Experts discuss disaster risk management

Below is an article written by Amanda Tongha about the recent IRDR Science Committee meeting that took place at Stellenbosch University between 16-18 November. We have to learn from nature, change our mind-set and focus on living a minimalist life Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, told delegates attending the 14th Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Scientific Committee meeting. Disaster risk management experts from 13 countries around the world attended the meeting at Stellenbosch University (SU) from 16-18 November, the first occasion in which the committee has met outside China or Europe. Sharing insights and innovations disaster delegates from Uganda, USA, UK, China, Thailand, the Netherlands, France, Kenya, Dubai, China, Japan, Egypt and Sweden gathered at STIAS for the three day event mapping ways for disaster risk reduction. "We are not living a sustainable lifestyle at the moment. We cannot continue to drive in a vehicle that weighs 1.5 tons, that produces 200 kilowatt power to move an object that weighs 80 kg. We will have to change our lifestyles drastically," Prof Cloete remarked. "The question is how do we manage the risk and disaster that is on our doorstep," he asked calling on delegates to help people understand what is happening and mitigate risk and disasters. Other speakers included Jens Pedersen, a medical and humanitarian worker, currently working with Medecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), who spoke about "Ebola in West Africa – implications for integrated risk science" and Prof Coleen Vogel, a climatologist at the University of the Witwatersrand who discussed "Climate and weather risks: science-policy-practice Interface (COP 21, El Nino)". The 2015 IRDR Science Committee Meeting is hosted by Stellenbosch University, the secretariat for Periperi U, the IRDR ICoE in Risk Education Learning (ICoE REaL). Original Article