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UTPA Symposium Apr. 10 addresses disaster resiliency
Posted: 03/27/2014
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The Rio Grande Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. Yet one hurricane or massive flood could bring this growth to a halt and even cause the Valley to lose people and businesses similar to New Orleans after Katrina.

The lack of strategic planning worldwide, including the RGV, has prompted a United Nations task force to encourage resiliency. For this reason, the Department of Economics and Finance at The University of Texas-Pan American invites government officials, business owners and concerned citizens to attend the FIRe Symposium - "Making the RGV Resilient to Disasters" - on April 10.

The symposium will be held from 8 a.m.-noon at the CESS (Community Engagement and Student Success) Building located at Freddy Gonzalez Drive and Hwy 281. Top disaster experts from all over the world will be presenting at the symposium. A UN representative will speak on the importance of resiliency and how it is different from emergency preparedness in saving lives and property resulting from a disaster. Also experts in engineering, sociology, and geology will discuss how government entities, school districts, businesses, and the community from both sides of the border can strategically work together to reduce loss of life and property caused by disasters. Examples will be given of best practices and how other locations are changing to help their communities.

"The purpose of resiliency is to strategically incorporate methodology to avoid loss of life and property in the placement of schools, public buildings and hospitals so that they are above flood plains and resist wind storm damage and can serve as areas of refuge. Also how school districts and local government can work together to save assets such school busses and evacuate people to shelter before disaster strikes, similar to what happened in the evacuation of Galveston prior to hurricane Ike," said Dr. Kenneth Lovell," a faculty member in UTPA's College of Business Administration and the symposium's organizer.

Registration is free and breakfast will be provided. To register or to obtain more information or special accommodations, contact Charles Danso at ckdanso@broncs.utpa.edu.