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Otago offers disaster management simulation to international visitors

Media Release - 10 May 2016

Future leaders in the civil defence and emergency management field will be in Otago this week as part of an international training and development programme in disaster management.

Supporting the training programme is Otago’s own civil defence group controller Chris Hawker, who believes the benefits for region are as positive as those the participants will gain from the programme.

“Emergency management is a global issue. When large scale disasters hit we rely on the support of other countries, just as we in turn lend our support overseas when required,” Mr Hawker said.

"This is a significant international programme and having some of the future leaders of disaster management coming to Otago for training is a great thing for our international relations.”

Mr Hawker was involved in the development of the programme with the University of Canterbury, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and AHA (ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance). It is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds through the NZ Aid Programme and it is run by the AHA Centre, which is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Otago Regional Council staff will be involved in helping the participants understand the natural hazards present in the region in the lead up to a practice exercise.

“In the middle of each programme we undertake a field trip and this year we’re bringing them to Dunedin for a look at the hazard environment in Otago,” Mr Hawker said.

“On Saturday they are in the city they then will have an emergency response exercise focused on dealing with a major issue in Queenstown. This kind of event and the practice that it involves helps groups of individuals become a team by dealing with a shared problem.”

The course runs for two weeks with sessions in Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland as well as Otago. Course participants come from across the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia, and include senior personnel from Red Cross.

ENDS

For more information contact

Caroline Rowe
Director stakeholder engagement
Otago Regional Council
Ph 03 470 7437

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