2009 Social Work Response to Disaster Relief and Management Conference

May 8, 2009 – May 9, 2009

Social Work Response to Disaster Relief and Management Conference

Beijing, China

For a 3rd consecutive year, the Katherine A. Kendall Institute held a disaster management conference, this time in recognition of the 1-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in China that occurred on May 12, 2008. The conference was co-organized with the Department of Applied Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Joint PolyU-PekingU China Social Work Research Centre, the China Association of Social Work Education, the China Journal of Social Work, and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). The 2009 Social Work Response to Disaster Relief and Management Conference, hosted by Peking University on May 8-9, 2009, brought together social work researchers and practitioners from around the world to share their experiences analyzing various topics surrounding disaster management and response.

The 1st day of the conference dealt with the broad issues of coping in the aftermath of natural disasters focusing on the tsunami in Thailand and Sri Lanka and the earthquake in China. Discussion highlights included: the role different actors and institutions involved and international frameworks for addressing disaster issues, the diverse roles of social workers in disaster response, post traumatic stress in children, mental health issues and understanding the culture of disaster survivors.

The second day of the conference focused primarily on China and the earthquake recovery efforts. Topics featured included: the burgeoning role of social work in China, technical assistance collaborations among social workers, government, and universities, and the importance of reaching out to other disciplines such as geology and engineering to re-build safer communities.

Post-Disaster Reconstruction
Joining Hands for a Better Sichuan

Sichuan Province, China

On May 11th, Hong Kong Polytechnic University collaborated with Sichuan University to have a post-disaster reconstruction symposium. This symposium provided a multi-disciplinary analysis of earthquake reconstruction through examining

   1. health and social services
   2. architectural and engineering analysis
   3. community economy and tourism.

On May 12th, the one year anniversary of the earthquake, a visit was made to one of the areas affected by the earthquake.

Presentations from the conference will be available online soon.

The photo below is of a bridge destroyed during the Sichuan Earthquake at a local school.


Contact:  Andrea Bediako