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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

Elton Cunha Municipal Director of Barra Velha Municipal Civil Defence, Brazil

Elton has long experience in people management, having been an Infantry Captain in the Brazilian Army for six years, as well as having worked as an analyst in the private sector.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Logistics from the Itajaí Valley University (UNIVALI), focussing on ‘Logistics Tools for a Humanitarian Action’ in the field of Humanitarian Logistics, this being the first time the university has addressed this area in academic work.

Elton joined Barra Velha City Hall - SC, Brazil in early 2011 and was tasked with creating the Civil Defence Department. His efforts culminated in legislation to create the Municipal Civil Defence Co-ordination body on December 14, 2011. This organisation is tasked with creating contingency protocols and plans, mapping risk areas and operationalising disaster prevention, preparedness and response actions.

On May 18, 2013, Barra Velha Civil Defence was recognised for its work in prevention and environmental actions during the ‘State Week of Civil Defence Actions,’ promoted by the Santa Catarina State’s Secretariat of Civil Defence. In October 2013, Barra Velha Civil Defence entered the UNISDR Building Resilient Cities international programme and, in May 2014, became the 18th Brazilian city, and the first city of the State of Santa Catarina, to complete the second cycle of the programme – well before many other larger cities, including the state capital.

Elton has studied more than 400 hours of courses in the area of risk and disaster reduction, focussing on geology, hydrology and administrative bases in disaster management.

In 2017, Elton obtained approval from the mayor and city councillors to restructure the co-ordination of the Municipal Civil Defence Directorate, thus raising the hierarchical levels, responsibilities and strength of disaster risk reduction within the state.

From 2017 to 2018, Elton was president of the Civil Defence Collegiate of Amvali, part of the Itapocu Valley Municipalities Association.

He has received the state's ‘90th Military Firefighters Medal’ for his contributions both to the institution and the population. In 2018, he was awarded the ‘Eternal Combatants Medal’ by the Brazilian Federation of Former Combatants for services rendered to the population and for enhancing the memory of Brazilian soldiers in World War II.

Elton also has completed two Lato Sensu postgraduate programmes, one in Protection and Civil Defence and the other in Compliance and Crisis Management.

He is currently an academic at UNIVALI in the Business Administration undergraduate programme, Member of the Amvali inter-municipal Civil Defence Collegiate, Member of CRA-SC, Regional Council of Administration Santa Catarina State, and an international volunteer with the Lions Club.

And, finally, he is an eternal apprentice.