Saturday, 28 December 2013

Work of the Swiss Red Cross on Palawan.

Beatrice Weber my line manager from Swiss Red Cross, Alexander Steifert and I leave tomorrow for Coron, northern Palawan (photo above) where the Philippine Red Cross, supported by us, are arranging for a major shelter and cash distribution to typhoon affected people.

During the past week, we have shipped Corrugated Iron sheeting (20,000 sheets) and shelter repair kits from Cebu and Manila to Coron by sea. Now the big challenge remains, getting the relief goods by boat out to remoter island like Culion. Daniel Nash, our logistics delegate, is out there now battling tides. He wrote this.

“As I write the tide will have risen to the point where the vessel carrying the 500 kits can dock and the materials subsequently loaded. 
There will be four PRC volunteers accompanying us to Culion port where a team of off-loaders will help us to store the materials in an area that will be easy to transit them to their final destinations which will now only be accessible via Banka (or small locally built tri-marans).  

Insofar as tides are concerned, they greatly affect the ability to dock.  On Culion itself, the port is fairly shallow with corals all around, therefore heavier cargo loads will only be able to offload during higher tides.  Taking this into consideration, there is a schedule of the tides which we will obtain so that we can ultimately, optimize logistics and travel.
The typhoon destroyed or damaged many houses on Culion.

As you may already be aware, we will take this opportunity to geolocate points of interest for potential operations beyond mere distributions: suppliers, markets, ports, ship transport options (bankas, larger vessels) related costs/schedules for passenger/cargo, emergency evacuation options, health centers/hospitals (services, capacities, contacts), Local Government Units (LGUs), actors (activities, contacts), fuel costs/supply channels, banks, communication assessments, land vehicle rentals and flight options (for medevac and travel / transport).  All of these we will not be able to cover given the constraints for time but will be in our minds with each visit so that we have better contextual understanding of the island municipality of Culion. Photo below.

I think that in a relatively short period, we will have a fairly clear picture of the overall context after locating and "inventorying" the available resources, constraints and potential opportunities for future operations.

I hope that this give some insight into what I would like to see happen, that may eventually translate into accurate analyses and decisions about what we may or may not be able to do in this region."

Friday, 27 December 2013

Level of disaster preparedness in the Philippines

At the risk of repeating myself, the way we encourage and promote safer communities is through empowering people to reduce risks in their settlements and to train for greater resilience of kith and kin. In the long term  we will see safer communities with preparedness measures to withstand the brunt of the worst disastersThe Philippines is on the way to reaching this enviable goal and should take note of this excellent article written by Alexis Romero.

 Disasters highlight gaps in Philippines preparedness measures

MANILA, Philippines - It was late afternoon of Nov. 8 and personnel of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) were about to end their meeting at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
The meeting, which lasted about three hours, discussed the government’s preparations for Super Typhoon Yolanda that hit the Visayas that day.
NDRRMC executive director Eduardo del Rosario told reporters they did not yet have data on typhoon casualties as they could no longer communicate with their units in Eastern Visayas, the region worst hit by the cyclone.
Del Rosario, however, made a statement that would likely join the ranks of forgettable quotes.
“Based on our record in 1990, Nov. 10, the result of a (typhoon with) 240 kilometers per hour winds is 508 dead, 1,278 injured, 246 missing with almost P11 billion in damage. If we compare it now, and if that’s the premise of the question, we can see that we have not received reports on casualties,” Del Rosario said in Filipino.
“I hope, maybe (the number of casualties is) very low and we might get an encouraging report by tomorrow (Nov. 9),” he added.
Del Rosario went on to congratulate state agencies and local governments for stepping up preparedness measure .He said the low casualty figure could be attributed to the massive pre-evacuation preparedness activities undertaken by local government units and agencies of the  national and local governments.“A big factor here is the very timely and accurate reporting of PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration).” Unfortunately, Del Rosario spoke too soon. As of this writing, the number of fatalities caused by Yolanda is over 6,100, more than ten-fold the death toll of the 1990 cyclone he mentioned during the Nov. 8 meeting. Yolanda also damaged more than P36 billion worth of property and left more than four million residents displaced, more than 27,000 persons injured and more than 1,700 individuals missing.
Unfortunately, Yolanda was not the only disaster that tested the mettle of Filipinos this year.
A challenging year
Asked for his thoughts about 2013, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said: “I have everything. You have the encounter, the attack in Zamboanga, you have the earthquake in Bohol, you have the storm of Yolanda. What else can you ask for?”
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista echoed a similar sentiment.
“We went through a lot of crises this year. The year 2013 had just started yet we already had the Sabah (standoff), the kidnapping of our personnel in Golan Heights, the successive typhoons, the Zamboanga crisis,” Bautista said.
When asked to describe 2013, the military chief said: “challenging but fulfilling.”
This year was indeed a trying one for soldiers who serve as the first responders in times of disasters, be it natural or man-made.
In February, followers of the Sulu sultanate entered Lahad Datu in Malaysia-administered Sabah to assert their claim to the area, which they consider their ancestral land.
Clashes ensued after members of the Sulu army refused to leave despite the deadlines set by Malaysia. Dozens of sultanate followers and Malaysian security personnel were slain in the clashes that spilled over to other parts of Sabah.
While the AFP was not directly involved in the conflict, it was tasked to conduct maritime patrols and to provide assistance to Filipino evacuees from Sabah.

Clashes and aftershocks
The Zamboanga City crisis, which left at least 140 persons dead, happened last September, ironically declared as “National Peace Consciousness Month.”
It all started after followers of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari tried to hoist their flag at the Zamboanga City Hall. This came weeks after Misuari declared independence from the Philippines in Talipao, Sulu and declared himself leader of what he called the “Bangsamoro Republik.”
The AFP admitted knowing about the MNLF’s plan to hold mass actions in Zamboanga three days before it happened. But it did not expect the massing up to lead to a full-blown crisis, since the MNLF had held similar peaceful actions in Davao.
The rebels held numerous civilians hostage, resulting in firefights with security forces that claimed the lives of 19 soldiers, five policemen, 11 civilians and 105 Misuari followers.
After almost three weeks of clashes, the defense department declared that the crisis was over but clearing operations would be conducted to weed out stragglers and explosives.
Critics said the crisis would have been avoided had the government taken seriously Misuari’s earlier pronouncements.
Rebellion charges have been filed against Misuari, who continues to elude government forces.
The country faced another disaster in October when a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit a huge part of the Visayas, killing 222 persons while 976 others were hurt.
Officials said the numbers would have been higher had the earthquake happened on a Sunday, since several churches were destroyed.
The earthquake damaged P2.26 billion worth of roads, bridges and public buildings.
That estimate, however, does not include the historic churches that collapsed as well as the relics and antiquities that were destroyed with them.
Monster typhoon
Over 20 typhoons visited the country this year but the most notable among them is Yolanda (international name Haiyan), which placed the Philippines at the center of world attention.
The gaps in the government’s response during the first few days after the typhoon struck were revealed to the world by international media.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said the situation of typhoon victims was among the most desperate he had seen in the last couple of years.
“As to who’s in charge of the Philippine side of the whole operation, that is not really clear,” Cooper said.
BBC correspondent Jon Donnison remarked: “There does not yet seem to be an effective operation to get help to those in need.”
ABC News’ Terry Moran, meanwhile, said the government was paralyzed by Yolanda’s strength and scope.
“There are signs here in the Philippine capital that the government simply cannot handle the massive challenges the country faces in the wake of typhoon Haiyan,” Moran said.
Gazmin recently admitted that the Philippines was not prepared for a cyclone as powerful as Yolanda.
“Actually, we were not prepared for that kind of typhoon. It was too strong, signal number four. It appears that it was the strongest in the world. Any country that will be hit by it would experience the same,” Gazmin said.
He said preparedness measures could be improved by organizing local governments, amending the Building Code to ensure that structures can withstand strong winds, relocating people in risky areas, acquiring new equipment and simplifying warnings.

Are we ready?
Even before Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the country, experts warned that the Philippines’ disaster preparedness measures are inadequate.
In a report released in 2010, multinational risk consultancy Pacific Strategies & Assessments said claims that the Philippines had achieved progress in disaster preparedness are “misleading.”
“As with most everything in the Philippines, there is a gaping disconnect between what is being proclaimed by politicians and bureaucrats as progress and ground truth realism,” the report said.
“The reality remains that, despite the government pretentiousness, the country remains ill-prepared and ill-equipped to deal with the majority of disaster or crisis situations.”
The report cited “a blatant lack of government resources and coordination” between national and local officials to properly use international assistance.
Officials, however, claim that they are continuously working to make the country more resilient to disasters.

So is the Philippines ready for the next big one?
It sounds morbid but answering that query might require another super typhoon or another powerful earthquake.
If that’s the case then perhaps the question is better left unanswered.

Christmas in mud as rain pelts Typhoon Yolanda  zone

IN THE RAIN. Tents are erected as temporary shelters for residents whose houses were flattened by super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province, on December 25, 2013. AFP/Ted AljibeIN THE RAIN. Tents are erected as temporary shelters for residents whose houses were flattened by super Typhoon Haiyan in I Tacloban city, Leyte province, on December 25, 2013. AFP/Ted Aljibe

I have been talking to my Red Cross friends and colleagues in Tacloban city and in other eastern islands affected by the incredibly destructive Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and they describe the heavy rains for the past three days and how the people are living in atrocious condition.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is continuing large scale relief distributions of food parcels, NFI and shelter materials, with support from IFRC, ICRC and various partner national societies. As of 24 December, up to 197,793 food parcels (reaching approx. 988,965 people) and 52,773 tarpaulins have been distributed. Cash distribution to 58,000 of the worst affected families is underway.  In Tacloban PRC health clinics have  served 4,535 people in total. Other health activities carried out by the PRC Leyte chapter include blood dispensing, management of human remains, and support of the local authorities with mass immunization campaigns. 
 Management of human remains was a massive task carried out by PRC volunteers
I am working for the Swiss Red Cross and we have supported the PRC to provide shelter repair kits and corrugated iron sheets  to 3000  families on Bantayan Island and provided quality Swiss made tents to IFRC. On Monday I go with my boss Beatrice Weber to Coron in northern Palawan where we are about to  distribute 2000 shelter repair kits, 20,000 CI sheets and unconditional cash grants to over 2000 families.

I would like to share this article with you about the miserable conditions typhoon affected families had to endure over the Christmas holidays.

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Survivors of the Philippines' deadliest typhoon spent a gloomy Christmas Day surrounded by mud Wednesday, December 25, as heavy rain drove many inside their flimsy shelters, dampening efforts at holiday cheer in the deeply devout nation.
Groups of children in plastic raincoats braved the incessant rain in the devastated central city of Tacloban, knocking on doors in trick-or-treat fashion and beseeching pedestrians for candies, coins and other Christmas presents.
But housewife Susan Scala sat glumly under a white tarpaulin in one of Tacloban's many tent cities for those made homeless by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). At a time when her family should be celebrating, all she could think of was her missing husband.
"Even if it's not Christmas I don't stop thinking about him," the mother of five said of her husband Oscar, a telephone utility worker believed lost at sea when giant waves whipped up by the November 8 storm swept away homes in the city's San Jose slum.
Like many of the city's survivors, the miserable weather made Scala nervous. "This incessant rain is scary. It reminds me of what happened (during the typhoon)," the 53-year-old said.
Yolanda left more than 6,100 people dead and nearly 2,000 others missing, many of them from Tacloban and nearby towns, in the storm-prone country's deadliest typhoon disaster.
About 4.4 million others were left homeless across the central islands and now live in tents provided by aid agencies or rough shacks fashioned by survivors from the wreckage of destroyed homes and fallen trees.
At the city's ruined Sagkahan fish port, 67-year-old widow Emiliana Aranza pulled sweets and shortbread from jars at her makeshift store outside her shanty to give to the children who knocked on her counter.
"It's a sad Christmas Day. We have lost our home and the government will not allow us to rebuild here as it's too close to the shore," she told Agence France-Presse.
But she said sharing what was left of her possessions had an uplifting effect.
"There are still a lot of reasons that we should be thankful to God," Aranza said, including the fact that her two adult children and their 13 sons and daughters, who now have to live together in the cramped shanty, survived the disaster.
"Because of the typhoon, members of my family are now tightly knit. Gone are the petty quarrels," she added.
Scala said her family ate a traditional midnight meal on Christmas Eve in keeping with tradition in the largely Catholic nation. But they had to make do with tinned sardines and steamed rice, part of the weekly aid rations from the government and humanitarian agencies.
For breakfast on Christmas Day, she said her family ate the previous night's leftovers and would have to make do with instant noodles for lunch.
She has no idea where she will get the money to build a new house or whether she will be able to send her two school-age children back to school.
The Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, acting as a representative for Pope Francis, celebrated Christmas mass in Tacloban and urged the faithful not to lose hope.
"Do not despair, do not be overcome by adversity... I now reassure you once again: the church will never forget you. We will never forget you," he told worshippers.
The Save the Children charity had planned to host an event with sports and art activities to cheer up about 300 children on Christmas in the storm-ravaged city of Ormoc, said program manager Reggie Aquino.
But local officials in the city 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Tacloban cancelled the event due to the rain.
Instead, the charity held the event in a tent for children in the nearby town of Kananga where there was just heavy drizzle.
In central Tacloban, Maria Meneses, 31, dived into a pile of garbage outside a department store, along with half a dozen or so other residents left impoverished by Yolanda.
"This is for my daughter," she said, showing a salvaged pack of two tiny candy-colored cake candles that she had spirited into her pink handbag.
"I was waiting for the store to open to buy batteries for my daughter's walkie-talkie toy and told myself, 'Why not, some of those items thrown in among the trash are still in good condition'." 
Thanks to Agence France-Presse for permission to run parts of the article written by Cecil Morella

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

  Nine years since Indian Ocean tsunami struck.

What are the Lesson's Learned?

It has been nine traumatic years for those families and friends who lost loved ones in the tsunami. which struck so quickly and silently on 26 December 2004. The grieving goes on, and for many there is no closure as thousands of bodies were never found. But life goes on and if you travel today to the worst affected countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Thailand, life in those affected coastal areas can be described as normal, or in many cases the infrastructure is better.We built back better.

Of all the stories I have read on the tsunami, this one written two years ago really moved me and I share it with you. It is a story of dispair and hope.
Wati, second right, poses for a photograph with her father Yusuf, right, mother Yusniar, left, and younger brother Aris

A girl who was swept away in the Indian Ocean tsunami seven years ago told today how she broke down in tears after tracking down her parents, who had long lost hope of finding her alive.

The 15-year-old showed up in Aceh province's hard-hit town of Meulaboh earlier this week, saying that not long after the wave hit she was "adopted" by a woman who called her Wati and forced her to beg, sometimes beating her and keeping her in the streets until 1am.

When the teenager stopped bringing in money, she was told, "Go ahead, leave ... go find your parents then, they're in Meulaboh."

With only patchy memories about her past - she was only eight when the tsunami hit, an age where most children do not know their relatives' full names - Wati began her search, telling people she thought her grandfather was "Ibrahim."

She met a pedicab driver in Meulaboh, who brought her to a man by that name. Though she did not look familiar, he, in turn, quickly summoned her parents. 
Some time back I discussed the tsunami work with John Ekelund from the Finnish Red Cross who had worked in Sri Lanka for almost four years on the  recovery operation. John said, " It was the commitment of Red Cross volunteers and staff that gave us the edge." We also displayed vision, we thought ahead when planning for schools or hospitals and tried to visualise the expanding needs in ten years. So we built for the present and the future and this approach has really paid off."

John was somewhat scornful of organisations that came in and with poor planning, and little liaison with community or local authorities, rushed through construction, took photographs and left, often leaning many liabilities and defects for other to manage.

" The Red Cross built quality houses, hospitals,water systems, schools and clinics and took a holistic approach and when working with communities, we built not only houses but toilets, clean water to each house, livelihoods and even playgrounds for the children." he said.

Since the tsunami struck nine years ago, I have been working on the tsunami recovery operations in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia. I finished my tsunami work in Sri Lanka in July this year.

I am now working on the Haiyan (Yolande) typhoon operation and in our early recovery and recovery planning, I draw a lot from experiences and lessons learned from the tsunami.

For each of past eight solemn  years I have been at a commemoration ceremonies in India, Indonesia, Thailand  and at Phuket recall the grief, emotions, wailing, the blank look on faces as families floated candles out to sea on rafts, or tied miniature lanterns to kites and sent into the night sky.

I can repeat what I have said and written hundreds of times in praising the Red Cross volunteers, staff, engineers, day laborers, the affected communities in displaying unprecedented solidarity and commitment in responding and building back better. Where there were vulnerable communities in 2004 when the tsunami struck, the majority I have seen in the last few years are safer, and people much more resilient.

But I want pause for a moments and categorically say that the most important single thing we can do is to capture the lessons learned so we minimize the effects of future earthquakes and tsunamis.

Lessons were captured from the tsunami and two good publications are the Tsunami Legacy, and another cracker, A Ripple In Development. Although good, these two publications did not drill in deep enough to where recovery really goes off the rails, and that is in  the poor or weak governance at local, regional and national level. Bill Nicol's authoritative book, Tsunami Chronicles is a classic.

Tsunami Chronicles - A must for every disaster or recovery manager.

Few natural disasters come bigger than the 2004 tsunami. It left a trail of destruction from one side of the Indian Ocean to the other. Hardest hit was Aceh in Indonesia’s west where the tsunami killed almost a quarter of a million people and left half a million homeless as it smashed into a strip of coastline 800 kilometres long and several kilometres wide. The global community rallied to help in the largest military deployment since World War II, then spent billions rebuilding in one of the most challenging reconstruction programs of its kind. Tsunami Chronicles: Adventures in Disaster Management tells the inside story of recovery. To order a copy, click here.
It lays bare the tectonic political and managerial forces that swept the rebuilding program along with no less force than the tsunami itself, forces that continue to dominate and debilitate other international recovery efforts. This is a powerful, first-hand narrative from a highly experienced journalist, author and consultant who played a pivotal role overseeing Aceh’s recovery then embarked on a global excursion to examine similar recovery efforts in places like Haiti. A series of six books in one,Tsunami Chronicles offers rare and refreshing insights into global disaster recovery that will annoy some, anger a few, excite others and inspire many. A study of management like no other, it will have special appeal to anyone who wants to know how things really work, or fail to work, in a multi-billion-dollar industry riven by the politics of power.

Bill Nicol left, in Geneva for my farewell party at IFRC and promoting his book Tsunami Chronicles to Bekele Gelata SG and Jagan Chapagain, head of Asia Pacific. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Six Books in one

Tsunami Chronicles: Adventures in Disaster Management is a series of six books published in a single volume comprising... 

Foreword: A Left Little Toeintroduces Chronicles as a study of the December 2004 tsunami while also establishing the author’s key role as senior adviser to the Indonesian Government for tsunami recovery and explaining how and why it was written

Book 1: God’s Punishment—constructs the platform of disaster recovery by describing the tsunami’s impact on Aceh and explaining the wider perspective of how the Indonesian Government responded to both the tsunami and the ongoing war in Aceh

Book 2: Rise of the War Lords—looks inside the purpose-built Aceh Reconstruction Agency, BRR, to see how it overcame the many political, military and operational challenges that distorted the recovery program

Joy Ching Muller with Bill Nicol in Geneva for his book launch.

Book 3: Consulting in Catastrophe—gets more personal as the author explore the role of technical advisors generally and my own in particular; it provides a bridge between the internal operations of BRR to which technical advisors contributed and the external role of international community from which most advisors came

Book 4: Cultures of Care and Contempt—opens the door on the international community's pivotal contribution to the reconstruction of Aceh while also explaining the bump and grind of working with the global players

Book 5: End Games—discusses the many great fights at the end as the massive reconstruction program was brought to an end in the grip of "victory disease"

Book 6: The Residuals of Recovery—steps back from the detail of Aceh’s recovery to take a broader view that explores lessons, looks beyond to subsequent missteps in Haiti and other places, and projects forward to speculate on the future.

If you want to learn more about disaster management, you must get a copy of Bill's book. It is available from Amazon.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Mountaineer, yachtie and former Outward Bound warden dies at 82.


Donald Alastair MacKay
Donald MacKay

UNDER the wide and starry sky

  Dig the grave and let me lie:

Glad did I live and gladly die,

  And I laid me down with a will.


This be the verse you 'grave for me:
  Here he lies where he long'd to be;

Home is the sailor, home from the sea,

  And the hunter home from the hill.

Don MacKay died in Greville Harbour on d'Urville Island last week. For those of us who knew Don we can celebrate while we grieve, of a man who lived life to the fullest. Soil scientist, sailor, mountaineer and mentor to those who followed in his footsteps as Warden or Director of Outward Bound.
 The Outward Bound School at Anakiwa where Don MacKay was warden from 1967 to 1974. Photo: Bob McKerrow

His sister described him as a solitary, intelligent, family-loving man.
Donald Alastair MacKay, 82, had spent the past 20-odd years living on his boat in Tasman and the Marlborough Sounds, Margaret Harvey-Collins said.
"He was his own man," she said.
"He lived on his boat, he liked the solitary life, but he had a deep affection for his family."
MacKay, who had a caravan at his sister's Mount Pleasant property, last spoke to her the week before he died. He had said he was waiting to catch the right winds to sail round Cape Jackson on his boat.
He had been in poor health with poor balance and a "crumbly vertebrae", so it was no surprise when she heard the news, Harvey-Collins said.
"The bay where he died was one of his favourite places.
"He used to infuriate me. I'd say to him, 'where are you going?' and he'd say, 'where does the wind blow'," she said.
"You could describe him as an aged, old hippy in a way."
MacKay had achieved much in his life. Among his accomplishments were working with Sir Edmund Hillary to help construct the airstrip at Lukla in the Himalayas, Mrs Harvey-Collins said.
MacKay had a great love for classical music, books, mountaineering and the outdoors. His mountaineering expeditions took him to Peru and the Himalayas.
He had worked for the prairie rehabilitation in Canada, as a warden at Outward Bound in Anakiwa, and for the Department of Conservation in Kaikoura.
MacKay was last seen by witnesses cleaning the hull of his yacht, Nokomis, from a dinghy in the early afternoon of Thursday, a police spokeswoman said.
They later noticed the dinghy adrift with no-one on board.
When the witnesses went to secure the dinghy back to MacKay's yacht, they found his body floating nearby. 
 In the History of NZ Mountain Guiding by the NZMGA it refers to Peter Farrell, Lynn Crawford and Don MacKay as  some of the strongest climbers of the day and saw an opportunity to resurrect the guide tradition, They recruited Harry and Mick as mentors and in 1966 Alpine Instruction Ltd was born operating out of the Ball Hut. They ran climbing instruction and guiding in summer and having rebuilt the ski tows on the Ball Glacier offered ski instruction and ski touring trips in winter. Bruce Jenkinson became their ‘chief’ guide and worked tirelessly alongside them.

Rob MacLean, the current Director of Outward Bound was the first to inform me of Don's death
 Don MacKay passed away in Greville Harbour, D’Urville Island sometime around Thursday 12 December. His body was found in the bay near his boat. His family tell me that there will be an informal celebration of Don’s life at the Mapua Boat Club from 4pm onward on Thursday the 19th of December.

Don was the  2nd Warden of Outward Bound from 1967 to 1974. He has been the longest serving of all Wardens or School Directors at the school. Don was a quiet and humble man who for his last decade lived much of the time by himself on his boat Nokomis throughout the Marlborough Sounds and Tasman bay. He was frequently to be found on his boat moored just offshore from the school at Anakiwa.

Don was a mountaineer and soil scientist before coming to Outward Bound. He brought a different perspective and style to Outward Bound New Zealand which until that time had been staffed predominantly by ex servicemen. He introduced such things as rock climbing (and developed the rock face), the half marathon and oversaw the first female students at Outward Bound. Don did away with the watch leader system, preferring instead that leadership develop in watches more organically. According to Jon Mitchell, Don’s contribution was subtle but very significant and the character of our programme retains much of the shape that Don gave it (though Don never forgave me for allowing the support launches to follow the cutters so closely!). 

Please pass word of Don’s passing and memorial celebration to any of your contacts that knew him. We will miss him.
 Geoff Wyatt also sent me a note saying "Don was actually my 1st climbing Instructor at Mt. Cook."

I was fortunate in walking in Don’s footsteps twice. First in 1968 in the Cordillera Vilcabamba in the Peruvian Andes where Don had climbed in 1962 and made a detailed map which we used for the four months while trekking and climbing. Then I became Director of Outward Bound at Anakiwa in 1983, nine years after Don. He was a legendary school warden and he was always happy and so willing to give me advice and share his philosophy on outdoor education. In 1985 I ran the Totaranui Totter ( now the Queen Charlotte Ultra marathon ) a 71km run from Ship Cove to Anakiwa, with Don and his brother-in-law Orme Collins. Don was a tough and wiry runner and had remarkable  stamina.

I hope there are others who knew Don better than me who would like to add their knowledge on my blog.