Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 02/11/2015

AFTERSHOCK in Springfield


While Missouri might be better known for tornadoes than tremors,* last week Missouri State University was the scene of a major earthquake—or, more accurately, a game of AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game, sponsored by the Department of Political Science.

At first the earthquake seemed to overwhelm aid teams from Carana, the United Nations, the NGO community, and the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Task Force, but as they became more organized and the volume of relief supplies grew they all made increasingly good progress. HADR-TF moved quickly to repair Galasi International Airport. They were rather slower to repair the Galasi port, which caused some friction with the government. A cholera outbreak in District 2 was quickly contained and dealt with. Rapid needs assessment was complimented by more in-depth surveys in several districts, facilitating planning and resource allocation.

With 37 minutes left to play, and six weeks into the crisis, the players collective (

Six weeks into the crisis and with 37 minutes left to play, the teams’ collective (“Relief Points”) score is still in the red— although not by much (-3). The UN and HADR-TF have negative individual (“Operations Points”) scores too. The airport has been fully repaired, and HADR-TF has brought in the necessary materials to begin repairs to the port too. Some health and other social infrastructure has been reestablished in most districts. At the moment, teams are primarily participating in the health and WASH cluster meetings, as well as undertaking front-line tasks in the various districts of the capital.

By the end of two hours, all of the players had positive scores. Well done!

* * *

*It turns out that MSU was an even more appropriate place for a game of AFTERSHOCK than I realized at the time.  As Robert Mosher has pointed out to me, what is now Missouri was the epicentre of the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes. Indeed, the New Madrid Seismic Zone has been responsible for four of the largest quakes ever recorded in North America. 

%d bloggers like this: