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Disaster Management Conferences Begin in Toronto

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – One of the largest disaster management conferences in the world gets underway Monday in Toronto. In the wake of last week's bombings in London, organizers of the event expect terrorism to take center stage.

It is the 15th annual World Conference on Disaster Management bringing together 1500 delegates from more than 50 countries to Toronto. It will allow emergency management leaders from the United States and around the globe to learn about disaster prevention and emergency management.

Adrian Gordon is executive director of the Canadian Center for Emergency Preparedness. He said prior to last week's deadly attacks in London, terrorism was just one of the many issues that was to be addressed. But now Gordon expects a greater focus on the matter.

"We will have speakers from the U.S. who will be updating us on the increasing risks of terrorism from South East Asia," said Gordon. "The common perception is that a lot of the threats originate from the Middle East. But here are many, many issues related to those that we have to deal with on a much broader basis."

Gordon said over the last five years there have been many examples of what is now considered the "new normal," a time when no one knows what will be the next "big" incident that will occur. But who is best prepared?

"If you want to look at the countries that are most prepared, then look at the countries that have the greatest number of events that have actually happened," said Gordon. "Israel and the Middle East, generally have the highest states of preparedness and the most effective resources."

Gordon said countries that have fewer incidents find it harder to "maintain high levels" of preparedness.