Categories : Disaster Preparedness Natural Disaster Severe Weather

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Natural Disaster Resilience Leadership Project [FILM]

Video Transcript: So it is something to think about as we go through this project when we are coming upwith strategies to improve resilience. Letís just not think short term – letís think howwe can build up people in the mid to long term, what can we do now that will have implicationsnot only in 10, 20 or 30 years down the track, but really into the future. What can we setup now? What is it that will sustain resilience? What is that it will mean we continue beingable to resist shocks even if they become more frequent?One of the great things about the Community Resilience Leadership Project, is it’s givingpeople and community members a platform to discuss their issues around resilience andto express their emotions around what disaster management is and how it has affected theirlives and what being affected by natural disasters has meant for them personally and I thinkwe all really benefit from the chance to express ourselves and to feel like we have been heard. And not everyone has that outlet, so I think that is why these kind of workshops are reallyimportant in order to help communities recover and also celebrate their survival in responseto natural and manmade disasters as well. So this project is’nt about giving easy answers it is about starting to open up peoples thinkingand give them some initial support. I am a strong and passionate believer that if get people involved and they start talkingto each other and they start the long process of recovery. We all gather around the elders, aunties, respectives in our community and we will yarn,and then the program will unfold. My perspectives on leadership is that communities lead. Everyone can make a difference you donít have to be a member of the emergency servicesto be involved within your community. I wanted to come today to actually network with other key players, key leaders, acrossthe state and get an understanding of what their perception to resilience is. We are just talking about different ways to interact, I guess as a leader when you arewanting to enter into a community to affect change. Even if they are not a strong player, how do you keep in contact with them?We do look to educate and engage the community all year around. We are looking at particularly taking some of the community leadership and communityengagement ideas and taking it back to the community. Finding other ways to live and still thrive. It is the most amazing experience and I have learnt so much. I canít wait to go home andthink about what we have learnt over the last six days. Gives you the momentum to want to just keep on getting prepared, and inform more peopleto become resilient. I suppose I think we live quite a beautiful country and I had not really experienced anythinglike the floods before and it made me realise that things do happen close to home. So youneed to be prepared and get involved. I donít think Brisbane is the same now or South East Qld is the same since the floods. It seems like an edge has been taken off Brisbane and people seem to be more open and receptive. And I think that is because they have been through Pain. And even though like Vicki,not everyone shares that pain directly – I think we all hurt because everyone else hurtsand so that is how we have responded. This project was designed in mid 2010 to bring together community leaders from across thecommunity so not just specific to just one sector and not just formal leaders but alsoinformal leaders in the community. To start having some discussion about community resilienceand building preparedness for natural disasters across Queensland. Being resilient is being able to recover and being able to respond to natural disastersin this key field that we are looking at. So a resilient community is one that is preparedthat knows the prevention, knows the hazards and collectively as a community looks at howthey can mitigate those hazards. A resilient community is any community that has sufficient understanding, connectednessand resources so that community members when they are confronted with a loss of any typewhether it is economic or because of a natural disaster any loss are able to be supportedby their communities so that they bounce forward so that they are well placed and well supportedto deal with their new normals. So for me resilience is an important thing for all communities to look at in their prevention,preparedness, response and recovery but resilience has to be owned by the community. In my mind resilience builds from the ground up. It is just not something that can forceddown from the top. It is something that you build on the existing structures in communityand that is where your community resilience comes. When you do that you build resilience,not just for bush fire protection or flood protection or cyclone protection. But I thinkthose community actually becomes able to deal with whatever reverses might come their way. The resilience leadership project covers a really broad spectrum of topics. Because communityresilience is a really a holistic approach to looking at disaster preparedness and community. So it is just now about ìHow can we prepare for and respond to natural disasters but itis about what makes a healthy community and looking at how and why healthy communitiesare better able to cope and respond to natural disasters. Resilience kind of work is slightly different from pure response, it is not just about cleaningthe debris and putting things back in place, but is also what we do throughout the yearto build a resilience. It is almost a way of life for people to think we all now getaffected by disasters. So for us in our case we would believe that as an organisation thatsits centrally that can actually enable that kind of conversation, enable general publicto be better educated and enable the public to get connected with the agencies that requirethat engagement. Some of the strongest feedback that I have had back from the Brisbane Resilience LeadershipProject is peoples appreciation of the diversity of the speakers who came to speak to them. Iím Kathrine Hain and I am the State Coordinator for Resilience for Red Cross in Queensland. My name is Bruce Esplin Iím Victoriaís Former Emergency Services Commissioner and now basicallyworking in business for myself. My name is Chris Robertson and I am from Warwick and am a member of Qld Fire and Rescue Servicein Preston and I am a VCE or a Volunteer Community Educator for that group. My name is Dave Morganty and I am the executive officer of the Brisbane District DisasterManagement Group which is based at Alderley. My name is Jennie Schoof, I am the Project Coordinator of the Aboriginal & Torres StraitIslander & Natural Disaster Resilience Project. Iím Cat and I work for Volunteering Qld as a Strategic Communication Officer primarilyfor the disaster resilience team. Hi, Iím Daryl Talor and I live in King Lake in Victoria and I have working for the lastbest part of the last three years in disaster recovery with my colleagues in King Lake. I came home from Work on Tuesday and my House Mates had moved everything from my bottomfloor up onto our top floor. By Tuesday Night the water was halfway through our first storyand then we all kind of left at 8:00pm because we realised we should leave while we couldstill walk out ñ like you know waist high in water. We stayed with friends and we cameback the next day and it was already up to the floor of the second story so when thewaters peaked it was halfway through the upper story as well. I think really Black Saturday was really the stimulation for me in engaging in the work,I lived in King Lake and we were at home when the fire storm descended on our communityso yes surviving the fire storm and participating in the aftermath and the rebuilding kind ofrenewal regeneration process in our community has been an extraordinary learning experience. When I first moved into the area I live in, Warwick, there were three abled bodied menin the Valley and we had a bushfire and basically there was every man on deck. But the reasonI joined it was because I grew up with bush fires and I understand how devastating theycan be. And if I can help other people and preserve life that is one of my major aspectsof life. Disaster management took over and there were some questions about State of Emergency whichwas the terminology used through the 70ís, 80ís, and 90ís. There is now the disastermanagement act, so where we have a disaster which is a significant or serious event thatis causing significant disruptions across the whole community for an extended periodthen the state brings in the disaster management legislation which gives specific powers toresponse agencies in particular to police to enable us to deal with those disasters. It also puts a framework in place where we coordinate all the other government agencieslike health; public works; transport & main roads, department of communities and we coordinatethe response of all those agencies to make sure we are meeting the communities needscollectively across the whole of government and not just amongst the individual agencies. And then we also look to get out to opportunities like this to get out to the community andto talk to members of the community about how the disaster management framework is meantto work because we can have all the frameworks and things in the world and have all thatstructure in place but unless we get out with the community and let them know how it worksand who is involved it’s not going to be anywhere near as effective unless we get it out therein the community and get the support across the community. So if we have a look at the pyramid here, at the top is local, whether it be ward officesor management teams all across the city are on the ground reacting to response agencies. Queensland Police have almost re-written the way you use Social Media to get informationto the community. And Clearly Council in Brisbane is a Big Organisation. Then you have got Health,youíve got all the hospitals. Youíve got your Utilities so, we need to talk to eachother. We need power, Australian Red Cross, they are the lead agency in the recovery evacuationcentres, Emergency Management Queensland we have no command and control, however we areat time the oil that keeps all the parts moving or the glue to bind it together when it turnsa bit messy. But we are the person, who this person here will look across the room andsay whose funding that?, Play On, OK, because at some stage it becomes a cost recovery issueñ Department of Communities; Police Fire Ambulance & the SES, ok. In Brisbane thereis a dedicated SES Unit with 10 groups in it that the mayor can call on. State Emergency Service through SES, through their webpage have a number of tips and guidelineson how you can do that and how you can become involved and Brisbane City Council also ontheir webpage have some very good emergency management and disaster management tips, aswell as how you can get involved at a local level in Volunteering and supporting yourlocal community in preparing for disasters. The Community Members in my project, really appreciated the diverse angles which thesedifferent speakers came at, and there different point of view on resilience and on disasterpreparedness. As Emergency Services Commissioner I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time workingwith communities and to form some pretty strong views about how important it was that communitieswerenít passive recipients of services but were actually active participants in developingtheir own safety strategies and I have a great respect for what communities can do to helpthemselves if they are allowed to do it. The culture that we build over the years was that any response and recover any disasterwas something seen as a work that is done by a government agency and that produced someoutcomes over the years but it also produced a side effect which meant that in many caseslocal communities were not taking necessarily steps to think about what they can contributeon a local level. In doing so we have actually lost some of the normal natural attributesof house-holds, of individuals or communities where the knowledge that you normally holdin terms of how you are thinking how you respond to any kind of disaster ñ itís kind of beenlost, because we havenít had the conversations, we have not had the discussion around it,we have not had the projects where local communities have that discussion. I think a lot of what has happened in the last 25 years has led to increasing vulnerabilityat a community level. People have been comfortable but have not developed the suite of skillsthat are necessary to be resilient. Institutions and organisations similarly have been comfortablebut have not developed the necessary skills or resources that constitute resilience. Historically we all get very caught up in our expertise of what we are good at, andsometimes we all go into, you know as a charger into communities – you know we use our expertiseand solve it. And we forget that the communities are actually the experts in their field. When people arenít involved in doing their things that are important to their own cleanup and their own recovery, they miss the opportunity of the social connectedness and the creativitythat comes from the social connectedness in that space and it is not about helping thecommunities it is about working with them and being in dialogs, it is about coming froma position of learning not knowing. We need to come together to work together to collaborate and to look at emerging leadersand to see how we can build our own resilience and preparedness and how communities can ownthat process. Because what happens sometimes that as experts if we come in and own it wewalk away once the job is done but the community wonít sustain it because it is not theirs. So I think for me the urgency for me to actually having people in the room is learning howwe work together and the benefits of both partnerships coming together is – you canítput a dollar on that. We come in with the attitude that they are the experts in their communities, they knowthe needs of their communities and they know what their community needs from other bodiesin order to support them. So I have these Guys working on the IAP2 scale of Participation, we have been talking abouthow you engage with communities so they are working through a sheet that looks at thosedifferent levels of engagement. It talks about what they are useful for, when are they appropriate. What strategies can you use to engage people at that level? What resources you need inorder to be able to do that. Well basically we were saying is that, again to consult with the community and see whatthey have got to say about the matter. The other thing we were talking about was ìProfessionalServicesî, that the local and remote regions donít have access to. So the discussion wasabout actually mobilising the professional services to those remote regions. This activity was really good to look at ñ What are the positives of those methods, aswell as the challenges that you can face, we looked at empowering the community as wellas working in a collaborative manner. We are considering the recent floods, so it is a real life situation. We are sort of usingthat experience to try and engender conversation amongst us all. There is a diverse array ofopinions around the table which I think is good, I think a lot of what we have learntover the last three and half days is coming out to the fore butI do just feel that thereis a lot of diversity and a lot of degree of difficulty in getting consensus. The participants for the resilience leadership project, self identify as community leaderswe have no constrictions around what their role or their level of activity and communityshould be. It is really about fitting out those people who are interested in this topicand taking it further and championing that back into their communities. I think the enquiry process has more value than the imposition of the model of resiliencefrom the outside. By encouraging dialog, by getting people together from different perspectivesin communities. The richness evolves people will evolve into models like what we haveevolved in King Lake, because we participated in a dialog about it, because we learnt fromeach other because we came to it with a sense of humility – an interest in each otherísperspective, we were able to evolve quite a sophisticated understanding of resilienceand I see that as the incredible value of participatory processes. Coming from a failing community, which has gone through droughts and gone through floods,it has gone through house fires. You will find that there are sectors of the communitythat will always get behind and try and pick up the pieces and that to me is the resiliencewithin the communities and it does not always succeed. We have people who just give up. We have people who commit suicide. We have people who do other things, but the communityin Australia does have that ability to actually get together and do things for other peoplewho are in less fortunate situations than ourselves and I think that is why I am hereis because we need people to actually stand up first and say ìWhat can we do?î so whenSomeone stands up and says ìWhat can we doî the rest of the community can stands up andsays ìWell, letís do thisî. Yep I agree, I agree entirely. When you see what is still yet to be done and how much economic and social and emotionalrecovery is yet to come for so many people over and over a broad cross section. I thinkthat is evidence that we are not very resilient because so many people got so far to go inbeing able to recover from you know last year events, so I donít think we are very resilientat all. . . . has spoken he showed a picture of a village in Kenya and he showed a picture of peoplein Goulburn, and he said these two villages had exactly the same amount of normal wateruse, they had exactly the same amount of water reduction and that in Goulburn they were truckingin water and in Kenya they were dying. So this speaks very much to the resilience thatwe have because we are actually, one very large community, and so it is interestingwhen we look to see where we sit on the Continuum, it is sort of real as compared to what andto whom?When you have a disaster or an emergency situation. There are two pathways, you can create Victimsor you can create Survivors and the role for the government should be to make everyonea survivor and to be a survivor you should have an opportunity to form decisions foryourself. It is not the cavalry coming in on their white chargers and doing everythingfor people, it is letting people take their time, do it at a time that suits them butmake decisions that influence the way they rebuild their lives. One of the opportunities that would have been generated had we been able to do our own clean-upwas we would of recycled a lot of the material instead of it going to the dump. We wouldof also realised that with 770 houses lost that there was an incredible opportunity tocollectively purchase materials to work on each otherís properties, to do these kindof things using social processes, social technology, not infrastructure based technologies so thatpeoples local solving generates more opportunities for local people. And so as a consequencecommunity rebuilding could have been both physical and social. I think the benefit, what I see as a community practitioner, is that over the six days peoplecome in and they think they have their expert hats on and then they come in with a roleñ so you will have Emergency Services, you will have Government, you will have Not forProfit, and then you will have Community members and actually having them all the room andactually all getting to talk about how they could work together and what is required inthe community puts them at a level field where they can discuss that ìhow can we work togetherî,ìHow do we look at leadership as being an adaptive tool to know when we need to cometo the forefront, when do we come to the side. How do we engage and excite community andinspire community to come together and leadership plays an important role in that, so this trainingprogram is a conduit for all of those players to come together and learn from each otherand also learn skills on how to communicate and work together as a whole community andnot as experts in our field. What this project really wants to have as an impact is a range of people working incommunities in leadership positions whether that’s formal or informal. Who have this knowledgeand understanding behind them and who can take that and use it where it is applicableand take what is important for them and use that and champion that in their own ways. I think that since especially in Emergency Services we were so heavily involved with,January on-wards, whether it be floods or Cyclones or landslides or anything else thathappened. It certainly made me proud of the fact that everyone can make a difference. You donít have to be a member of emergency services to be involved within your communityand the resilience that came out of people coming to clean up or help someone else, Ithink that it just makes me proud of being a human being. In all my experience in all the meetings with thousands and thousands of people ñ who areangry ñ who are emotional ñ where emotions are pretty close to the surface they are actuallyraw. I think resilience, resilient communities are informed communities. They are communitieswho are given the right honest open information and they know what to do with it when theyget it. And they are communities who know that there is not just one pathway on a journeysometimes the longer journey, the longer course might just be the successful course to getto a solution, so it might not be just the shortest or quickest way sometimes you justmight have to take an alternative approach to actually bring about the building and achievementof the state of resilience within the community. So we have had at the Brisbane Resilience Leadership Project, everyone came up and reflectedon, what they are going to do what they are going to action out of having been a partof this and itís really been amazing some of the stuff that has come out of this projectfor people, so whether that is someone finally put together ìtheir stay/go kitî, so thatthey are ready for the next storm season to another person who is from a men shed goingout and sending information to all the men sheds around Queensland about preparedness. So there is a really wide variety of actions that people are going to take out of this,that is really going to have impact across a wide variety of communities across Queensland. I found that was excellent, because I made a lot of friends, and I realise now that thereare a lot of avenues that we can use and we should be able to use those. It was eye opening, I really did not know anything about resilience before this andso I have learnt a lot about communities and just what we can do. What is one step they can make towards becoming resilience?Get to know your neighbours. Start small and whatever little step you can make in that right direction whether it beyou know in your own family or where you have your own influence in your community. My idea of community resilience is the fact that we all can work together to create abetter community around us and that everyone is able to work in that field. Doesnít matterhow big or small they are. Its been really interesting getting everybody elses perspectives – especially around communitydevelopment and engaging community. Where my experience has been engaging individuals,it is nice to get community perspective. So we have to be very much self reliant to be able to move forward after a disaster. Just because you are a bit isolated, it does not mean to say you have been forgotten thatthere are a lot of places in Brisbane, other big areas that you can go to find out thatinformation that you need, you just have got to be able to ask. Having done the course, I can say it has been extremely informative and very motivationaland the two leaders Tal and Cat were excellent – very good presenters and facilitators andthe speakers were brilliant so I am going out their armed and ready to save the world. It was awesome I canít begin to tell you how much I gained from it, just the wealthof information, the networks, the people I have met, the passionate people that I havemet, it was really fantastic. And is your home disaster prepared?My home? My personal home. . yes, yes it is, it has to be because I canít go to communityareas and preach to be prepared, act and how to survive in a disaster or bush fire or anythingif my home is not done.

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 Posted on : October 3, 2014