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‘I've managed disasters and not fell in a screaming heap’

Stuart Mawbey is an emergency service volunteer worker and manager as well as a person living with disabilities. He has spent the last 15 years assisting in emergencies in the Australian States of South Australia and New South Wales. Here he reflects on the immense personal satisfaction he derives from his volunteerism as well as the ongoing challenges he faces as a person living with disabilities. As a volunteer with the State Emergency Service (SES) our primary role is to assist the community with floods and storms, however I have also participated in remote area search and rescue, forensic searches, bushfire assistance, traffic control and safety for community events.
6 Sep 2013 News briefs

Disability survey: 'Take my wisdom, not my dignity'

Double amputee Firoz Ali Alizada believes that people living with disabilities are the biggest untapped resource for disaster planners around the world. The 31-year-old uses the example of his home country Afghanistan where people living with disabilities remain on the margins of decision making despite providing such a compelling example of day to day resilience.
3 Sep 2013 News briefs

UNISDR Champion tackles land degradation in the Philippines

UNISDR Champion, Senator Loren Legarda, today announced she is proposing new legislation to tackle the problem of land degradation in the Philippines which is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.
30 Aug 2013 News briefs

Island states plot safe course to Samoa

Small Island Developing States will this week seek to plot a course to a safer and more resilient future as part of their preparations for a major conference next year. The Inter-regional preparatory meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which opens today in Bridgetown, Barbados, brings together nations from the three SIDS regions – Caribbean, Pacific and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean South China Seas (AIMS) – to forge the way forward.
26 Aug 2013 News briefs

Unified strategy provides ‘more bang for your buck’

World-leading efforts to unite climate change adaptation and disaster risk management into one overarching strategy will provide ‘more bang for your buck’ a senior Pacific development leader says. The Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, said future generations would judge today’s leaders on how bold their actions – not words – were in building safer and more resilient communities and countries.
15 Aug 2013 News briefs

School director pioneers safer learning for pupils

An innovative school director in northern Thailand has shown how his pupils can learn in safety with little additional financial cost and burden on staff. The Director of Baiboonlamphun School, Mr Pachernwaat Srichai, said school safety was becoming more of a priority with parents demanding secure environments for their children.
23 Jul 2013 News briefs

‘The fact we learn so slowly means we pay for it in dollars’

“Neither disasters nor climate change is an issue for the future it’s an issue for today. The fact that we learn so slowly means we are paying for it – and we are paying in dollars” – the Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Ms Margareta Wahlström challenges the world to strengthen its approach to disaster risk management and reverse the escalation in direct economic losses from disasters. Ms Wahlström was interviewed for this TVNZ news report while at the 2013 Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Fiji, this month.
22 Jul 2013 News briefs

'This bridge has been destroyed six times so now we build it higher and stronger'

The leader of Fiji’s disaster-hit Western Division has pledged to forge an integrated cross-sectoral strategy to achieve a safer and more resilient future. Western Division Commissioner Mr Joeli Cawaki and his team of technical experts told the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström, that integrated planning and action was vital after being hit by two serious floods and a major cyclone in 2012.
19 Jul 2013 News briefs

Tonga's motto inspires leaders to safeguard a resilient inheritance

"God and Tonga are my inheritance" – the motto of this Pacific Kingdom – has inspired its leaders to move to safeguard their country for future generations. Their efforts represent an inspiring example of ambitious disaster and climate resilient development steered by strong national leadership that is based on community ownership.
17 Jul 2013 News briefs

Pacific environment leader warns: ‘We will be the first to go under’

The head of a major Pacific regional organization said the region’s acute vulnerability left it no alternative but to lead the world in integrating risk reduction and climate change action into one over-arching strategy to secure a sustainable future. The Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Dr David Sheppard, said the Pacific would rise to the challenge but they needed the world to join efforts too.
16 Jul 2013 News briefs

‘Recovery the key to future relevance of Pacific regional organisations’

A landmark study says that regional organizations involved in disaster risk management in the Pacific will have to demonstrate excellence in technical assistance and be aligned to international financial flows to remain relevant.
15 Jul 2013 News briefs

Pacific provides perfect springboard for HFA2 discussions

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) today praised the Pacific for providing a 'perfect springboard' into the coming 18 months during which the world will prepare a new, longer term and more ambitious post-2015 framework to achieve safer and more resilient communities and nations.
11 Jul 2013 Press release

Bank chief urges business to lend its resilience wisdom

Businesses that bounced back quickly from a recent spate of disasters have a lot to teach policymakers and community leaders about resilience, a banking executive told a major Pacific development forum today.
10 Jul 2013 News briefs

'Like our ancestors, if we have the heart, we can do it'

Pacific government ministers today said community leadership was the key to success of innovative approaches to integrated climate change and disaster risk reduction action across the region.
9 Jul 2013 News briefs

UNISDR chief: integrated action will help billions and save trillions

The Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Margareta Wahlström, today hailed the Pacific as it committed to a world first of integrating action in disaster risk management and climate change in one strategy to secure a sustainable future for this increasingly threatened region.
8 Jul 2013 Press release

Pacific goes to work early on disaster risk reduction

Every day the Pacific wakes up and goes to work ahead of the rest of the world and next week it will do the same as it kicks off a series of regional consultations that will shape the successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework for Action after 2015.
4 Jul 2013 News briefs

UNISDR chief honours Canberra as a role model city

The Head of UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström today officially acknowledged Canberra as a Role Model city for UNISDR's Making Cities Resilient Campaign by presenting a certificate to the Australian Capital Territory Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell.
28 Jun 2013 News briefs

“When things turn to custard you need good governance”

Two countries sitting at opposite ends of the world are emerging as beacons of good practice in terms of innovative public-private partnerships that have been proven to reduce disaster risk.
21 Jun 2013 News briefs

Marshall Islands water crisis underlines Pacific's drought risk

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) today issued a warning that a lack of safe drinking water is emerging as a major natural hazard for many small islands in the Pacific.
19 Jun 2013 Press release

Developer unveils vision of cities as havens during disasters

An innovative urban developer in one of the world's most hazard-prone countries has urged public and private sector leaders to embrace his company's vision of building cities that 'people escape to rather than run away from' during disasters.
17 Jun 2013 News briefs

Sendai welcomes next World Conference on DRR

Sendai City in Japan has been selected to host the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015. The city of one million people in the northern region of Tohoku was one of the hardest hit zones in the March 2011 Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
23 May 2013 News briefs

UNISDR welcomes India's new National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

UNISDR Chief, Margareta Wahlström, today welcomed yesterday's inauguration by the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, of the country's National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction which brings to 86, the number of such platforms around the world. These National Platforms provide important support to the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, the global agreement on reducing disaster losses.
14 May 2013 Press release

Kiwi of the year mobilizes world youth for disaster resilience

When college sophomore Sam Johnson started a Facebook page following the September 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, to rally his peers to help affected communities, he never imagined that his idea would eventually mobilize an 'army' of young people across the country to take up similar efforts.
1 May 2013 News briefs

Myanmar media rally for Cyclone Nargis

Five years after Cyclone Nargis claimed over 138,000 lives, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction is joining forces with the media in Myanmar to highlight the lessons learned as the anniversary of the tragedy comes around.
10 Apr 2013 News briefs

Central Asia meets on HFA2

Regional cooperation on disaster risk reduction in Central Asia and the South Caucasus received a major boost this week as representatives from eight countries consulted with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
15 Mar 2013 News briefs

UNISDR Chief returns to tsunami affected town

Almost two years after the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake, UNISDR Chief Margareta Wahlström, paid a return visit to one of the worst-affected towns, Minami-Sanriku, in Miyagi Prefecture, and met with the Mayor, Mr. Jin Sato.
11 Mar 2013 News briefs

UNISDR Chief meets children of Fukushima

UNISDR Chief Margareta Wahlström today announced that children from Japan who continue to live with the consequences of the Great East Japan Earthquake, will attend the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in May.
11 Mar 2013 News briefs

Fukushima women re-build their lives

UNISDR Chief, Margareta Wahlström, met with active women leaders in Fukushima city last month on a visit to Fukushima Prefecture in the lead-up to the second memorial day of the Great East Japan Earthquake on Monday, March 11.
8 Mar 2013 News briefs

Tsunami highlights small island vulnerability

At least five people are reported to have died in a tsunami which struck a remote part of the Solomon Islands earlier today. More than 5,000 people could have been seriously affected by the one meter wave, but early warning systems worked...
6 Feb 2013 News briefs

Iran: Empowering women in disaster situations

Bita Roohi is the first woman to be appointed a disaster manager in Iran where she is in charge of disaster management and risk reduction for the city of Hamadan, situated 360 km south-west of Tehran on the slopes of Mount Alvand. Hamadan province has a long history of earthquakes.
4 Feb 2013 News briefs

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