2018 Vol. 9, No. 3

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Lost for Words Amongst Disaster Risk Science Vocabulary?
Ilan Kelman
2018, 9(3): 281-291. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0188-3
Like other subjects, disaster risk science has developed its own vocabulary with glossaries. Some keywords, such as resilience, have an extensive literature on definitions, meanings, and interpretations. Other terms have been less explored. This article investigates core disaster risk science vocabulary that has not received extensive attention in terms of examining the meanings, interpretations, and connotations based on key United Nations glossaries. The terms covered are hazard, vulnerability, disaster risk, and the linked concepts of disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management. Following a presentation and analysis of the glossary-based definitions, discussion draws out understandings of disasters and disaster risk science, which the glossaries do not fully provide in depth, especially vulnerability and disasters as processes. Application of the results leads to considering the possibility of a focus on risk rather than disaster risk while simplifying vocabulary by moving away from disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management.
Systemic Risks: A Homomorphic Approach on the Basis of Complexity Science
Klaus Lucas, Ortwin Renn, Carlo Jaeger, Saini Yang
2018, 9(3): 292-305. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0185-6
Although the notion of systemic risk gained prominence with respect to financial systems, it is a generic term that refers to risks of increasing importance in many domains—risks that cannot be tackled by conventional techniques of risk management and governance. We build on a domain-overarching definition of systemic risks by highlighting crucial properties that distinguish them from conventional risks and plain disasters. References to typical examples from various domains are included. Common features of systemic risks in different domains—such as the role of agents and emergence phenomena, tipping and cascading, parameters indicating instability, and historicity—turn out to be more than noncommittal empirical observations. Rather these features can be related to fundamental theory for relatively simple and well-understood systems in physics and chemistry. A crucial mechanism is the breakdown of macroscopic patterns of whole systems due to feedback reinforcing actions of agents on the microlevel, where the reinforcement is triggered by boundary conditions moving beyond critical tipping points. Throughout the whole article, emphasis is placed on the role of complexity science as a basis for unifying the phenomena of systemic risks in widely different domains.
Risk Perception and Knowledge in Fire Risk Reduction in a Dong Minority Rural Village in China: A Health-EDRM Education Intervention Study
Emily Ying Yang Chan, Holly Ching Yu Lam, Phoebe Pui Wun Chung, Zhe Huang, Tony Ka Chun Yung, Kelvin Wai Kit Ling, Gloria Kwong Wai Chan, Cheuk Pong Chiu
2018, 9(3): 306-318. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0181-x
Fire is one of the major disasters in rural communities but evidence of the effectiveness of education interventions against fire risks is limited. This was a 2-year study assessed the effectiveness of face-to-face Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM) education interventions for raising fire risk reduction knowledge in a fire-prone rural ethnic minority community. The study was conducted in various pre-set time points of an intervention-based project in a Dong-based community in Nanjiang Village, Guizhou Province in 2015 and 2016 to increase knowledge among the villagers about how to reduce general- and electrical-fire risks. Pre- and post-intervention questionnaires were used to evaluate the effectiveness of increasing fire risk-related knowledge through these interventions, immediately after the 2015 and 2016 interventions, and 17 months after the 2015 intervention. The knowledge of using fire blanket, recalling the correct emergency telephone number, unplugging unused electrical appliances, and not using water to extinguish electrical fires had immediately improved after the interventions. Subjects demonstrated a better understanding that fire blankets can fight a blaze if used appropriately, and that knowledge was sustained for 17 months. The interventions were effective in improving fire prevention and response knowledge. Targeted interventions should be organized according to communities’ culture, the evolution of economic prosperity and lifestyle practices.
Long-Term and Immediate Impacts of Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM) Education Interventions in a Rural Chinese Earthquake-Prone Transitional Village
Emily Ying Yang Chan, Janice Ying-en Ho, Zhe Huang, Jean Hee Kim, Holly Ching Yu Lam, Phoebe Pui Wun Chung, Carol Ka Po Wong, Sida Liu, Sharon Chow
2018, 9(3): 319-330. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0186-5
Ma’an Qiao Village, a Dai and Yi ethnic minority-based community in Sichuan Province, China sustained complete infrastructure devastation during the 2008 Panzhihua earthquake. Health emergency and disaster risk management (Health-EDRM) education intervention programs were implemented in 2010 and 2011. This serial cross-sectional survey study aimed to examine the immediate and long-term impacts of the Health-EDRM interventions in this remote rural community. The findings demonstrate knowledge improvement in areas of water and sanitation, food and nutrition, and disaster preparedness immediately after the Health-EDRM education interventions. Temporal stability of knowledge retention was observed in household hygiene and waste management and smoking beliefs in 2018, 7 years after the interventions. Other important findings include knowledge uptake pattern differences of oral rehydration solution (ORS) between earthquake-prone and flood-prone communities. Usage of Internet and mobile technology for accessing disaster-related information was found to be independent of gender and income. Overall, this study demonstrated the knowledge improvement through Health-EDRM education interventions in a remote rural community. Promoting behavioral changes through interventions to raise awareness has the potential to reduce health risks in transitional post-disaster settings. Future programs should aim to identify evidence-based practices and explore how technology can support Health-EDRM education among vulnerable subgroups.
Remittances for Disaster Risk Management: Perspectives from Pacific Island Migrants Living in New Zealand
Jenna Pairama, Loïc Le Dé
2018, 9(3): 331-343. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0183-8
In many low-income countries, migrant remittances are essential in sustaining people’s livelihoods and become even more important during and after disasters. Researchers, policymakers, and practitioners increasingly emphasize the need to better support this people-based mechanism, so disaster risk can be reduced. This suggests the importance of understanding migrants’ perspectives on the remittance channels used and the challenges and opportunities of supporting remittances. However, such information is largely missing. Drawing on interviews and a focus group discussion carried out with Pacific Island migrants living in New Zealand, the article identifies the capacity of migrants to utilize different remittance channels and resources to assist those affected in their country of origin. Challenges faced include high transfer fees, lack of information and support from external stakeholders, and limited resources to effectively send both individual and collective remittances. The article concludes that there is a serious need to involve a large array of stakeholders in finding ways to better support remittances for disaster risk management, including migrants, government agencies, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and those receiving remittances.
Psychological Outcomes in Disaster Responders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Effect of Social Support
Johnrev Guilaran, Ian de Terte, Krzysztof Kaniasty, Christine Stephens
2018, 9(3): 344-358. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0184-7
Disaster response work is associated with various psychological outcomes. In post-disaster conditions, social support is generally observed to impact mental health, particularly for survivors. This review was conducted to survey the extent of social support effectiveness on disaster responder groups. Published quantitative social support studies on police, emergency medical responders, rescue and recovery workers, firefighters, and military responders were searched in various academic databases using keyword searches, a reference list search, and a citation search that resulted in 24 studies with 90 effect sizes being included in the final data base. Articles were coded and effect sizes were averaged using the Hedges–Vevea Random Effects model. Nineteen categories of psychological outcomes (for example, anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and psychological distress) and eight classifications of support were coded. Social support was found to be associated with anxiety, burnout, depression, job control, job satisfaction, psychological distress, turnover intentions, and work engagement, with mean effect sizes from − 0.36 to 0.57. Most studies measured perceived social support and negative outcomes. Social support correlated with outcomes in police responders and rescue and recovery workers. This review discusses the breadth of effect of social support, as well as other elements, such as temporal factors, that may affect the effectiveness of social support in disaster responders.
Multidimensional Model for Vulnerability Assessment of Urban Flooding: An Empirical Study in Pakistan
Irfan Ahmad Rana, Jayant K. Routray
2018, 9(3): 359-375. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0179-4
Urban flooding has become a regular phenomenon in many towns and cities in the Asia Pacific region over the past years. Professionals associated with disaster management and climate change are at the forefront of addressing urban flooding. To reduce flood risks, vulnerability and its components must be understood. Vulnerability assessment methods are diverse and complex, with a varied nature of understanding the key terms used in various contexts, and this diversity ultimately reflects on the interpretation of results in research settings. Diverse interpretations and definitions exist in the disaster risk and climate change literature, complicating the process of astute and comprehensive vulnerability assessment. The main purpose of this study was to quantify vulnerability indicators and develop a multidimensional model for vulnerability assessment. Vulnerability is explored through the lens of five dimensions: social, economic, physical/infrastructural, institutional, and attitudinal. This methodology is applied to urban flooding in Pakistan, to verify the proposed model. Three study sites in urban areas with different population sizes, situated in high-risk flood zones in the Punjab Province of Pakistan were selected for empirical investigation. A household survey was conducted, and indices were developed for each dimension based on well-defined indicators. The proposed methodology for vulnerability assessment was tested and found operational. This method can be replicated irrespective of spatial scales and can be modified for other disasters by streamlining hazard specific indicators.
Impact of Droughts on Winter Wheat Yield in Different Growth Stages during 2001–2016 in Eastern China
Huiqian Yu, Qiang Zhang, Peng Sun, Changqing Song
2018, 9(3): 376-391. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0187-4
Remote sensing can provide near real-time and dynamic monitoring of drought. The drought severity index (DSI), based on the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and evapotranspiration/potential evapotranspiration (ET/PET), has been used for drought monitoring. This study examined the relationship between the DSI and winter wheat yield for prefecture-level cities in five provinces of eastern China during 2001–2016. We first analyzed the spatial and temporal distribution of droughts in the study area. Then the correlation coefficient between drought-affected area and detrended yield of winter wheat was quantified and the impact of droughts of different intensities on winter wheat yield during different growth stages was investigated. The results show that incipient drought during the wintering period has no significant impact on the yield of winter wheat, while moderate drought in the same period can reduce yield. Drought affects winter wheat yield significantly during the flowering and filling stages. Droughts of higher intensity have more significant negative effects on the yield of winter wheat. Monitoring of droughts and irrigation is critical during these periods to ensure normal yield of winter wheat. This study has important practical implications for the planning of irrigation and food security.
Risk Identification of Seismic Landslides by Joint Newmark and RockFall Analyst Models: A Case Study of Roads Affected by the Jiuzhaigou Earthquake
Xiliu Yue, Shaohong Wu, Yunhe Yin, Jiangbo Gao, Jingyun Zheng
2018, 9(3): 392-406. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0182-9
Geological disasters are a great threat to people’s lives and property. At present, it is difficult to evaluate quantitatively the cascading effects of regional geological disasters, and the development of new methods for such evaluation is much needed. In this study, the authors have developed a joint procedure that couples the Newmark model and the RockFall Analyst model based on a GIS platform in order to identify the impact of seismic landslides on roads. The new method effectively combines two processes—seismic landslide occurrence probability analysis and mass movement trajectory simulation. The permanent displacement derived from the Newmark model is used to identify potential source areas of landslides. Based on the RockFall Analyst model, the possible impact of mass movement on the roads can be simulated. To verify the reliability of the method, the landslides induced by the 2017 Jiuzhaigou Earthquake were taken as a case study. The results suggest that about 21.37% of the study area is at high risk of seismic landslides, and approximately 3.95 km of road sections are at extremely high risk of large landslides. The simulated area is consistent with the distribution of disasters revealed by post-earthquake remote sensing image interpretation and field investigation in existing studies. This indicates that the procedure, which joins the Newmark and RockFall models, has a high reliability for risk identification and can be applied to seismic landslide risk assessment and prediction in similar areas.
An Emergency Decision Making Method Based on Prospect Theory for Different Emergency Situations
Zi-Xin Zhang, Liang Wang, Ying-Ming Wang
2018, 9(3): 407-420. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0173-x
Emergency decision making (EDM) is an effective way to deal with emergency situations because of its prominent role in alleviating the losses of properties and lives caused by emergency events. It has drawn increasing attention from both governments and academia, and become an important research topic in recent years. Studies show that decision makers are usually guided by bounded rationality under risk and uncertainty conditions. Their psychological behavior plays an important role in the decision making process, and EDM problems are usually characterized by high risk and uncertainty. Thus, decision makers’ psychological behavior has been considered in existing EDM approaches based on prospect theory. An emergency event might evolve into different situations due to its dynamic evolution, which is one of the distinctive features of emergency events. This important issue has been discussed in existing EDM approaches, in which different emergency situations are dealt with by devising different solutions. However, existing EDM approaches do not consider decision makers’ psychological behavior together with the different emergency situations and the different solutions. Motivated by such limitation, this study proposed a novel approach based on prospect theory considering emergency situations, which considers not only decision makers’ psychological behavior, but also different emergency situations in the EDM process. Two examples and related comparison are provided to illustrate the feasibility and validity of this approach.
Journey Through the Groan Zone with Academics and Practitioners: Bridging Conflict and Difference to Strengthen Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Work
Katherine E. Browne, Caela O'Connell, Laura Meitzner Yoder
2018, 9(3): 421-428. doi: 10.1007/s13753-018-0180-y
Academic-practitioner divides in disaster management and research can be persistent and pernicious, bearing consequences for disaster survivors and future affected populations. The gap between disaster professionals and academic researchers is often treated as an unavoidable structural problem or a neutral accident of professional silos and circumstance. We suggest that these gaps are not neutral, and that they can and must be overcome. With hundreds of millions of people affected by disaster each year and recovery costs skyrocketing, there is urgency in connecting researcher and practitioner knowledges to avoid expensive mistakes and most importantly, to decrease human suffering. Yet the difficulties that US academic anthropologists and practitioners experienced in their efforts to collaborate became evident in a cross-sector National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded workshop on the relevance of culture in disaster work. We suggest and illustrate how more systematic cross-field communication can be operationalized through engaging in an ongoing and relational process of bridging. Such a process can offer long-term benefits to the people and institutions involved, dramatically enhance the science of disaster management, and help reduce the social and material costs of disaster impacts.