staff the head space for other projects of intrest.

two interesting posts… & some meaty questions

Thanks @Michael_Dunn for this and your other post on the work of the Golden Trailer - mobile clinic & cinema.

Clearly you’ll have amassed vital practical experience on your travels and it would be good to link up the learning with others in Edgeryders. I really like the notion of ‘Emergency Mutual Aid’ and a very concrete practice of solidarity. I can see how it’s useful to see “the migrant crisis as a training ground for the crisis of the future”.

The questions you raise in both posts seem to fall in to a number of headings: training/upskilling, logistics/coordination, personal resilience. These issues are core to the central enquiry of OpenCare if we are to gather insights to shape a “DIY welfare” network and they resonate with other questions raised in other posts shared on the Edgeryders platform. I could see a useful session - drawing on what you’ve learned and co-enquiry around the questions you’ve outlined - making a meaningful contribution to the Open Village event in October. I can also see that it could sit well in either the Architectures of Love theme or the Working and Living Well Together curated by @Woodbinehealth. It’s natural that there’ll be overlap across all the themes of the festival. @Noemi - what are your thoughts on this?

Under the Architectures theme it would be useful to explore - personal resilience, effective ways to pass on skills (this is also something other theme conversations have picked up on - see here). Logistics/coordination may come in to the considerations about the role of citizen compared to role of the state and appropriate instruments such as policy. I’m not yet clear on this. Perhaps others have some useful perspectives? Your questions would also bring in the dimension of emergency - what does urgency bring to the lines of enquiry the Architectures theme have considered so far?

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Coordination around emergency responses

I think that is a common thread so far: we’ve heard from welcoming refugees in Greece - a lot of which was ad hoc engineered so to speak, to p2p on-call systems which are more structured (and tech based - see BUOY’s / “Call a friend, not the cops”).  I don’t think @Aravella_Salonikidou will join us in Brussels, but maybe someone in her network is interested in connecting with Michael and his footcare mobile clinic?

the migrant crisis as a training ground for the crisis of the future this reads so compelling, thank you Michael for coining it!

I definitely see a session built as an experience/lesson sharing conversation between Michael and others who are doing great work on the ground, and at least someone with a high level overview that understands how the supoort system fails at the coordination and resource allocation level. @Alex_Levene also has been off the grid but hopefully resurfacing soon - Alex do you think someone in Help Refugees would want to join a conversation  framed like this?

Emergency response is something that, in the right situation, communities might do very well.

Already in the 1980s, I recall that an Italian sociologist called Francesco Lanzara observed how, within hours of a major earthquake in southern Italy, one guy had gone out to the main square, in ruins, of a small town that had been flattened by the quake. He carried a large camping stove, a large tank of water, a large bag of coffee and five or six coffee machines. He started offering hot coffee to people digging in the rubble.

Over the following two days, “Quake Café” became a meeting point for people to get organised, plan their effort for the day, hustle for wanted materials, offer help, exchange information (this is 1980, no Twitter). By offering a natural “hub”, Quake Café had enabled a myriad small initiative to happen faster and more efficiently, with a minimal effort. Positive feedback kicked in: the barista himself got more organised, he now had small snacks and a helper. All the while, the state was struggling to get together a response. On the third day, the army moved in, but they had more guns than shovels. They could not much to help, at least initially, but they did order the barista to pack up and go home.

Lanzara was stunned. How was it that local people could stitch together the embryo of a system in a few hours, with no resources, no command power and no coordination tools? And how was it that the mighty machine of the state, who did have resources, command power and organisation, sputtered first and then actually did damage, preventing what was working from continuing operations?

This small episode, and a few others in the same earthquake, spurred a wave of sociological literature that continues to this day. I have only read Lanzara’s 1993 book (in Italian), but not his earlier article in English on the Journal of Management Studies, and not the book by Rebecca Solnit which probably you, @michael_dunn, have in mind.

I am not too optimistic about the possibility to do policy based on these intuition. They are by definition anti-policy. But I may be wrong, and for sure would be interested in hearing your reflections from the work done with the mobile clinic.

policy ultimately in declaring what your responsible for, planning and prevention. welfare state models of civil defense.

effective welfare states can prevent disasters entirely 90%