Every so often, disasters occur around the world when they are the least expected. They also occur in different magnitudes, each with its own consequences and effects. For such reasons, many nations and institutions engage in emergency and disaster management activities. The latter are aimed at developing plans for mitigating the country’s susceptibility to disasters and concurrently aid in coping with them (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2008). In addition, disaster management is focused on the manner in which the relevant authorities respond to disaster strikes. This paper evaluates how the local, provincial authorities and the central government in Spain responded to the terrorist attack in Madrid, discusses what went wrong, and also illustrates what proved effective in the response to the attack and the recovery from the mass casualty incidents.
Madrid Terrorist Bombings
The Madrid terrorist bombings that occurred on March 11, 2004, were considered the deadliest attacks that had ever taken place in Spain. The disaster involved four trains and was perpetrated using explosives. It had occurred only three days before the 2004 elections in Spain. This mass casualty tragedy presented a very difficult situation for the relevant Spanish authorities in responding to the disaster because it involved a large number of victims and therefore required massive medical and disaster control resources (Thompson, Rehn, Lossius, & Lockey, 2014). Because of this, the local medical resources were not enough for such a large number of victims, who suffered severe injuries.
What Went Wrong
The emergency response to the disaster was overall adequate. Over seventy-thousand personnel were available to provide care for the victims of the tragedy. However, there were multiple security and communication problems experienced at the scenes of the tragedy. It made it difficult for the medical personnel to identify quickly, secure and provide treatment to victims (Goldschmitt & Bonvino, 2009). Specialists could not open the closed train doors using the lifting and cutting equipment first available at the place of the tragedy. It increased the number of on-scene fatalities since trapped victims could not be reached in time. In addition, there were substantial miscommunication problems between the rescue team personnel and the nearest hospitals. It increased the number of in-hospital deaths.
What Was Effective in the Response to the Mass Casualty Incidents
There was a very quick response by the EMS and evacuation team at the scene of the tragedy. It facilitated the rapid commencement of the rescue service with those critically injured being rushed to the nearest medical facilities. In addition, the closest hospitals were large enough to accommodate numerous patients who had severe injuries. Moreover, they were well equipped and had sufficient resources, which had been preserved for emergencies (Goldschmitt & Bonvino, 2009). Due to the support of over seventy-thousand medical personnel available at the scene, many victims received urgent treatment.
What Was Effective in the Recovery from the Mass Casualty Incidents
Several factors aided in the recovery process of victims. Among them, there was an exceptional response by the public, who crowded medical institutions, as well as mobile blood donation divisions. They provided more than sufficient blood to those in need of blood transfusions for several days. Moreover, there was overwhelming support from the nation facilitated by the Spanish government, other states such as the United States, as well as such communities as the European Union. It was done through the provision of emergency funding and the use of other state-owned resources (Goldschmitt & Bonvino, 2009). The deceased victims of the incident were also transferred to the IFEMA Convention Center in Madrid where they could be identified by their relatives.
The development of emergency and disaster management plans is a very important activity for any government, institution or nation because it provides a blueprint of procedures to be employed when a tragedy occurs. They are also used to minimize the effects of the disaster on the community. As discussed above, through their adequate level of preparedness, the local, provincial authorities and the central government managed to mitigate the aftermath of the terrorist attacks because of adequate medical and evacuation resources that were available when the attack occurred. In addition, the nearby hospitals were large and possessed apt resources and the personnel to care for victims.