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DISASTER RESPONSE  setting up Ebola hospitals from scratch in Sierra Leone, to leadership, mental health, legal and media issues all associated with dealing with disasters. In addition, we have guest speakers covering two passionate areas for Princes William and Harry, that of demining by the HALO Trust and protecting wildlife through the South African mainly female antipoaching organisation, the Black Mambas. The Black Mambas were founded in 2013 by Transfrontier Africa National Park and now protect all boundaries of the 52,000ha Balule Nature Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. They follow a philosophy they call their ‘Broken Window’ philosophy where they striving to make their area of influence the most undesirable, most difficult and least profitable place to poach any species. With a passion for wildlife and rhino conservation, these women are the voice in the community through their conservation work. Critical to their success is the training and mentoring they receive and the International Disaster Response expo is extremely lucky to have Alice Bromage, a former Major in the British Army and now leadership mentor, who has spent six months with the team on the ground developing their skills.

Disasters are not all natural and one of the worst man-made legacies of war is the numbers of landmines and unexploded ordinance that remain long after conflicts have finished and continue to kill and maim the civilian population. One of the organisations helping deal with this deadly legacy is the HALO Trust founded in 1988 in response to the global humanitarian catastrophe caused by landmines by Colin Mitchell, Guy Willoughby and Susan Mitchell OBE, who witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by landmines and other explosive remnants of war in Afghanistan and they resolved to do something about it. HALO’s Afghanistan programme employs thousands of Afghans and they expanded the scope and breadth of their work to include explosive ordnance disposal, stockpile security and management, weapons disposal and armed violence reduction, in addition to humanitarian de-mining. A key aspect of their approach is to use local labour and hence create local employment. The landmine issue shot to international prominence in 1997 when Princess Diana walked through one of HALO’s minefields in Angola. From small beginnings back in the late 1980s they now employ thousands of men and women from the communities we serve in conflict and post-conflict countries and territories around the world.


DISASTER VICTIMS Speaking on both days of the International Disaster Response Expo’s packed conference programme and with a live demining practical demonstrator, the talks by Simon Conway Director of Capability with the HALO Trust and their contribution will be fascinating. Looking after the victims of a disaster is one thing but looking after those who go in to provide assistance is another. They often are exposed to the sorts of horrors no one should ever see, but they throw themselves in to save life and rebuild communities but the toll on individuals can be great. The International Disaster Response Expo is very fortunate to have Doctor Lorraine Porteous who will highlight the ‘Challenges of working in complex environments’ and drill into the potential impact on the mental health and well-being of those involved.

The objectives of the Black Mamba project are not only the protection of rhinos through boots on the ground but also through being a role model in their communities. With 32 young women and one man, they want their communities to understand that the benefits are greater through rhino conservation rather than poaching, addressing the social and moral decay that is a product of the rhino poaching within their communities. They are concerned for their children’s sake as the false economy has brought loose morals and narcotics into their communities.

One of the more worrying disasters in recent years was the Ebola Crisis in Africa that erupted in 2014 and the Save the Children charity were, some would say, unfairly criticised for their handling of the first Ebola dedicated hospital facility. At the time Save The Children’s Global Humanitarian Director was Michael Von Bertele OBE, and he said the criticism stemmed from ‘a misunderstanding. When we were asked to take on the centre, we made it absolutely clear that this was new business for us ... We have never run frontline health services at this scale’. Talking to Mike, the issues were even bigger, there was friction in London between government agencies and the leaders of not just the Save The Children charity, but also elements of the UN and other NGOs and charities as well as the UK MoD who had built the facility. The practical understanding of what was needed to ensure the safe treatment of the patients and reduce the risk of wider spreading of the disease took much more resource that had originally been thought. He also said at the time that ‘the charity organisation had been obliged to recruit and train some 250 local staff and more from around the world. We set out a plan that involved us maybe taking just two or three patients in the first week, while we understood the complexity of working in a new environment with a new disease, and that is what we did’. In the end the Save the Children Charity was the only organisation that stepped up to run the hospital. One of the great things at the International Disaster response Expo is that Mike will be there, giving his warts and all account of the challenges he faced and the frictions between different organisations. His talk has been timed in a group with many agencies like those involved and he will then chair a panel discussion. If ever there was a session that will bring out real lessons from a challenging, practical and deadly event, it is this. The synergy of co-locating this first event alongside the International Security Expo is clear as there is so much cross over in planning, information requirements, communications, and other technologies as well as general interests of the over 50 country delegations and of over 4,000 of the visitors to the International Security Expo who had indicated in their profiles they worked in the area of disaster response. This two day, free-to-attend event on 28-29 November 2018 is one that in its first year is likely to set a very high benchmark. As you can tell, the content alone is fascinating. L




Counter Terror Business 36  

Delivering Key Strategies To Combat Terrorism

Counter Terror Business 36  

Delivering Key Strategies To Combat Terrorism