x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Disaster authority balances law and action in crisis strategy

Global trade has made the country more vulnerable in a crisis, a security conference heard yesterday.

Jamal al Hosani addresses the National Security Summit in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Jamal al Hosani addresses the National Security Summit in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

ABU DHABI // Global trade has made the country more vulnerable in a crisis, a security conference heard yesterday. As a result, the National Crisis and Emergency Response Authority is developing a national response programme along with federal legislation, Dr Jamal al Hosani, the body's director of information and communications technology, told the second annual National Security Summit.

The 2009 UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction put the UAE among Middle East countries particularly vulnerable to tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones and drought. The authority was established in 2007 after a Government study identified a need for the country to be better-equipped to deal with disasters - both natural and man-made. Its job is to streamline emergency response among various agencies, including the military, police, civil and state security and intelligence.

"Our national security is affected by globalisation; the UAE has become more vulnerable because of global trade," said Dr al Hosani. "Our vision is to diminish the effects of an emergency in the UAE. We're trying to limit our losses." All government agencies involved in emergency management were in discussions with the crisis authority to develop the national response plan, though Mr al Hosani said there was no deadline either for that or for the federal legislation.

He added that the plan and legislation were being developed simultaneously. "These two things go together, and they will require a lot of time. Their development includes lots of organisations in the UAE working together." The crisis authority's offices will open across the country, a move Mr al Hosani said would improve co-ordination between different official bodies and regions. Without naming specific countries, Mr al Hosani said the UAE was also working with its neighbours to develop an integrated approach to emergency response.

"We need to work with our neighbours, this is one aspect of crisis management," he said. "We share information and expertise with neighbours about concerns on an area-wide level. We're co-ordinating efforts." jhume@thenational.ae