Natural Disaster Resilience Leadership Project [TESTIMONIAL]

Uploaded by VolunteeringQldTV on 06.11.2011

Hi, my name is Marleen Blake. I'm here to do a course about disaster management and
It's been so good. I've learnt so much. It has really been an eye opener. I've met some
fantastic people. We have had the best presenters. And for me experiencing Yasi was a big learning
and what I saw being a volunteer here working with the Mayor, working with the disaster
coordination team, working with the media.
And making sure that the deaf community had access to the important information. And from
that time on I have been very concerned about the future of what would happen, specifically
here in Cairns. I have been very concerned about the deaf community and making sure they
have access to the up-to-date information of what is happening with the weather, with
any disaster that is happening. It could be a fire, a flood, a tsunami, it could be a
cyclone. Anything, a car crash.
Disasters have many ways of impacting on a family, or a community and as yet there is
no plan been prepared for how to link in disaster management, emergency services, the deaf community
themselves. And how to provide appropriate services to this specific people group. They
are a visual and linguistic minority group. It means that they need access to specific
ways to communication. That communication is the pivotal point.
It means that when in the future we have a disaster, regardless of what. It means that
now through this course I have been able to learn how to prepare a project for disaster
management planning. A lot of time needs to be involved in that area to prepare and to
make sure that we cover all the contingencies. And today I was able through the learning
to jot down really a project plan. And through working with all the emergency services people
here in our group – I have had to learn their jargon.
I was already working with them here but it was an ad hoc thing, it wasn’t planned.
It happened one night. In 5 minutes I sent an email to someone at the council – they
responded ‘good idea’. They contacted the manager of the disaster coordination group
and yes, they agreed that I should come and work with the Mayor and make sure that I was
interpreting for the deaf community so they would be aware that Cyclone Yasi was really
an urgent, terrible situation that was coming closer, and closer and closer. That this was
a category 5 and Cairns people hadn’t experienced that before. So that meant that the people
that had gone ‘Oh well, it’s just a cyclone, it’s nothing’ – No, this was serious.
People’s lives where at risk. So that meant that people needed to know, they needed to
prepare and that was my driving force to make sure that the deaf community was aware it
was dangerous and urgent.
So that is why when I heard about this course I thought ‘fantastic’ and I can feed that
back to the deaf community. Also, I have another group that I am involved with and that’s
the epilepsy support group. So there is two big areas that will have a big impact from
this learning of what I have done here. Thank you for allowing me to share. Goodbye.