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To provide for the welfare and well-being of University staff and students subject to a variety of overseas disaster-related circumstances.

Responsible Officer: Vice-President (Enterprise)
Implementation Officer: Executive Director, Deakin International Executive Director, Student Life

First approved by:
Vice-Chancellor on 15 April 2013

Amendments approved by:

Responding to Major World Disasters and Emergencies Procedure

This procedure was approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 15 April 2013.
This document is pursuant to:
Health, Wellbeing and Safety Policy
Student Critical Incidents Policy

To provide for the welfare and well-being of University staff and students subject to a variety of overseas disaster-related circumstances.


This procedure will apply to any of three significant adverse events occurring overseas:

a)disaster in a country from which the University sources students
b)disaster in a country University staff or students are visiting or based short or long term on University business
c)disaster in a country where the University has established teaching, research or other strategic partnerships.

Major World Disasters and Emergencies: include floods, extreme weather events, tsunami, earthquake, terrorist attack, or other incident whether natural or otherwise that results in significant loss of life or destruction of natural or man-made assets and/or disruption to normal functioning of that society/community.

1In the event of an overseas disaster or emergency the DVC (Global Engagement) in consultation with the VP (Enterprise), the PVC (Research) and Faculty PVCs (as necessary) will recommend to the Vice-Chancellor what course of action, if any, the University should take in accordance with the procedures outlined below.
Sources of information
2Information on off-shore partnerships, study abroad and exchange activity is available from the office of the DVC (Global Engagement). Information regarding study tours is available from Faculties and the Office of DVC (Global Engagement). Student and staff travel is also monitored by a travel database administered by the Insurance Unit and overseen by the Director, Financial Services Division.
Extent and timing of response
3The timing and nature of the University's response will depend upon such matters as:
a)advice issued by the Australian Government
b)the scale of the disaster, which may be obvious immediately or escalate over time. Any response may be delayed until the scale of the event is clear
c)the level of engagement the University has in or with that country
d)the number of students (enrolled at the University), partners, or agents affected; and
e)the extent of research or teaching activity or other partnership activity in the affected area.
4The agreed University response will be notified to the University Executive, Director, Deakin University English Language Institute (DUELI), Director, Government and Media Relations, Melbourne Institute of Business and Technology (MIBT), Executive Director Student Life, Executive Director, Human Resources Division and Director, Corporate Governance and Risk.
5The Office of the DVC (Global Engagement) will take steps to inform all staff and students of the University's response.
Scale and scope of response
6Subject to an evaluation of the circumstances the following are likely actions:
6.1The Executive Director, Division of Student Life in consultation with the Director, DUELI and Manager Student Mobility and Faculties will ensure that on-shore students from the affected country or area are contacted (by email) to express the University's concern and offer support and assistance. Students may be assisted in the following ways:
a)help to contact family members, including access to telephones
b)financial assistance
d)memorial services
e)flexible study options.
A disaster in a country where University staff or students are visiting in a University-related activity
6.2Immediate attempts will be made to contact staff members, students and partner institutions (where relevant) in the affected country or area.
6.3The initial purpose of this contact is to confirm the safety and location of the staff and students and determine what support or assistance is required.
6.4Staff may be directed and supported to return immediately to Australia. Students may be strongly advised and recommended and supported to return to Australia.
6.5Identification of students in-country and the establishment of immediate contact with students located in-country will be the responsibility of Faculties and/or the Manager, Student Mobility.
6.6Identification of staff in-country, advice to supervisors and relevant faculty staff and attempts to contact staff will be the responsibility of the relevant Faculty, Division or other area.
6.7Support to secure the safety and welfare of students and staff and return to Australia may require the assistance of the University Travel Insurer and the Australian Government.
Staff and student travel on University business
6.8The Director, Corporate Governance and Risk will advise the Vice-Chancellor whether all future staff and student travel to the affected area should be cancelled or postponed.
6.9The Director, Corporate Governance and Risk will notify all staff of a decision to ban future staff travel to the affected area and specifically notify staff and students registered on the travel database planning to travel to the affected area.
6.10If travel to the affected area is not suspended the Director, Corporate Governance and Risk will compile a report of future travel bookings from the University travel database and notify senior staff in the relevant area of the University of future travel bookings. The senior staff will remind staff of the provisions of the University's International Travel Security policy and procedures, particularly in relation to registration for email travel advisory alerts, and to take what action is deemed necessary to ensure that the proposed travel can be undertaken safely, or cancelled.
6.11The Executive Director, Deakin International will contact the head offices of all agents and representatives in the country or immediate region with an appropriate expression of the University's concern and sympathy at the extent of the incident and offering appropriate support to them.
Partner institutions
6.12The Office of the DVC (Global Engagement) in collaboration with the PVC (Research) will contact partner institutions in the country or immediate region expressing the University's concern and sympathy.
6.13If offshore teaching partner institutions are directly affected, the Office of the DVC (Global Engagement) will work with Faculties to contact affected offshore students to express the University's concern and to offer the support needed to enable them to continue their teaching operations.
Diplomatic/consular contact
6.14Contact or correspondence with the Australian-based diplomatic or consular representatives from the relevant country will be prepared and undertaken by the Office of the DVC (Global Engagement).
Support on return to Australia
6.15Student Life will coordinate, in consultation with Faculties support services that may be required for returning students.
6.16Support for returning staff will be provided by the manager or supervisor of the relevant organizational area with support, assistance and guidance from Human Resources Division as necessary.
Review and debrief
6.17The Office of the DVC (Global Engagement) will coordinate a post incident review and experiential learning debrief to assess the appropriateness of the University response and identify opportunities to improve responses to future incidents.

Printed copies of this document may not be current. Please refer to The Guide for the most recent version.
Deakin University 2015