Resilience NEWS

In the land of bushfires we need a national plan

The current fires raging around Sydney bring into focus, as happens almost every year, the bravery, the tragedy and the loss caused by bushfires and natural disasters. Nightly on the news we watch with shock and awe the flames, the smoke, the devastation and the selfless efforts of the response and recovery teams. What we rarely see is the prequel, the lead-up, the prevention and preparation work of governments, councils, communities and individuals. That may be because there isn’t that much to see. PPRR (prevention, preparation, response, recovery) is the traditional acronym for disaster management. Response and recovery are the ones that grab the headlines; action, fire, smoke and tragedy are great media subjects, whereas prevention and preparation are done quietly and out of sight, so no one notices if they’re not done at all, but the more PP, the less RR we need, so pre-disaster planning is essential and lack of it can be as culpable as arson. Most states require residents in fire-prone areas to have a fire plan, often involving a simple ”fight or flee” decision based on very little information. Building design, traffic management, available firefighting infrastructure, water availability, emergency power, communications when phones and radio are down, firebreaks, types of trees – all these go into the mix of readiness. Who is co-ordinating all this and providing ongoing advice, information, education and facilitating workable readiness strategies? Nobody. Governments devolve to their agencies and each agency has its patch and that’s as far as they go. They do their bit and anything else is not their responsibility…

Preparation, resilience are keys to flood, fire response

RESILIENCE and preparation are the keys to responding efficiently to a severe flood or fire this summer. The Fraser Coast Regional Council has upgraded and added flood gauges in the region in an effort to improve the knowledge of a dangerous situation. Mayor Gerard O’Connell said the preparation work to date had concentrated on creating a network of wardens and community groups as well as fixing roads to withstand minor flood levels. “A series of feedback forums was held across the region after the floods which provided a lot of valuable information,” he said. “We’ve used that feedback in the review of the Local Disaster Plan (LDP).” The council adopted the new LDP at its meeting last Wednesday…

Resilient cities are the next big thing

The true test of how ready a city is to tackle all threats is how well it operates in storms as well as in sunny conditions. Urban resilience has long been the desired goal for urban planners and city dwellers alike. Now, such resilience is a must-have because deep-pocket corporations and investors are saying they want to move their assets only to cities that will not be shaken easily by sudden or prolonged shocks, whether they are flash floods, smog or a dearth of younger skilled workers. That’s according to global government and education chief Jeffrey Rhoda of technology giant IBM, the company that has long been a champion of the idea of smart cities…

Art exhibit showcases resilience after Sandy

BROOKLYN – Local artists are using their paint brushes and canvases to showcase the tragedies and triumphs that the community saw in the wake of Superstorm Sandy last year. About 300 local artists are putting on an exhibit called “Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Year One.” It features the work of many artists who weathered the storm, including some who had studios and works of art that were damaged by the disaster. The show is presented by the Dedalus Foundation and by Industry City, whose space experienced flooding after the massive storm last year. Volunteers worked to recover hundreds of works of art, while others created new pieces to put on display, all with a theme of resilience…

Lessons from Bohol: Resilience is Key

When all the dust has settled—literally and figuratively—the earthquake could potentially end up as the most devastating and expensive disaster that Boholanos have ever experienced. As of this writing, the total cost of damage is estimated at a little over Php560 million, 97% of which is concentrated in Bohol. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has initially pegged the damage to roads and bridges alone to reach Php57.8 million. This does not include the cost of collapsed houses, historical churches and other structures. The value of over a hundred lives lost and scores more injured is another matter…

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