The IORA Workshop on Biomedical-engineering and other Innovative Technologies with relevance to Post-Disaster Situations was held in Aachen from 18 – 21 November 2019 in Germany.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Member States, located within and around the Indian Ocean rim, are prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, floods, droughts, and volcanic eruptions. As a result of climate change, extreme weather phenomena with the accompanying natural hazards are on the rise, alongside man-made hazards such as oil spills, and water, sea and air pollution. These effects are rising in frequency, with increasingly devastating results for our natural environment and alarming prospects of future generations.
While early warning and precautionary measures are vital to reduce the risks for damages and losses of life associated with these hazards, relief operations and rescue services are also important to help contain the damages to public infrastructure, private properties, and human lives.
It is with a view to these aspects, that the Dept. of Physiology, RWTH Aachen University, IORA Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (IORA-RCSTT), with the support of Germany as a Dialogue Partner, through GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusummenarbeit) and the IORA Secretariat, initiated the IORA Workshop on Biomedical-engineering and other Innovative Technologies with relevance to Post-Disaster Situations in Aachen from 18 – 21 November 2019 in Germany.
The Workshop welcomed Disaster Risk Management (DRM) participants from 11 IORA Member States (Bangladesh, Iran, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tanzania). Though-provoking presentations by experts and professionals from German, Japanese, Italian and Iranian research and engineering institutions, universities, and bio-medical practitioners, were held on 18 – 19 November 2019. The Lectures covered a broad range of topics related to post disaster situations, including advanced biomedical engineering, telemedicine systems, air aid emergency, safe sanitation solutions and sea water desalination among other.
During the opening ceremony, Prof. Dr. K. Mottaghy Dept. of the Physiology, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, mentioned that “this workshop is very important for us to develop key recommendations with relevance to post-disaster situations for IORA and we are thankful to our invited experts from various fields to provide valuable insights”.
Furthermore, Dr. Miremadi from the IORA-RCSTT stressed that ‘’The world of science, technology and innovation is an exciting area in which to network and interact. We all continue to meet and bring inspired people together in forums like this to ensure that IORA remains at the cutting edge.’’
This Workshop provided participants an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge to advance technologies and strategies within the Indian Ocean region which may be used to effectively reduce fatalities and to aid victims affected by disasters.
On 21 November, participants had the opportunity to share their respective country strategies at a round table discussion and developed specific and actionable recommendations to strengthen regional collaboration for post-disaster situations.
Key recommendations developed, included some of the following to:
- Collate an IORA disaster risk map and needs assessment;
- Organise the sharing of disaster mitigation and response techniques by the IORA-RCSTT in collaboration with the IORA Core Group on DRM (CGDRM);
- Promote the delivery of training, exchange and capacity building programmes by Member States and Dialogue Partners in the area of DRM; and
- Enhance DRM awareness, especially in post-disaster situations, through education, media platforms and simulation exercises.
Participants also had the opportunity to visit the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Recourses Management (IWW), the Institute of Textile Technology (ITA) and the MEDICA – COMPAMED Exhibition in Dusseldorf, which is the world’s largest medical trade fair with more than 5,100 exhibitors from 70 countries.
Building on the momentum and vision of the IORA Action Plan (2017-2021), this Workshop provided Member States with innovative solutions to develop effective strategies, locally and regionally, for post-disaster situations. The Workshop is reflective of the evolving activities of the Association, especially in the field of DRM as an ever-increasing area of concern. The IORA-RCSTT, GIZ and IORA Secretariat look forward to strengthening collaboration and capacity building initiatives within this important area.