2018 Vol. 9, No. 1

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Media Preference, Information Needs, and the Language Proficiency of Foreigners in Japan after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake
Akiyuki Kawasaki, Michael Henry, Kimiro Meguro
2018, 9(1): 1-15. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0159-8
After the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the Japanese government identified the lack of proficiency in the Japanese language as one characteristic of foreigners that should be considered in disaster prevention planning. This article seeks to understand how proficiency in a local language affects disaster information gathering behavior by using the results of a questionnaire survey conducted after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Respondents were categorized based on their Japanese and English language abilities. Their media mode, language preferences, information importance, and information-gathering difficulties also were examined. It was found that foreigners skilled in Japanese demonstrated similar information gathering behavior as Japanese respondents, but foreigners unskilled in Japanese showed little usage of Japanese-language media. This group also encountered difficulties due to a lack of Japanese proficiency, but many members were able to acquire some level of Japanese-language information through Internet-based methods. To address language proficiency in disaster prevention planning, information provision in languages other than Japanese should be increased, and Japanese information should be shared in a way that facilitates translation. Although this survey was significant in its scope, the results should be considered within the limitations of the Internet-based response collection and focus only on the less-affected area of Japan.
Gender, Intra-Household Dynamics, and Household Hurricane Preparedness: An Exploratory Study Employing a Dyadic Interview Approach
Li-San Hung
2018, 9(1): 16-27. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0158-9
This exploratory study targets married, heterosexual couples living in Sarasota County, Florida and uses a dyadic interview approach to understand how the interactions of married couples, or intra-household dynamics, could affect household hurricane preparedness. Interview results reveal that couples consider household hurricane preparedness to be a joint process between husband and wife, but in many cases, partners do not have the same opinions about these preparations. This study also shows the relations between household hurricane preparedness and household division of labor, and how the tendency of wives to prioritize relational preparedness activities could be an answer to understanding why some quantitative studies show that females have lower preparedness levels than males. Other potential problems with this previous research, including the selection of survey participants and the measurement of household hurricane preparedness, are likewise discussed.
A Study on Cyclone Aila Recovery in Koyra, Bangladesh: Evaluating the Inclusiveness of Recovery with Respect to Predisaster Vulnerability Reduction
Md. Shibly Sadik, Hajime Nakagawa, Rezaur Rahman, Rajib Shaw, Kenji Kawaike, Kumiko Fujita
2018, 9(1): 28-43. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0166-9
The need to consider disaster risk reduction at the time of recovery is well-recognized. Viable disaster risk reduction measures should resolve the root causes of predisaster vulnerabilities. Accordingly, we investigated the recovery from the impact of Cyclone Aila in Koyra Upazila, Bangladesh, which was severely damaged by this 2009 cyclone. Our research focused on understanding pre-Aila vulnerabilities to cyclone impact and examined the degree of inclusion of vulnerability reduction measures within the recovery process. A composite methodology that included an institutional survey, key informant interviews, collection of the judgment of experts, focus group discussions, and a score-based quantification technique was adopted. Through a process of understanding pre-Aila vulnerabilities, recognition of the root causes of these inherent weaknesses, and identification of appropriate measures for pre-Aila vulnerability reduction, a set of 23 indicators were selected to represent the most desirable vulnerability reduction measures to implement during recovery. A score-based technique was applied to measure the degree of inclusion of vulnerability reduction within the recovery with respect to the indicators. The scoring result shows that the degree of inclusion of vulnerability reduction within the recovery was poor. The result specifies that among the 23 indicators of potential vulnerability reduction measures, 10 are completely missing and the rest are only partially included. The overall findings imply that the Koyra community continues to live with a vulnerability similar to that of the pre-Aila period.
Flood Resilience Building in Thailand: Assessing Progress and the Effect of Leadership
Somporn Khunwishit, Chanisada Choosuk, Gary Webb
2018, 9(1): 44-54. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0162-0
Disaster risk reduction has become a global strategy for making cities more resilient since the establishment of the Hyogo Framework for Action in 2005. The question that still challenges emergency management scholars and professionals, however, is what contributes to the progress of resilience building. Previous literature suggests that disaster resilience can be attributable to multiple factors, including leadership. But the specific abilities that help leaders promote resilience have not yet been examined empirically. To address this problem, using the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction 10 Essentials for Making Cities Resilient as guidelines, we assessed the progress of flood resilience building in Thailand and its relationship to local government leaders’ abilities. Our research showed that, since the flood disaster in 2011, municipalities in Thailand have made moderate progress in flood resilience building. The results of a multiple regression analysis revealed that disaster resilience leadership abilities have had a statistically significant, positive effect on the progress of flood resilience building. Our findings underscore the role of leadership in making cities more resilient and shed light on how local government leaders can contribute to the progress of disaster risk reduction. We also outline the academic implications and practical contributions of our research.
The Pattern of Policy Change on Disaster Management in China: A Bibliometric Analysis of Policy Documents, 1949–2016
Qiang Zhang, Qibin Lu, Deping Zhong, Xuanting Ye
2018, 9(1): 55-73. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0164-y
This article presents a comprehensive review of China’s policy system for the management of natural hazard-induced disasters from 1949 to 2016 through a quantitative bibliometric analysis of 5472 policy documents on such disasters. It identifies four phases of China’s evolving disaster management system, which focused on agriculture, economic development, government and professional capacity building, and disaster governance, respectively. Characteristics of policies and contributing factors of policy change in each of the four phases are discussed in depth. This article provides a quantitative foundation for understanding the dynamic policy change of the disaster management system in China with a particular emphasis on the governance capacity and may serve as a basis for exploring the potential pathways of transformation according to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
A Novel Methodological Approach to Estimate the Impact of Natural Hazard-Induced Disasters on Country/Region-Level Economic Growth
Sayanti Mukherjee, Makarand Hastak
2018, 9(1): 74-85. doi: 10.1007/s13753-017-0156-3
With the increased frequency of extreme weather events and large-scale disasters, extensive societal and economic losses incur every year due to damage of infrastructure and private properties, business disruptions, fatalities, homelessness, and severe health-related issues. In this article, we analyze the economic and disaster data from 1970 through 2010 to investigate the impact of disasters on country/region-level economic growth. We leveraged a random parameter modeling approach to develop the growth-econometrics model that identifies risk factors significantly influencing the country/region-level economic growth in the face of natural hazard-induced disasters, while controlling for country/region- and time-specific unobserved heterogeneities. We found that disaster intensity in terms of fatalities and homelessness, and economic characteristics such as openness to trade and a government’s consumption share of purchasing power parity (PPP), are the significant risk factors that randomly vary for different countries/regions. Other significant factors found to be significant include population, real gross domestic product (GDP), and investment share of PPP converted GDP per capita. We also found that flood is the most devastating disaster to affect country/region-level economic growth. This growth-econometrics model will help in the policy and decision making of governments related to the investment needs for pre- and post-disaster risk mitigation and response planning strategies, to better protect nations and minimize disaster-induced economic impacts.
Mapping the Wind Hazard of Global Tropical Cyclones with Parametric Wind Field Models by Considering the Effects of Local Factors
Chenyan Tan, Weihua Fang
2018, 9(1): 86-99. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0161-1
Tropical cyclones (TCs) cause catastrophic loss in many coastal areas of the world. TC wind hazard maps can play an important role in disaster management. A good representation of local factors reflecting the effects of spatially heterogeneous terrain and land cover is critical to evaluation of TC wind hazard. Very few studies, however, provide global wind hazard assessment results that consider detailed local effects. In this study, the wind fields of historical TCs were simulated with parametric models in which the planetary boundary layer models explicitly integrate local effects at 1 km resolution. The topographic effects for eight wind directions were quantified over four types of terrain (ground, escarpment, ridge, and valley), and the surface roughness lengths were estimated from a global land cover map. The missing TC parameters in the best track datasets were reconstructed with local regression models. Finally, an example of a wind hazard map in the form of wind speeds under a 100-year return period and corresponding uncertainties was created based on a statistical analysis of reconstructed historical wind fields over seven of the world’s ocean basins.
Nonstationarities and At-site Probabilistic Forecasts of Seasonal Precipitation in the East River Basin, China
Peng Sun, Qiang Zhang, Xihui Gu, Peijun Shi, Vijay P. Singh, Changqing Song, Xiuyu Zhang
2018, 9(1): 100-115. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0165-x
Seasonal precipitation changes under the influence of large-scale climate oscillations in the East River basin were studied using daily precipitation data at 29 rain stations during 1959–2010. Seasonal and global models were developed and evaluated for probabilistic precipitation forecasting. Generalized additive model for location, scale, and shape was used for at-site precipitation forecasting. The results indicate that: (1) winter and spring precipitation processes at most stations are nonstationary, while summer and autumn precipitation processes at few of the stations are stationary. In this sense, nonstationary precipitation processes are dominant across the study region; (2) the magnitude of precipitation is influenced mainly by the Arctic Oscillation, the North Pacific Oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) also has a considerable effect on the variability of precipitation regimes across the East River basin; (3) taking the seasonal precipitation changes of the entire study period as a whole, the climate oscillations influence precipitation magnitude, and this is particularly clear for the PDO and the ENSO. The latter also impacts the dispersion of precipitation changes; and (4) the seasonal model is appropriate for modeling spring precipitation, but the global model performs better for summer, autumn, and winter precipitation.
Anticipation and Response: Emergency Services in Severe Weather Situations in Germany
Thomas Kox, Catharina Lüder, Lars Gerhold
2018, 9(1): 116-128. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0163-z
Communicating meteorological uncertainty allows earlier provision of information on possible future events. The desired benefit is to enable the end-user to start with preparatory protective actions at an earlier time based on the end-user’s own risk assessment and decision threshold. The presented results of an interview study, conducted with 27 members of German civil protection authorities, show that developments in meteorology and weather forecasting do not necessarily fit the current practices of German emergency services. These practices are mostly carried out based on alarms and ground truth in a superficial reactive manner, rather than on anticipation based on prognoses or forecasts. Emergency managers cope with uncertainty by collecting, comparing, and blending different information about an uncertain event and its uncertain outcomes within the situation assessment to validate the information. Emergency managers struggle most with an increase of emergency calls and missions due to the impacts of severe weather. Because of the additional expenditures, the weather event makes it even harder for them to fulfill their core duties. These findings support the need for impact-based warnings.
SIRENE: A Spatial Data Infrastructure to Enhance Communities’ Resilience to Disaster-Related Emergency
Simone Sterlacchini, Gloria Bordogna, Giacomo Cappellini, Debora Voltolina
2018, 9(1): 129-142. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0160-2
Planning in advance to prepare for and respond to a natural hazard-induced disaster-related emergency is a key action that allows decision makers to mitigate unexpected impacts and potential damage. To further this aim, a collaborative, modular, and information and communications technology-based Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) called SIRENE—Sistema Informativo per la Preparazione e la Risposta alle Emergenze (Information System for Emergency Preparedness and Response) is designed and implemented to access and share, over the Internet, relevant multisource and distributed geospatial data to support decision makers in reducing disaster risks. SIRENE flexibly searches and retrieves strategic information from local and/or remote repositories to cope with different emergency phases. The system collects, queries, and analyzes geographic information provided voluntarily by observers directly in the field (volunteered geographic information (VGI) reports) to identify potentially critical environmental conditions. SIRENE can visualize and cross-validate institutional and research-based data against VGI reports, as well as provide disaster managers with a decision support system able to suggest the mode and timing of intervention, before and in the aftermath of different types of emergencies, on the basis of the available information and in agreement with the laws in force at the national and regional levels. Testing installations of SIRENE have been deployed in 18 hilly or mountain municipalities (12 located in the Italian Central Alps of northern Italy, and six in the Umbria region of central Italy), which have been affected by natural hazard-induced disasters over the past years (landslides, debris flows, floods, and wildfire) and experienced significant social and economic losses.