INTERVIEW WITH LACER RISK ASSESSMENT EXPERT
DR. EMMANUEL RAJU
The AHA Centre held the Public Launch and Webinar of the 3rd edition of the ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review (ARMOR) on 11 October 2022, supported by the European Union (EU). The Levering ASEAN Capacities for Emergency Response (LACER) project contributed to the launch webinar.
The theme was the intersection of disasters and pandemic. Against the backdrop of the health crisis endured globally as a result of COVID-19, the articles highlight how the pandemic affected disaster management policymaking across the ASEAN region. Of particular interest is how ASEAN has adapted its disaster management tools in response to the pandemic, including innovative methods, information and communication technology that can be used to improve the analysis of real-time data and the cross-border provision of aid during disasters, in anticipation of future pandemics.
LACER risk expert, Dr. Emmanuel Raju, participated as a panellist commenting on the article “Disaster and Pandemic: The Exacerbating Effects of COVID-19 to ASEAN’s Disaster Riskscape” by the AHA Centre Disaster Monitoring and Analysis team and Pacific Disaster Center. Queried on how the pandemic had impacted disaster management in Europe, Dr. Raju noted a number of challenges and opportunities for learning which have emerged. A key learning in the context of natural hazards is the importance of talking about vulnerability as a central issue in disaster risk management because in many places, it is very often the same communities, the same geographic locations, where vulnerable populations are repeatedly impacted by disasters or have seen worsening effects over and over.
The pandemic has also forced us to revisit the link between Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and sustainable development.
“If we truly want to achieve disaster risk reduction, we also need to think about the sustainable development goals because at the end of the day disaster risk reduction is about making sure that we have risk-informed development processes.”
LACER Risk Assessment Expert, Dr. Emmanuel Raju
LACER’s Johanna Rixer caught up with Dr. Raju after the event and posed some further questions about learning.
How can academic learning best contribute to developing the capacity of an actor like the AHA Centre that is focused heavily on humanitarian response?
“This is an important question. Most professionals from academia would like to see impact, not only theoretically but to be able to go from theory to practice. We should use the experience of academia and put into practice what we learn. The discussions we had during the webinar are one example of such an opportunity. We also had a very interesting and fruitful workshop within the LACER project looking at risk from a scientific standpoint, where we had participants from the EU and the AHA Centre. The focus was to dig deeper on how we could use science to communicate risks in our day-to-day work. ”
How does the EU deal with differences in risk profiles among its members?
“It’s not easy. Different members have different interests. In this context it is important to continue to talk about impacts of climate change and extreme weather, as well as to nudge political actors to have these issues high up on the agenda. Disaster vulnerability is central to this discussion – both within the EU and the ASEAN. There are also lessons exchanged and learned between EU and ASEAN. Some factors continue to be central to the advancement of DRM in both Europe and ASEAN, such as applying lessons learned to leadership, keeping a focus on vulnerability, etc.”
What do you see as the priorities of ASEAN and the AHA Centre in the coming 5 years?
“Promoting localisation of efforts in disaster risk management, to allow a more robust and timely response and risk reduction efforts, will be of great significance to ASEAN over the next few years. And of course post-disaster, there is the issue of promoting recovery that is green and sustainable.”
Written by: Johanna Rixer | Photo Credit: AHA Centre, NORDRESS