Director of CCOUC Prof. Emily Chan was interviewed in a China-focused current affairs programme in Radio Television Hong Kong on 27 May 2014 to share her experience and insights in disaster research and emergency response in China. This is part of the CCOUC’s effort in boosting awareness of the public regarding the development of disaster research and emergency response in China.
Disasters strike China on a very frequent basis. Despite her relatively late development when compared with the West, China has a remarkable achievement in disaster research and emergency response over these recent years. With a well-trained and equipped military force, rescue work of the country is remarkably efficient. In fact, it is the intense urge to enhancing disaster preparedness and rehabilitation work of the country that warrant much attention and effort.
The diversity of the country presents a major challenge to the work and development of disaster research and emergency response. With less extensive or even no media coverage at all, ethnic minorities residing in remote rural areas in China are particularly suffering from a great deal of risks disasters posed. They do not have much information and assistance on building up their own disaster preparedness.
With the establishment of the Centre’s Ethnic Minority Health Project, we have been working on health interventions on disaster preparedness. Areas ranging from the preparation of emergency kit, homemade oral rehydration salts and post-disaster waste management are all covered. Follow-up evaluations have proved the effectiveness of such interventions. In fact, real life experiences as well revealed the effectiveness of our work with another perspective. For instance, the utilization of our emergency kit after the flood hitting a village in Gansu Province provided us with another angle to evaluate our achievement. All the evaluations established via research, together with these real life examples provide us with solid ground to scale up our interventions via the assistance of our NGO counterparts and government officials who are all very much willing to contribute.
Another rather unique problem that China faces is her volunteer management. With such a massive cohort of volunteers, China ought to fully utilize this important resource. It is firmly believed that if the government could develop and implement an extensive platform providing information related to disaster work, potential chaos could be minimized. Volunteers themselves should also prepare for such tough task and should never disrupt the ongoing relief work.
As long as China could devote herself in enhancing the knowledge gap within disaster preparedness and enhancing the planning of rehabilitation work, she will be able to keep pace and even excel in mitigating and buffering the threat disasters bring.
Link to the Program: