MEDIA RELEASE: DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE: Disaster Mitigation
DATE: 10 June 2009
Australia supports Vietnam to host regional forum on strengthening cooperation on disaster mitigation
A visit to Hanoi today by a senior Australian Government official has confirmed further cooperative assistance for Vietnam in disaster preparedness and resilience.
Martin Studdert, First Assistant Secretary of the National Security Capability Development Division within the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, is in Hanoi to deliver the keynote address at the “International Disaster Management Workshop”, hosted by the National Disaster Mitigation Partnership.
Mr Studdert thanked Vietnam for its concerns expressed to Australia during the recent bushfires in the south of the country and floods spread across the north of the country.
“While Vietnam and Australia have many differences in geography, some of the disaster events that have to be prepared for are quite similar, including cyclones, major storms and flooding, pandemic prevention and tsunami alert and warning”, said Mr Studdert.
At the workshop, Mr Studdert discussed Australia’s emergency management arrangements. In Australia, and increasingly across the region, governments are moving to an all hazards approach to disaster planning, and working with the non government and private sectors in partnership, towards community resilience.
An interesting and unique feature of Australian emergency management arrangements is the participation of a vast array of volunteers from the community. “Some 500,000 citizens participate as regular and trained emergency management volunteers in Australia, which is about 1 in 20 of the population. They include firefighters, first aid and ambulance volunteers, flood rescue volunteers and all the recovery agencies such as Red Cross”.
Mr Studdert also confirmed that Australia will provide support to Vietnam in conducting the upcoming “2009 APEC Emergency Management CEOs Forum”, an annual gathering of the heads of the national emergency response agencies for each of the 21 APEC economies.
The Australian aid agency, AusAID, will provide funds including $AUD80,000 to assist with programming and research for the Forum. One of the key topics for the Forum will be “Schools Education for Disaster Preparedness”, and Australia will provide a specialist consultant on that area.
The “APEC Emergency Management CEOs Forum” will be held in Hanoi on 15 17 September 2009. It will provide a platform for Heads of Agencies to strengthen regional cooperation on disaster mitigation, and to highlight to APEC Leaders the importance of emergency preparedness and business and community resilience.