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Crisis Communications Analysis of Saudi Ministry of Health

Autor:   •  April 15, 2016  •  Term Paper  •  2,307 Words (10 Pages)  •  447 Views

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Introduction

In the 24th of December in 2015, a fire started in one of public hospitals in Saudi Arabia. The hospital is called Jazan General Hospital, in Jazan city located in the southwestern region. It is a governmental hospital that belongs to the ministry of health of Saudi Arabia.

The fire was tragic, caused the death of 25 people and 127 injuries. The crisis grabbed media attention and different official entities in Saudi Arabia.

This report will describe the situation and analyze the communication management of this crisis, how the ministry handled it, the communication effectiveness and some ethical issues. In addition, the report will provide some recommendations to handle such crisis.

Situation Description

Crisis Situation Overview

The hospital in which the fire happened is located in the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia. That region has a low population number. The fire started early morning on Thursday, the 24th of December 2015. The tragedy is high, as 25 people died and 127 were injured. The numbers are big and that caused the incident to be considered as a national disaster.

People in social media such as Tiwtter and Facebook started talking about the fire. Videos and pictures were spread around and people shared them. Some citizens volunteered to rescue people from the fire and help in evacuation.

Initial response from the ministry was to acknowledge the fire incident. It stated also that the evacuation of children was successful and all children were rescued.

A later announcement from the ministry is to assign a call center number for patients’ families to call and ask about patients’ situation.

A TV interview with the general manager of health affairs in Jazan was conducted on the same day. The manager claimed that the building was prepared with the safety requirements and standards, although the interviewer challenged him and showed some documents that states the opposite.

The newly assigned minister, Khalid Al-Faleh, was interviewed after that on the location of the crisis. He criticized those who volunteered to rescue people and claimed that they made the crisis worse as they obstructed civil defense and government officials to do their work. This criticism was not received well by the public. The minister had been in the ministry for only 8 months before the crisis.

Some witnesses claimed that some emergency exits of the hospital were locked up by chains. People were not able to evacuate the building because these exits were locked. However, the ministry denied this information.

Few days after the crisis, families of victims who died in the fire refused to sign on papers of corpse receipt. They talked to the media and said those papers do not tell the truth. The papers said the reason of death is

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