Fifth Committee: Programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, Revised estimates in the aftermath of storm Sandy

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Remediation Costs in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, calls for the Budget to be decided and discussed. As of March 13th 2013 at total of $17.5 million has been received from insurance companies as an advance.

Mitigation costs incurred over the coming months are presumed to be quite high; the board agrees to put forward $6 million dollars specifically for this issue. The committee requested to review the official response to Hurricane Sandy and relevant documents, and stated that in the future all United Nations properties should be adequately protected.

Cabinet Chief discusses an after action review and assessment as to what additional measures are required to prevent such damage in the future. Pre- planning and communication between the city and citizens went considerably well and the preparations implemented beforehand also went well. However, there are areas of improvement to be addressed by those in managerial positions who must have drills more often and training for such situations.

Full account of the UN and its security should be taken and listed. The advanced planning for such events should be re-done because the UN was not fully equipped to handle the disaster. The complete reliance on technology puts the UN in a vulnerable position; contingency plans and back up of data between this office and secondary centers need to be much more interlinked. There must be a serious assessment of staff communication, and how communication is not lost during emergency periods for the future. This applies to the Headquarters in New York City and also others around the world. This is a learning period, which gives the opportunity to implement the changes needed and learn from the past. There is need to assess the adequacy of insurance of all UN premises against natural disasters- particularly in the context of UNHQ’s vulnerabilities.

By: Wayne Doyle

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