2012 Vol. 3, No. 4

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Living with Global Climate Diversity—Suggestions on International Governance for Coping with Climate Change Risk
Peijun Shi, Qian Ye, Guoyi Han, Ning Li, Ming Wang, Weihua Fang, Yanhua Liu
2012, 3(4): 177-184. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0018-y
Climatic conditions have important influences on human life and the sustainable development of economies and societies. Climate varies in space and time. People have always lived with climate diversity, and the two influence each other. The degree of mutual influence differs at different spatial and temporal scales. Since the industrial revolution, the human effect on climate has gradually increased, and expanded from local to global scale. To allow people to live in harmony with nature and prevent disaster risks, the International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) announced the implementation of a scientific plan aimed at discussing risk governance, especially with respect to large-scale disaster risks, under global environmental change conditions (IHDP-Integrated Risk Governance Project, 2009-2019). As the initiator of this scientific plan, the authors propose a strategic development framework for living with global climate diversity considering a series of large-scale disasters in China and around the world in recent years and relevant experiences and lessons, and offer suggestions for the global mechanism of dealing with climate change risks.
Integration of Indigenous Knowledge and Disaster Risk Reduction: A Case Study from Baie Martelli, Pentecost Island, Vanuatu
Rory A. Walshe, Patrick D. Nunn
2012, 3(4): 185-194. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0019-x
Despite reaching heights of >6 m and destroying a sizeable coastal settlement at the head of Baie Martelli (Pentecost Island, Vanuatu, South Pacific), the 26 November 1999 tsunamis caused only five fatalities from a threatened population of about 300 persons, most of whom fled inland and upslope before the waves struck. This remarkable survival rate is attributed to both indigenous knowledge, largely in the form of kastom knowledge, and information obtained from a video about tsunamis that was shown in the area three weeks earlier. Interviews with 55 persons who experienced this tsunami suggest that indigenous knowledge about tsunami risk and response in Baie Martelli was well known among key members of the community and was probably largely responsible for the appropriate response. Future strategies for disaster risk reduction should involve maintaining such indigenous knowledge in such communities and supplementing this where needed with scientific knowledge filtered through indigenous culture and language.
Leveraging Learning to Improve Disaster Management Outcomes
Denise D. P. Thompson
2012, 3(4): 195-206. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0020-4
Disaster management agencies should be exemplars of learning given the volatility of their operating environment. However, there are cognitive, social, and organizational barriers that prevent these organizations from learning. The purpose of this article is to use the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) as an example of an organization that achieves double-loop learning in spite of known barriers. This research shows significant learning variations in the CDEMA organization from the regional to the national level. The results demonstrate that the CDEMA Coordinating Unit and a few national member agencies achieve double-loop learning, while the opposite is true for many national disaster offices. Analysis of this variation is one contribution to the disaster management and organizational learning literature. The article also suggests that organizational culture is an important precursor to learning and adds a much needed case example to the management and learning literature. The study ends with a proposal for future research in the area of disaster management, culture and learning, and propositions for national disaster offices to consider in order to enhance double-loop learning.
The August 2011 Flood in Ibadan, Nigeria: Anthropogenic Causes and Consequences
Babatunde S. Agbola, Owolabi Ajayi, Olalekan J. Taiwo, Bolanle W. Wahab
2012, 3(4): 207-217. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0021-3
Determining when and where flood strikes can be a daunting task. Apart from heavy and prolonged rainfalls and river overflows, there are anthropogenic causal factors of flooding. These anthropogenic factors are significantly variable and exacerbate floods, but may be difficult to measure. This study aims to unravel some of the anthropogenic factors, particularly with respect to their contributions to the flood in Ibadan City on 26 August 2011. Data were collected through structured questionnaire and key informant interviews. The August 2011 Ibadan flood was perhaps the worst in the history of this ancient city. Twelve anthropogenic factors are broadly identified as having contributed to the flood and the flood had five major consequences. Some policy implications that can help prevent future flood occurrence are outlined.
Impact of Household Endowments on Response Capacity of Farming Households to Natural Disasters
Haixia Zhang, Tianhui Zhuang, Weizhong Zeng
2012, 3(4): 218-226. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0022-2
This article investigates the impact of household endowments on household's ability to cope with natural disaster risks and the determining factors of disaster coping capacity. We present results of a research based on household survey. The data were analyzed with an ordered Probit model regression. The project surveyed 923 rural households in 2009 and 2010 in 39 national-level poverty-stricken counties of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou Provinces and Chongqing Municipality. This research determined that the economic strength of households is the most important factor affecting their disaster coping capacity. The ability of farming households to cope with disasters is also significantly impacted by family members' experiences and their economic context at the village level. Ethnic minority areas in southwestern China are the poorest in the country and are often the main disasteraffected areas. Since household endowments significantly affect the ability of farming households to cope with disasters, integration of disaster risk management and poverty reduction is a viable way of enhancing coping capacity of farming households to natural disasters.