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    Hi Folks,

    I reviewed the first ‘meet ‘n’ greet’ Zoom meeting. Great to see you all. I regret that I will probably be skipping a few of the actual meeting times, not that I want to, but it is 3:00 AM here in British Columbia and my apartment setting is such that I have no doubt that I would receive a complaint or two from neighbours!! In the mean-time, hello there! I look forward to exchanging information with you as the course goes on>

    Regards, Roger


    Hi Chris,

    A couple of questions on the DRMC:

    1. Where would you consider technological interventions fitting into the recovery stage? In our studies we have previously learnt that situations like disasters often create ideal situations for technology to break through. If you’re building back better i’m thinking technological advances will be critical.

    2. Restoration of built environment – could this be restoration and optimisation of the built environment or something that refers to the ‘build back better’ aspect? Referring to the above question technological and planning or maybe even fundamental economic interventions would be critical to building back better.

    One on humanitarian response (coming from my work background) – What role can employers play, or should be expected to play in disaster response, particularly in the psychosocial hazard response? Are there any good responses provided by business/corporations you’re aware of ?



    Hi Mitchell,
    Thanks for your questions, and I’m answering them in a round-about, but hopefully useful, way.
    1. Effective humanitarians, in my view, combine a good mixture of technological, project management, and ”soft’ (such as relationships building, understand background context etc) skills. Check out the DRR diagram (we cover in Mod. 3) – see, where the 12 key DRM initiatives include both Understanding Traditional Knowledge & Beliefs, and also Scientific Research (& Information Management)
    2. In the post, there is a bushfire-related agency directory, and bibliography.
    – In the directory, this includes both the Bushfires & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research CXentre (BNHRC) & CSIRO (page 2)
    both of which carry out cutting edge bushfire-related research & technological innovations
    – The bibliography includes two articles by the Rural Australia Institute (RAI) – p.3, one of which highlights the importance of
    businesses for recovery. This should be read together with the Aldrich video & two references (P.1) which highlight the importance of
    Social Capital. So,in practice it’s complicated, and not a case of either/or (but both)
    3. I recommend you also look at the, particularly the key article there which includes (on page 3):
    – The May Situation Report from the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). This gives a great overview of what is a complex and
    sophistacted humanitarian program working in trying circumstances. In reading through various sector reports, you will see how
    modern technology (such as sophisticated mapping) has been well used
    – This should be read alongside the page.(also on p.3) This summarises the work at
    grassroots level as reported in the Shongjog (what Matters?) humanitarian bvulletine. This highlights required nuanced ‘soft skills’
    and understanding
    4. You asked what role employeres can play in disaster risk management (DRM). I think the answer is to understand that any of their involved staff need this mix of technoloigical/project management/’soft’ skills. Also it helps to understand all the key components carried out in both the DRMC (Emergency Response & Recovery Stages), and DRR diagrams. In working through non-conflict scenarios (such as the Australian bushfires or the Rohingya situation in Bangladesh), it’s complicated enough, but this in only exacerbated in conflict affected scenarios such as Lebanon (following this recent terrible port explosion), Syria & Yemen.

    i hope this helps. Cheers, Chris


    I’m registered in to ACAPS – They produce globally the best analyes of major natural disasters and complex emergencies (latter covered in Mod.4). You will see from our main bibliography – found on that we include a lot of ACAPS documents. I received their weekly pick/update today, which included the situation (particularly following the chemical explosion) in Lebanon – see Check it out as a comprehensive analysis of a complex situation.


    Thanks Chris, those points on technology are great and I’ll check out the specific references.
    Noting my absolute lack of experience in humanitarian work and with my experience being in corporate responsibility, I see most of the work in DRM is from not for profits or foreign aid programs so I guess im trying to get my head around how corporations can and should be working on DRR in particular as both a corporate social responsibility, but also business risk reduction strategy. I see corporations having a role to play in disaster preparedess in developing countries, even if it’s purely to not increase the hazards for local communities by how and where they undertake their operations, but hopefully more so that they understand DRR can assist the bottom line by improving lives of the people who they rely on.
    I hope this makes sense, i am trying to apply the material to my employment so i can use it to teach our business better csr and disaster response performance. I will post about my limited experience with the pandemic later but I can tell you most businesses were completely reactive in their response.


    Hi Mitchell, Check out the, partricularly pages 14-20 which covers risk. We will be covering this, as well as the DRR diagram, in Module 3.


    Thanks for your questions Mitchell, they have been helpful for me to try and think about this material in a practical sense from a different (business/corporate) perspective.


    Hope everyone received the Module 2 Notes and power-points yesterday. Looking forward to chatting with you on Zoom tomorrow (Wednesday) evening at normal time (8pm). I’ll send out a Zoom invite and agenda earlier in the day. Feel free in the meantime to comment on this Blog or Mod 1 or 2 Tasks at any time. Whilst we are moving quite fast through the program (one Module every 3 weeks), there’s always time to dip back into any of the modules for comments or queries. It will 9for example) be good to hear from Kelly tonmorrow on her impressions from her bushfire related field visit to NSW yesterday and today. .


    Hi all,
    I thought this article might be useful in the context of disaster risk reduction and bushfire resilience for the current Module 3:



    I’d be interested in your comments, PDRM participants, on this ‘Fire Shield Plan’ as being promoted by WA’s Andrew Forrest. Interesting that the DRR diagram (DRM Initiatives – particularly scientific research) highlights and encorages new technology such as this. Personally, I think there’s a danger of over-relying on technology to solve issues such as these – whilst they’re important, they need to be complemented by other actions (such as the other 11 DRM initiatives in the DRR diagram). Rys, your perspective as a Mayor over there in WA?


    There are three really useful articles which have appeared on the BBC website this past 24 hours, these relating to Climate Change (which we’re covering in Mod 5), the US West Coast bushfires (and possible link to climate change), and hurricanes in the Carribean. all these can be accessed in the Sept-Oct bibliography in the TorqAid Toolkit –

    BBC. Zurcher, A. (2020). US West Coast Fires: trump fans flames of climate row in California. Retrieved from

    BBC. King, S. (2020) The busy hurricane season about to go ‘Greek’. Retrieved from

    BBC. McGrath, M. (2020). What is Climate Change ? A really simple guide. Retrieved from


    Thanks to Antionio for his presentation on the Wed 7th Oct Zoom on his work with the UN in Iraq. It added enormously to our understanding of the challenges of working in these complex emergencies.


    Hi Folks,

    Just an update on the Covid response here in Canada and some personal thoughts. In western Canada, if a decisive and effective response was what was necessary, well, I suggest that we did as well as anywhere. All one needs to do, from a wholly Canadian perspective, is look south across our border and see the general chaos that seems to be prevailing there.

    Having said that, I believe Canada was caught flat-footed at the federal level through bureaucratic complacency. I retired from the federal government, but for my last ten years in their employ, one of my key responsibilities was to develop a range of (Regional) responses to the disasters of the day for my department (Coast Guard/Fisheries and Oceans).. We certainly had plans in the day (SARS, Avian bird flu, earthquake, regional flooding) but in my experience it takes a deep commitment both politically and from day-to-day action and a deliberate focus for these plans and preparations to have any positive impact.

    Here in Canada, there still is no ‘plan’ all these months later. No real plan exists as yet to target those groups most at risk and certainly no plan to map out a financial recovery. All that our various governments are doing are throwing money at the problem, largely as direct financial aid to individual Canadians. Billions and billions of dollars hot off the printing presses. In my view, that is not how we get out of this mess. It has reached the stage where tens of thousands of jobs are staying unfilled because a certain element of our society are finding it easier and just as financially secure to stay home and take the free money.

    I wrote Chris on this subject a few weeks ago and he suggested that I share my thoughts with you. I have not had anyone in my personal network come down with Covid as yet, and am therefore not directly impacted, but I am concerned about the most vulnerable in our country, the aged and infirm.

    My 93 year old mother-in-law has dementia and is living in an extended care home. I have had trouble calling it a ‘care home’. Given the restraints placed upon these places here they are warehouses where they keep old people under virtual 24/7 isolation. There is near total sensory deprivation. These folks are confined to their rooms. There is no interaction, even with the staff, except in a world of face masks and gowns. What have we done? This is absolute cruelty at any level. Our old folks are our heritage and should be our pride and joy and yet we have imprisoned them. What for? What about trying to treat these folks with the respect and dignity that they deserve. In many cases, I suggest that the Covid took some of our dear old folks only hours or days, perhaps, before they would have succumbed anyway to their existing ailments. There is a very broad range of illness and diseases that take us away, as all of you very well know.
    Is Covid-19 supposed to be the show stopper that freezes an entire planet? What about the hundreds of thousands of surgeries and other procedures that were cancelled? What if there is a Covid-20, 21, 22? Is our world supposed to become virtually paralyzed on each occasion?

    I suggest, folks, that there needs to be an ethical debate on this Covid-19 crisis, as it pertains to the lives of people on this planet at all ages, and most certainly on the impact to other positive and proactive initiatives that could or should be going on around the world. I know for a fact that monies by generous citizens to the charities of their choice have been significantly reduced here in Canada. These unintended consequences should not BE unintended consequences. Pandemic planning has been around for a very long time.

    So, going forward, are we going to be a little less complacent and cavalier about these types of events that do and will arise? Should any of you choose to work in the field in disaster planning. perhaps YOU will be that champion that is always needed to drive these initiatives forward!

    Cheers, Roger

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