2015 Vol. 6, No. 3

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Crop Insurance Premium Ratemaking Based on Survey Data: A Case Study from Dingxing County, China
Xingming Zhang, Weixia Yin, Jun Wang, Tao Ye, Jintao Zhao, Jing'ai Wang
2015, 6(3): 207-215. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0059-0
Premium ratemaking is an important issue to guarantee insurance balance of payments. Most ratemaking methods require large samples of long-term loss data or farm-level yield data, which are often unavailable in developing countries. This study develops a crop insurance ratemaking method with survey data. The method involves a questionnaire survey on characteristic yield information (average yield, high yield, and low yield) of farming households’ cropland. After compensating for random error, the probability distributions of farm-level yields are simulated with characteristic yields based on the linear additive model. The premium rate is calculated based on Monte Carlo yield simulation results. This method was applied to Dingxing County, North China to arrive at the insurance loss cost ratio and calculate the necessary premium rate. The method proposed in this study could serve as a feasible technique for crop insurance ratemaking in regions that lack sufficient long-term yield data, especially in developing countries with smallholder agriculture.
A New Perspective on Understanding the Reduced Spring Dust Storm Frequency in Inner Mongolia, China
Ning Li, Li Guo, Bihang Fan
2015, 6(3): 216-225. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0062-5
Spatiotemporal patterns of dust storms are affected by climate change through changes in convective instability, regional meteorological characteristics, and local sediment supply. Linking dust storm dynamics to climate change helps the understanding of what controls the initiation of dust storms, and assists the prediction of future dust storm occurrence. This study examines the temporal dynamics of spring dust storms in Inner Mongolia, a major dust source area in East Asia. We found that severe spring dust storms have significantly declined from 1954 to 2007. Four dust storm types showed similar decreasing trends from 2001 to 2012. This change in spring dust storm dynamics is attributed to the shift in vegetation green-up dates based on the analysis of a satellite derived vegetation index. Earlier vegetation green-up has a dampening effect on spring dust storms. Suitable environmental conditions for vegetation green-up hinder the emergence of dust storms. This study expands our understanding of the dynamics of spring dust storms in the changing climate through a new perspective on vegetation phenology in the spring.
Carbon Footprint of Transitional Shelters
Matti Kuittinen, Stefan Winter
2015, 6(3): 226-237. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0067-0
Extreme weather events, sea level rise, and political disputes linked to climate change are driving masses to leave their homes. Their transitional settlements should be produced in a manner that causes minimum greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent any further acceleration of climate change and the humanitarian crises it causes. This article presents a study of the carbon footprint and primary energy demand of the construction materials of eight different transitional shelters. The lowest carbon footprints were found from shelter models made from bamboo or timber. The highest emissions were caused by shelters that have either a short service life or that are made from metal-intensive structures. The choice of cladding materials was surprisingly important. The findings were further compared to the overall impacts of each construction project, to national per capita GHG emissions, and to construction costs. Some shelter projects had notable total energy consumption even compared to the annual energy use of industrialized countries. The study concludes that construction materials have an important impact on the carbon footprint of shelters. Comparisons should however be made only between similar functional units. Furthermore, benchmark values and more background data are urgently needed in order to give humanitarian nongovernmental organizations tools for lowering the carbon footprint of their construction operations.
Public Exposure to U.S. Commercial Nuclear Power Plants Induced Disasters
Dean Kyne
2015, 6(3): 238-249. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0064-3
This study explores the potential risks associated with the 65 U.S.-based commercial nuclear power plants and the distribution of those risks among the populations of both their respective host communities and of the communities located in outlying areas. First, it starts by examining the racial/ethnic composition of the host community populations, as well as the disparities in socioeconomic status that exist, if any, between the host communities and communities located in outlying areas. Second, it utilizes two independent-sample T tests to identify any differences in the sociodemographic compositions of the two areas. Third, it explores regional demographic trends by looking at the percent change in demographic variables in the host communities and communities located in outlying areas in 1990–2000 and 2000–2010. Findings reveal that during the past two decades more people were exposed to the risks as population living in the host communities increased.
Measurement of Anomalous Radon Gas Emanation Across the Yammouneh Fault in Southern Lebanon: A Possible Approach to Earthquake Prediction
Mohammed A. Kobeissi, Francisco Gomez, Charles Tabet
2015, 6(3): 250-266. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0058-1
The eastern Mediterranean region is an active tectonic setting that includes the Dead Sea Transform Fault, which forms the boundary between the African and the Arabian Plates and crosses Lebanon from south to north, striking in a restraining bend around 25–30°NE. The major structural feature in Lebanon is the Yammouneh Fault, which reaches to Syria and southern Turkey in a north–south direction. Measurements of radon gas concentration and exhalation rates in two locations along the southern segment of the Yammouneh Fault in south Lebanon were performed. Two profiles in the El-Khiam basin and Blat pull-apart basin and perpendicular to the Yammouneh Fault trace were analyzed. An approximate fault width 25–30 m wide was determined in the El-Khiam study area. Temporal increase of radon concentration was measured and correlated with stress/strain tectonic activity and stress drops along the studied fault segment boundary. Anomalous variable radon concentrations were detected during one of the measurements where an earthquake occurred in the region of Tiberias Lake in northern Palestine along the Yammouneh Fault in the study area. Measurements of radon concentration along a station’s profile in Blat village did not show any radon anomalous variation due to the discontinuity along the fault (pull-apart), and possible absence of stress and energy accumulation along the Yammouneh Fault line in that location.
Taking Children’s Voices in Disaster Risk Reduction a Step Forward
Chipo Mudavanhu, Siambalala Benard Manyena, Andrew E. Collins, Paradzayi Bongo, Emmanuel Mavhura, Desmond Manatsa
2015, 6(3): 267-281. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0060-7
Disaster risk reduction (DRR) continues to gain momentum globally and locally, but there is a notable void in the DRR literature on the role of children in community-level disaster risk management in Zimbabwe. Children are among the most vulnerable groups when disasters occur, yet their voices in disaster risk reduction are rarely heard. Using a qualitative methodology, this article examines the extent to which children are involved in disaster risk reduction in Muzarabani District, Zimbabwe. Despite evidence of the potential positive impact that children can have on DRR, their involvement in risk reduction planning in Zimbabwe is negligible. To achieve greater resilience to disasters requires that children’s voices are heard and recognized as central to improved disaster risk reduction.
Visually Modelling Collaborative Research into Innovative Community Disaster Resilience Practice, Strategy, and Governance
Thomas J. Huggins, Robin Peace, Stephen R. Hill, David M. Johnston, Alicia Cuevas Muñiz
2015, 6(3): 282-294. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0061-6
In 2013 a new collaborative center was established in Wellington, New Zealand to focus on integrating resilience research with the region’s community disaster resilience strategy. An earlier study with parties to this center had indicated that researcher and practitioner groups were divided by attention to their own immediate knowledge and skills, but agreed there was a need to maximize community resilience benefits amongst a regional population. An action research workshop of researchers and practitioners used a visual logic model to focus on the pragmatic benefits of improving community resilience. The visual logic model was used to design research activities that would improve the regional community resilience strategy, which was still in an early implementation phase. Ten of 14 workshop participants were interviewed following the workshop. Statistical content analysis of interview data highlighted certain strengths of the action research process: visual monitoring and evaluation planning was a catalyst for complicated conversations between two very different groups of professionals; and researchers became more focused on practical issues as a result. Other findings suggested that in future collaborative research governance would benefit from wider cycles of strategic intelligence, enhanced research contributions, and the use of different information formats for different purposes. Different formats for different purposes should also be considered when developing and implementing large-scale disaster risk reduction policies and strategies.
Drought Adaptation and Coping Strategies Among the Turkana Pastoralists of Northern Kenya
Francis Opiyo, Oliver Wasonga, Moses Nyangito, Janpeter Schilling, Richard Munang
2015, 6(3): 295-309. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0063-4
This study highlights drought characteristics and the many responses to drought stresses employed by Turkana pastoralists of northwestern Kenya. Multiple data sources, including socioeconomic interviews with 302 households, focus group discussions, and informal interviews with pastoralists were used to capture various aspects of drought and drought adaptation and coping practices. Standardized precipitation index derived from long-term rainfall data obtained from the Kenya Meteorological Service was used to quantify different degrees of drought intensity between 1950 and 2012. Results revealed that extreme drought events were increasingly frequent, and have impacted negatively on pastoral livelihoods. In order to adapt to or cope with climatic anomalies, households are using a variety of strategies. In addition to the traditional short-term coping mechanisms, the long-term adaptation strategies used include diversification of livelihood sources; livestock mobility to track forage and water resources; diversification of herd composition to benefit from the varied drought and disease tolerance, as well as fecundity of diverse livestock species; and sending children to school for formal education as a long term investment expected to pay back through income from employment. Policies and development interventions that reduce risks, diminish livelihood constraints, and expand opportunities for increased household resilience to drought are critical complements to the existing pastoral strategies.
Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction Following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: A Business Process Management Perspective
Natt Leelawat, Anawat Suppasri, Fumihiko Imamura
2015, 6(3): 310-314. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0066-1
The Tohoku Regional Bureau (TRB) of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) performed various actions in response to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The total disaster recovery and reconstruction period is expected to last for 10 years, of which the first five years are regarded as the concentrated reconstruction period. As of 2013, a majority of the mega projects that involved restoration actions have been completed, which indicates a more effective rate of completion compared with the MLIT projects performed in normal non-disaster situations. This short article explains the management process of the recovery and reconstruction utilized by the TRB—an inter-organizational process—from a business process management (BPM) perspective and creates a simple organization construction diagram of the entire process. The study focused on the transactions and actor roles to identify their strengths. The findings indicate the utilization of different operational procedures in some parts of the process, the importance of liaison role, as well as some obstacles. The lessons learned from this analysis can assist managers and researchers in designing and managing restoration processes for future disasters.
Planning for Community Relocations Due to Climate Change in Fiji
Karen E. McNamara, Helene Jacot Des Combes
2015, 6(3): 315-319. doi: 10.1007/s13753-015-0065-2
As a consequence of the impacts of climate change, some households and entire communities across the Pacific are making the complex and challenging decision to leave their homelands and relocate to new environments that can sustain their livelihoods. This short article charts how the residents of Vunidogoloa village in Fiji relocated in early 2014 to reduce their vulnerability to encroaching sea level and inundation events that regularly devastated the community. As a consequence of the Vunidogoloa relocation, this article also explores how the Fiji Government is planning for similar resettlement transitions, including vulnerability and adaptation assessments to develop a list of potential community relocations and the development of national relocation guidelines. This study draws from key informant interviews (n = 8) with government officials, as well as representatives from intergovernmental and local nongovernmental organizations, who are involved in the relocation issue. Given the speed at which these national, top-down initiatives are being forged and especially in light of the absence of any mention of relocation in Fiji’s 2012 climate change policy, careful and inclusive engagement across all scales and stakeholders, including communities “earmarked” for relocation, is paramount.