Monday, October 13, 2014

International Disaster Risk Reduction Day

Greetings from the International Disaster Risk Reduction Day Forum at the Australian National University in Canberra. The event is sponsored by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and there are four speakers today, from Attorney General's Department, Red Cross, and two from the ANU.

  • Andrew Coghlan - Australian Red Cross, National Manager, Emergency Services.
  • Dr Helen James - ANU - specialist in Asian disasters, governance and sustainable development.
  • Professor Stephen Dovers - ANU - Director of the Fenner School of Environment and Society.
  • Samantha Chard - Attorney-General's Department - Assistant Secretary Emergency Management Policy
Most interesting was Dr Helen James discussion of how disasters effect the young, old and females more.

ps: It is an appropriate time to consider if the Australian Government has the correct priorities for protecting the Australian community. The Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa poses a far higher and more intimidate threat to the Australian community than does ISIL in the Middle East. However, the Australian Government is not contributing any of its emergency medical and logistical facilities to the African emergency.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop has stated that Australia does not have the ability to evacuate health workers back to Australia from West Africa as a reason to send no support. However, Australian personnel take part in international operations in cooperation with other countries with mutual support. There is no reason this would not apply in Africa, As it has done in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Last year in Colombo I took part in an event to discuss how the Sahana Software Foundation could enhance the disaster management software it provides free so it can be used to combat a pandemic.

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