News from the CRC


Release date
16 Jun 2016
More information:
Dr Michael Rumsewicz
Research Director

Disaster recovery insights at Forum – register now

Large and destructive hurricanes and storms that have lashed the United States in recent years will be used as case studies on disaster recovery to launch the Research Forum of AFAC16 powered by INTERSCHUTZ in Brisbane in August.

Prof Gavin Smith of the Coastal Resilience Centre of Excellence at the University of North Carolina will give an opening keynote presentation covering the lessons from research and practice in the US at the premier emergency management conference for our region, AFAC16 powered by INTERSHUTZ, which takes place at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 30 August to 2 September.

Now is the time to register, with earlybird registrations open until 24 June – register now to get the discounted rate

Prof Smith, now a member of the CRC’s International Science Advisory Panel, will share his knowledge on the role of government in disaster recovery, particularly why recovery is less understood and practiced than preparedness, response and mitigation in the US. 

CRC Research Manager Dr Michael Rumsewicz believes that emergency managers and researchers across Australia will learn a lot from Prof Smith.

“Prof Smith will discuss how officials coordinate activities within a larger network of stakeholders, the quality of state-level disaster recovery plans, and the role of leadership during his Research Forum keynote,” Dr Rumsewicz said. 

“He will also give his policy recommendations to address current weaknesses, and importantly, how the lessons learnt in the United States can transfer to Australia and New Zealand.”

Learn more about Prof Smith and the work of the Coastal Resilience Centre of Excellence in this video, ‘The Role of States in Disaster Recovery’. An instructional video combining research and oral history to address dealing with the type of large-scale natural disasters that coastal states face, the clip focuses on the recovery from Hurricane Floyd (North Carolina, 1999) and Hurricane Katrina (Mississippi, 2005). Both storms were the costliest in their states’ respective histories. The video includes interviews with several individuals based on their role during recovery periods for Floyd and Katrina.

The video, which draws on interviews with governors and state officials, is designed to be used by practitioners, researchers, educators and students. The 30-minute video is broken into short segments covering the following themes:

  • Addressing short-term recovery issues                                  
  • Procuring federal and state funding                                         
  • Establishing a state recovery committee                             
  • Providing housing assistance                                                                           
  • Incorporating hazard mitigation into recovery                 
  • Coordinating the timing of assistance                   
  • Planning for recovery                                                                           
  • Leading disaster recovery efforts                                               

The Research Forum kicks off the conference week on Tuesday 30 August, and features 30 talks by leading scientists. It is definitely not just for scientists, but an excellent opportunity for anyone involved in emergency management activities to learn about the latest research developments that will benefit Australian communities, says CRC CEO Dr Richard Thornton.

“Whether you are involved in preparation, response or recovery from disasters, come and engage directly with leading researchers on key issues,” Dr Thornton said.

“Our research is diverse – from optimising remotely sensed flood data, to fire modelling, to cyclone resilience, to policy and fire law, to name just a few examples – and this variety will be showcased at the Research Forum, as well as right through the conference week.”

In addition to Prof Smith, speakers include:

  • Katarina Carroll, Commissioner Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
  • Rhoda Mae Kerr, Chief of the Austin Fire Department in the US and President of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs
  • Dr Jeff Kepert of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research and CRC project leader
  • Frankie Carroll, Director-General of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Queensland
  • Iain Mackenzie, Queensland’s inaugural Inspector-General Emergency Management
  • Jona Olsson, Founder and director of Cultural Bridges to Justice and Chief of the Latir Volunteer Fire Department, New Mexico, US
  • Dr David Henderson, Director of the Cyclone Testing Station at James Cook University and CRC project leader.

View the full program on the conference website.

The conference will also feature a large trade exhibition, the biggest yet thanks to a new partnership with Hannover Fairs Australia – and close with a series of post-conference development sessions on 2 September.

CRC researchers and students have been advised directly about registrations, while staff and volunteers of fire and emergency service agencies should contact their agency to find out about internal selection processes for conference attendance.

Earlybird registrations are now open – register before 24 June to get the discounted price.

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