2014 Vol. 5, No. 2

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Information for Disaster Preparedness: A Social Network Approach to Rainwater Harvesting Technology Dissemination
Subhajyoti Samaddar, Makoto Murase, Norio Okada
2014, 5(2): 95-109. doi: 10.1007/s13753-014-0017-2
Rainwater harvesting technology is considered an innovative and effective mechanism for reducing drinking water risks due to arsenic contamination and water salinity in coastal Bangladesh. However, adoption of such tanks remains elusive. Most studies on disaster risk communication are predominantly based on individuallevel cognitive modeling approaches, which fail to address the role of social groups, human relations, and other collective social factors in the dissemination process of disaster preventive measures. From the viewpoint of social implementation, community adoption of unfamiliar technology for disaster risk mitigation and preparedness requires another approach. Given the challenge to promote rainwater harvesting technology in the study area of coastal Bangladesh, this study examines the role of various social networks including cohesive groups (friends), structural equivalent groups (individuals who have the same position in society), and spatial groups (neighbors) in three information sharing and processing activities—hearing, observation, and discussion. Results show that those individuals who have similar cohesive affiliations tend to become hearing and discussion partners. Cohesive groups share a learning opportunity and are bounded by normative constraints in terms of direct and intimate social relations. Spatial groups facilitate observation, which provides visual learning. Structurally equivalent groups are not relevant in adoption dissemination; therefore competition or similar social environment did not influence the rainwater tank dissemination activities.
Community Perception and Adaptation to Safe Drinking Water Scarcity: Salinity, Arsenic, and Drought Risks in Coastal Bangladesh
Md. Anwarul Abedin, Umma Habiba, Rajib Shaw
2014, 5(2): 110-124. doi: 10.1007/s13753-014-0021-6
One of the most serious resource and health issues in coastal communities of Bangladesh is the scarcity of safe drinking water, triggered by the combined effects of salinity, arsenic, and drought. This article explores community perception of vulnerabilities in daily life, livelihood, and environment, and investigates how communities and institutions cope with or adapt to drinking water scarcity. This study outlines community expectations for support from government and nongovernment organizations to overcome this problem. The findings reveal that nearly all respondents from the drinking water scarcity area perceive that salinity is the primary reason for the lack of safe drinking water compared to arsenic and drought hazards. Despite a number of socioeconomic factors and a geographical location that aggravates the coastal communities' vulnerability, these communities have established their own adaptation mechanism to cope with this crisis. Government and nongovernment organizations have also supported community efforts to cope with the problem. By emphasizing both community adaptation methods and efforts of institutions, this article illustrates an integrated community-based approach, which would be effective for reducing drinking water scarcity in the southwestern coastal region of the country.
Incorporating Triggering and Environmental Factors in the Analysis of Earthquake-Induced Landslide Hazards
Ming Wang, Min Liu, Saini Yang, Peijun Shi
2014, 5(2): 125-135. doi: 10.1007/s13753-014-0020-7
Pingwu County of Sichuan Province was severely hit by the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake and experienced widely distributed earthquake-induced landslides. We proposed an integrated method that incorporates landslide triggering factors embedded in the Newmark displacement computation and other environmental factors, expressed as lithology, land-use type, vegetation cover (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, NDVI), elevation, and profile and plan curvature, in the analysis of earthquake-induced landslide hazards in the study area. The earthquake-induced landslide inventory of this area was obtained by visual interpretation of two highresolution SPOT-5 images before and after the earthquake. We used GIS tools to generate an equal number of landslide and non-landslide cell samples in a 30-m grid map, and assigned triggering and environmental variables to each cell. A logistic regression model was built to investigate the occurrence of earthquake-induced landslides. The results show that Newmark displacement (in which triggering factors are embedded) and lithology (as an environmental factor) were the two dominant variables controlling landslide occurrence. Other environmental factors, including NDVI, land-use type, and elevation, also significantly affected landslide occurrences. Overall 81.2 % correctness was achieved in the regression model. The results confirm the predictive power of our method, which integrates both triggering and environmental factors in modeling earthquake-induced landslides.
Climate Change Impacts on Environmental Hazards on the Great Hungarian Plain, Carpathian Basin
Gábor Mezösi, Teodóra Bata, Burghard C. Meyer, Viktória Blanka, Zsuzsanna Ladányi
2014, 5(2): 136-146. doi: 10.1007/s13753-014-0016-3
The potential impacts of climate change on the Great Hungarian Plain based on two regional climate models, REMO and ALADIN, were analyzed using indicators for environmental hazards. As the climate parameters (temperature, precipitation, and wind) will change in the two investigated periods (2021–2050 and 2071–2100), their influences on drought, wind erosion, and inland excess water hazards are modeled by simple predictive models. Drought hazards on arable lands will increasingly affect the productivity of agriculture compared to the reference period (1961–1990). The models predict an increase between 12.3 % (REMO) and 20 % (ALADIN) in the first period, and between 35.6 % (REMO) and 45.2 % (ALADIN) in the second period. The increase of wind erosion hazards is not as obvious (+15 % for the first period in the REMO model). Inland excess water hazards are expected to be slightly reduced (-4 to 0 %) by both model predictions in the two periods without showing a clear tendency on reduction. All three indicators together give a first regional picture of potential hazards of climate change. The predictive model and data combinations of the regional climate change models and the hazard assessment models provide insights into regional and subregional impacts of climate change and will be useful in planning and land management activities.
Managing the Limbe Floods: Considerations for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cameroon
Roland Ndille, Johannes A. Belle
2014, 5(2): 147-156. doi: 10.1007/s13753-014-0019-0
Cameroon has recorded disasters, both natural and man-made, in the past. The coastal city of Limbe and many other geographical locations are potential sites for future disasters. On the basis of interviews and related primary and secondary literature, this article looks at past occurrences of floods in Limbe, particularly those of 2001, and how the state and local authorities managed the challenge. Through this, it attempts an evaluation of state policies and the institutional structure for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and management in the country. The study reveals that Cameroon does not have a national disaster management structure and a national platform for DRR. Disaster related activities are lumped together with other civil protection responsibilities of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MINATD) despite the country's commitment to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015. Government interventions are more reactive than proactive although its strategy to disaster management indicates both disaster preparedness and emergency intervention and rehabilitation. The study concludes that the present strategy is bureaucratic, financially burdensome, and does not really achieve the essential goals of DRR in saving lives and reducing vulnerability. For DRR to be effective in Cameroon, a permanent disaster management unit with regional and local structures should be put in place independent of other branches of the Department of Disaster and Emergency Services of MINATD and with each level exercising a significant degree of operative autonomy. A national policy and framework with emphasis on DRR should be adopted in the country.
Natural Disasters and Economic Growth: A Review
Nourin Shabnam
2014, 5(2): 157-163. doi: 10.1007/s13753-014-0022-5
This article provides a literature review of economic growth theories and identifies the implications of growth theories in addressing potential impacts of uncertain shocks, that is natural disasters. The extant literature seems inconclusive: some find positive effects of natural disasters on economic growth and others suggest either negative or no effect as such. Using a large panel dataset of 187 countries observed from 1960 to 2010, this article shows that the total number of people affected by floods significantly decreases the annual GDP per capita growth rate, whereas the death toll from floods has no substantial effect on the annual GDP per capita growth rate. One thousand in every one million people affected by floods decrease the GDP per capita growth rate by 0.005 %. This result is plausible, as floods are likely to create havoc in people's livelihoods rather than claim a high human death toll. The article outlines future directions of research in the field of natural disaster augmented growth empirics.
Erratum to: Psychological Resilience Building in Disaster Risk Reduction: Contributions from Adult Education
Martha Höfler
2014, 5(2): 164-164. doi: 10.1007/s13753-014-0018-1