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International disaster experts visit Wellington

27 JULY 2008
International disaster experts visit Wellington

The storm that lashed New Zealand this weekend has coincided with the start of a major gathering of disaster experts in Wellington for a four-day conference.

About 300 emergency management and civil defence specialists from many countries will spend the next four days at Te Papa discussing the nitty-gritty of dealing with natural disasters.

Keynote speakers of the Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference will cover topics from land-use planning for natural hazards to effective warning systems for tsunamis and flooding.

Gavin Smith, executive director of the Center for Natural Disasters, University of North Carolina, USA, will talk about the lessons learnt from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, one of the deadliest and most costly hurricanes in the history of the US.

Maureen Fordham, from the Disaster and Development Centre, University of Northumbria, England, will outline findings from a European Union project to measure the social, health and economic impacts of disasters.

Michele Daly and Alisha Kidd, of Kestrel Group, will discuss the task of evacuating Auckland in the event of a volcanic eruption in the City of Sails. Gisborne Mayor Meng Fon will talk about the main lessons leant from the magnitude 6.8 quake that hit Gisborne in December 2007.

David Coetzee, of the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, will discuss ways to help coastal communities become more resilient to tsunamis. And Karen Joyce, of GNS Science, will outline the role that satellites play in gathering intelligence on natural hazards.

The conference is being coordinated by the Wellington-based Joint Centre for Disaster Research, a collaboration between Massey University and GNS Science.


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