8 Feb 2012

Flood 'stars' Mary Dhonau and Judy Gibson visit - best ways of community disaster planning?

Judy Gibson and Mary Dhonau
Last week we had a meeting of the Stroud Valleys Water Forum - as many will know this was a group I helped found to bring together the flood and water action groups in the Stroud valleys - well we've been going for about three years and we have decided to formalise the group with a constitution - that was part of the meeting but the other part we had guests Mary Dhonau and Judy Gibson talking about the EA flood awareness scheme.

Well it was great to meet these two 'stars' of the flood world - both were full of enthusiasm and passion to make a difference - Mary Dhonau has been flooded 12 times and has an approach of  developing a blue print for best practice for communities to 'work with' rather than 'against' those who manage flood risk - she believes in managing the flood waters rather than trying to resist them....see more at: http://www.marydhonau.co.uk/about-us 

Judy Gibson who has, like Mary, appeared lots on TV and radio has also been a flood campaigner for years - see more about her home here

Anyway it looks like we are planning a day about flooding on Thursday 8th March 3ish to 8.30 at the Sub Rooms - still much to be planned but the idea will be to have speakers and info for folk to drop in on plus an evening which we will share more about hopes for the Five Valleys - in particular we are hoping the County will be able to support the event and explore how we can use natural processes to tackle flood issues. More about all that soon. UPDATE: sadly it looks like the day will only now be about emergency planning without an evening event - the natural processes will be considered later in the year.

The day will also look at community emergency planning - Parish and Town Councils have a role here - and also communities can act - but quite often communities don't act unless their is a clear reason - many see risks of flooding, fire or other big disaster as too small so don't plan....and there is also the issue of who keeps a plan up to date? Well it will be good to explore more about what is possible but I am skeptical about the value of some of the plans and am interested to see which way is best to go....

An interesting article here looks at what was learnt by some following the impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and other disasters around the world. In times of disasters neighbours help one another - ambulances and firetrucks and government aid are not the principal ways most people survive during — and recover after — a disaster. Governments were good for getting the power back on but
it is the personal ties among members of a community that determine survival during a disaster, and recovery in its aftermath.

"Really, at the end of the day, the people who will save you, and the people who will help you, they're usually neighbors." Daniel Aldrich

Indeed the conclusion is that instead of practicing earthquake drills and building bunkers, we could get more involved in neighborhood events and reach out and make more friends among our co-workers and neighbours. So how does this fit with community planning? Well we'll see!

1 comment:

Julian said...

The only people who need a 'flood awareness scheme' are those local authority planners whose lack of effective action over many decades has caused both our local raised flood, and coming soon, super-drought risk.