2020 Vol. 11, No. 1

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Disaster Knowledge Gaps: Exploring the Interface Between Science and Policy for Disaster Risk Reduction in Europe
Kristoffer Albris, Kristian Cedervall Lauta, Emmanuel Raju
2020, 11(1): 1-12. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00250-5
Expert scientific knowledge is fast becoming an integral part of disaster management, and, in the process, is changing the role of science for the reduction of disaster risks at the policy level. Yet science and policy operate in different domains between which there are often competing interests and modes of valuing knowledge. Based on research done as part of the research project Enhancing Synergies for Disaster Prevention in the European Union (ESPREssO), we discuss three major issues facing European Union member states with respect to the interface between science and policy for disaster risk reduction: knowledge transfer, disaster expertise, and risk awareness. In doing so, we hone in on three gaps: an epistemological gap, an institutional gap, and a strategic gap. We argue that these gaps can help explain underlying systematic challenges for the integration between science and policy for disaster risk reduction. These gaps need to be addressed by focusing on changes at the governance level.
Surrogate Measures to Assess Mobility of People as a Resilience Indicator in Disaster Management: An Exploratory Study in Southeastern Sri Lanka
A. M. Aslam Saja, Melissa Teo, Ashantha Goonetilleke, Abdul M. Ziyath, K. W. G. Rekha Nianthi
2020, 11(1): 13-31. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00251-4
Understanding social resilience can assist in the formulation of disaster management policies to help communities better prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. However, direct social resilience measurement methods such as household surveys are not always a practical option as they are a time- and resource-exhaustive process. Existing measures mainly utilize publicly available census data, which often provide a poor and outdated assessment of current social resilience status. Another limitation includes a failure to capture multiple facets of indicators that are process-oriented and dynamic in nature such as mobility of people. These challenges can be addressed by employing a surrogate approach. Surrogates are alternative measures to depict the target indicator. The surrogate approach can capture key facets of a target indicator, which can be used as potential measures for the target indicator. A framework to conceptualize the surrogate approach is presented, and operationalized using a case study approach on the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka to identify surrogates to measure mobility of people as a resilience indicator. Six higher-order themes were identified as potential surrogates to measure mobility of people in a disaster context. The approach proposed to methodically identify potential surrogates and their measurement protocols can help to improve the current knowledge base and understanding of complex interrelationships of social resilience.
Inherent Complexities of a Multi-stakeholder Approach to Building Community Resilience
Josephine Adekola, Denis Fischabcher-Smith, Moira Fischabcher-Smith
2020, 11(1): 32-45. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00246-1
Enhancing community resilience has increasingly involved national and regional governments adopting a multi-stakeholder approach because of the potential interagency benefits. This has led to questions about how best to involve stakeholder groups in translating community resilience policies into practice. This exploratory study contributes to this discussion by addressing two key areas that are fundamental in the concerted effort to build community resilience to natural hazards: (1) stakeholder understanding of community resilience as a concept; and (2) the difficulties associated with the processes of risk assessment and preparedness that stakeholders face locally in building community resilience. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 25 practitioners and experts within Scotland's resilience community, and were analyzed through an inductive approach to thematic analysis. These data show how the interpretation of community resilience differs across stakeholder groups. Analysis of the data reveals challenges around the nature of the risk assessment and its role in shaping risk perception and communication. Significant complications occur in communicating about low probability-high consequence events, perceived territoriality, competing risk prioritizations, and the challenges of managing hazards within a context of limited resources. The implications of these issues for policy and practice are also discussed.
Barriers and Facilitators in Interorganizational Disaster Response: Identifying Examples Across Europe
Claudia Berchtold, Maike Vollmer, Philip Sendrowski, Florian Neisser, Larissa Müller, Sonja Grigoleit
2020, 11(1): 46-58. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00249-y
Disaster response actors are facing new challenges, which encompass not only new and ever more complex threats but also the need to collaborate across organizational boundaries and even state borders. Depending on scale, these interactions have to work across governance setups, political and legal conditions, organizational cultures, as well as personal preferences and experiences that vary among actors, organizations, and countries. But which concrete measures are taken by crisis management actors at different scales to bridge these challenges and which of these could serve others as example to address comparable challenges in their contexts? This study made attempts to analyze whether certain solutions across organizations and states exist that facilitate effective interorganizational crisis management in the member states of the European Union (EU). It is based on selected expert interviews with representatives of different types of disaster response organizations (health services, police services, fire services, and other crisis management organizations) from seven EU member states (Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Austria, and Greece).
Small and Medium Enterprises and Global Risks: Evidence from Manufacturing SMEs in Turkey
Ali Asgary, Ali Ihsan Ozdemir, Hale Özyürek
2020, 11(1): 59-73. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00247-0
This study investigated how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in a country perceive major global risks. The aim was to explore how country attributes and circumstances affect SME assessments of the likelihood, impacts, and rankings of global risks, and to find out if SME risk assessment and rankings differ from the global rankings. Data were gathered using an online survey of manufacturing SMEs in Turkey. The results show that global economic risks and geopolitical risks are of major concern for SMEs, and environmental risks are at the bottom of their ranking. Among the economic risks, fiscal crises in key economies and high structural unemployment or underemployment were found to be the highest risks for the SMEs. Failure of regional or global governance, failure of national governance, and interstate conflict with regional consequences were found to be among the top geopolitical risks for the SMEs. The SMEs considered the risk of largescale cyber-attacks and massive incident of data fraud/theft to be relatively higher than other global technological risks. Profound social instability and failure of urban planning were among the top societal risks for the SMEs. Although the global environmental and disaster risks were ranked lowest on the list, man-made environmental damage and disasters and major natural hazard-induced disasters were ranked the highest among this group of risks. Overall, the results show that SMEs at a country level, for example Turkey, perceive global risks differently than the major global players.
Risk Transfer for Populations in Precarious Urban Environments
Juan Pablo Sarmiento, Ana María Torres-Muñoz
2020, 11(1): 74-86. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00252-3
This study explores risk transfer options that precarious and marginal urban communities could use to protect themselves from future damages and losses generated by socio-natural hazards and disasters at the individual and community levels. The design is framed within an evidence-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategy and follows the case study research approach. We analyze the 2018 Neighborhood Approach for DRR programming evaluation carried out in four Latin American cities' informal settlements and review relevant risk transfer experiences aimed at vulnerable populations. We calculate the pure risk premium for the four cases selected, using a previous catastrophe risk assessment for earthquakes and landslides. We propose three risk transfer options based on our analysis: (1) voluntary collective insurance; (2) structural reinforcement with a comprehensive housing insurance; and (3) hybrid parametric insurance. Risk transfer mechanisms conventionally focus on residual risk management. Here, due to the precariousness of the analyzed urban settings, the proposed alternatives go beyond the management of just residual risk to positively impact the beneficiaries' quality of life and the reduction of the built environment's physical vulnerability in the short and medium terms. Our study proposes a prospective estimation of future risk despite the limitations of data availability. This study opens a window to new approaches and proposes a systematic process to design DRR policy aimed at the poor and vulnerable strata of society.
The Drivers of Child Mortality During the 2012-2016 Drought in La Guajira, Colombia
Diana Contreras, Alex Voets, Jana Junghardt, Srirama Bhamidipati, Sandra Contreras
2020, 11(1): 87-104. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00255-0
During the 2012-2016 drought in La Guajira, Colombia, child mortality rates rose to 23.4 out of 1000. Most of these children belonged to the Wayuu indigenous community, the largest and one of the most vulnerable in Colombia. At the municipal level, this study found a significant positive correlation between the average child mortality rate and households with a monthly income of less than USD 100, the number of people without access to health insurance, being part of the indigenous population, being illiterate, lacking sewage systems, living in rural areas, and large households with members younger than 5 years old and older than 65 years old. No correlation was found with households without access to a water source. The stepwise regression analysis showed that households with a monthly income of less than USD 100, no members older than 65 years old, but several children younger than 5 years old, account for 90.4% of the child mortality rate. This study concludes that, if inhabitants had had better incomes or assets, as well as an adequate infrastructure, they could have faced the drought without the observed increase in child mortality.
Perception of Potential Health Risk of Climate Change and Utilization of Fans and Air Conditioners in a Representative Population of Hong Kong
Yang Gao, Emily Y. Y. Chan, Holly C. Y. Lam, Aiwei Wang
2020, 11(1): 105-118. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00256-z
Climate change, especially as reflected in heat waves, is a rising threat worldwide. Appropriate use of cooling devices can protect people from health impacts during a heat wave. A population-based telephone survey was conducted in a representative sample of residents in Hong Kong to investigate ownership and use of domestic cooling devices, identify correlates, and examine their associations with risk perception of potential health impact of climate change. More than 90% of the 1002 respondents owned and used cooling devices at home. The majority (57.7%) perceived the potential health risk of climate change at a high level. However, risk perception had no relationship with ownership and utilization of cooling devices. Old people (≥ 65 years), the low-educated, those with low income, and those with chronic diseases were more likely not to use air conditioners when feeling hot. Our findings suggest that there are no signs showing people have taken more protective actions although half of respondents recognized climate change as a threat. Familial economic condition may be a major determinant in ownership and use of air conditioners at home. Old people and those with chronic diseases are at high risk of adverse exposure to climate change and therefore should be equipped with appropriate measures to use cooling devices.
Automatic Assessment and Prediction of the Resilience of Utility Poles Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Computer Vision Techniques
Md Morshedul Alam, Zanbo Zhu, Berna Eren Tokgoz, Jing Zhang, Seokyon Hwang
2020, 11(1): 119-132. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00254-1
The utility poles of electric power distribution lines are very vulnerable to many natural hazards, while power outages due to pole failures can lead to adverse economic and social consequences. Utility companies, therefore, need to monitor the conditions of poles regularly and predict their future conditions accurately and promptly to operate the distribution system continuously and safely. This article presents a novel pole monitoring method that uses state-of-the-art deep learning and computer vision methods to meet the need. The proposed method automatically captures the current pole inclination angles using an unmanned aerial vehicle. The method calculates the bending moment exerted on the poles due to wind and gravitational forces, as well as cable weight, to compare it with the moment of rupture. The method also includes a machine learning-based model that is built by using a support vector machine to predict the resilience conditions of a pole after a wind event in a faster manner. The three modules of the proposed method are effective tools to classify pole conditions and are expected to enable utility companies to increase the resilience of their systems.
Methodology and Assessment of Proxy-Based Vs30 Estimation in Sichuan Province, China
Wen Wu, Jifu Liu, Lanlan Guo, Zhifei Deng
2020, 11(1): 133-144. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00253-2
Although time-averaged shear wave velocity to the depth of 30 m (Vs30) is an important indicator of earthquake site effects, it is difficult to obtain. Several proxies have been used either individually or in combination to infer Vs30 values during seismic hazard estimation under limited observational conditions. Sichuan Province is an area highly prone to earthquakes. Complex geological structures and lack of drilling sites mean that it is particularly important to establish a suitable approach for the estimation of Vs30 values for site classification. This study compared the application of three proxy-based approaches—geology-based, topographic slope-based, and terrain-based—to the estimation of Vs30 values in Sichuan Province. The results revealed that the residual between the measured logVs30 values and the estimations derived from the terrain-based approach was smallest, indicating best predictability. Stability analysis of the three approaches also showed that the terrain-based approach performed best. However, its performance in the plain area was poor, that is, the Vs30 values were mostly underestimated. This might indicate that the old strata, hard rock, and alluvial deposits formed by Quaternary glacier sediments were not identified appropriately in the plain area, highlighting the need for localized corrections.