2021 Vol. 12, No. 4

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Does Tenure Security Reduce Disaster Risk? A Comparative Study of the Nairobi Settlements of Kibera and Kawangware
Rónán McDermott, Pat Gibbons, Dalmas Ochieng, Charles Owuor Olungah, Desire Mpanje
2021, 12(4): 445-457. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00346-6
While scholarship suggests that improving tenure security and housing significantly reduces disaster risk at the household level within urban settings, this assertion has not been adequately tested. Tenure security can be conceived as being composed of three interrelated and overlapping forms: tenure security as determined by legal systems; de facto tenure security; and tenure security as perceived by residents. This article traces the relationship between tenure security, the quality of housing, and disaster risk on the basis of a mixed methods comparative case study of the settlements of Kawangware and Kibera in Nairobi. Although the findings suggest that owner-occupancy is associated with the structural integrity of dwellings to a greater extent than tenantship, no association was found between the length of occupancy by households and the structural integrity of the dwelling. Moreover, tenantship is not found to be closely associated with fires and flooding affecting the dwelling as extant scholarship would suggest. Formal ownership is linked with greater investment and upgrading of property with significant implications for disaster risk. Our findings highlight the complex relationship between tenure security and disaster risk in urban informal settlements and provide impetus for further investigation.
The Perception of Flood Risks: A Case Study of Babessi in Rural Cameroon
Gertrud Buchenrieder, Julian Brandl, Azibo Roland Balgah
2021, 12(4): 458-478. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00345-7
Although risk perception of natural hazards has been identified as an important determinant for sound policy design, there is limited empirical research on it in developing countries. This article narrows the empirical literature gap. It draws from Babessi, a rural town in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. Babessi was hit by a severe flash flood in 2012. The cross-disciplinary lens applied here deciphers the complexity arising from flood hazards, often embedded in contexts characterized by poverty, a state that is constrained in disaster relief, and market-based solutions being absent. Primary data were collected via snowball sampling. Multinomial logistic regression analysis suggests that individuals with leadership functions, for example, heads of households, perceive flood risk higher, probably due to their role as household providers. We found that risk perception is linked to location, which in turn is associated with religious affiliation. Christians perceive floods riskier than Muslims because the former traditionally reside at the foot of hills and the latter uphill; rendering Muslims less exposed and eventually less affected by floods. Finally, public disaster relief appears to have built up trust and subsequently reduced risk perception, even if some victims remained skeptical of state disaster relief. This indicates strong potential benefits of public transfers for flood risk management in developing countries.
Decision Support for Integrated Management of Local-Level Adaptation to Climate Changes: The Case of Serbia
Petar Vranić, Srđan Glišović, Lazar Velimirović
2021, 12(4): 479-494. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00357-3
Projected climate changes will additionally increase the already significant risk of natural hazard-related disasters in Serbia and the west Balkan region as a whole. Serbia is about to introduce the strategy for climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, a national decision-support system for implementation of the climate change law and strategy is yet to be developed. This study contributes to the implementation of adaptation policies at subnational levels by development of a decision-support model for local-level management of the climate change adaptation process. The study explores the potential for synergetic application of multicriteria decision making analysis and probabilistic reasoning methods by focusing on Bayesian networks, analytical hierarchy processes, and geographic information systems for selection of priority adaptation measures. The study was based on the formation of causal chains, which enable linking management decisions and socioeconomic or biophysical consequences into articulated sequences of conditional relationships. A model was tested in the forestry sector, and it clearly pointed out development of an early warning system and planning of water intake basins as priority adaptation measures. Since the results are shown as a probability distribution for each alternative solutions, the model can assist decision makers with prompt evaluation of various scenarios.
An Input–Output Ex Ante Regional Model to Assess the Short-Term Net Effects of the 16 April 2016 Earthquake in Ecuador
Jorge Salgado, José Ramírez-Álvarez, Diego Mancheno
2021, 12(4): 510-527. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00354-6
The 16 April 2016 earthquake in Ecuador exposed the significant weaknesses concerning the methodological designs to compute—from an economic standpoint—the consequences of a natural hazard-related disaster for productive exchanges and the accumulation of capital in Ecuador. This study addressed one of these challenges with an innovative ex ante model to measure the partial and net short-term effects of a natural hazard-related catastrophe from an interregional perspective, with the 16 April 2016 earthquake serving as a case study. In general, the specified and estimated model follows the approach of the extended Miyazawa model, which endogenizes consumption demand in a standard input–output model with the subnational interrelations and resulting multipliers. Due to the country’s limitations in its regional account records the input–output matrices for each province of Ecuador had to be estimated, which then allowed transactions carried out between any two sectors within or outside a given province to be identified by means of the RAS method. The estimations provide evidence that the net short-term impact on the national accounts was not significant, and under some of the simulated scenarios, based on the official information with respect to earthquake management, the impact may even have had a positive effect on the growth of the national product during 2016.
Development of a Rapid Risk and Impact Assessment Tool to Enhance Response to Environmental Emergencies in the Early Stages of a Disaster: A Tool Developed by the European Multiple Environmental Threats Emergency NETwork (EMETNET) Project
Emma-Jane Goode, Eirian Thomas, Owen Landeg, Raquel Duarte-Davidson, Lisbeth Hall, Jolanda Roelofs, Sjors Schulpen, Arnout De Bruin, Elisabeth Wigenstam, Birgitta Liljedahl, Annica Waleij, Louise Simonsson, Ann Göransson Nyberg
2021, 12(4): 528-539. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00352-8
Every year, numerous environmental disasters and emergencies occur across the globe with far-reaching impacts on human health and the environment. The ability to rapidly assess an environmental emergency to mitigate potential risks and impacts is paramount. However, collating the necessary evidence in the early stages of an emergency to conduct a robust risk assessment is a major challenge. This article presents a methodology developed to help assess the risks and impacts during the early stages of such incidents, primarily to support the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism but also the wider global community in the response to environmental emergencies. An online rapid risk and impact assessment tool has also been developed to promote enhanced collaboration between experts who are working remotely, considering the impact of a disaster on the environment and public health in the short, medium, and long terms. The methodology developed can support the appropriate selection of experts and assets to be deployed to affected regions to ensure that potential public health and environmental risks and impacts are mitigated whenever possible. This methodology will aid defensible decision making, communication, planning, and risk management, and presents a harmonized understanding of the associated impacts of an environmental emergency.
Measuring Natural Hazard-Related Disasters through Self-Reports
Ben Edwards, Matthew Gray, Judith B. Borja
2021, 12(4): 540-552. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00359-1
Exposure to multiple natural hazard-related disasters will become more common due to climate change. This article reports on the development and validation of a cumulative measure of exposure to natural hazard-related disasters (2013–2017) at the area level, and an individual-level measure of disaster impact using data from the Longitudinal Cohort Study on the Filipino Child and linked data from the International Disaster Database (EM-DAT). Caregiver reports of cumulative exposure to disasters had statistically significant associations with disasters reported by neighborhood officials and with disasters in EM-DAT. Using ecometric techniques we generated a reliable community average measure of exposure to natural hazard-related disasters. Based on neighbor but not individual self-reports this exogenous measure of disaster exposure in the local area was more strongly related to EM-DAT and official neighborhood reports than individual reports. To capture household variation we developed an individual-level measure of disaster impacts. Disaster impact was associated with measures of exposure (individual and community average), community ratings by officials, and EM-DAT but only moderately associated with the community average exposure. Both the community average and disaster impacts measures were associated with household income and the adequacy of income in households.
A River Flood and Earthquake Risk Assessment of Railway Assets along the Belt and Road
Qianzhi Wang, Kai Liu, Ming Wang, Elco E. Koks
2021, 12(4): 553-567. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00358-2
Mitigating the disaster risk of transportation infrastructure networks along the Belt and Road is crucial to realizing the area’s high trade potential in the future. This study assessed the exposure and risk of existing and planned railway assets to river flooding and earthquakes. We found that about 9.3% of these railway assets are exposed to a one in 100 year flood event, and 22.3% are exposed to a one in 475 year earthquake event. The combined flood and earthquake risk of physical damage to railway assets, expressed by expected annual damage (EAD), is estimated at USD 1438 (between 966 and 2026) million. Floods contribute the majority of the risk (96%). China has the highest EAD for both floods and earthquakes (between USD 240 and 525 million in total). Laos and Cambodia are the countries with the highest EAD per km from flooding (USD 66,125–112,154 and USD 31,954–56,844 per km, respectively), while Italy and Myanmar have the highest EAD per km from earthquakes (USD 1000–3057 and USD 893–3019 per km, respectively). For the newly built and planned projects along the Belt and Road, the EAD is estimated at USD 271 (between 205 and 357) million. The China–Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and China–Pakistan Economic Corridor have the highest absolute EAD and EAD per km, with EADs reaching USD 95 and USD 67 million, and USD 18 and USD 17 thousand per km, on average, respectively. For railway segments with high risks, we found that if the required adaptation cost within 20 years to realize a 10% increase of the railway quality is below 8.4% of the replacement cost, the benefits are positive.
New Realization of Disaster Risk Reduction Education in the Context of a Global Pandemic: Lessons from Japan
Rajib Shaw, Aiko Sakurai, Yukihiko Oikawa
2021, 12(4): 568-580. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00337-7
The global COVID-19 pandemic has challenged different development sectors, including education. In this article, two main analyses are provided: one on the biological hazards of the pandemic in the context of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015−2030, which analyzes the overall impacts on the education sector. Then we discuss the overall impact on education sectors, with specific focus on disaster risk reduction (DRR) education and education for sustainable development (ESD). Disaster risk reduction education and ESD are analyzed from the perspective of school-community-family linkages. Specific case analysis of COVID-19 response in the education sector is presented from Omuta City, Japan, which is considered as a champion city for ESD. Four phases of response in Omuta City are characterized with three specific foci: (1) mitigating covid impacts on educational program and participants; (2) preventing exacerbation of covid transmission within and outside schools; and (3) maintaining educational program integrity despite covid. Key lessons are summarized in the concluding section, which explore the importance of (1) educational governance (on critical decision making) during the pandemic as well as with cascading risks; (2) enhancement of school-community-family linkages as pandemic response commonalities between ESD and DRR education; (3) risk communication and citizen behavior; and (4) use of technology. We argue that integration of health and DRR education is important, that resilience needs to be redefined in terms of sustainable development goals (SDGs), and that education plays a vital role in achieving these ends.
Empowered Stakeholders: Female University Students’ Leadership During the COVID-19-Triggered On-campus Evictions in Canada and the United States
Haorui Wu, Marla Perez-Lugo, Cecilio Ortiz Garcia, Frances Gonzalez Crespo, Adriana Castillo
2021, 12(4): 581-592. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00362-6
The study of disaster-specific leadership of female university students has been largely neglected, especially during on-campus emergency eviction and evacuation. Based on the COVID-19-triggered, on-campus evictions across Canada and the United States, this cross-national partnership examined the out-of-province/state and international female university students’ leadership during the entire eviction process. Through in-depth interviews, this study revealed the female university students’ leadership behaviors during three stages: (1) pre-eviction: their self-preparedness formed an emotional foundation to support others; (2) peri-eviction: their attitude and leadership behavior enabled them to facilitate (psychologically and physically) their peers’ eviction process; and (3) post-eviction: they continued to support their peers virtually and raised the general public’s awareness regarding the plight of vulnerable and marginalized populations. This article argues that the female university students’ leadership that emerged during the eviction process became complementary to and even augmented the universities’ official efforts and beyond. This leadership represents empirical evidence that contributes to the existing literature on gender and leadership by demonstrating female youth as empowered stakeholders rather than as merely passive victims. Future studies could develop detailed stratification of gender and age dimensions in order to portray a more comprehensive picture of the younger generation’s leadership in hazards and disaster research and practice.
Coordination and Cooperation are Essential: A Call for a Global Network to Enhance Integrated Human Health Risk Resilience Based on China’s COVID-19 Pandemic Coping Practice
Yelin Sun, Tian Liu, Tao Ye, Peijun Shi
2021, 12(4): 593-599. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00364-4
More than a year after its appearance and still rampant around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted tragically how poorly the world is prepared to handle systemic risks in an increasingly hyper-connected global social-ecological system. The absence or clear inadequacy of global governance arrangements and mechanisms is painfully distinct and obvious. In this short article, we summarize a set of COVID-19 pandemic-related analyses and lessons that are inspired by Chinese practice. First, strong government response is one of the most important methods to control a pandemic. Second, countries should be concerned about human-to-frozen goods-to-human transmission. Third, sharing resources and experiences through cooperation is crucial to ensure an adequate health response. Based on these insights, we stress the critical importance of coordination and cooperation, and call for a global network to enhance integrated human health risk resilience.
Forecast Hesitancy: Why are People Reluctant to Believe, Accept, or Respond to Various Weather, Water, and Climate Hazard-Related Forecasts?
Michael H. Glantz, Gregory E. Pierce
2021, 12(4): 600-609. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00353-7
Current discussions of the social phenomenon of “vaccine hesitancy” with regard to Covid-19 provide an opportunity to use hesitancy as a means to shift thinking about untimely and delayed responses to forecasts of hydrometeorological hazards. Hesitancy, that is, provides a paradigm through which such regrettably delayed responses to hydromet hazards might be better understood and effectively addressed. Without exaggeration, just about every hydromet event provides an example of how hesitancy hinders individual, community, and national government risk-reducing preventive and mitigative responses to forecasts of foreseeable, relatively near-term climate, water, or weather hazards. Reasons for such hesitancy (for vaccine and forecast use alike) include—among others—lack of trust in the science, lack of confidence in government, and persistent concern about the uncertainties that surround forecasting—both meteorological and public health. As such, a better understanding of the causes that lead to individual and group hesitancy can better inform hydromet forecasters and affected communities about ways in which beneficial actions in response to timely forecasts are often delayed. This better understanding will facilitate, where necessary, targeted interventions to enhance the societal value of forecasting by reducing this long-observed challenge of “forecast hesitancy.” First, this article focuses on incidents of “vaccine hesitancy” that, for various reasons, people around the world are even now experiencing with regard to several now-available, and confirmed efficacious, Covid-19 vaccines. Reports of such incidents of indecisiveness first increased dramatically over the first few months of 2021, despite the strong scientific confidence that vaccination would significantly lower personal risk of contracting as well as spreading the virus. After, the notion of forecast hesitancy with regard to hydrometeorological hazards is discussed.
It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
-Frank Luntz (2007)
Impacts as Triggers for Weather-Related Decision Making: Observations at the Berlin Fire Brigade Control and Dispatch Center
Thomas Kox, Catharina Lüder
2021, 12(4): 610-615. doi: 10.1007/s13753-021-00356-4
This article presents the results of a series of ethnographic observations at the Berlin fire brigade control and dispatch center during routine and severe weather situations. The weather-related challenges of a fire brigade lie between the anticipation of events and their potential consequences, and the ad hoc reactions to actual impacts of weather. The results show that decisions and actions related to high impact weather are not necessarily motivated by weather warnings alone. Instead, they are reactions to the experience of impacts, for example, an increased number of missions or emergency calls. Impacts are the main trigger for the decision making. Weather is one additional external factor that influences the operational capability of a fire brigade. While commanding officers in a fire brigade control and dispatch center experience weather primarily through technical equipment, verified by ground truth, observations showed that direct personal contact with the regional weather service and colleagues on the ground takes on a greater role in actual severe weather situations. The observations point to the need for increased interagency communication between the emergency services, the weather service, and other organizations to integrate weather information, impacts, and non-weather-related tasks into coherent weather-related decision making.