Dozens of national and international experts gathered at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in late February for the APRU 2023 Multi-Hazards Workshop to find ways for the further improvement of disaster risk management capacity at the local level in Asia-Pacific.
Co-led by the APRU Multi-Hazards Program based at Tohoku University, the workshop focused on emergency response, all-hazards approach, early warning/risk communication, and inclusive disaster risk reduction (DRR) that urgently requires further efforts for localization.
“The multidisciplinary aspect of this workshop demonstrates that APRU is an international consortium well-positioned to be highly effective in bringing together the latest research findings and experiences from diverse contexts to tackle global challenges,” said APRU Chief Executive Dr Thomas Schneider in his welcome address.
“Our aim is to assist DRR localization and showcase solutions that raise public awareness and bring social good,” he added.
The workshop speakers and guests visited the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Top outcomes from the four-panel discussions include that it is critical to invest in developing relationships and trust between local communities, first responders, military, academia, and government. Participants pointed out that all-hazards approaches that integrate local and Indigenous knowledge and grassroots efforts provide highly beneficial frameworks to respond effectively as disasters become increasingly complex. It was also found that new methods are required to address the needs of women, children, elderly, disabled, and low-income individuals. Participants expressed optimism that data-sharing and new technologies of AI will be able to assist people in responding more effectively in times of disaster.
“This workshop underscores the significant role that local governments and communities play when dealing with disasters,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno.
“Involving these groups, particularly local emergency response practitioners, in the development of disaster risk reduction preparedness strategies and early response efforts for their regions will result in actionable plans that are better adapted and responsive to the needs of each area,” he added.
As one of APRU’s most successful and long-standing programs, the Multi-Hazards Program brought expertise and knowledge of DRR to this workshop, creating a unique opportunity for researchers and practitioners to learn from each other. The International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) at Tohoku University is the key driver leading the program.
The APRU 2023 Multi-Hazards Workshop was made possible by support from a multinational insurance company, Tokio Marine Group, headquartered in Japan and the CFE-DM, a direct reporting unit to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and principal agency to promote disaster preparedness and societal resiliency in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Disaster resilience and climate action are priority issues for Tokio Marine Group,” said Mark Yoda, chairman and CEO of First Insurance Company of Hawaiʻi, a member of Tokio Marine North America’s group of companies. “We are proud to be a part of APRU’s efforts through our sponsorship of this year’s Multi-Hazards Workshop,” he added.
Read a story from UH News here.
Find out more information about the workshop here.