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Disasters and Emergency Planning Importance

Introduction

Disaster and emergency planning is vital for every state to provide safety of its citizens as well as visitors. Traditionally, a National Risk Register is a document that identifies possible risks and treats of different nature. Moreover, such registers evaluate the risks according to their probability and consequences for a country. As for the State of Qatar, the reduction of disaster risk is one of national priorities. This report provides the analysis of disasters and emergencies that can be faced by the State of Qatar and thus can be included in the National Risk Register. In addition, such a register can contribute to the creation of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Plan, which can be applied to control these risks and plan mitigation strategies.

Aim & Objectives

Current report is expected to contribute to the development of National Risk Register for the State of Qatar and has the following objectives:

  • To determine ten types of disasters and emergencies that the State of Qatar is likely to experience
  • To evaluate the determined risks according to their contingency and criticalness of their consequences
  • To study the determined risks with consideration of historical information, current mitigation methods, and lead agencies that are expected to deal with disasters and emergencies
  • To provide arguments for inclusion of the mentioned disasters and emergencies to the National Risk Register of the State of Qatar.

Scope

The current report comprises the most important disasters and emergencies that are recommended for inclusion to the National Risk Register of the State of Qatar. Every risk is assessed as for its probability in current conditions. Also, all the risks are described and historical information is included. Moreover, this document comprises possible activities that can be used to mitigate the consequences of the disasters and emergencies under consideration. Finally, the report provides basic information about agencies in charge of the mentioned disasters and emergencies. However, the current report is not intended to analyze every emergency or disaster in detail as well as to suggest safety interventions.

Risk Assessment Methodology

The major factors applied in the risk assessment methodology for this report are the probability of emergency or disaster as well as their outcomes. A risk matrix is used to correlate the selected disasters and emergencies and empower the assessment of their danger for the country (see Figure 1). The probability or likelihood of a disaster or emergency can be categorized from almost certain to rare while consequences or outcomes are ranged from marginal to severe.

Thus, a disaster that is almost certain to happen and will have from moderate to severe consequences, it is marked red in the matrix, which means that it has a high risk. At the same time, a disaster that is unlikely or rare for Qatar and will have marginal or minor consequences has low risk and is marked green. The medium risks of different likelihood and severity of consequences are marked yellow.

The example of risk matrix used for assessment.
Figure 1. The example of risk matrix used for assessment.

Risk Assessment

Within this report, the following ten disasters and emergencies are suggested to be included in the National Risk Register of the State of Qatar. They are placed in the risk matrix according to their likelihood and severity of outcomes for the State of Qatar (see Figure 2).

  • H1. Extreme weather
  • H2. Accidents with oil and gas
  • H3. Outbreak of infectious diseases
  • H4. Flood
  • H5. Fire
  • H6. Transport accidents
  • H7. Storms
  • H8. Nuclear plant accidents
  • H9. Terroristic attack
  • H10. Earthquake
Risk matrix for emergencies and disasters in the State of Qatar.
Figure 2. Risk matrix for emergencies and disasters in the State of Qatar.

Findings

The selected disasters and emergencies were studied and analyzed within the suggested risk matrix. The following section provides some details about every risk for the State of Qatar.

H1. Extreme Weather

One of the most significant risks in Qatar is extreme weather due to the climate of the country (‘Qatar weather, climate and geography’ 2018, para. 2). This factor is highly hazardous since it can stimulate a diversity of other disasters and emergencies and thus increase the impact of negative outcomes. For example, heat that is typical of Qatar has a negative impact on population’s health as well as increases the risk of fires or explosions.

Extreme Weather

Historical information

Generally, hot weather is typical of Qatar as well as other states in the Middle East countries. Despite attention of the state to this problem and active promotion of safety measures, there are cases of negative consequences for individuals who have to work outside during the day. For example, workers involved in construction of facilities for 2022 World Cup suffer from extreme heat and some lethal outcomes were registered.

Current mitigation methods

Government supports programs that promote regular water consumption as well as avoiding leaving home without necessity during the period of extreme heat. Mitigation can be improved by attracting more public attention to this risk factor.

Extreme Weather

Lead agencies

Qatar Meteorology Department.

Supporting agencies

Public and volunteer organizations.

H2. Accidents with Oil and Gas

Another risk that should be considered in Qatar is accidents during gas and oil production such as oil or gas leakage. Since Qatar is one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the world, it is under the risk of oil spill, which, in turn, is hazardous for both environment and people involved in this industry.

Accidents with Oil and Gas

Historical information

The State of Qatar is aware of the importance of environmental safety and invests in safety of oil and gas industry. Attention of government to this problem results in absence of serious oil or gas spills in Qatar.

Current mitigation methods

The major role in mitigation of gas or oil leakage in Qatar belongs to the companies involved in the industry. For example, Qatar Petroleum organized the Oil Spill and Emergency Response Department, which is in charge of all accidents related to oil spills.

Lead agencies

Ministry of Energy and Industry of Qatar.

Supporting agencies

Qatar Petroleum.

The Oil Spill and Emergency Response Department.

H3. Outbreak of Infectious Diseases

In conditions of extreme heat, infectious disease outbreak is a hazard that should be considered by the State of Qatar. It has a high likelihood and can lead to major outcomes for the country. The major factor that favors quick spread of infectious diseases is hot climate and viruses can be brought by individuals who come to the county on business or as tourists.

Historical information

At present, Qatar does not face any significant disease outbreaks. Still, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus is one of the hazards, which is currently successfully mitigated.

Outbreak of Infectious Diseases

Current mitigation methods

Currently, control over the cases of communicable diseases is one of the most effective mitigation methods applied in Qatar. Promotion of vaccination against infectious diseases can increase the effectiveness of mitigation strategies.

Lead agencies

The Supreme Council of Health.

Supporting agencies

Health care centers.

H4. Flood

Flood is one of the few natural disasters that can happen in Qatar. Usually, it is caused by rainfalls, which are characteristic of the climate in Qatar as well as other Middle East countries.

Flood

Historical information

A recent flood in Qatar was observed in autumn of 2018 when almost a year’s volume of rain fell in one day, which collapsed ground and air transport and flooded buildings (‘Qatar drenched by floods’ 2018, para. 2).

Current mitigation methods

The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning is intended to model floods, which will improve their mitigation and minimize negative influence on environment and economy of the country.

Lead agencies

Qatar Meteorology Department.

Supporting agencies

Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.

H5. Fire

Fire belongs to mild risks according to the risk matrix. Nevertheless, it can lead to serious consequences when it affects houses or public buildings. A particular danger for Qatar in the context of fire is hot weather, which increases the risk of fires.

Fire

Historical information

The majority of fires in Qatar that were most dangerous for people were registered in inhabited areas and big shopping malls (‘Industrial area fire destroys warehouse’ 2014, para. 1).

Current mitigation methods

A strategy of fire consequences mitigation in Qatar includes creation of fire protection plans that involve fire alarm as well as firefighting. This approach is expected to improve mitigation of fire consequences due to quicker reaction to an emergency situation.

Lead agencies

Civil Defense Department.

Supporting agencies

Fire protection departments in cities and towns.

H 6. Transport Accidents

Despite a well-developed transport infrastructure, transport accidents still make a mild risk for Qatar. Nevertheless, mortality in these accidents is relatively low, and the state makes efforts to reduce the incidence of emergencies related to transport.

Transport Accidents

Historical information

Most of the transport accidents in Qatar are the result of not abiding the traffic law and exceeding the speed limits.

Current mitigation methods

At present, the major approach to reduction and prevention of traffic accidents is their analysis and explanation of causes.

Lead agencies

General Directorate of Traffic.

Supporting agencies

Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.

H 7. Storms

Due to its location, Qatar can be affected by dust and sand storms. These disasters are caused by strong wind and lead to poor visibility. Moreover, they can have a negative effect on the population’s health stimulating allergies and respiratory infections.

Storms

Historical information

Dust and sand storms are typical of Qatar but in case of the necessary precautions, they do not lead to major consequences.

Current mitigation methods

The promotion of precautions helps to mitigate the negative effect of sand and dust storms.

Lead agencies

Qatar Meteorology Department.

Supporting agencies

Emergency Departments.

H8. Nuclear Plant Accident

Nuclear plant accidents belong to the most dangerous disasters because of exposure to radiation. Still, this type of accidents is unlikely to happen in Qatar due to efficient safety systems and careful use of nuclear energy. Therefore, this disaster is of mild risk for the country.

Historical information

There are no cases of nuclear power plants accidents in Qatar.

Current mitigation methods

Qatar is making effort to use nuclear power safely on the whole and reduce application of highly enriched uranium in their power plants.

Lead agencies

Ministry of Energy and Industry.

Supporting agencies

Safety departments at nuclear power plants.

H9. Terrorist Attack

Terroristic attacks, while being highly dangerous, are not likely to happen in Qatar. Despite previous experience of financial support of terrorist organizations in the region, Qatar is currently contributing to fighting terrorism.

Historical information

Within a recent decade, there were no cases of significant terrorist attacks in the country. Even considering the support of terrorism by Qatar, the state itself is not the goal of terrorist organizations at the moment.

Current Mitigation Methods

Qatar is participating in the counter-extremism project, which is aimed to shorten the terrorism rates worldwide on the whole and in the Middle East in particular.

Lead agencies

National Counter-Terrorism Committee

Supporting agencies

Anti-Terrorist Financing Centre.

H 10. Earthquake

Generally, Qatar is a country that is not frequently affected by natural disasters. Earthquake is a dangerous natural disaster that can have severe outcomes for population, but it has a low likelihood in Qatar. Therefore, this disaster is a low risk for the state.

Historical information

There are no records of earthquakes of high magnitude in Qatar. Still, the country feels the earthquakes in the neighboring countries (Anderson 2018, para. 1). Nevertheless, they do not cause significant outcomes.

Current mitigation methods

At present, Qatar Seismic Network is in charge of any seismic activity on the territory of the country to control it and predict earthquakes.

Lead agencies

Qatar Meteorological Department.

Supporting agencies

Qatar Seismic Network.

Conclusion

Qatar is at risk of diverse emergencies and disasters of both natural and man-made. Still, their outcomes can be reduced in case of effective mitigation strategies that can be developed due to an effective National Risk Register that considers peculiarities of the State of Qatar. There are many factors that influence disasters and emergencies in the country. Thus, climate and economic activity lead to such major risks as extreme weather and accidents with oil and gas.

Moreover, the combination of these risks can lead to more serious disasters because oils leakage in conditions of extreme heat can trigger explosions and fires. Also, the spread of infectious diseases, which is a serious risk factor, becomes more hazardous because of high temperatures. One of the mild risks that can have moderate outcomes is flood, which is the result of the country’s climate.

Fires and transport accidents are the emergencies that make mild risks and can be prevented. Storms are natural disasters that are not pleasant but their negative effect can be mitigated. Finally, nuclear plant accidents, terrorist attacks as well as earthquakes are the emergencies that are less likely to happen in Qatar. Still, it is important to consider their possible negative effect because some cases can lead to negative consequences.

References

Anderson, R 2018, ‘Earthquake felt in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait’, Gulf Business. Web.

Industrial area fire destroys warehouse’ 2014, Qatar Living. Web.

‘Qatar drenched by floods as almost a year’s rain falls in one day’ 2018, Middle East Eye. Web.

Qatar weather, climate and geography’ 2018, World Travel Guide. Web.