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Collaborative governance in international disasters: Nargis cyclone in Myanmar and Sichuan earthquake in China cases

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Systemic problems have long prevailed and plagued the international disaster relief scene. Despite the reformatory efforts of the United Nations (UN), the international disaster management system does not have a well-integrated approach to ensure successful coordination of disaster management operations among its relief and partner organisations. This paper analyses the current structure of international disaster management and the UN reform initiatives to improve the coordination structure and identifies the main actors in the international disaster management system. Comparing the May 2008 cases of the Nargis cyclone in Myanmar and the China earthquake in Sichuan province, this paper analyses the issues related to coordination and collaboration between the international relief organisations. The Myanmar cyclone and the Sichuan Earthquake cases are characterised by very different response patterns. The analytical model helps in understanding the striking differences in response from the international system to the two events.

Keywords: international disaster management, network analysis, network governance, boundary spanning, multi-organisational disaster response, emergency management, collaborative governance, collaboration, coordination structure, cyclones, earthquakes, China, crisis management, international relief organisations, relief agencies, Myanmar cyclone, Sichuan earthquake, modelling, response patterns

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