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Me, Myself & Disaster
47 minutes | a month ago
Trenches & Tragedy – Reducing Disaster Risk in Conflict Zones
When we think about places like Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria, the first thing that probably comes to mind is war. 70% of areas impacted by conflict are affected by disasters, and 30% of disasters trigged by natural hazards occur in countries affected by conflict. Rod Mena joins the show today to discuss disaster risk reduction in some of the most challenging places on Earth. Rod is a researcher and consultant who works on disasters, conflict and humanitarian aid, and recently completed his PhD at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. He was raised in a firefighting family in Chile and has since lived and worked in some really challenging environments across the world – including South Sudan and Afghanistan. Josh and Andrew talk through the challenges of working in these environments, and discover that many of the principles applied to reducing disaster risk in conflict zones are lessons that can be applied in other parts of the world. A mitigation wall in Afghanistan At the African DRR Centre in Ethiopia Rod presenting at a conference A protection wall in Afghanistan South Sudan Refugee Camp in Uganda Images courtesy of Rod Mena
7 minutes | a month ago
Season 2: Recovery, Resilience and Community
The Disaster Bros are back for an action packed season two – with more interesting guests and tales of disaster from across the globe. Andrew and Josh provide a quick update on what they believe will be the key trends this year and let us know who will be on the show in the coming months.
41 minutes | 6 months ago
Developing a Nation of Lifesavers
When an emergency happens, the first responders on scene are almost always bystanders who render first aid and call for assistance. What if those bystanders had the training and skills to save a person’s life? This week we were joined by Assistant Commissioner Yazid Abdullah, Director of Volunteer and Community Partnership Department and COL Dr Shalini Arulanandam, Chief Medical Officer, from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). The SCDF are responsible for firefighting, rescue and ambulance services in Singapore, but also have a number of interesting community initiatives underway – including the ‘save a life’ initiative. Listen in as Josh and Andrew learn more about the Singapore approach, hear about their recent Hackathon and discuss tips for engaging the community and the corporate sector in emergency management activities.
46 minutes | 9 months ago
The Chilean Approach to Reducing Disaster Risk
https://open.spotify.com/episode/6ZAFK8W4ZqBDNOgWAPV9KF Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami, landslides, bushfires and floods – Chile is one of the most disaster prone areas in the world. Today on the show Andrew and Josh speak with Deputy Director of the Chilean National Emergency Office Cristóbal Mena about the many hazards facing Chile and the level of community preparedness. Cristóbal also shares his insights into the structure of emergency management agencies in Chile, how their governance model and transparent approach to vulnerability has been recognised by the UNDRR and his journey to emergency management after first considering life as a Priest. While science, technology, engineering and maths have been often highlighted as the critical areas of study for our future, we ask Cristobal about the next decade and what skills emergency managers need to work with communities and reduce disaster risk. Join us on the show to learn more!
42 minutes | 9 months ago
A New Approach to Preparing Communities in Wellington
https://open.spotify.com/episode/5hd1Zd0h4mmTrXNP6YBu3J How do you support a community during a disaster, while encouraging residents to become active decision makers and coordinators in the local response? Josh and Andrew headed down to Wellington recently to find out! Dan Neely and Renee Corlett from the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) join us on the show today to explain their Community Emergency Hub model and how they are engaging communities in exercises to prepare them for future disasters. The team at WREMO are on a journey away from a culture focussed on response, to an emergency management environment where the importance of meaningful community engagement and preparedness activities is recognised. They also share tips and strategies for other emergency managers about the barriers they overcame and how to navigate a significant cultural change. Learn more about the Community Emergency Hubs here >
50 minutes | 9 months ago
Twisted truths – conspiracy theories and disasters
https://open.spotify.com/episode/59t09a2O37n6OT4qenReb5 From FEMA camps to chemtrails designed to start bushfires – conspiracy theories have been garnering increased media attention in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic continues Today on the podcast we speak with political scientist Joseph Uscinski, Associate Professor at the University of Miami about the impact of conspiracy on the disaster landscape. Who is more likely to believe in conspiracy theories? Why do people hold these views? And how do emergency managers communicate with a diverse community holding a range of opinions during a disaster? Josh and Andrew get sceptical and undercover the truth about conspiracy theories in this week’s podcast. Learn more about Joe at his website.
50 minutes | 10 months ago
Disasters & #FakeNews – How the Media is Evolving in the Disaster Landscape
https://open.spotify.com/episode/3MspdCudCWpyxWASQxqK4z During disasters we turn to the media for the latest information, to try and make sense of what’s happening. With the rise of social media, there are now more places than ever to find new information and a diverse range of views. How do emergency managers work with the media to effectively provide our communities with the information they need, and how do authorities interact with their community through social media, particularly Facebook groups? Multimedia journalist Colleen Hagerty joins us on the podcast this week to discuss media during disasters, where we’ll discuss the importance of trust and transparency in journalism, conspiracy theories, and what it’s like working in an evolving media environment. We also ask Colleen about the rise of preparedness movements, what happens when disaster related community Facebook groups turn on themselves, and how to manage disaster fatigue. It’s incredible to harness the hope that people have to be able to be there for their neighbours. Colleen Hagerty Learn more about Colleen’s work in the articles below, which we discuss in the podcast, or visit her website to sign up to her fortnightly disaster newsletter ‘My World’s on Fire, How About Yours?’. How Facebook Disaster Groups Turn On Themselves – an article discussing how the Paradise Fire Adopt a Family Facebook group imploded, after reaching 30,000 members. Most Americans are not prepared for a disaster. Now survival kits are all over Instagram – an article covering the rise of disaster preparedness kits, Colleen reporting in the field after Hurricane Sandy
44 minutes | 10 months ago
There’s no such thing as a ‘natural’ disaster
https://open.spotify.com/episode/18m9h9yhZ7f9i25UDf3m8G It’s time to say goodbye to ‘natural’ disasters. That’s according to Mama Mizutori, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction. In a recent blog post, Mizutori argues that most of the risk in our society is a result of weak disaster risk governance, including a lack of risk-informed planning, poor public engagement and failure to respond to global threats. A natural hazard becomes a disaster when it combines with exposure and vulnerability to cause loss of life, hurt and injury to people, along with economic loss. Mami Mizutori To learn more, we spoke with Kevin Blanchard, researcher and founder of the #NoNaturalDisasters twitter campaign. In the podcast this week, Kevin shares his experience and explains why there’s no such thing as a natural disaster. Kevin recently authored a report: #NoNaturalDisasters in the workplace – Improving how we talk about disasters at work. Click here to download. Nature doesn’t cause disasters. It’s our own failure as a species in terms of planning and policy that’s caused 99.999% of so-called ‘natural-disasters Kevin Blanchard You can get involved in the #NoNaturalDisasters campaign by posting on social media and sharing the message in your workplace. For more information, visit nonaturaldisasters.com.
43 minutes | 10 months ago
Responding in Tornado Alley
https://open.spotify.com/episode/4sBDDoR9GfrZtOW30b4a8E In 2011 the city of Joplin, Missouri was severely impacted by a EF5 tornado – one of the deadliest in US history with 158 people killed. Following the disaster, volunteers from across America travelled to Joplin to assist. In nearby Christian County, Director of Emergency Management, Phil Amtower, and Assistant Director, Linda Barger were preparing teams of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers to deploy to Joplin. Their involvement was extensive and they assisted with a range of tasks, supporting the local community. They also helped to coordinate spontaneous volunteers which Phil describes as ‘the second disaster’. There were thousands of people who came, and this was pretty much broadcast live on the weather channel. I think 95% of America saw it, because 85% came. Phil Amtower During the deployment, the CERT team were provided with a list of hundreds of people, and spent weeks searching in person and online to locate all of them. They also assisted Frank – an elderly man who lived alone. His house was destroyed and the team helped him clear away debris and eventually remove his damaged house. The volunteers supported Frank through this very challenging time and when it came time to say goodbye to his house, the CERT team acted on Frank’s time, when he was ready. But nothing is more important than the people that you’re there to help Linda Barger There are more than 250 volunteers in the Christian County CERT team, who undertake training across a range of areas so they are able to assist during times of crisis. The team have deployed to many significant disasters, with an average deployment time of 10 days and are self sufficient. In 2014 the team were awarded an Outstanding CERT of the Year award from FEMA in a ceremony at the White House, and in 2017 the team were recognised as the leading CERT team in the state of Missouri for their work in a flood response. They have currently been assisting with the response to COVID19 in the local community. Learn more about the Christian County CERT team here >
23 minutes | 10 months ago
The Strength of the Female Perspective in Disasters
Part two of our conversation with Amanda Lamont explores how we can better create an environment to attract and engage women in disaster roles. We also speak about Amanda’s role establishing the Australasian Women in Emergencies Network. Join the AWE Network at awenetwork.org.au Amanda Lamont is the co-founder of the Australasian Women in Emergencies Network and also works on a range of disaster related projects. She volunteers with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Red Cross in Victoria. ”Women do these jobs too. Not better, not worse but simply #ustoo Amanda LamontCo-Founder and Vice President, Australasian Women in Emergencies Network
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