UC disaster management relief expert to help support relief

Sunday, 24 November 2013, 2:05 pm
Press Release: University of Canterbury

UC disaster management relief expert to help support humanitarian relief

November 24, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) disaster management relief expert has been deployed to the Philippines to support the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).

UC Centre for Risk, Resilience and Renewal (UCR3) Associate Director Steve Glassey will be working alongside fellow Kiwis Robert Patton and Mike Langford who are part of the ADRA New Zealand emergency response team.

The work ahead will be challenging with more than 11.3 million people affected, 670,000 people displaced and more than $US300 million requested by the Haiyan Action Plan.

“It will be a challenging response. Not only is the scale of the disaster daunting but having worked there before, the huge number of small islands within the island groups will make assessment and aid intervention difficult,’’ Glassey says.

“My previous missions centred around large singular geographical areas. So this mission will have its own unique challenges. Filipinos are well versed at disaster response and have good systems in place.

“Our role is to supplement the work of the government and local communities to empower them to recover in a respectful and collaborative fashion.’’

Glassey will outline the issues and impacts of Typhoon Haiyan to UC students and staff when he returns next month.

Glassey has previously been deployed to help relief efforts after the Samoa tsunami and the Laos typhoon Katsana in 2009. He has also responded to the Christchurch and Gisborne earthquakes, the Brian’s Beach landside and Manawatu floods in various roles, from frontline to managerial, in the National Crisis Management Centre.

UCR3 Director Chris Hawker has been in Jakarta talking with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance. UCR3 is developing opportunities to support their education programme.

“The last three years in Canterbury have taught us a considerable amount about the dramatic effects of a disaster,’’ Hawker says.

“Our Centre for Risk, Resilience and Renewal and the UC Resilience Network have grown out of our experiences and the desire for our people to make a greater difference on the world stage. Our engagement with and support for the ASEAN region is a key focus for us.

“Steve Glassey’s contribution to the response is a demonstrable way in which UC and UCR3 can proactively support people affected by a major disaster. It’s just great that he is able to contribute to the excellent work ADRA are doing in the Philippines,’’ Hawker says.