Newsletter No. 420

12 No. 420, 19.6.2013 Photos of Prof. Emily Chan by Cheung Chi-wai 请扫描QR码 阅读全文版 Scan the QR code for the full version 你刚去了雅安评估地震灾情,那边的情况怎样? 经过汶川地震之后,现在内地的救援反应很快,救援物资都已运进去。但临 时房屋还没建好,灾民都住在帐篷里,卫生条件很差,十分潮湿,不少灾民患 了皮肤疹,还有垃圾、苍蝇、野狗等问题。这些卫生问题虽不至于影响生存, 但要这样住上好几个月就很惨。 CCOUC这种设立在大学之下的学术兼救援机构,其角色与一般人道 救援组织有何区别? 我们不可能像前线救援组织那样,一下子找来四辆卡车运两吨物资去救灾, 但我们有自己独特的定位。前线组织未必有时间去考虑他们所用的工作方式 是否最有效,是不是有科学根据,也不会把知识传授给其他机构。我们这种 大学机构要做研究,所以能推进这门学科的发展,并且可以做很多教育工作 培养人才。 人道救援应交由什么样的机构执行最佳:学术机构、NGO、政府、联 合国? 如果你早十年前问我这个问题,那时血气方刚的我会说:当然是在前线干实 事的NGO最好。但现在我觉得每种组织都有不同长处。在前线可以做一个或 者几个项目,但如果真的想推动这个社会大环境的改变和进步,就需要政府 或者联合国那种高层次的组织,他们颁布的政策或指引,大家都会跟从。但 他们不会做实证研究,这空档就需要我们这种学术机构来填补。 理想的救援人员应具备哪些质素? 首先是能胜任的专业技能。从事医学、公共卫生,做错决定是攸关生死的。试 想一个如香港那么大的地方受灾,由你决定物资运到哪里,你的决定意味着 有些地方会拿到资源,有些拿不到,责任很大,所以有充分的知识和能力很重 要。第二是有解决问题的决心。无论遇到什么困难都要想办法解决。 对想入这行的年轻人你有什么忠告? 一定要清楚自己为什么愿意做这行。如果是追求一时的英雄感,根本不值得。 我们这次坐车去雅安时,车子突然被解放军截停,塞了三个小时,原来前面三 辆车左右的地方山坡塌下来,死了六个人。想追求英雄感不值得冒这种风险。 组建CCOUC的救援团队面对什么困难? 现在这个领域还有待成熟,不是说有钱就可以请到合适的人才,因为就算是 出色的NGO员工,也未必适应学术机构的环境。这始终是新发展的领域,人 才要靠自己培训。 CCOUC未来有何新发展? 希望往后五年能把这个研究所发展成世界卫生组织在亚太区的一个中心。 多年的人道救援经历,对你的人生观有何影响? 我的看法是人性是美好的。以前我常去战乱的地方,在最艰困的地方你会找 到最多的好人。人很奇怪,在比较安稳的地方,人就关起门来各自做自己的事 情。但在艰困的境地,反而见到好多人愿意献出生命,我见过很多。 You’ve just been to Ya’an to evaluate the earthquake relief effort. What is the situation there now? After Wenchuan, the mainland authorities respond very quickly to earthquake disasters. In Ya’an, resources for disaster relief have been brought in. But the victims still live in tents because temporary accommodations are not ready. Many victims suffer from skin infections due to poor hygiene and high humidity. There are also other nuisances like garbage, flies, and stray dogs. Although they don’t threaten the victims’ survival, it is miserable to stay for months in such circumstances. How does a university-based, research-oriented relief unit like CCOUC differ from other humanitarian aid organizations in terms of their functions? Unlike disaster relief organizations in the frontline, we can’t easily find four trucks to move two tons of relief resources to disaster zones. But we have our unique position. Ordinary NGOs may not have the time to reflect on the effectiveness or scientific basis of their modi operandi. They won’t pass on their knowledge to other organizations. A university-based unit like us conducts research. So we’re able to push back the frontiers of this field. We also teach and groom talent. Academic organizations, NGOs, governments, United Nations agencies—which are most effective and reliable in providing humanitarian relief? If you asked me this question 10 years ago, the young and impetuous me would have said: ‘It’s the NGOs in the frontline for sure.’ But now I see it differently. Organizations at different levels have their own strengths and missions. NGOs in the frontline are effective in launching a few projects. But if you want to bring about change and development to society, it requires the efforts of higher-level authorities like governments or the United Nations. It’s because when they make policies or issue guidelines, everyone will follow. But they don’t do evidence-based research. We fill this gap. What qualities should a humanitarian relief worker possess? First of all, technical competence. Medical and public health decisions are matters of life and death. Try to imagine a place the size of Hong Kong is hit by natural disaster. You are the one who decides where relief resources should go. That means you determine who gets them and who doesn’t. It’s a huge responsibility. That’s why technical competence is important. Secondly, the determination to solve problems. Your mind must be made up to solve whatever problems that may arise. What’s your advice for those interested in this line of work? You have to be clear about why you want to do this. It’s not worthwhile if you’re just after a sense of heroism. On our way to Ya’an, our car was stopped by the army. We were delayed for three hours. Later we learned that there was a landslide about three cars away from our position. Six people died. It’s just not worth the risk if you simply want to be a hero. What difficulties did you encounter when putting together the CCOUC team? This field is still under-developed. You can’t get the right people just by spending more money. It’s because a competent NGO worker may not survive in an academic setting. We have to groom our talent for this fledgling sector. How do you foresee CCOUC’s development? We strive to build CCOUC into a centre of the World Health Organization in the Asian Pacific Region. How do your years of experience in the humanitarian sector affect your view of life? I believe that human nature is good. I used to go to war zones frequently. You can find the best people in the most perilous places. Human beings are strange creatures. They lock themselves in and mind their own business when life is safe and stable. But in desperate situations, many people would sacrifice themselves for others. I’ve seen this a lot. 陈英凝教授 Prof. Emily Chan CCOUC灾害与人道救援研究所所长 Director, Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC)

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