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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

Volume 3
Issue 4

Posted by Rhys Jones on 12th September 2014 at 11:00am

As CRJ goes to press, Hurricane Dean has battered the shores of Jamaica and is heading for Mexico. Elsewhere, the lives and livelihoods of millions have been laid to waste by flooding, with governments and NGOs trying desperately to provide shelter, drinking water, food and medicine (p5).

Even the UK, blessed with a largely temperature climate that rarely springs nasty surprises, has been left reeling after unprecedented summer flooding (p14).

Yet the scale of the recent floods in England and Wales, terrible as they were, cannot compare to those elsewhere in the world in terms of misery, death and suffering inflicted.

And whether raging floodwaters are caused by El Niño, tropical storms, hurricanes, climate change or just a disastrous random confluence of meteorological conditions, they do have one thing in common: a merciless way of exposing any flaws in plans, preparedness and response.

In the UK, it appears that the gap in legislation whereby the Fire and Rescue Services have no statutory duty for floodwater rescue response, could be changed soon, as reported on p14.

Investment in infrastructure, along with emergency rescue and relief services and systems, are important parts of the overall resilience mesh. And it is also a given that the public and businesses must work on their own personal responsibility.

But we need more, we need to share and build upon the resilience experience accumulated by other countries and organisations. The Flood Fighters workshop and conference which takes place in October (p71), is a golden opportunity for all sectors – and nationalities – to interact and share lessons learned. This is the forum for all agencies to plan and work together – let’s confront the threat head-on.

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