2018 Vol. 9, No. 2

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Why People Live in Flood-Prone Areas in Akuressa, Sri Lanka
Johan Askman, Olof Nilsson, Per Becker
2018, 9(2): 143-156. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0167-8
To investigate why people live in areas at high risk of floods, a qualitative case study was carried out in the areas around Akuressa, in southwest Sri Lanka. Data collection consisted mainly of semistructured interviews with local residents and government officials. The purpose was to study why people live in areas at high risk of floods, by looking beyond the purely physical aspects of living with hazards and exploring the underlying social factors. Four main factors were identified: an overall good living situation; a sense of place; difficulties relocating; and being well-adapted to the situation. The analysis also examined whether government officials shared the views of local residents. The findings highlighted both areas of consensus and discrepancies related to risk awareness, and the efficiency of risk reduction measures that had been implemented by the government. The case study identified and explored underlying social factors, such as risk normalization, risk trade-offs, and push-and-pull processes, which seem to influence the decision to live in a high-risk area.
Landslide Loss and Damage in Sindhupalchok District, Nepal: Comparing Income Groups with Implications for Compensation and Relief
Kees van der Geest
2018, 9(2): 157-166. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0178-5
The 2014 Jure landslide in Sindhupalchok District, Nepal, caused significant loss and damage to ecosystems and livelihoods in the area. In the direct aftermath of the landslide, several disaster loss assessments were conducted, with the aim of counting casualties, injured people, and damaged houses and infrastructure. Although useful and necessary in their own right, such rapid assessments do not reveal the true extent and significance of the losses and damages that people in disaster areas face, including their monetary value. We address this gap, based on a comprehensive household survey (N=234), as well as other, qualitative research tools. Our results highlight the importance of differentiating between loss and damage in absolute monetary terms as opposed to losses relative to annual income. We find a stark contrast between the high absolute losses incurred by nonpoor households, and the high relative losses—up to 14 times their annual income—experienced by poor households. These results have important implications for policy that addresses loss and damage, not only of landslides but also of other disasters. Loss and damage assessments need to take the livelihood characteristics of affected households into account to identify and support those most in need of compensation and relief.
Influences of Risk Perception and Sense of Place on Landslide Disaster Preparedness in Southwestern China
Dingde Xu, Li Peng, Shaoquan Liu, Xuxi Wang
2018, 9(2): 167-180. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0170-0
The effects of risk perception and sense of place on disaster preparedness have been widely reported. However, most studies have only demonstrated weak relationships and it is unknown whether these are applicable to China. This study investigated such relationships in hazard-threatened areas of the Three Gorges Reservoir area in southwestern China. Data were collected from 348 farming households in landslide-prone areas. Binary logistic and Tobit regression models were constructed to determine whether risk perception and sense of place influence landslide preparedness. The results show that: (1) Farming households’ awareness of the need to prepare for disasters was relatively low, and disaster preparedness behaviors were mainly based on self-learning. Among the 348 sampled households, 67% exhibited no disaster preparedness behavior, and only 2% adopted four of the five types of disaster preparedness behaviors. About a quarter of farming households consciously learned disaster-related knowledge. (2) Risk perception and sense of place had important influences on disaster preparedness. Respondents who received higher scores on the perception of the probability of a landslide, the threat of a landslide, and the place dependence variables were more likely to adopt a greater number of disaster preparedness behaviors. Respondents with higher scores on the perception of controllability in the case of a landslide were less likely to adopt a greater number of disaster preparedness behaviors. Additionally, individual and household socioeconomic characteristics—education, loss, distance from hazard site, information acquisition channel, and housing material—were all related to household disaster preparedness behavior. This study contributes to the current literature by improving the understanding of the relationships of risk perception and sense of place to disaster preparedness in farming households threatened by geological disasters in southwestern China.
Schools’ Flood Emergency Preparedness in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan
Ashfaq Ahmad Shah, Jingzhong Ye, Lu Pan, Raza Ullah, Syed Irshad Ali Shah, Shah Fahad, Shaista Naz
2018, 9(2): 181-194. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0175-8
Pakistan is highly exposed to climate-induced disasters, especially floods. Flooding history shows that educational establishments have been disproportionately hard-hit by flooding events. In Pakistan, school safety and preparedness is still a choice, rather than a mandatory requirement for all schools. But schools in Pakistan do have a responsibility to keep safe the students in their care, especially during and after the catastrophic events. This implies the need to maintain the environment in and around school property, so as to minimize the impacts of floods and to have the mechanisms in place to maximize a school’s resilience. This study examined the emergency preparedness activities of 20 schools in four districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province that had recently been severely affected by floods. Through face to face interviews and a structured questionnaire (n=100) we collected data on the four pillars of emergency preparedness: emergency planning, preparation measures, safe school facilities, and hazard education and training. The study revealed that the majority of the sample schools had experienced more than one natural hazard-induced disaster, predominantly flooding, yet despite this had not undertaken adequate emergency preparedness activities. There are particular gaps with regard to plans for students with disabilities, the continuity of school operations after a disaster, the presence of maps to identify evacuation routes, the availability of emergency equipment and resources, disaster preparedness guidelines, and psychological first aid and crisis counseling. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis that our researchers carried out indicates that, although schools in the survey have taken many steps towards flood preparedness, many weaknesses still exist and there remain significant opportunities to strengthen the preparedness level of many schools. The goal of this study is to inform policy decisions that improve school safety in Pakistan and to suggest the priority areas for future school disaster preparedness and management efforts.
Hazard Footprint-Based Normalization of Economic Losses from Tropical Cyclones in China During 1983–2015
Wenfang Chen, Yi Lu, Shao Sun, Yihong Duan, Gregor C. Leckebusch
2018, 9(2): 195-206. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0172-y
Loss normalization is the prerequisite for understanding the effects of socioeconomic development, vulnerability, and climate changes on the economic losses from tropical cyclones. In China, limited studies have been done on loss normalization methods of damages caused by tropical cyclones, and most of them have adopted an administrative division-based approach to define the exposure levels. In this study, a hazard footprint-based normalization method was proposed to improve the spatial resolution of affected areas and the associated exposures to influential tropical cyclones in China. The meteorological records of precipitation and near-surface wind speed were used to identify the hazard footprint of each influential tropical cyclone. Provincial-level and national-level (total) economic loss normalization (PLN and TLN) were carried out based on the respective hazard footprints, covering loss records between 1999–2015 and 1983–2015, respectively. Socioeconomic factors—inflation, population, and wealth (GDP per capita)—were used to normalize the losses. A significant increasing trend was found in inflation-adjusted losses during 1983–2015, while no significant trend was found after normalization with the TLN method. The proposed hazard footprint-based method contributes to a more realistic estimation of the population and wealth affected by the influential tropical cyclones for the original year and the present scenario.
Factors Affecting Vulnerability of Ready-Made Garment Factory Buildings in Bangladesh: An Assessment Under Vertical and Earthquake Loads
Tanmay Das, Uttama Barua, Mehedi Ahmed Ansary
2018, 9(2): 207-223. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0177-6
The importance of workplace safety in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh came to the forefront after a series of disastrous events in recent years. In order to reduce the loss of lives and to ensure sustainable development, an in-depth understanding of the determining factors governing structural vulnerability in the RMG industry is needed. This research explores the key factors influencing the vulnerability of factory buildings under both vertical and earthquake loads. For this purpose, an ordered probit model was applied to 3746 RMG factory buildings to determine the key factors that influenced their vertical load vulnerability. A smaller subset of the original sample, 478 buildings, was examined by the same modeling method in greater detail to assess the key factors that influenced their earthquake load vulnerability. This research reveals that column capacity, structural system, and construction materials are the most influential factors for both types of vulnerabilities. Among other factors, soil liquefaction and irregular internal frame affect earthquake load vulnerability significantly. These findings are expected to enable factory owners and designers to better weigh the appropriate vulnerability factors in order to make informed decision that increase workplace safety. The research findings will also help the designated authorities to conduct successful inspections of factory buildings and take actions that reduce vulnerability to both vertical and earthquake loads.s
El Niño and the Köppen–Geiger Classification: A Prototype Concept and Methodology for Mapping Impacts in Central America and the Circum-Caribbean
Lino Naranjo, Michael H. Glantz, Sayat Temirbekov, Ivan J. Ramírez
2018, 9(2): 224-236. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0176-7
The aim of this pilot study conducted by the consortium for capacity building was to develop a prototype concept and methodology for the classification and visualization of the geographic impacts of El Niño on annual climates and seasonality. Our study is based on the Köppen–Geiger climate classification scheme for a set of selected countries affected by strong El Niños in Latin America. By identifying and visualizing the annual and seasonal changes in regional, national, or subnational climate regimes that generally accompany an El Niño event, this research proposes an efficient way to detect and describe climate shifts and variability across time and space. Such knowledge provides a support tool for risk analysis and can potentially enhance government efforts of climate risk management, including disaster risk reduction activities that prevent, mitigate, and improve coping responses to El Niño-related hydrometeorological threats. Details of the conceptual approach and methodology to classifying and mapping El Niño’s impacts are described and explained using the Central American and circum-Caribbean region as a case study. The potential applications for disaster risk reduction as well as its limitations and future work are also discussed.
Improved Bayesian Network-Based Risk Model and Its Application in Disaster Risk Assessment
Ming Li, Mei Hong, Ren Zhang
2018, 9(2): 237-248. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0171-z
The application of Bayesian network (BN) theory in risk assessment is an emerging trend. But in cases where data are incomplete and variables are mutually related, its application is restricted. To overcome these problems, an improved BN assessment model with parameter retrieval and decorrelation ability is proposed. First, multivariate nonlinear planning is applied to the feedback error learning of parameters. A genetic algorithm is used to learn the probability distribution of nodes that lack quantitative data. Then, based on an improved grey relational analysis that considers the correlation of variation rate, the optimal weight that characterizes the correlation is calculated and the weighted BN is improved for decorrelation. An improved risk assessment model based on the weighted BN then is built. An assessment of sea ice disaster shows that the model can be applied for risk assessment with incomplete data and variable correlation.
Spatiotemporal Pattern of Social Vulnerability in Italy
Ivan Frigerio, Fabio Carnelli, Marta Cabinio, Mattia De Amicis
2018, 9(2): 249-262. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0168-7
Evaluation of social vulnerability (SV) against natural hazards remains a big challenge for disaster risk reduction. Spatiotemporal analysis of SV is important for successful implementation of prevision and prevention measures for risk mitigation. This study examined the spatiotemporal pattern of SV in Italy, and also analyzed socioeconomic factors that may influence how the Italian population reacts to catastrophic natural events. We identified 16 indicators that quantify SV and collected data for the census years 1991, 2001, and 2011. We created a social vulnerability index (SVI) for each year by using principal component analysis outputs and an additive method. Exploratory spatial data analysis, including global and local autocorrelations, was used to understand the spatial patterns of social vulnerability across the country. Specifically, univariate local Moran’s index was performed for the SVI of each of the three most recent census years in order to detect changes in spatial clustering during the whole study period. The original contribution of this Italy case study was to use a bivariate spatial correlation to describe the spatiotemporal correlation between the threes annual SV indices. The temporal analysis shows that the percentage of municipalities with medium social vulnerability in Italy increased from 1991 to 2011 and those with very high social vulnerability decreased. Spatial analysis provided evidence of clusters that maintained significant high values of social vulnerability throughout the study periods. The SVI of many areas in the center and the south of the peninsula remained stable, and the people living there have continued to be potentially vulnerable to natural hazards.
Life-Cycle and Seismic Fragility Assessment of Code-Conforming Reinforced Concrete and Steel Structures in Bucharest, Romania
Florin Pavel, Ileana Calotescu, Dan Stanescu, Andrei Badiu
2018, 9(2): 263-274. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0169-6
In this article, the fragility of reinforced concrete and steel structures in Bucharest, a city of high seismic hazard, designed using the recent building codes in Romania, is assessed. A total of 24 reinforced concrete and steel structures with heights varying from five stories to 13 stories were analyzed. Their seismic fragility was evaluated using two procedures from the literature. In the first procedure (SPO2FRAG), the fragility was derived based on the pushover curves using the SPO2IDA algorithm, while in the second procedure (FRACAS), the fragility was derived from nonlinear time-history analyses. The analyzed structures were designed for three levels of peak ground accelerations, corresponding to mean return periods of 100, 225, and 475 years. Subsequently, the damage assessment of the analyzed structures was performed using ground motions generated from a Monte-Carlo simulated earthquake catalogue for the Vrancea intermediate-depth seismic source. The damage degrees that were estimated using the SPO2FRAG approach are higher than those estimated using the FRACAS approach. The life-cycle analysis of the structures shows that a further increase of the design peak ground acceleration for Bucharest is feasible from an economic point of view using the SPO2FRAG results. However, based on the FRACAS results, the opposite conclusion can be drawn. Finally, generic lognormal fragility functions are proposed as a function of building height and structural system.
Fourteen Actions and Six Proposals for Science and Technology-Based Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia
Peijun Shi, Rajib Shaw, Ali Ardalan, Emily Ying Yang Chan, Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Peng Cui, Bojie Fu, Guoyi Han, Qunli Han, Takako Izumi, Fumiko Kasuga, Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, Joy Jacqueline Pereira, Shirish Kumar Ravan, David Sanderson, Vinod Kumar Sharma, Frank Thomalla, Sugeng Triutomo, Siquan Yang, Qian Ye, Ming Wang, Yaqiao Wu, Renhe Zhang, Wenjian Zhang, Ying Li, Saini Yang
2018, 9(2): 275-279. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0174-9