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Disaster experts to visit North East for international conference

6th September 2017

An international conference exploring hazard management and disaster survival is being organised by two North East universities.

Academics from Northumbria University, Newcastle and Durham University are hosting the Impact of Hazard, Risk and Disasters on Societies conference, which will include the recent leader of the United Nations strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström among its keynote speakers.

Both institutions are recognised as leaders in this field. In 2004 Northumbria University launched the Disaster and Development Network (DDN), alongside it’s MSc in Disaster Management and Sustainable Development, which was launched in 2000. They are the first programme and group of their kind with this focus anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile Durham University established its Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience 10 years ago and is marking the anniversary by teaming up with Northumbria to organise the Impact of Hazard, Risk and Disasters on Societies conference.

ProfessorAndrew Collins is conference co-chair and leader of the Disaster and Development Network (DDN) at Northumbria. He said: “This is the 11th in our annual series of global Dealing with Disasters conferences, which has been staged at different institutions around the world including Sierra Leone, South Africa, Nepal and UK.

“This year, we’re very honoured to have Durham University’s Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience host the series to recognise our common interests and the North East’s status as a world leader in this field. Northumbria’s DDN also co-chairs for the recently formed UK Alliance for Disaster Research (UKADR), also linked to this event, and the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GADRI) that will link with a future DDN event in Newcastle.

“We have a number of prestigious speakers and delegates from around the world attending. Our own student Disaster and Development Society (DDS) will also play a prominent role and have been as proactive as always in getting involved.

“Northumbria was one of the first institutions in the world to drive disaster and development approaches that are now a recognised and growing field. It is appropriate that over the next few years we plan to bring this international conference back to Northumbria.”

Among the keynote speakers at this year’s event is Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction from 2008 to 2015. She will be joined by Dr Ciro Orgate, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief at the Pan American Health Organization, as well as Professor Eelco Dykstra, the Institute of Civil Engineers’ 11th Brunel International Lecturer 2016-18.

The aim of the conference is to bring together practitioners, researchers, humanitarian agencies and hazard managers to present and discuss the latest findings and challenges around managing hazards and surviving disasters.

Themes will include the security of natural resources such as water, understanding and managing geohazards, the displacement of refugees, the impacts of hazards on culture and heritage, vulnerabilities and health centred disaster risk reduction.

The conference takes place at Durham University from 19 - 22 September. For more information please click here.

The Disaster and Development Network (DDN), based at Northumbria, aims to develop through research, teaching and learning, the knowledge and skills to address hazards, disasters and complex emergencies from the perspective of different development debates and experience. For more information please click here

Northumbria’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences encompasses work in cold and paleo environments, social and cultural geographies, communities and resilience, environmental geochemistry and health, and ecology, with projects and engagement taking place in more than 30 countries, from the poles to the tropics. For more information click here.

To find out more about the courses on offer at Northumbria come along to one of our Open Days – more information available here.

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