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Monday, 24 April, 2000, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Disaster survivors discuss aftermath
Paddington rail crash
Paddington: 31 people were killed
Survivors and relatives from major disasters including Paddington, Lockerbie and Hillsborough are joining academics and police to discuss the aftermath of sudden catastrophe.

The two-day event, starting on Tuesday at the Centre for Disaster Management at Coventry University, is being organised by Hillsborough survivor and sociologist Dr Anne Eyre.

The conference, After Disaster: Addressing Management Issues, will look at the lessons to be learned from disasters and bring together the people involved.

It will examine corporate responsibility, following the Southall and Paddington train crashes, disaster funds and bereavement damages and the psycho-social impact.

Family liaison officers from the Metropolitan Police will talk about the lessons learned from the Paddington disaster, the tasks they had to carry out and the difficulties they found in helping people.

Dr Eyre, a lecturer in Disaster Management at Coventry University, said: "After each disaster, although lessons are learned and experience is shared, often people don't know where to turn.
Sudden catastrophes
The Paddington rail crash: 31 people were killed and 250 injured in October 1999
The Southall rail crash: Seven people died and 150 were injured in September 1997
Marchioness boat disaster: 51 people killed in August 1989
Hillsborough football disaster: 96 Liverpool fans were killed and 400 injured in April 1989
Lockerbie air disaster: 270 people died in December 1988
Aberfan tip disaster: 144 people, including 116 children, were killed in October 1966

"Much has been learned, but more needs to be done if disaster planning, preparedness and response are to become more efficient, effective and humane in future."

Her experiences at Hillsborough in 1989, where 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, inspired her to start researching some of the big disasters of the 1980s.

Dr Eyre began to see a pattern in the events surrounding them, and the need for more research into the subject.

She joined the five-year-old centre four years ago and sees her work there as a way of "making something positive out of what happened" in Sheffield.

"We are trying to bring together relatives and survivors with academics and practitioners, as they often have mutual interests."

She said there was most attention on the first six months after a disaster, but that the repercussions could go on for years.

Academics would also be discussing newly-researched information on the Aberfan coal waste tip disaster released from the public records archives, she said.

The centre says it runs the only undergraduate disaster management courses in the UK.

It looks at cases ranging from those with human causes to natural catastrophes.

Students from the course have spent time in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Kosovo.

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