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Dwayne

Dwayne Honor

Year of Award: 2015 Award State: Queensland Emergency Services > General
None > Environment
The Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet Churchill Fellowship to research the impact and key learnings from extreme Storm Surge events on coastal communities - Philippines, USA
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The purpose of this Churchill Fellowship was to learn methods that prepare and adapt communities to the risk of extreme storm surge, focussing on the impacts of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Philippines and Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina in the United States of America.

For clarity, this report is synthesised into phases of response, recovery, adaptation measures and adaptation barriers. In each instance, a lens of community resilience has been applied. A summary of key findings is below with further discussion in the body and conclusion of this report.

  • Successful storm surge adaptation and disaster recovery requires good leadership and governance to avoid human suffering;
  • Community resilience is built from interconnected networks, shared ownership of problems, access to resources and the depth of relationships formed between people;
  • Programs that build community resilience are founded in principles of Community Driven Development and empowerment of individuals;
  • Good urban design is an essential component to creating infrastructure that builds community resilience and social cohesion, as opposed to building resilient infrastructure;
  • Diversity of thought is required to solve complex problems and drive community based adaptation. The change agents are consistently Social Science, Anthropology, Philanthropy, Political Science, Urban Planning and Architecture;
  • Community resilience is the first line of defence in preparing and responding to extreme storm surge. 

On reflection, there were common ingredients to building communities resilient to storm surge. Through tragic circumstance and shared suffering, affected communities have learnt to connect through discussion of values and genuine debate, building shared consciousness and purpose in life. Shared values form the building blocks of a commitment to community recovery. This commitment forms the essential ingredient to volunteering as people aspire to improve their livelihoods. Volunteers come to understand that by working together to improve the collective, their own situation invariably improves. Ultimately, an empowered community is created which is essential to community resilience.

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