The need for disaster readiness both in New Zealand and around the world is not a new idea. Natural disasters have long been - and will always be - a fact of life.
ENGAGE FOR DISASTER READINESS
Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, storms, flooding, tsunamis and hurricanes are just some of the very real threats to our resilience that, as communities, we need to be as prepared as possible for.
For seismically prone New Zealand, the 2010-2012 Canterbury earthquake sequence and the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, were a real wake up call. The cost to human life, the economic disruptions and the physical upheaval of both land and infrastructure were unparalleled in the nation's history.
An important outcome of these events was the great deal of new knowledge acquired around what can be achieved with a strong culture of collaboration and a structured, systematic approach to disaster recovery and response.
On the rocky path to recovery, some fundamental principles have been identified as helping to make response, recovery and rebuild faster, more cost effective and more coherent for those making funding and prioritisation decisions for their communities.
How best to help pave the way for future communities effected by earthquakes and other natural disasters, became the pertinent question for earthquake engineers and industry and community leaders in New Zealand.
The Quake Centre is excited to be actively involved in the Engage - Disaster Rebuild Capability project, with a direct focus on bringing together lessons from the past, to help be more disaster ready for tomorrow.
This is the time to engage with disaster rebuild capability. If we wait for the next disaster to happen, it's already too late.
Here's a slice of the Engage - Disaster Rebuild Capability story so far...
"One of the largest costs in any disaster and the area arguably most impactful on the lives, wellbeing, and ability to recover from any major event, is damage to infrastructure. It makes good sense: if the basics of life - power, water, communications, essential and social services are compromised, peoples' lives, wellbeing, productivity and ability to recover are hampered too.
Investment in preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from major events that compromise infrastructure is therefore, paramount. Huge amounts of time and money are spent every year to assess the country's risk and plan for what is inevitably to come.
But how well are we spending our money right now? How often are the many agencies and thousands of people working in disaster related areas duplicating the efforts of others, building new systems and processes from scratch, making decisions with limited or no information?
Working in isolation and without the ability to draw on the knowledge and experience of those who have been there, done that?
There is a view that every disaster is unique, and that the approach to each needs to be started from scratch every time. The reality is, irrespective of the shape, size and nature of the disaster, it is best to respond with a very standardised, systematic, clear and proven series of steps, processes and tools.
Once those are in place the transparency and accuracy of information gained enables individuals and communities to make flexible but rational decisions, prioritise better and communicate with greater certainty, to those impacted by they event.
The proposal is for the creation of an infrastructure-led Disaster Rebuild Capability Network, a nationwide collaboration of individuals and organisations with a working interest in rebuild and recovery.
Participants would come from the wide range of groups involved in disaster response and recovery - government, regional and local government, the construction industry, NGOs, professional groups, community organisations and others.
Past events have taught us a great deal about the factors and actions that consistently bring results in a rebuild and recovery setting. These are lessons that New Zealand is now sharing with the world as other countries look to us for our experience and the things that we have learned as a result of what our communities have been through, and continue to go through."