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Disaster Management Conference Opens in Toronto

By Eileen Buckley

Toronto, Ontario – Disaster planning, response and recovery will be the focus of the 13th annual World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto this week.

As Ontario's Minister of Public Safety and Security delivers opening remarks, he's expected to talk about the importance of increasing border security while protecting Ontario's vital trade relationship with the US.

The Canadian Center for Emergency Preparedness has organized the four-day event. The center's executive director Adrian Gordon says the main goal is to present experts from all fields of disaster management under one roof. Gordon says the events theme is the "changing face of disaster management."

"Where we need to be prepared and what are the risks that are coming down the to road in the future. What lessons do we have to learn from the experiences we've had recently. And how do those apply for the changing the nature of the risks we face," Gordon said.

Toronto health experts will share lessons learned from the on-going SARS outbreak. Gordon says public health concerns as well as the economic devastation caused by SARS will be shared.

"It is quite clear that SARS has caused the Ontario economy well over a billion Canadian dollars," Gordon said. "And it is likely that the economic impact from SARS is going to be greater than the devastating ice storm that we experienced in 1998."

Organizers say this is the only forum in North America to cover a full array of disaster management issues including biological and cyber terrorism, post-trauma stress management, workplace violence and global climate changes that cause devastating effects -- real lessons to be shared from recent world events.