Disasters are catastrophic events irrespective of their origins. Today, we can divide them into three categories: natural disasters (tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, etc.), man-made disasters (oil spills, groundwater contamination, etc.), and hybrid disasters (landslides due to deforestation, soil depletion due to overexploitation, etc.). Irrespective of whether or not a disaster can be prevented, it is crucial to have a disaster management plan ready. As the words itself suggest, a disaster management plan can be defined as the organisation and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies. The plan mainly focuses on preparedness, response and recovery to lessen the impact of disasters.
This topic has gained a lot of importance recently due to the awareness and educational efforts of several leading organisations. The World Economic Forum (WE Forum) is one such organisation. The Engineering & Construction Disaster Resource Partnership (DRP) is a successful model developed by WE Forum for the coordination of the private sector in response to natural disasters. The main objective of the DRP is to form an ongoing collaboration between private industry and the public sector/humanitarian organisations to leverage the core strengths and existing capabilities and capacities of the Engineering & Construction (E&C) community when disasters occur.
The WE Forum conference in January 2018 was held in Davos, Switzerland and addressed the issue of disaster planning. The main areas of focus at this conference were environmental resilience and cybersecurity. Stephen Flynn, founding director of Global Resilience Institute and John Manferdelli, executive director of Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute, represented Northeastern University at the event. Natural Disasters are unavoidable and hence Flynn created the International Disaster Assessment program. As a part of the program, experts from a range of fields fly into disaster areas, assess the damage, and devise ways to prepare more effectively for the future. On the other hand, Manferdelli is famous for leading tech security endeavours.