2017 Vol. 8, No. 2

Health and Risks: Integrating Health into Disaster Risk Reduction, Risk Communication, and Building Resilient Communities
Emily Ying Yang Chan, Peijun Shi
2017, 8(2): 107-108. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0131-z
Saline Drinking Water and Salt in Diet: An Approximate Picture of the Situation in a Coastal Area of Southeastern Bangladesh
Maiko Sakamoto
2017, 8(2): 109-120. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0130-0
Coastal areas of Bangladesh have been facing increasing salinity of surface water and groundwater. This study provides the approximate scope of the problem in a coastal area of southeastern Bangladesh by using less-accurate, but lower-cost salinity measuring devices that enable local people to assess the situation. Ten local women were employed to monitor 10 tube wells each on a weekly basis, from mid-February to mid-May, during the 2016 dry season. Geographical Information System and time series clustering were used to visualize the spatial distribution and seasonal change of the salinity levels. In addition, the tube well users were asked about the salt consumption in their daily diet. One-third of the monitored tube wells were found to contain more sodium than the tolerable level in terms of taste suggested by the World Health Organization. However, the mean salinity level across all monitored tube wells was much lower. The salinity level varied depending on the depth of the tube wells rather than their locations or altitudes, and those deeper than 200 m were likely to be salt free. The results of the diet survey showed that wealthier households tended to use more salt in their daily diets, but at the same time they tended to have deeper tube wells that are less likely to contain high levels of sodium.
Place- and Age-Responsive Disaster Risk Reduction for Hong Kong: Collaborative Place Audit and Social Vulnerability Index for Elders
Yi Sun, Pui Hing Chau, Moses Wong, Jean Woo
2017, 8(2): 121-133. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0128-7
This study reformulates the concept and contents of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Hong Kong through an explorative study on collaborative place audit (CPA) and social vulnerability index (SVI) for elders. We believe that DRR should be place- and age-responsive. Accordingly, DRR needs to go beyond technical concerns and address vulnerability and risk encountered in the built environment where an individual is located. A place-centered DRR begins with an assessment of person-environment relations from an interdependent perspective. Community becomes a significant scale at which to address vulnerability and risks across a range of environmental, socioeconomic, and institutional factors. A CPA is a ground-level assessment tool that identifies vulnerability and risk in the built and social environment. The audit encourages collaboration in problem solving that uses social capital to effect decisionmaking change in hierarchies and policy networks. Ageresponsive DRR facilitates distinguishing living-alone elders from the general population. This perspective addresses varying degrees of vulnerability due to social and communicational isolation, poverty, disability, being sent to hospital and/or receiving institutional care, as well as lack of access to primary care. Accordingly, SVI, based on compound indicators, is developed to assess the differentiation of vulnerability across the territory with particular reference to the elders. These two approaches, namely, CPA and SVI, build community capacity to develop a resilient city, as well as to provide evidence-based recommendations that improve government-led disaster preparedness and contingency plans.
Weather Information Acquisition and Health Significance during Extreme Cold Weather in a Subtropical City: A Cross-sectional Survey in Hong Kong
Emily Ying Yang Chan, Zhe Huang, Carman Ka Man Mark, Chunlan Guo
2017, 8(2): 134-144. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0127-8
Health and disaster risk reduction are important and necessary components in building a smart city, especially when climate change may increase the frequency of extreme temperatures and the health risks of urban dwellers. However, limited knowledge is available about the best way to disseminate weather warnings and health protection information. This study explores the weather information acquisition patterns of the Hong Kong public and examines the sociodemographic predictors of these patterns to establish the potential public health implications of smart city development. A population-based, stratified crosssectional, random digit dialing telephone survey was conducted among the Cantonese-speaking population aged over 15 years in Hong Kong in early 2016. Analyses were conducted based on 1017 valid samples, with a response rate of 63.6%. Cold Weather Warnings were well disseminated in Hong Kong, with 95.7% of the respondents reporting awareness of the public warnings. Television and smartphone apps were the two most important channels for weather information acquisition. Age and education level are the main social-demographic variables associated with the current utilization and future preference of smartphone technology. Among those who were not using a preferred channel to acquire weather information, 61.3% considered switching to a smartphone app. Moreover, the patterns of individual health protection measures and self-reported health impacts were significantly different between smartphone app users and non-users. Weather information dissemination should be tailored to the sociodemographic characteristics of the users.
Wildfire Susceptibility Assessment in Southern China: A Comparison of Multiple Methods
Yinxue Cao, Ming Wang, Kai Liu
2017, 8(2): 164-181. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0129-6
Wildfire is a primary forest disturbance. A better understanding of wildfire susceptibility and its dominant influencing factors is crucial for regional wildfire risk management. This study performed a wildfire susceptibility assessment using multiple methods, including logistic regression, probit regression, an artificial neural network, and a random forest (RF) algorithm. Yunnan Province, China was used as a case study area. We investigated the sample ratio of ignition and nonignition data to avoid misleading results due to the overwhelming number of nonignition samples in the models. To compare model performance and the importance of variables among the models, the area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic plot was used as an indicator. The results show that a cost-sensitive RF had the highest accuracy (88.47%) for all samples, and 94.23% accuracy for ignition prediction. The identified main factors that influence Yunnan wildfire occurrence were forest coverage ratio, month, season, surface roughness, 10 days minimum of the 6 h maximum humidity, and 10 days maxima of the 6 h average and maximum temperatures. These seven variables made the greatest contributions to regional wildfire susceptibility. Susceptibility maps developed from the models provide information regarding the spatial variation of ignition susceptibility, which can be used in regional wildfire risk management.
Vulnerability to Earthquake Hazard: Bucharest Case Study, Romania
Iuliana Armaş, Dragos Toma-Danila, Radu Ionescu, Alexandru Gavriş
2017, 8(2): 182-195. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0132-y
Recent seismic events show that urban areas are increasingly vulnerable to seismic damage, which leads to unprecedented levels of risk. Cities are complex systems and as such their analysis requires a good understanding of the interactions between space and the socioeconomic variables characteristic of the inhabitants of urban space. There is a clear need to develop and test detailed models that describe the behavior of these interactions under seismic impact. This article develops an overall vulnerability index to seismic hazard based on a spatial approach applied to Bucharest, Romania, the most earthquake-prone capital in the European Union. The methodology relies on:(1) spatial post-processed socioeconomic data from the 2011 Romanian census through multicriteria analysis; and (2) analytical methods (the Improved Displacement Coefficient Method and custom-defined vulnerability functions) for estimating damage patterns, incorporated in a GIS environment. We computed vulnerability indices for the 128 census tracts of the city. Model sensitivity assessment tested the robustness of spatially identified patterns of building vulnerability in the face of uncertainty in model inputs. The results show that useful seismic vulnerability indices can be obtained through interdisciplinary approaches that enhance less detailed datasets, which leads lead to better targeted mitigation efforts.
Women in Disasters and Conflicts in India: Interventions in View of the Millennium Development Goals
Subhasis Bhadra
2017, 8(2): 196-207. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0124-y
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with their holistic perspective of development are focused on different issues of vulnerability. This article highlights the situation of women in disasters and the challenges in achieving the MDGs with special reference to India. It is accepted that there is no disaster without human engagement and that issues of differential impact on genders is an essential consideration for recovery. The international guidelines on disaster management and intervention have a considerable focus on gender equality, balance, mainstreaming, and sensitive programing, yet the situation is quite grim. India still lacks separate policy guidelines on gender aspects in disaster. In the twenty-first century, India has witnessed a series of disasters in different parts of the country. The author's personal experiences of working in intervention programs of these disasters showed that gender vulnerability depends on various factors like the intensity of the disaster impact, local sociocultural perspectives, effective disaster intervention strategies, the specific focus on issues of women in training of personnel, and gender-sensitive disaster intervention programs in the community. In the context of the MDGs, while development has become a priority concern to end age-old inequalities in society, the added challenge of disasters needs considerable focus on gender inequalities to achieve the goal of gender equity.
A Systematic Study of Disaster Risk in Brunei Darussalam and Options for Vulnerability-Based Disaster Risk Reduction
Anthony Banyouko Ndah, John Onu Odihi
2017, 8(2): 208-223. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0125-x
This systematic study of disaster risk and disaster management efforts in Brunei Darussalam uncovers the reasons why floods and landslides in particular continue to inflict significant social, economic, and psychological toll. Vulnerability to the impacts of hydro-meteorological hazards continue to rise despite international awareness and improved disaster governance and information, and regardless of the vast financial and material resources spent on structural and nonstructural measures for disaster relief and community awareness. Our premise is that, a poor diagnosis of the disaster risk issue is at the root of the disaster risk dilemma in Brunei Darussalam. We conducted our vulnerability-centered disaster risk assessment based largely on the Pressure and Release (PAR) Model proposed by Wisner et al. Our research results reveal that:(1) Hazard-risk in Brunei is high due to the impact of global climate change, the country's local geography, and Brunei's relative location in the Asia-Pacific Region. Limited reporting of localized disasters to international databases however fuels the misperception of low disaster risk in Brunei; (2) High community vulnerability and disaster risk is due to limited knowledge, awareness, and motivation among the general population, which prevents effective mitigation and adaptation to low magnitude but recurrent hazardous events; and (3) Partial incorporation of disaster risk reduction into governance structures and development plans contributes to heightened disaster risks. Integrated frameworks are proposed that can minimize social vulnerability, reduce disaster risk, and enhance community resilience and adaptive capacity as part of a strengthened governance mechanism. Coupled with improvements in preparedness, response, recovery, and reconstruction promoted by the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), vulnerability and disaster risk can be minimized, and a more inclusive and sustainable growth can be generated.
Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM): Developing the Research Field within the Sendai Framework Paradigm
Sharon Tsoon Ting Lo, Emily Ying Yang Chan, Gloria Kwong Wai Chan, Virginia Murray, Jonathan Abrahams, Ali Ardalan, Ryoma Kayano, Johnny Chung Wai Yau
2017, 8(2): 145-149. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0122-0
The intersection of health and disaster risk reduction (DRR) has emerged in recent years as a field of critical inquiry. Health is recognized as an outcome and a goal of DRR, and the integration of both fields is essential to ensure the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM) has emerged as an umbrella field that encompasses emergency and disaster medicine, DRR, humanitarian response, community health resilience, and health systems resilience. In September 2016, an international group of experts met in Hong Kong to assess the current status and potential of the Health-EDRM research field, a research area that these scholars characterized as underdeveloped and fragmented. Key challenges identified include research overlap, lack of strategic research agenda, absence of consensus regarding terminology, and limited coordination between stakeholders. The Sendai Framework provides a useful paradigm within which to shape the research field's strategic development. The WHO Thematic Platform for Health-EDRM Research Group was established to coordinate activities, promote information-sharing, develop partnerships, and provide technical advice to strengthen the Health-EDRM research field. This group will promote the generation of robust and scientific health research to support the meaningful implementation of the Sendai Framework.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Its Indicators—Where Does Health Fit in?
Rishma Maini, Lorcan Clarke, Kevin Blanchard, Virginia Murray
2017, 8(2): 150-155. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0120-2
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 recognizes the strong connection between health and disasters and promotes the concept of health resilience throughout. Several of the seven global targets stated in the Sendai Framework are directly related to health in terms of reducing disaster mortality, the number of affected people, disaster damage to critical infrastructure, and disruption of basic services such as health facilities. The Sendai Framework also maintains close coordination with other United Nations landmark agreements relevant to health such as the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the measurement of healthrelated indicators is challenging. Issues arise, for example, in linking deaths to disasters because of the complex interplay between exposure, risk, vulnerability, and hazards. The lack of a universal classification of disasters also means that recording of health data in disasters is not standardized. Developing the guidelines to enable data on the indicators to be collected and reported to support the Sendai targets requires detailed thinking, time, and consultation with a diverse range of stakeholders. Strong collaboration and partnership will be vital to achieving success.
Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM) in Remote Ethnic Minority Areas of Rural China: The Case of a Flood-Prone Village in Sichuan
Emily Ying Yang Chan, Chunlan Guo, Poyi Lee, Sida Liu, Carman Ka Man Mark
2017, 8(2): 156-163. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0121-1
Remote, rural ethnic-minority communities face greater disaster-related public health risks due to their lack of resources and limited access to health care. The Ethnic Minority Health Project (EMHP) was initiated in 2009 to work with remote, disaster-prone ethnic-minority villages that live in extreme poverty. One of the project's aims is to develop and evaluate bottom-up health risk reduction efforts in emergency and disaster risk management (HealthEDRM). This article shares project updates and describes field intervention results from the Yi ethnic community of Hongyan village in China's Sichuan Province, an area that experiences recurrent floods. It was found that 64% of the village respondents had never considered any form of disaster preparation, even with the recurrent flood risks. Health intervention participants showed sustained knowledge retention and were nine times more likely to know the correct composition of oral rehydration solution (ORS) after the intervention. Participants also retained the improved knowledge on ORS and disaster preparedness kit ownership 12 months after the intervention.
The 3rd Global Summit of Research Institutes for Disaster Risk Reduction: Expanding the Platform for Bridging Science and Policy Making
Andrew Collins, Hirokazu Tatano, Wilma James, Chadia Wannous, Kaoru Takara, Virginia Murray, Charles Scawthorn, Jim Mori, Sarah Aziz, Khalid M. Mosalam, Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler, Irasema Alcántara-Ayala, Elisabeth Krausmann, Wei-Sen Li, Ana Maria Cruz, Subhajyoti Samaddar, Tom De Groeve, Yuichi Ono, Kelvin Berryman, Koji Suzuki, Mark Ashley Parry, Peter McGowran, John G. Rees
2017, 8(2): 224-230. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0123-z
The Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes held its 3rd Global Summit of Research Institutes for Disaster Risk Reduction at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan, 19-21 March, 2017. The Global Alliance seeks to contribute to enhancing disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster resilience through the collaboration of research organizations around the world. The summit aim was to expand the platform for bridging science and policy making by evaluating the evidence base needed to meet the expected outcomes and actions of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and its Science and Technology Roadmap. The summit reflected the international nature of collaborative research and action. A pre-conference questionnaire filled out by Global Alliance members identified 323 research projects that are indicative of current research. These were categorized to support seven parallel discussion sessions related to the Sendai Framework priorities for action. Four discussion sessions focused on research that aims to deepen the understanding of disaster risks. Three cross-cutting sessions focused on research that is aimed at the priorities for action on governance, resilience, and recovery. Discussion summaries were presented in plenary sessions in support of outcomes for widely enhancing the science and policy of DRR.
Green Development and Integrated Risk Governance
Peijun Shi, Saini Yang, Qian Ye, Ying Li, Guoyi Han
2017, 8(2): 231-233. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0133-x