The 18th World Congress on Disaster & Emergency Medicine was held in Manchester, United Kingdom from 28 to 31 May. It is the official congress of the World Association of Disaster & Emergency Medicine and is normally held every two years. CCOUC Director Prof Emily Chan and other members participated in and presented at the 17th WCDEM held in Beijing after the centre establishment in 2011. Prof Chan delivered a keynote presentation in Beijing and highlighted the research direction and strategic importance of the centre.
This year the Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) at the Manchester University was one of the hosting institutions and the issue of the accountability of the humanitarian actors was discussed in many academic sessions. The issues around the deployment and the effectiveness of foreign medical teams were presented by a number of speakers and the progress of the WHO guideline for foreign medical teams was discussed.
Disaster risk management was another key theme in the conference. Prof Kevin Hung and Dr Elizabeth Newnham participated in the discussion and presented the research projects on community resilience from CCOUC. Field research from flood affected village in Sichuan showed limited disaster risk literacy and lack of preparedness measures prevented a desirable level of resilience. Whilst the local government showed efforts for the use of an early warning system, resources limitation due to poverty and other barriers like low literacy levels hindered the implementation results. Another study was based in Hong Kong and explored whether the currently level of first aid training can serve as meaningful disaster preparedness in the urban setting with high population density.