Following an early start to the bushfire season, national and international experts on disaster and public safety related-research are in Melbourne this week to look at new initiatives and how to better deal with natural and man-made disasters.

The International Symposium on Disaster Management brings together experts from 15 different countries to discuss how technology can assist in disaster mitigation, response and decision-making, community resilience in the face of disasters, and public safety communications.

Workshops will cover events including earthquakes, floods, bushfires, risk reduction and economic loss from disasters.

Professor Abbas Rajabifard Head of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne and Symposium Chair said that disaster management impacts on many aspects of life.

In the last few decades, countries all over the world have experienced many natural and man-made disasters that have affected millions and cost trillions of dollars of damage to infrastructure and property

“Disasters are not just about buildings, structures and economics. Disasters impact on governments and those who make policy, on health of populations and on the resilience of people to recover,” he said.
“The Symposium is an important step in addressing the complex challenges arising from significant disaster events that impact upon communities worldwide.”

“We know that many developing countries don't yet have standards and regulated management in this area. The recent devastation in Nepal, post earthquake demonstrated that building codes in that country were not adequate leading to additional loss of life,” Professor Rajabifard said.

The University of Melbourne conducts multi-disciplinary research and training on disaster management and public safety.

WHAT:     2015 International Symposium on Disaster Management.
WHERE:     Woodward Centre, Level 10 Melbourne Law building, University of Melbourne
WHEN:    Tuesday 13 October, 8.30am-5.30 pm- Wednesday 14 October 8.50 am-1.00 pm

For more information, contact Annie Rahilly (Media office): 9035 5380/0432 758 734     

Speakers and experts include:

Mr Neil Comrie, AO, APM –Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria
Mr Craig Lapsley –Commissioner, Emergency Management Victoria
Professor Helen Goldsworthy- Earthquake construction specialist
Professor Gary Gibson- Earthquake specialist (Geologist)
Associate Professor Mark Quigley- Earthquake and sink holes specialist
Mr Robert R. Jensen- from the US Department of Homeland Security- Lessons from Hurricane Sandy