Zoltán Hozbor

Duty Officer
National Directorate General for Disaster Management, Hungary

Photo by András Jóri.

“I was always interested in disasters and the way they are managed. It might sound cliché to say that I want to help people in need but anyway it is absolutely about this.

My father was a professional soldier and worked in the field of military transportation. He inspired me to work at a law enforcement organisation. In the end, I decided to move on to the Duty Service where I am closer to citizens who need assistance and I am glad to be a member of the team.

You’ve probably heard about the red mud disaster in Ajka in 2010. Around 1 million m3 sludge left the reservoir and many houses were washed away by the mud. Fire fighters were the first to arrive on the scene. I was on the scene but only after the first response phrase had ended and reconstruction had started. I saw the destruction and I was the one who started video recording and documenting the houses covered by the mud before they were totally demolished.

6 months on from the disaster, I could see it with my eyes and I could still smell that awful stench inside the houses where everything was left untouched. So you can imagine what kind of sight fire fighters received when arriving at the scene right after the alarm. Those people that go to a place from where all other people are fleeing must be held in high esteem for their courage and self-sacrifice.

Disasters are getting bigger and bigger, with deeper and deeper effects on society and individuals, which requires stronger and tighter cooperation among co-agencies, organisations and citizens, too. This fact demands a higher level of skills and technical developments of first responders and also a higher level of awareness of society to get to know the dangers surrounding them; moreover, the leading behavioural attitudes that are needed to avoid or survive in a risky ambience.”

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