2019 Vol. 10, No. 2

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Historical Trajectories of Disaster Risk in Dominica
Jenni Barclay, Emily Wilkinson, Carole S. White, Clare Shelton, Johanna Forster, Roger Few, Irene Lorenzoni, George Woolhouse, Claire Jowitt, Harriette Stone, Lennox Honychurch
2019, 10(2): 149-165. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0215-z
The calamitous consequences of 2017 Hurricane Maria for the Caribbean island of Dominica highlighted the acute and increasing susceptibility of the region to disasters. Despite increasing international attention to disaster risk reduction, recovery from hazard events can be especially lengthy and difficult for small island developing states. In this article, we build on existing understandings of disaster risk as a physical and social condition, showing that historical processes are fundamental to understanding how conditions of risk emerge and persist over time. We take an integrated approach to analyzing the drivers of risk accumulation, using the example of Dominica, where processes set in motion during the colonial period have shaped the location of people and assets, the degree to which they might be harmed, the societal repercussions of that harm and the prospects for recovery. We focus on the underlying economic vulnerabilities and physical exposure to hazards created by agricultural, economic, and social practices, and successive disaster responses that have constrained recovery. Uncovering these historical drivers and persistent issues, elucidates lessons for pursuing a more resilient development trajectory, including through the promotion of economic restructuring and diversification, and land reform.
Natural Hazard-Induced Disasters and Production Efficiency: Moving Closer to or Further from the Frontier?
Preeya S. Mohan, Nekeisha Spencer, Eric Strobl
2019, 10(2): 166-178. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0218-9
Production efficiency is a key determinant of economic growth and demonstrates how a country uses its resources by relating the quantity of its inputs to its outputs. When a natural hazard-induced disaster strikes, it has a devastating impact on capital and labor, but at the same time provides an opportunity to upgrade capital and increase labor demand and training opportunities, thereby potentially boosting production efficiency. We studied the impact of natural hazard-induced disasters on countries' production efficiency, using the case study of hurricanes in the Caribbean. To this end we built a country-specific, time-varying data set of hurricane damage and national output and input indicators for 17 Caribbean countries for the period 1940-2014. Our results, using a stochastic frontier approach, show that there is a short-lived production efficiency boost, and that this can be large for very damaging storms.
An Unmitigated Disaster: Shifting from Response and Recovery to Mitigation for an Insurable Future
Eliza de Vet, Christine Eriksen, Kate Booth, Shaun French
2019, 10(2): 179-192. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0214-0
Australian households are increasingly vulnerable to natural hazard-related disasters. To manage disaster risk, government commissioned inquiries have called for greater investment in mitigation. This article critically examines the call for a shift in funding priority towards pre-disaster mitigation measures, in the context of growing concerns around the ability of households to access and afford insurance. It examines mitigation measures in the context of three prominent Australian disasters: the Black Saturday bushfires (Victoria, 2009), the Queensland floods (2010-2011), and Cyclone Yasi (Queensland, 2011). We argue that as a mode of disaster security, mitigation operates as a complex assemblage of logics and practices of protection, preparedness, and resilience, which problematizes simplistic protection/resilience binaries. On the one hand, mitigation serves as a mode of protection, which underscores the dominant maladaptive rationality of insurance. It promises a collective solution to uninsurability that is limited by government fiscal constraints and growing employment of risk-reflective insurance pricing. On the other hand, there is evidence of an emergent rationality of household insurance as a path to resilience and preparedness—for example, in the development of insurance systems that price household retrofitting technologies and in the development of policyholder education campaigns. This resilience rationality holds the promise of securing individuals previously excluded from insurance. However, for householders lacking the necessary physical, cognitive, and financial capacities to make themselves and their properties resilient, the transition to a pre-disaster mitigation mode of security will likely do little to alleviate disadvantage and marginalization.
Post-disaster Psychosocial Capacity Building for Women in a Chinese Rural Village
Timothy Sim, Jocelyn Lau, Ke Cui, Hsi-Hsien Wei
2019, 10(2): 193-203. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0221-1
Mental health interventions following disasters have been criticized as individualistic, incomplete, and culturally insensitive. This article showcases the effects of a culturally relevant and sustainable psychosocial capacitybuilding project at the epicenter of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake. Specifically, the project focuses on women, a group that has received limited attention in post-disaster recovery in China. This qualitative research study (N = 14) sheds light on the characteristics and processes of the implementation of a post-disaster psychosocial intervention project in rural China. In addition, by adopting the Success Case Method as an evaluation approach, this study elucidates its effects on the psychological and social changes of the disaster victims. The findings capture five aspects of psychosocial changes: enriched daily life, better mood, enhanced self-confidence, increased willingness to socialize, and the provision of mutual help. This study hopes to encourage more culturally relevant and empowering practices for women in building their psychosocial capacity after disasters.
Systems Analysis of Vulnerability to Hydrometeorological Threats: An Exploratory Study of Vulnerability Drivers in Northern Zimbabwe
Emmanuel Mavhura
2019, 10(2): 204-219. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0217-x
Disasters result from complex interactions of hazards and vulnerability conditions. Reducing human exposure and sensitivity to threats can reduce disaster impact. Prior knowledge about community vulnerability levels is crucial to minimizing potential losses from future threats. Most vulnerability studies focus on high-impact disasters and their temporal and spatial analyses. Yet highfrequency, low-impact disasters have a cumulative potential to severely disrupt or damage socioeconomic systems. There is limited knowledge especially in the global south about the creation of vulnerability to hydrometeorological threats. Using a systems approach, this study explores ways in which communities in the northern semiarid tropics of Zimbabwe are vulnerable to hydrometeorological threats. This predominantly qualitative study used literature review, interviews, transect walks, and focus groups to gather data from selected samples involving smallholder farmers with in-depth knowledge about community vulnerability. The results show that the communities are vulnerable to multiple hydrometeorological threats due to multiple interacting factors including rainfed and floodbased farming, land tenure, topography, climate, and other socioeconomic conditions such as inadequate income sources and high poverty. In order to reduce vulnerability, this study provides five policy options for government and nongovernmental organization interventions, including the need to transform rural economies beyond the traditional rainfed and flood-based farming systems.
Social Vulnerability (Re-)Assessment in Context to Natural Hazards: Review of the Usefulness of the Spatial Indicator Approach and Investigations of Validation Demands
Alexander Fekete
2019, 10(2): 220-232. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0213-1
While social vulnerability assessments (SVA) use spatial indicators and indices that have become state of the art, they also receive substantial critique. This article analyzes, by means of a literature review of 63 articles, if and in which aspects such an indicator approach is regarded as useful by scientific studies. The findings indicate a need for more research on the validation and justification of indicators. This article supports the conceptual development of SVA by adding to reflection about advancements and applications, but also shortcomings. The main advancement area discussed is validation and the demand for establishing benchmark criteria for vulnerability. Based on this, longitudinal monitoring of vulnerability and validation studies are conceivable based on existing SVA, but these efforts demand more conceptual development.
Assessing Social Vulnerability to Flood Hazards in the Dutch Province of Zeeland
Ryan H. Kirby, Margaret A. Reams, Nina S. N. Lam, Lei Zou, Gerben G. J. Dekker, D. Q. P. Fundter
2019, 10(2): 233-243. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0222-0
The 2007 European Union Floods Directive encouraged member nations to pursue a more integrated view of flood risks and management strategies, taking into account social vulnerabilities of residents. To date, most flood-risk analyses conducted by the Dutch government have focused on physical risk. This study utilizes fine-scale data to construct a social vulnerability index for 147 districts of the Dutch province of Zeeland, located in the Southwestern Delta and the scene of widespread devastation following the 1953 North Sea Flood. Factor analysis of 25 indicators of social vulnerability selected from related research in Europe and the United States results in seven factors explaining roughly 66% of the total variance. These factors of social vulnerability in Zeeland are urban density, low-income households, recent population change, female gender, train access, and self-employed and service-sector employment. The index was constructed using the toploading variable in each of these factors, with weights determined by the variance explained by each factor. Scores range from a low of 0.20 in Schore, municipality of Kapelle, to the highest score of 0.64 in Oudelandse Hoeve of Terneuzen. The most vulnerable districts are located in South Zeeland, with eight of the 10 found in Terneuzen. The majority of less vulnerable districts are located in Zeeland's central region.
Creating the Conditions for Community Resilience: Aberdeen, Scotland—An Example of the Role of Community Planning Groups
Helen Baxter
2019, 10(2): 244-260. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0216-y
Governments are increasingly trying to ensure that communities are resilient to the effects of climate change and encourage community empowerment and autonomy. Local resilience planning groups (LRPGs), which include stakeholders with an interest in a local area, are emerging as one potential approach to building community resilience. A conceptual framework has been developed to identify the common requirements for community resilience, building upon existing work in the wider community resilience literature. Aberdeen Resilient, Included and Supported Group, Scotland, UK is an example of a LRPG. In this study the data collected during a workshop with the Aberdeen LRPG were used with the conceptual framework to identify some of the challenges faced when building community resilience. The study examined whether the Aberdeen LRPG illustrates the challenges and constraints faced by LRPGs more widely, and how the membership influences the potential to develop the attributes of community resilience outlined in the conceptual framework. The thematic analysis of the workshop revealed Aberdeen LRPG's six dominant challenges: engaging with individuals, culture, attitudes, assumptions, terminology, and timescale. These challenges impede the group in utilizing the skills, knowledge, and resources that its members possess to build community resilience. While the Aberdeen LRPG cannot change all factors that affect community resilience, framing specific problems experienced by the group within a conceptual framework applicable to any community contributes to understanding the practical challenges to developing community resilience.
The Organizer Dilemma: Outcomes from a Collaboration Exercise
Jarle Løwe Sørensen, Eric D. Carlström, Glenn-Egil Torgersen, Atle M. Christiansen, Tae-Eun Kim, Stig Wahlstrøm, Leif Inge Magnussen
2019, 10(2): 261-269. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0220-2
In crisis management, cross-sector collaboration exercises are perceived as improving preparedness and develop team-integration efforts. However, studies show that exercises may tend to produce results with limited learning and usefulness. The purpose of this nonexperimental, survey-based study was to measure the difference in perceived exercise effect between participants belonging to the exercise planning organizations and participants belonging to other participating groups. Surveys were distributed and collected from participants in a 2017 chemical oil-spill exercise set off the southern coast of Norway. The target population was operational staff, excluding exercise management and directing staff. The sample population consisted of operatives associated with the exercise organizer organization and others belonging to external public and nongovernmental emergency organizations. The data collection instrument was the “Collaboration, Learning, and Utility Scale” (CLU-scale). Findings indicated that the levels of CLU were higher among external participants than among those individuals who belong to the exercise planning organizations. This study recommends the development and adoption of a national maritime collaboration exercise framework. A practical implication is a recommendation to evaluate exercises to secure the outcome regarding collaboration skill using the same instrument.
Framework for Measuring the Resilience of Utility Poles of an Electric Power Distribution Network
Md. Morshedul Alam, Berna Eren Tokgoz, Seokyon Hwang
2019, 10(2): 270-281. doi: 10.1007/s13753-019-0219-8
The utility poles of an electric power distribution system are frequently damaged by wind-related disasters. This study notes that the wooden poles are particularly vulnerable to such disasters and the failures of the poles can cause a network-level failure leading to short- or longterm power outages. To mitigate the problem, this study proposes a framework for measuring the resilience of the wooden utility poles based on the angular deflection of a pole due to the wind force. Given the existing inclination angle of a pole, the angular deflection is measured by finite element analysis using ANSYS® Workbench1 to determine the resilience area under various wind speeds. For this, the conditions of load and support for a pole, which are called boundary conditions in ANSYS®, are generated. The proposed framework also includes an approach to cost-benefit analysis that compares different strategies for corrective action. The results of the case study in which the framework was applied show that the proposed framework can be effectively utilized by electric power distribution companies to increase the resilience of their systems.