Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Administrator Criswell: Urgent And Decisive Actions Needed To Safeguard Communities From Natural Disasters

A string of costly wildfires, floods, hurricanes, typhoons and earthquakes have compelled APEC member economies to heightened collective actions to respond to the increasingly complex disaster landscape and instill long-term climate resilience.

“The Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than 70 percent of global disasters,” said Deanne Criswell, Chair of the 2023 APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum, in her opening remarks in Seattle.

“In just the last few years catastrophic disasters from powerful typhoons, earthquakes and extreme wildfires to prolonged droughts and abrupt landslides have caused mounting economic losses and widespread shocks across our region with natural disaster-related costs losses resulting in an estimated US$100 billion annually,” added Administrator Criswell who is also the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator.

Administrator Criswell highlighted that the 21 APEC member economies are from both sides of the Pacific, account for almost 3 billion people and nearly 50 percent of global trade which means two things: frequent and severe disasters are impacting almost 40 percent of the global population and complex emergencies present a serious threat to the economic growth and sustainable development of Asia-Pacific.

“Amid this context, my message today is not one of despair rather I want to emphasize the significance of our work as crisis managers; to take urgent and decisive action and the importance of emergency preparedness and safeguarding every single community across Asia Pacific from natural disasters,” urged Administrator Criswell.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Addressing member economies at the meeting, FEMA Region 10 Regional Administrator Willie Nunn highlighted how in recent years the region, which includes the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, has experienced more floods, wildfires and extreme heat and that entire villages in Alaska have had to move as rising sea levels had engulfed their ancestral lands. He emphasized that no city, region nor corner of the world is immune to the disasters and that investing in climate resilience and disaster preparedness is as investment in our future.

During the forum’s roundtable, disaster management leaders shared how their economy’s management organizations are incorporating the principles of adaptability, flexibility and meaningful change to build strong and resilient communities, acknowledging that integrating communities into emergency decision-making process is a crucial element in ensuring equity and inclusion.

Disaster management leaders will engage with local communities in the state of Washington, including a visit to Mount Vernon where the city leveraged local, state and federal investment to build a flood wall that put an end to persistent flooding of the city’s downtown and which forms a part of a long-term plan to increase safety and revitalize local economy.

A visit to Starbucks Headquarters will demonstrate how this global corporation prepares its supply chain and operations for possible disasters, as well as showcase the model of public-private partnership to advance climate resilience.

Finally, officials will continue their stakeholder engagement with a visit to the Seattle Emergency Operations Center to see how local emergency management personnel are constantly adapting to prepare the city for a changing disaster landscape.

“We are facing one of humanity's greatest challenges adapting to a changing climate,” Administrator Criswell concluded. “Which is why today I want to be unequivocal about the task at hand; we must leverage our collective knowledge partnerships and experiences and devise innovative sustainable solutions to strengthen crisis management across APEC so that we can build disaster resilient equitable communities.”

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines

UN News: Aid Access Is Key Priority

Among the key issues facing diplomats is securing the release of a reported 199 Israeli hostages, seized during the Hamas raid. “History is watching,” says Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. “This war was started by taking those hostages. Of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.” More

Save The Children: Four Earthquakes In a Week Leave Thousands Homeless

Families in western Afghanistan are reeling after a fourth earthquake hit Herat Province, crumbling buildings and forcing people to flee once again, with thousands now living in tents exposed to fierce winds and dust storms. The latest 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 30 km outside of Herat on Sunday, shattering communities still reeling from strong and shallow aftershocks. More

UN News: Nowhere To Go In Gaza

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said some 1.1M people would be expected to leave northern Gaza and that such a movement would be “impossible” without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the order to be rescinded. The WHO joined the call for Israel to rescind the relocation order, which amounted to a “death sentence” for many. More

Access Now: Telecom Blackout In Gaza An Attack On Human Rights

By October 10, reports indicated that fixed-line internet, mobile data, SMS, telephone, and TV networks are all seriously compromised. With significant and increasing damage to the electrical grid, orders by the Israeli Ministry of Energy to stop supplying electricity and the last remaining power station now out of fuel, many are no longer able to charge devices that are essential to communicate and access information. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.