Psychosocial Issues and Lived Experiences of Young Women and Girls After the October 2005 Earthquake in PakistanThis study concerns the psychosocial issues and wellbeing of adolescent earthquake survivors. The research is about the experiences of the young women and girls who survived the earthquake in October 2005 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan.
The study uses an adapted interpretive phenomenological approach. The initial data analysis presents the divergent narratives of the young women whose lives were transformed after the earthquake, emphasizing their psychosocial issues, wellbeing, resilience, and support. Data have been analyzed using both thematic and narrative analyses.
The study also serves as a lesson-learning agent for nongovernmental and government organizations working for disaster survivors globally. Although the research is about a particular village in rural Pakistan, its findings provide a three-dimensional picture of resilience among the girls and young women in disaster-prone regions. This research presents first-hand knowledge on the psychosocial issues and wellbeing of adolescent girls and young women several years after a natural disaster. Similarly it identifies the coping strategies adopted by them with the passage of time and raises questions for further research. How well have the young women adapted? How can the findings be incorporated in an evidence-based practice within the broader context of professional and cultural structures in highly controlling societies around the world?
Emma Apatu, East Tennessee State University
Dana Greene, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Chris Gregg, East Tennessee State University
Caitlin Wyndham, Central European University
Joel Hillhouse, East Tennessee State University
Robert Pack, East Tennessee State University
Information Channel Preference and Threat Perception During the September 29, 2009, Earthquake and Tsunami in American Samoa: An Exploratory and Inferential Investigation
Very few studies have explored self-protective behavior during near-field tsunamis in the United States or its territories. This study used elements of the Protection Action Decision Model as a framework to: (1) describe patterns in information channel preference using social networking analysis; and, (2) using multivariate linear regression to test determinants of threat perception during the September 29, 2009 earthquake and tsunami in American Samoa.
In total, 300 respondents from American Samoa participated in the interview-based study. Among all respondents, face-to-face communication (degree centrality=0.52) was the most used information channel that respondents sought after the earthquake to help determine next steps of safety; for those who reported being at home, radio was used (degree centrality=0.52); and for those who were not at home, face-to-face communication (degree centrality=0.54) proved to be the most relied upon information channel.
Multivariate linear regression revealed that perceived ground shaking was the best predictor of threat perception (b=0.66, p < 0.05). Future research is required to uncover the sequencing within which potential tsunami victims receive face-to-face communications during near-field tsunamis.
Resilience and Recovery in Diverse Cultural Contexts: A Case Study of the 2009 South Pacific Tsunami in American Samoa
Case study methodology was used to explore culturally situated response and recovery efforts following a tsunami that struck American S?moa in 2009. Data indicated that the local response to the physical impacts of the tsunami was swift and efficient, reflecting a core cultural competency of physical resilience.
Cultural mechanisms for dealing with grief, however, proved insufficient in helping people manage the emotional trauma caused by such a large-scale event. Samoan cultural norms strongly discourage uncontrolled emotional expression outside of highly ritualized grieving events. Disruptions in social networks and activities, combined with a lack of available emotional support, resulted in significant psychological distress for many survivors.
Sixteen months after the tsunami, residents continued to exhibit numerous symptoms of posttraumatic stress. In response to this need for emotional support, some groups within American S?moa are setting an example of how the culture can adapt by forging new, culturally grounded methods for addressing emotional needs that arose in the wake of the tsunami.
Analyzed through the lens of the social support deterioration deterrence model, these data highlight the importance of considering how cultural norms and competencies guide a community's response to and interpretation of a disaster and, in turn, shape the recovery process at both the individual and community level. Implications for disaster researchers and practitioners will be discussed.
Ann Bostrom, University of Washington
Rebecca Morss, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Jeff Lazo, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Julie Demuth, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Rebecca Hudson, University of Washington
Heather Lazrus, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Warning Decisions in Extreme Weather Events: Perceptions and Perspectives on Hurricane Forecasts, Warnings, Decisions and Risks
This paper reports stakeholder understanding and perceptions of the hurricane forecast and warning system, based on individual mental models interviews with forecasters from the National Hurricane Center and the Miami-Dade Weather Forecast Office (n=8), and with public officials (n=6), broadcasters (n=5), and a random public sample (n=28) from Miami-Dade County in Florida. The paper also references results from a group decision modeling session with the forecasters, and from a follow-on, Web-based survey of coastal residents in Florida (N=460).
The study assessed how stakeholders conceptualize hurricanes (including exposure, effects, and mitigation), and use forecast and warning information. For the expert groups, this included their use of hurricane information in creating and communicating hurricane warnings, and perceptions of how flash flood forecast and warning information (including uncertainty) is interpreted and used by public officials, media personnel and the general public.
The interviews and group modeling session with experts in the forecast and warning process are summarized in a decision-focused model of the forecast and warning system. Comparisons across groups reveal numerous shared perceptions and some critical differences, including greater concern about storm surges among forecasters. While forecasters' perceptions differ by level of experience and are detailed with regard to storm development and tracking, they are relatively sparse with regard to the physical and social consequences of storms.
Public responses illustrate high hurricane awareness, a sense of media saturation during hurricane season, and high concern about wind, flying debris, and precipitation-related flooding, but low awareness and concern about storm surges. The paper concludes with implications for improving extreme weather event forecast and warning systems and risk communication.
Measuring Social Vulnerability to Natural Hazards in the Yangtze River Delta Region, China
Social vulnerability has gained much attention in disaster science. It emphasizes that human factors are responsible for the disaster losses. Understanding vulnerability requires an adequate knowledge of the social, economic, and political background of targeted places. Research of this kind is scant in China, although China continuously suffers from devastating natural disasters.
This paper presents a preliminary study on quantifying and analyzing social vulnerability in the Yangtze River Delta region in China following the framework of the place-based Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI). The index was developed initially for the United States, but we incorporate the social and political contexts of China and of this specific region.
Thirty variables are selected by adapting the SoVI to China's social background for the 75 study units in the study area. Principal component analysis is used to reduce the data dimension. Several principle components are obtained—urban; renters; gender and age; housing conditions; medical service; children; special needs population; and population change, respectively. Factor scores are summed to get the final SoVI scores for each study unit.
The spatial patterns of both the components and overall SoVI indicators show that some specific historical, social, and economic factors in the study area have a great influence on the social vulnerability, notably including the household registration system, the "one child policy" and the fast urbanization and aging processes. Suggestions are given to city- and county-level policy makers for vulnerability reduction and risk mitigation.
Adapting from Hurricanes to the Oil Spill in Coastal Louisiana
People's established ways of behavior are commonly shaped by their previous experience of disasters. But this can paradoxically hinder their timely adaptation to new or different high-impact environmental changes. Established expectations in terms of disaster response and compensation lead to subsequent confusion and resentment.
Illustrative of this is coastal Louisiana's transition from hurricanes to the BP oil spill. Confusion between the Stafford and the Oil Pollution acts at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as a shift in focus to ecosystem recovery, have generated much resentment initially. In the longer term, uncertainty about the effects of the spill, more concerns about livelihood, and uncertainty about financial compensation are distinct characteristics of the spill to which people must adapt differently compared to hurricanes.
"Ring a Ring o' Roses, a Pocket Full of Poses:" Some Thoughts on Learning Lessons, Sharing Information, and Organizational Interoperability
Converting "lessons identified" to "lessons learned" is a thorny problem, by no means peculiar to the United Kingdom. It's one that has exercised the minds of governments, the military, practitioners, and academics for at least the last 30 years.
Much of the literature has a U.S. focus. This has emphasized the lack of research and knowledge pertaining to the United Kingdom. Several reasons are suggested for the problem. Issues such as communications, information sharing, shared situational awareness, and the unwillingness of individual organizations to test their assumptions about the way their operational partners will respond are prominent.
Research focuses on organizational cultures, the way individuals learn and the lack of change management programs as fundamental reasons for the inability to learn from past mistakes. It is a complex area of interdisciplinary theory and research but one that needs to be investigated and fully understood to provide the evidence base for better practice.
In the United Kingdom, the Pitt Review following the major flooding events in 2007 and the Rule 43 Inquest Report into the deaths from the bombings in London on July 7th, 2007 identified key problems with the way responders worked together to manage the emergencies and the way that they perceived and shared information. This paper will consider "how we learn to learn the lessons" to establish better trust and interoperable relationships among emergency services.
Spatial Approach to Tsunami Vulnerability Assessment (the SATVA Model)—Application to June 22, 1932 Tsunami in Cuyutlan, Mexico
In the last decade, tsunamis have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and caused several billion dollars in damage. The challenge is to design tools to understand and gauge the hazard posed by tsunamis and the way they affect systems under exposure, i.e., their levels of vulnerability.
This study proposes a model for a tsunami hazard and vulnerability assessment: the Spatial Approach to Tsunami Vulnerability Assessment (SATVA). The characteristic components of a tsunami largely responsible for the destruction and loss of life are the hydrodynamic force exerted on buildings (infrastructure and equipment) and the arrival time of the tsunami, which determines the possibility for people to evacuate to safe areas. Based on the distribution and degree of potential damaging effects of these two components, we designed an analytical tool to assess the degree of vulnerability of the economic, social, and cultural activities that comprise the functions of population settlements.
The methodology of SAVTA, as applied to the case study of Cuyutlán, Mexico, allowed us to determine the degree of vulnerability to a tsunami hazard and to estimate the potential loss of life, damage to buildings, and disruption of the means of subsistence of the affected population. This model meets the priority requirements regarding disaster reduction and prevention,is universal, and demonstrates its advantages over other models.
Youth Creating Disaster Recovery: A Participatory Action Research Project in Joplin, Missouri, and Slave Lake, Alberta
Youth Creating Disaster Recovery is a participatory action research project focused on the potential of youth to act as catalysts for change following disasters. Despite often being highlighted as a potentially vulnerable population, the needs of children and youth in disaster recovery are often overlooked. They also remain an untapped resource in disaster recovery and resilience enhancement efforts.
Our research team developed the Youth Creating Disaster Recovery project with two goals in mind. First, we intend to refine existing socio-ecological theories of disaster recovery to incorporate the needs and contributions of youth. This research will contribute to youth-centered, evidence-informed, inclusive, and community-based approaches to understanding disaster recovery and risk reduction. Our second goal is action oriented, in that we plan to directly engage youth in activities that will allow them to contribute to their own and to others recovery.
The project has completed its first year with pilot interviews in Joplin, Missouri and Slave Lake, Alberta. Both communities experienced recent exposure to catastrophic disasters. On May 16, 2011, winds gusting to 100 km/hr drove a devastating wildfire into the community of Slave Lake, forcing a community-wide evacuation. Less than a week later, on May 22, 2011, Joplin experienced a deadly EF-5 tornado.
Our early work has highlighted findings from interviews and focus groups with community service providers, recovery organizations, school representatives, and youth in each community. This summer, our team is launching a series of workshops that will engage youth in telling stories about recovery through photography and video work. These findings will be shared with youth in other communities stricken by disaster.
Restorative and Environmental Justice as Praxis for Healing Communities in the Wake of Disasters
Restoring a sense of balance within individuals and trust within traumatized communities are significant goals in studying natural hazards, environmental and manufactured disasters. Marginalized socio-economic and cultural groups face the most extreme uncertainty. Parallels range from Kai Erickson's classic insights following the infamous flood of "black water" in West Virginia that took out Everything in its Path (1976) to Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy.
The long road to personal and community healing is found when decision making is in the hands of survivors. Top-down approaches to recovery efforts suspend people in a state of chronic trauma instead of empowering them to forge solutions, to rebuild, not only their homes and outer lives, but to nurture inner reserves. Dialogue and deep listening are at the heart of restorative justice.
While it may appear that restorative responses to crime have little to say in the wake of disasters, similar social psychological harms, and thus also tales of healing, may result. These practices have resolved conflicts in many spheres—from school bullying to homicide to political and natural resource wars.
Restorative justice is a set of pragmatic principles steeped in ancient indigenous wisdom. Strategies based in cooperation, dialogue, and community empowerment continue to provide hope and direct engagement in recovery.
Resilient Communities in the Netherlands
Recent evaluations show that government is increasingly in the uncomfortable position that they cannot guarantee safety at all levels, at any place, at any time. Generally speaking, citizens do not accept that hazards or natural disasters cause damage. The grown discrepancy between government and citizens must be bridged in order to establish a more realistic, shared view on safety, which requiring an understanding of safety as a process of co-creation.
The process of co-creation is difficult to steer, but it can be done. As a result of a two-year system and action-oriented study in Zeeland, it was shown that the most significant element to convince people to act was the (near) physical encounter with the risk, using realistic scenarios. The new paradigm is that citizens accept risks and are willing to co-create their own safety, provided the government communicates transparently and does not patronize them. Along the same lines, rescuers should facilitate citizens and allow them to cooperate in operations. This attitude should be discussed and practiced together.
We only scratched the surface. Using the same methodology, we are extending our research to resilient communities. Besides safety issues, social and economic issues must be taken into account as well, not only in the present, but also in the long run. A resilient community must be co-created.
Paula Pimenta de Souza, Sergio Arouca National School of Public Health
Elaine Silva Miranda, Fluminense Federal University
Claudia Garcia Serpa Osorio-de-Castro, Sergio Arouca National School of Public Health
Management of Pharmaceutical Services in Disasters: A Study in Three Municipalities of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In 2011, Brazil experienced the worst natural disaster in its history, flooding and mudslides in which nearly 1,000 people died. Disaster preparedness should be undertaken on several fronts, including the health sector. Pharmaceutical services are part of services available to the population using the Brazilian Health System. Its mismanagement can increase event damage and further burden response.
The objective of this study is to describe and analyze the preparedness of pharmaceutical services for disasters in three municipalities of the state of Rio de Janeiro, recently affected by disasters.
Method: The study followed a cross-sectional design. Data were collected from document sources, public access databases, and interviews with key informants in pharmaceutical services and civil defense.
Results: Problems regarding implementation and performance and lack of coordination between pharmaceutical services and civil defense were the most common. In spite of reported difficulties in the management of medicines in previous disasters, key informants did not recognize the need of established protocols for action. Despite the earlier occurrence of disasters and the expectation of their repetition, there were no medicines or procurement lists containing strategic information for medicine supplies that could be used for forecasting and procurement in future events.
Conclusion: Although the history of the region is linked to events that resulted in disasters, management of pharmaceutical services was not able to prepare in advance.
The CIDP Healthcare Development Toolkit and Public Health and Medical Capability Development Workshop Project
The Center for Integrated Disaster Preparedness, Department of Emergency Medicine partnered with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to produce the CIDP Healthcare Development Toolkit and Public Health & Medical Capability Building Workshops. The goal was to promote a common understanding of the aligned Public Health Emergency Preparedness Hospital Preparedness Program Federal Guidance for Healthcare Coalition capability development through a translational resource in the form of a toolkit.
The Toolkit was delivered through twelve regional workshops offered to healthcare coalitions.
A pre-workshop survey process that included key informant interviews identified themes the lead facilitator used to localize delivery of the guidance-based curriculum, and simulation tabletop exercise for each workshop. The CIDP strategy roadmap process provided the methodology to stimulate the translation of key capability performance elements into actionable strategic planning components.
Attended by a wide representation of public health and medical service providers and their partners, attendees overwhelmingly rated the experience in the high 80s and 90s —the "excellent" range. The curriculum and strategy roadmap process resulted in HCCs outlining as much as three years' worth of capability development planning during a workshop.
Over 1,600 pages of participant materials including guidance educational objectives and the Toolkit, in hard copy, and as expanded electronic versions on flash drives, were distributed to 363 participants.
Societal Resilience, Israel Style
The most striking challenge facing Israel in the context of homeland security is the asymmetric security environment, which poses a continuous risk of man-made terrorist threat to its civilian population and infrastructure. Apart from engaging in thwarting, deterrence, and protection, Israel is aware of the fact that its communities are vulnerable and must be adequately prepared for the day after.
This has been manifested in a long and wide scope process of national preparedness, which focuses also on the ongoing enhancement of societal resilience. Different national and local programs strive to promote public knowledge and awareness of the nature of the risks, as well as prepare first responders and other agencies, according to a meticulous yearly plan of exercises.
School systems play a prominent role. Youngsters experience the relevant issues and study what they are expected to do in time of stress. A major question is the need for evaluating the effectiveness of these activities, which calls for proper measuring of the resilience of the communities. A new model of gauging societal resilience is examined, based on the peoples' conduct rather than on their opinion about their resilience.
Children of Katrina
Following Hurricane Katrina, we spent seven years studying a group of children and youth, as well as their families, friends, neighbors, and teachers. We observed and interviewed young people who ranged in age from three to 20 years at the time of the storm. In addition to the larger sample of over 500 children and youth whom we studied, we also followed a select group to explore more intensely how this catastrophic event unfolded in their lives. It was our goal to understand their experiences, to identify how others assisted in their recovery, and to document how they helped themselves and other children recover after Katrina.
While children are often depicted in monolithic ways—as little rubber balls that will just "bounce back" after disaster, or, conversely, as totally vulnerable victims who are helpless in the face of extreme adversity—our research revealed the complexity of their lived experiences in the aftermath of Katrina.
Specifically, our work identifies three recovery patterns: (1) The Declining Trajectory: These children experienced simultaneous and ongoing disruptions in their families, schooling, housing, health and health care, friendships, and other key areas of their lives; (2) The Finding Equilibrium Trajectory: After an initial period of disruption and minor decline, these children were able to attain stability; and (3) The Fluctuating Trajectory: Children who followed this trajectory had a mixed pattern of post-Katrina stable moments followed by unstable periods in their lives.
GIS Analysis of Impacts of TVA Dam Removal on Upstream Residential Property Values in Eastern Tennessee
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the country has 81,134 dams, 13,990 of which have a high hazard risk of failure. There are approximately 5,500 large dams (50-plus feet in height) in the United States, the second largest number of large dams in the world.
As more of these structures are added to the list of high hazard risks each year, research on large dams becomes more important because of their potential impact upon the built environment. As cost-benefit analyses are conducted by agencies such as the Corps and the Tennessee Valley Authority, potential decline in upstream property value due to a large dam failure or removal should be addressed.
Data from TVA owned and operated dam structures obtained from the USACE National Inventory of Dams, assessed property GIS parcel data from Blount County, Tennessee, and Median Household Values from the 2010 U.S. Census were used. Statistical analysis indicates there is not a significant correlation between lake storage capacity and median household value.
Spatial analysis of the county-level parcel data was conducted to determine impacts of reservoir depletion on upstream residential property values and within a cost-benefit analysis for Fort Loudon Dam's removal or mitigation. Results indicate properties within the studied buffer areas become further in distance from the water once a dam removal or failure results in depletion of the lake. This increased distance results in a decline in overall property value, average property value, and 13 percent decreased county property tax revenue.
Incorporating Social Science into NOAA's Tsunami Program
The large number of fatalities in some recent disasters, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and 2005 Hurricane Katrina, have reminded us of the complexity and dynamics of human behavior in response to warnings of hazards and risk communications for both short fuse and longer fuse hazards.
The relatively low death toll in the large, damaging tsunami that struck the Samoa Islands and Tonga in September 2009, due to effective pubic response, offers new hope for decreasing tsunami injuries and fatalities through risk communications, such as those from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tsunami Warning Centers and part of the TRP TsunamiReady Program.
Empirical social science research findings describe key factors that facilitate effective receipt of risk communications, accurate interpretations by emergency managers and the public, and effective responses. Moreover, theoretical models provide a holistic perspective on how these factors interact. A challenge is that this knowledge has been underutilized in developing and refining TWC products and educational efforts linked to the growing TRP.
Specific challenges with tsunami preparedness involve the usefulness of tsunami warning products disseminated by TWC and the effectiveness of the TRP. Furthermore, there is a need to merge social science research knowledge regarding human behavior in tsunamis with post-tsunami field survey teams conducted by physical tsunami scientists. This project supports NOAA's Tsunami Program by using social science principles to identify strengths and weaknesses in TWC products and the TRP; provide guidance for improving products and education; develop a means to monitor and assess progress; and develop a repository for social science research findings, accessible by members of the disaster research community.
The rationale for this social science research is that through it NOAA can improve its mission to provide reliable tsunami forecasts and warnings and promote community resilience. NOAA can better meet its commitment to ensuring that all customers can receive, understand, and respond appropriately to NOAA forecasts and warning products.
Jennifer Griffith, Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health
Kay Carpender, Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health
Bruce Clements, Texas Department of State Health Services
Michael Felan, Texas Department of State Health Services
Jennifer Kiger, Texas Department of State Health Services
From Assessment to Action and on to Resilience: The Texas Tool Mitigation Planning Process
Stakeholders from local, regional, and state public health, emergency management, homeland security, healthcare systems, mental health services and academia came together to develop the Texas Tool for Public Health Risk Assessment. Counties in the Dallas and Houston metropolitan statistical areas served as pilot sites and completed the Texas Tool by inputting their scores for 15 public health preparedness capabilities and scoring the availability of needed resources for 41 hazards.
The resulting information identified top public health hazards based on hazard and residual risk scores, capability gaps and resource gaps. However reporting and use of information with external stakeholders for mitigation planning needed to be addressed. As academic practice partner, Texas A&M worked with the two MSAs to create a strategy for using data from the tool with counties and MSAs in the mitigation planning process.
The process resulted in several documents, including the Texas Tool County Profile, which reports and explains Texas Tool results, and explains how a county's hazard risk, residual risk, hazard capability, and resource scores align with other counties in the MSA.
The MSA level profiles were created to report regional information related to the Texas Tool. These profiles, in combination with, the Intervention Strategies and Activities Document and Mitigation Planning and Reporting Template, allow counties and MSAs to document intervention strategies based on Texas Tool results. These materials have been used to engage stakeholders in emergency management, law enforcement and health care to initiate more effective mitigation planning, leading to more resilient communities.
Reduced-Form Rapid Economic Consequence Estimating Models: Applications to Property Damage from U.S. Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Tornadoes
Modeling the economic consequences of disasters has reached a high level of maturity and accuracy in recent years. Methods for providing reasonably accurate rapid estimates of economic losses of disasters, however, remain limited.
We present the case for "reduced form" models for rapid economic consequence estimation for disasters and specify and statistically estimate regression equations for property damage from significant U.S. earthquakes, tornadoes, and major U.S. hurricanes.
Explanatory variables are of two types: (a) hazard-related variables pertaining to characteristics of the hazard event itself (such as the magnitude of earthquakes, or peak wind speeds for hurricanes and tornadoes); and (b) exposure-related variables pertaining to socioeconomic conditions (such as the population and income level of the area affected by the event, as well as characteristics related to the built environment and its ability to withstand damages from the hazard event).
Comparisons to other available damage estimates indicate that our reduced-form models yield reasonably good results, including several statistically significant variables that are consistent with a priori hypotheses. We conclude with a discussion of how this research can be enhanced through the collection of data on additional predictor variables, and of the potential for the extension of the reduced-form modeling approach to other hazard types.
Integration of Human Rights, Justice and Equity into Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction
The fundamental roots of preventing, mitigating and adapting to humanitarian crises are the upholding of basic human rights as set forth in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Due to the inextricable link between human and environmental security, it is critical to employ rights-based socioecological resilience frameworks and strategies to guide disaster risk reduction. This approach is supported by a few international mechanisms. There remain challenges to the translation and application of these ideas at the community level.
In an era of ecological degradation, global climate change, geographic isolation, demographic shifts, and increasing intensity and frequency of natural hazards, Pacific islands and Hawai'i face heightened risk. Social cohesion is required for island communities to develop responsive and adaptive community resilience plans, by incorporating stakeholder knowledge into the research and planning processes.
This research engages in a community-based participatory learning approach in two at-risk coastal communities in Hawai'i, using novel decision support software tools designed to facilitate community planning by incorporating diverse types of stakeholder knowledge, beliefs, and perceptions in a form that maintains the integrity of complex human understanding and is useful for collaborative decision-making. In addition, this research reviewed relevant human rights frameworks, policies and institutions, analyzed key gaps and developed an integrative rights-based resilience framework for community-based resilience-building and climate change adaptation.
Disaster Media Use, Interpersonal Communication, and Posttraumatic Stress Following the 2011 Joplin, Missouri Tornado
In 2011, a deadly tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, killing 159 people. Six months after this disaster we conducted a random digit dialing telephone survey of Joplin adult residents (N = 380) to examine the relationships between disaster experience, posttraumatic stress, disaster media use, and disaster interpersonal communication.
We found that disaster experience was not related to use of disaster media following the event, but was related to more interpersonal communication about the event. We also found that while PTSS predicted attention to only one disaster media form (newspapers), it was consistently related to interpersonal communication about the event.
When we accounted for the nature of disaster experience in understanding the relationships between PTSS, disaster media use, and disaster interpersonal communication, we found that PTSS was more consistently related to media use and interpersonal communication among those living in Joplin who had no direct tornado exposure (compared to those with direct exposure) and among those living in Joplin who knew someone who died in the storm (compared to those who did not).
Geographies of Solidarity: Complexities in Priorities Definition and Aid Addressing after Natural Disasters—Preliminary Findings and Results
Although the mechanisms that coordinate relief and aid provision for regions struck by natural disasters are effective and organized, aid donors assist affected areas differently. The main objective of our research is to test the hypothesis that resources addressed to natural disasters are related to the evidence and features of each case and not necessarily to the level of severity of the disaster.
A donor's decision to provide aid to a country or region results not only from solidarity, but also from a range of opportunities, restrictions, factors—social, political, geographic, cultural, etc.—and interests that mediate the relation among donors and the affected areas.
Our quantitative approach analyzes data from 2000 to 2010 collected from the Financial Tracking Service regarding donations, donors, appealing agencies and affected countries, as well as data on victims, people affected, and damage loss collected from the International Disasters Database.
The qualitative approach consists of a survey of donor agencies, mainly nongovernmental organizations. The preliminary findings indicate that in most cases the amount of aid is not proportional to the severity of the disasters, especially when considering the affected population and damage loss. Factors such as common language and previous experience in the affected area influenced donors' decision on to which regions or countries they will provide aid after natural disasters.
An Impact Evaluation of ShakeOut, an Earthquake and Tsunami Drill in Two Coastal Washington State School Districts
In October 2012, Washington participated for the first time in ShakeOut, an annual, one-day event that informs the public about earthquake and tsunami preparedness. It encourages residents to practice "drop, cover and hold on," the recommended protective action during an earthquake.
This evaluation assessed how well children in grades six through 12 in two coastal Washington state school districts understood the objectives and consequences of the protective actions practiced during the ShakeOut drill, including a practice of vertical evacuation inside the schools.
Across both school districts, 29 teachers volunteered to participate. They administered pre-test and post-test questionnaires to 574 students, ages 10 and older, in order to assess differences in students' knowledge, skills and attitudes about disaster preparedness and protective actions as a result of the ShakeOut drill.
The evaluation found that students had high levels of familiarity and knowledge about protective actions for earthquakes and tsunamis both before and after ShakeOut. However, significant portions of students had varying levels of knowledge and comprehension of the risks that cause injury. In some cases, they had difficulty applying what they practiced in the classroom to situations outside the classroom. Also, more than a quarter of students in both school districts did not know or were not sure if they participated a tsunami evacuation drill during ShakeOut.
These results indicate that school-based disaster drills should be complemented with additional classroom lessons and discussion.
Dawn Kotowicz, University of Hawaii
Encouraging Social Resilience: An Assessment of Livelihood Rehabilitation Projects for Their Impacts Upon Households and Communities in Thailand
Recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and the Tohoku earthquake have garnered much public attention and mobilized funds to assist in complex rehabilitation efforts. Coordinating rehabilitation for a coherent initiative is difficult and often highly scrutinized.
One often-cited goal is building resilience. The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction recommends recovery efforts focused on resilience, reducing vulnerabilities to natural hazards and building capacity of infrastructure and institutions to reduce risk and better manage disaster impacts. This approach addresses physical, social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainable management.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was one of the first events that propelled a global effort with over $14 billion dedicated to helping communities rebuild for greater socio-ecological resilience. The sustainable livelihoods framework has been used to assess development programs for sustainability, but includes components that could be assessed for their impacts on socio-ecological resilience during rebuilding efforts to assess needs at the outset and progress during rebuilding efforts.
This research presents an application of the sustainable livelihoods framework in a livelihoods rehabilitation effort from 2005-2007 in Thailand following the Indian Ocean tsunami. Using semi-structured interview and household survey responses, we assessed the impacts to social resilience of livelihoods projects at both household and community scales.
The results suggest mixed impacts on community and household resilience. This research offers a method for designing and assessing projects for their impacts upon social resilience in disaster rehabilitation initiatives.
Disaster, Law, and Social Justice
The harm caused by natural disasters depends upon community vulnerability and therefore reflects pre-existing conditions of social inequality. As a legal scholar, I focus upon the role that law can play in shaping disaster planning, mitigation, and response in order to achieve social justice.
My work has covered many topics including the need for multilingual disaster warnings, the role of locally owned businesses in disaster recovery, the weak justification for a necessity defense when the government causes harm in responding to disaster, and the justifications for enhanced punishment for disaster-related crimes.
How Do People Interpret and Respond to Flash Flood Alerts?
Flash floods are among the deadliest phenomena worldwide and Boulder, Colorado has the largest flash flood risk of any urban area in the state of Colorado. As part of a larger project examining mental models of flash floods and hurricanes, this paper reports on a survey of the general public in Boulder to better understand how people interpret and respond to flash flood information.
A random-sample mail survey of 1,000 Boulder residences was implemented in January 2010 resulting in 397 responses (46 percent response rate after accounting for 130 bad addresses). We discuss respondents' exposure, experience, knowledge, perceptions, and preparations with respect to flash floods and warning information to better characterize intended responses to a watch or warning.
Based on geo-located mailing addresses, we first evaluate respondent's actual and perceived exposure to flash floods. Prior experience with floods and warnings was elicited as well. We evaluate individuals' understanding of differences between flash flood watches and warnings and their intended responses to each. Perceptions of warning accuracy and trust in flood forecasts and warnings were elicited. We evaluate respondents' stated likelihood of undertaking a range of potential responses to flash flood watches or warnings.
Finally, we present regression analyses of individuals' intended response to a flash flood on their exposure, experience, knowledge, perceptions, and preparations to further evaluate factors driving responses to warning information. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications related to flash flood warning information.
Heather Lazrus, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Rebecca Morss, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Julie Demuth, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Ann Bostrom, University of Washington
Jeff Lazo, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Expert and Public Perceptions of Flash Flood Risk: A Mental Models Approach
Because flash floods evolve quickly, timely warning and decision making are critical to saving lives and reducing other negative impacts when a flash flood threatens. The flash flood warning and response process involves interactions among experts—including forecasters, media, and public officials—and members of the public.
This study uses a mental models approach to explore how experts and members of the public in Boulder, Colorado, perceive flash flood risks, warnings, and response decisions. Data were collected from a group decision modeling session with weather forecasters, and from individual mental models interviews with six forecasters, six television and radio broadcasters, eight local public officials, and 26 members of the public.
Content analysis of the data is used to examine how members of these groups: conceptualize flash flood risks; identify similarities and differences between expert and public understandings; and recommend specific improvements for flash flood risk communication when an event threatens. Key themes in the findings will be discussed, focusing on results that are important for improving risk communication for flash floods and extreme weather events more generally.
Wei-Sen Li, Taiwan National Science and Technology Center For Disaster Reduction
Liang-Chun Chen, Taiwan National Science and Technology Center For Disaster Reduction
Wen-Ray Su, Taiwan National Science and Technology Center For Disaster Reduction
Enhancing Information Coverage of Typhoon and Flood Alerts by Multiple Channels in Taiwan
In the Information Age, alerts of natural hazards like typhoons and floods usually provide the best guidance to the general public to take precautionary measures. However, maximizing their coverage efficiently is a challenge in Taiwan.
To take advantage of Google's broad platform, a collaboration will begin in the summer of 2013 to disseminate real-time or near real-time alerts and warning messages to diverse devices—including personal computers, tablets, smart phones, and so on. It will bring location-based information to users during an emergency.
To transform large government data sets into open data sets, the Common Alerting Protocol has been introduced to build up national standards for information exchange. Meanwhile, a mechanism is proposed to involve the private sector—web portals, nongovernmental organizations, app developers, and internet service providers—to widen the scope of information transmission to ensure quality access to public alerts.
Since 2012, a voluntary reporting network for flash floods in urban areas has seen the participation of chain convenience stores, including 7-Eleven and Family Mart. In total, clerks in 8,000 more stores nationwide will dial out to record flood depths which will help to estimate the extent of flooding.
Kuan-Hui Elaine Lin, Clark University
Livelihood Vulnerabilities to Typhoon Effects on Rural Indigenous Communities in Taiwan
The importance of livelihood to vulnerability is widely recognized, but few attempts have been made to theoretically merge the two in an analytical framework. This study develops a livelihood vulnerability analytical framework applied to 16 rural indigenous communities in central northern mountains of Taiwan.
These communities are exposed to typhoons and associated geological hazards, the frequency and magnitude of which are significant. Risk is likely to increase under the impact of climate change. Less obvious are the factors influencing how typhoons impact these communities and their ability to respond in anticipatory or reactive modes.
A livelihoods approach helps explain typhoon-related sensitivities and adaptive capacities of these communities. Mixed qualitative and quantitative analyses are conducted combining data from in-person interviews and census and environmental surveys. The resulting community livelihood vulnerability index suggests: (1) understanding a rural population's livelihoods is crucial to provide local perspective for explaining the daily vulnerabilities; and (2) rural populations present heterogeneity that results in various vulnerabilities.
Three patterns of livelihood vulnerabilities were discovered in the study area, exhibiting geographical clustering and socio-spatial complexity. They are embedded in the historical development processes since the Japanese colonization (1895-1945) and the Kuomington Chinese government periods (1945-present). Vulnerability tends to be polarized if insufficient investigation is made. Policy intervention resources continuously accumulate in less vulnerable communities.
Crisis Crowdsourcing at the U.S. Geological Survey
Although "crowdsourcing" has recently become a buzzword, it is not a new concept to the U.S. Geological Survey. Sophia Liu conducts research that investigates the opportunities and challenges with integrating social media and crowdsourcing practices into USGS products and services. Her current crowdsourcing project focuses on working with USGS coastal scientists who have been taking aerial photos of the coast before and after extreme storms for the past 15 years.
The problem is that these coastal scientists do not have the capacity to manually process these aerial photos. Liu has conducted informal interviews and usability tests with coastal experts to inform the design and development of a crowdsourcing system.
This web application, called iCoast, utilizes the power of crowds with coastal expertise to help annotate thousands of aerial photos of the coast taken in response to Hurricane Sandy and other extreme storms. The purpose of this project is to determine how crowdsourced data can help ground truth the USGS predictive models of coastal change probabilities.
As we increasingly have access to emerging digital volunteers and ever-flowing streams of online content, there is an opportunity to integrate crisis data and services from different crowds within emergency management agencies, the technology industry, disaster-affected populations, and the general public to better facilitate emergency response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.
MUNICIPAL: A Decision Technology for the Restoration of Critical Infrastructure Services after an Extreme Event
Multi-Network Interdependent Critical Infrastructure Program for the Analysis of Lifelines, or MUNICIPAL, is a decision technology that supports decision makers in the restoration of critical infrastructure systems after an extreme event.
MUNICIPAL consists of four components: a vulnerability simulator which predicts damage to infrastructure components given a specific disaster scenario; an optimization module which produces a restoration plan given a set of damaged components; a GIS interface to visualize and manipulate the data; and a database structured to support the data needs and integration of the other three modules.
Civil infrastructure systems such as power, water, and communications are crucial for the quality of life and safety of a community. After an extreme event, whether natural or manmade, these civil infrastructures can face significant damage and cause a community to be faced with life threatening conditions. The rapid and efficient restoration of the services provided by civil infrastructures can improve a community's resilience.
In addition, civil infrastructure systems are highly dependent on one another. Due to the complexity of these systems and the number of customers that they serve, it is easy to overlook interdependent relationships that exist in these systems when making decisions on how to restore them. The five systems that are the primary concern for emergency managers after a disaster are power, water, wastewater, communications, and transportation. A case study was developed with the emergency management department of New Hanover County, North Carolina, to assess this technology with respect to a hurricane.
Cemetery Preservation as Disaster Preparedness
Cades Cove was a thriving Appalachian mountain community prior to the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The creation of the park effectively brought an end to this community. It now exists within the park as a tourist destination (approximately two million visitors per year) with a few remaining "primitive" homesteads and cemeteries.
Everyone knows what cemeteries are, but in that familiarity, there is dismissal, for few undertand the multiple functions of cemeteries. Cemeteries are far more than sequestered repositories for the deceased. They constitute libraries of stone, proxies or microcosmic expressions of the communities they represent.
The first task of this research has been to conduct a sociological examination of Cades Cove and its cemeteries, archiving the socio-demographic data of former communities and their residents. The second objective has been to collect precise GPS coordinates of all known stones & markers in the cemeteries of Cades Cove.
A major disaster can strike at any time, endangering precious cultural property. Our cultural preservation efforts are an important component of disaster preparedness in Cades Cove and to members of the surrounding communities with direct familial ties to the cove. Without these efforts, should a major disaster occur, the community and these libraries of stone would be lost forever.
Help or Hindrance: Repeated Warnings in the Context of Uncertainty
Disasters such as pandemics, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and bushfires, necessitate repeated warning messages. Government and emergency management authorities have a two-fold problem. They want to avoid the accusation of panicking the public but also the risk of underpreparing them at the same time. As a result they may be tempted to err on the side of caution and downplay the severity of a potential disaster or delay issuing a warning because they are worried the public may get tired of the message.
Known as "cry wolf" or warning fatigue, the cynicism and apathy that can result from being over-warned has been relegated to the category of "disaster myth." But it continues to be blamed by some for reduced vigilance, inadequate preparation, and flawed decision-making. This paper argues that warning fatigue is a quantifiable multi-faceted construct that can be demonstrated to influence risk perception in the context of uncertainty. A warning fatigue measure comprising of 10 sub-scales was completed once a month over a six month period by residents of bushfire-prone Victoria, Australia. Results showed that risk perception of the threat from bushfires changed over time. Scores of some sub-scales changed more than others.
This research suggests that far from being a myth, warning fatigue can influence the perception of risk and interpretation of risk messages, requiring emergency and disaster agencies to think differently about warnings in uncertain disaster contexts.
Revealing EDM’s Body of Knowledge Using Co-Citation Networks
What constitutes the Emergency and Disaster Management (EDM) “body of knowledge”? This question lies at the center of the larger question of EDM’s possible status as an academic and professional discipline. Although EDM is generally regarded as having a distinct body of knowledge, identifying and describing that body in any detail has remained elusive. Can EDM’s body of knowledge, if it indeed exists, be “seen”? This research looks to answer this question through the application of co-citation network analysis and visualization, and builds upon work first started as part of my thesis, completed in December 2012. Co-citation networks are built from pairs of authors, documents, sources, keywords, and terms that are repeatedly cited together in the reference lists of a set of source articles. Although well-established within Information and Library Science as a tool for mapping the structure of scientific knowledge domains, the method has only rarely been applied within EDM.
Author, document, journal/source, and keyword co-citation networks have been created using the software program CiteSpace II, and a dataset of 2930 disaster-related articles published from 1994 to March 2013, retrieved from Web of Science. Several visualizations will be presented and key aspects of each will be highlighted. These networks depict a large, dispersed knowledge domain that displays a relatively stable underlying structure. The implications of these results, as well as the usefulness of this line of research for questions of disciplinary status, identity, and organization, will be addressed.
How Can We Operationalize Community Resilience Indicators?
We face increasing exposure and vulnerability to all-hazard events (natural disasters, accidental or deliberate release of toxic chemicals, pathogens, or radiation), but cannot predict or prevent all hazard risks. Federal policies such as the National Security Strategy and Presidential Policy Directives 8 and 21 now promote national resilience to disasters, which has translated into a practical focus on community resilience. A wealth of literature theorizes what variables contribute to community resilience, provides case studies of resilience in action, and proposes resilience indicators.
A remaining challenge is how to operationalize these indicators with metrics that are theoretically robust and accessible to communities. My research assesses resilience indicators from the science and policy literature. I argue that communities respond to all-hazard events as complex human-environment systems (CHES), which have complex interdependencies, feedbacks across scales, environmental legacies, and power dynamics.
I present CHES indicators and metrics to operationalize community resilience. Indicators may be process or outcome oriented, at differing scales; show community capacity, vulnerability, or recovery; and reveal system characteristics of redundancy, brittleness, diversity, connectivity, modularity, and adaptability.
Indicator categories include: economy and resources, ecological environment, social capital and networks, institutions and power, infrastructure and built environment, and population and public health. Future research will analyze trade-offs in resilience to different hazards and between resilience and sustainability.
The Canterbury Tales: Learnings from the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in New Zealand to Inform Public Education Design for Eastern Washington
The Canterbury Earthquake Sequence surprised many residents and officials in the Canterbury region. Given the perception that Canterbury was at low risk for significant earthquakes, buildings and infrastructure had not been built up to a higher standard, as they had in Wellington. The earthquake sequence, which began on September 4, 2010, continued with strong earthquakes until December 2011. Loss of life totaled 186, with 1,609 buildings in the central business district destroyed and thousands of homes needing to be rebuilt or demolished altogether.
This event has caused the international community to reflect on personal and infrastructure preparedness. Eastern Washington State has a high number of unreinforced masonry buildings, similar to those found in Christchurch and very little reinforced infrastructure. Work commissioned by the U.S. Geological Survey reveals that the seismic risk is much higher than previously thought.
There are a number of large infrastructure projects to consider, including the Hanford Nuclear Site, the Columbia River Hydroelectric Dam infrastructure and a large agricultural industry worth more than $8 billion per annum. The population of eastern Washington is 1.3 million people.
This research project evaluates the public education campaign efforts prior to the Canterbury Earthquake sequence and examines lessons learned from the outcome of those campaigns. After an analysis has been completed, a public education model will be created and piloted in five communities in eastern Washington (Ellensburg, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Dayton).
Aboriginal Wildfire Evacuation Partnership
Thousands of Canadians are evacuated from their homes every year because of wildfires. Although aborignal people comprise only four percent of the Canadian population, they were involved in nearly one-third of wildfire evacuations between 1980 and 2007. In 2011, thousands of residents in 35 aboriginal communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario were evacuated due to the close proximity of the fire, smoke, or power outages caused by wildfires.
The Aboriginal Wildfire Evacuation Research Partnership brings together researchers, aboriginal communities in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta and agencies responsible for conducting or providing support during these evacuations. The aim of this partnership is to examine how aboriginal residents and communities were affected by recent wildfire evacuations and identify ways to reduce negative impacts.
This research will provide participating communities with information about how residents were affected by recent wildfire evacuations and factors influencing residents' evacuation experiences. The results of this research may help First Nations communities to prepare for and carry out future evacuations. It should also help government agencies in their evacuation decision making and support activities.
This research partnership should also enhance relationships among partnership members and develop a shared understanding of the impacts of wildfire evacuations on aboriginal residents.
A Methodological Approach for the Evaluation of Preparedness of Pharmaceutical Services for Mass Casualty Events in Brazil
In 2014 and 2016 Brazil will host two huge events, the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, respectively. Events like these are known to be an opportunity for the occurrence of mass casualties. Pharmaceutical service, as a key component of the health sector, is especially demanded in these cases. A method to describe and analyze pharmaceutical service within the Brazilian Health System in urgent and emergency care scenarios was developed.
Methods: Literature was searched in order to understand measures and needs related to the health sector in mass casualty events. A graphic model representing context and fields of intervention was developed in order to pave framework development.
Results: A framework with five dimensions (structural issues, information and communication, logistics, human resources and ethics, culture and religion) for the analysis of preparedness was built. The method of choice will be case studies, to be carried out in the cities that will host the sports events. Interviews will be conducted with key actors from different government agencies involved in pharmaceutical services in preparedness and response to disasters and managers of the hospital network of interest. The analysis will involve triangulation of data, anchored in field data, context analysis and interviews with key actors.
Conclusion: We propose that the case report approach, along with field data, context data, and the contribution of key stakeholders, will identify critical points for intervention in the health sector that, in turn, should promote preparedness for potential mass casualty events during the upcoming sports competitions in Brazil.
Betty Hearn Morrow, Socresearch Miami
Jeff Lazo, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Jamie Rhome, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Jesse Feyen, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Communicating Storm Surge Warnings
The National Weather Service issues a wide array of text and graphical products to communicate the forecasted conditions associated with storm surge (defined as an abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a tropical or extratropical cyclone). The serious threat to life and property posed by storm surge suggests that this threat be specifically communicated to members of the public so that they can make better proactive and protective decisions.
We report on a number of recent surveys exploring and assessing awareness and level of understanding concerning storm surge and currently available storm surge information. We report on an analysis of the coastal publics' actual and perceived risk of inundation, their stated intended behavioral responses to hurricane risks, and their information preferences. We then provide the analysis from a survey of coastal emergency managers' and broadcast meteorologists' preferences for storm surge risk communication. This work is designed in part to assess support for National Hurricane Center issuing separate storm surge watches and warnings, as well as real-time inundation maps.
Scoping the Post-Hyogo Framework for Action—Needs For Sound Disaster Statistics
The Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005-2015, adopted by 168 governments at the second World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2005, helped promote the disaster risk reduction movement. When it reaches the final year of 2015, a new initiative will emerge at the third World Conference on Disaster Reduction.
Vulnerability and exposure to disasters remain major issues in many countries and urbanization without good planning increases urban disaster risks. New threats are posed by climate change. In spite of this, investment in disaster risk reduction remains very small on the development agenda.
In order to consider realistic goals and targets, it is mandatory to have a good measurement. Sound, accurate, and dependable disaster statistics based on official sources are crucial. The United Nations system is an ideal forum for agreeing on minimum standards and action plans with financial assistance using its intergovernmental mechanism.
The challenge is how to promote the importance of developing such statistics. One of the crucial issues is governance between the central and local governments. The work of developing the statistics should have clear benefits for local governments, most of which are constantly short of funds in developing countries. This paper will propose how to develop disaster statistics using the UN system.
Winter Blues! Testing Psychosocial Considerations in an Emergency Operations Center
Unaddressed, the psychosocial consequences of working in crisis situations increase the risk of adverse health outcomes, including post-traumatic stress. The Simulation Training and Exercise Collaboratory research project is multifaceted. It includes the development of a series of tabletop exercises to test and train senior decision makers regarding the importance of taking into account psychosocial considerations in an emergency operations center.
Eleven community-based EOC teams participated in three trials of the Winter Blues! exercise, a cold weather exercise which included major stressors for EOC personnel (e.g., death of a first responder, children screaming). Findings indicated: EOC participants did not take appropriate breaks; did not dispatch human services workers soon enough; and did not know protocols to acknowledge the death of a responder in the EOC. Differences between uniformed and non-uniformed responders were not always respected; neither were gender differences.
A training video, the controller guidebook, materials, and the multi-media exercise are available to be downloaded by any community wishing to run the exercise at http://simtec.jibc.ca/.
A New Census Bureau Data Tool for Assessing Potential Impact of Natural Hazards on the Population and Workforce
Americans are increasingly living and working in areas affected by a growing variety of natural and human-caused disasters. This growing vulnerability, coupled with a rise in the number and severity of weather related disaster events, has caused physical, social, and economic impacts to surge in communities across the United States.
For emergency managers, government officials, member of the media, and others involved in what are often rapidly changing emergency events, timely access to detailed information about the affected population and workforce is critical for many planning, response, recovery, and reporting activities. Historically, obtaining such information has been a challenge due to the lack of a single national source for such economic and social data.
More difficult still has been satisfying the need of many emergency managers to receive this information in "real time" as fast moving disaster events change location and intensity. To improve access to available data for this important purpose, the U.S. Census Bureau developed a unique online public data tool called OnTheMap for Emergency Management. The product of an innovative data sharing and integration strategy, the tool provides an intuitive map-based interface for accessing and visualizing U.S. population and workforce statistics, in real time, for areas being affected by natural disasters. Users can now easily retrieve block-level workforce, population, and housing characteristics for hurricanes and tropical storms, floods, wildfires, winter storms, and federal disaster declaration areas.
Distribution Network Designs in Relief Chain Management: Government's Response to Kosi Floods 2008
Exclusion of logistics in planning leads to a firefighting mentality, making logistics management during a disaster a challenging task. In India, the importance of relief chain management has become more evident after major disasters, like the 2001 Bhuj earthquake, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, 2008 Kosi floods, and recent flash floods at Leh in August, 2010. However, disaster logistics remains in its nascent form. This study emphasizes that a vast country like India should be far more prepared in the area of humanitarian logistics to ensure effective deployment of aid and relief interventions.
This study focuses on the Kosi floods of 2008, caused by the breach of the eastern embankment near Kusaha village in Nepal, about 12 kilometers upstream of the Kosi barrage. A total population of 3,345,545 people living in 993 villages, 412 panchayats, and 35 blocks of five districts were affected in the flood. About 340,742 houses were damaged and 712,140 animals were affected. A total of 239 people and 1,232 animals were killed.
However, the number of lives lost after subsequent epidemics was also high. Most of the people died from lack of basic commodities that could not reach them on time, for several reasons. Logistics failure might be one them. This study explores how the government in Madhepura district organized its relief chain during the Kosi floods in 2008 and analyses its strengths and weaknesses through a case study of Rampur-Lahi village in Madhepura.
Resource Optimization Model in DRR—Case Study of a Capacity Building Program in Faridabad
Disaster preparedness is an ongoing, integrated process involving contributions from many sectors, including health, water and sanitation, logistics, institutional development. Preparedness cannot be achieved by distinct sectoral activities. It requires proper measures to coordinate various activities like emergency response, rehabilitation, and recovery with an objective of providing targeted assistance. Because disaster preparedness depends on shared goals and activities across sectors, it is important that the concept be integrated into all ongoing projects.
This paper talks about the initiative of the District Administration of Faridabad to bring together seven key line departments for disaster risk reduction. It also discusses the Overlap Model for resource optimization through multi-agency coordination. The model was developed as a solution to the financial constraints felt by different departments in organizing a DRR program.
The paper discusses how the model helped the authorities to conduct major DRR program without incurring any financial expense. Through the case study of capacity building programs in Faridabad, this paper talks about the success story of the authorities in developing a culture of multi-agency coordination and an environment of collaborative learning in the district. Finally it proposes recommendations for institutional strengthening in disaster management at the district level in India.
Influences on Community Resilience: An Examination of Population Return to New Orleans, Post Katrina
In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina and subsequent levee failures produced catastrophic flooding in New Orleans, Louisiana, killing roughly 1,500 residents and forcing the evacuation of most of the local population. The authors examine patterns of repopulation within Orleans Parish during the first three years after the event as an indicator of community resilience to large external disturbances.
We pose two central research questions: Which areas of New Orleans regained population more quickly? What factors may account for variation in the resilience of coastal cities like New Orleans?
The researchers analyzed mail delivery data in Orleans Parish at the zip code and census tract levels before and at monthly intervals after the storm, as an indicator of returning population. Cluster analysis yielded three distinct recovery patterns—"resilient," "resistant," and "susceptible." Then we used discriminant analysis to examine the 181 census tracts of Orleans Parish and to estimate the relative influence of socio-economic and environmental factors of the neighborhoods on the rate of population return.
We found that three factors—higher Katrina flood depths, greater percentage of African-American residents, and lower educationa al attainment—predicted patterns of population return for over 75 percent of the 181 tracts. Of these three factors, flood depth was by far the most important predictor of returning population, indicating that among those who experienced flooding of 10 feet or more, even residents with sufficient economic resources to rebuild have opted not to do so.
Mitigating Litigating: RAPID Project to Study Social and Psychological Impacts of the 2012 BP Claims Settlement
On April 20, 2010 the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and burned in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. The rig eventually sank, leaving a breached wellhead that released an estimated 185 million to 205 million gallons of crude oil in the months before it was capped and permanently sealed.
Under direction from the federal government, BP set aside $20 billion to pay damage claims. However, the claims process became a bureaucratic and legal quagmire, as well as a source of contention and stress in coastal communities. This project examines how settlement and litigation processes in the aftermath of this technological disaster are influencing social and psychological recovery in Alabama's coastal communities.
More than 21 years of research on the long-term social impacts of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) revealed that much of the chronic, EVOS-related stress, anxiety, and social disruption were a byproduct of prolonged litigation which lasted almost two decades. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence regarding whether a more immediate resolution of disaster-related litigation helps to reduce the negative social impacts of protracted legal processes. This study contributes to the limited body of knowledge in this arena by advancing theoretical and conceptual understanding of social and psychological processes associated with rapid change, and how these affect coastal communities.
This research will advance understanding of ways in which post-disaster processes such as litigation and the timely settlement of damage claims can facilitate or hinder community recovery. This research is an explicit focus of the president's reorganization of the Homeland Security and National Security councils and is a priority of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate.
Liesel Ritchie, University of Colorado Boulder
Kathleen Tierney, University of Colorado Boulder
Courtney Farnham, University of Colorado Boulder
Nnenia Campbell, University of Colorado Boulder
Jamie Vickery, University of Colorado Boulder
Evaluation of the U.S. Geological Survey Science Applications for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Tsunami Scenario Project
The purpose of SAFRR Tsunami Scenario Project is to foster the use of science in decision making associated with tsunami events. The Natural Hazards Center team is conducting the evaluation of this extensive effort, which engages multiple partners at local, regional, and national levels.
The evaluation activities for the Tsunami Scenario Project are providing feedback and information to USGS and its partner agencies to support the development and implementation of the project. Specifically, the evaluation focuses on three key elements of the project: (1) the engagement of port and harbor decisionmakers in selected California cities; (2) interagency coordination; and (3) intra-agency coordination.
Systematically examining these aspects of primary stakeholder participation will provide an understanding of the extent to which the project's efforts to foster the use of science in decision making, including building networks among key decision-makers, are effective.
Effects of Technological Disasters on Dimensions of Social Capital: A Longitudinal Study of the 2008 TVA Kingston Fossil Plant Ash Release
The concept of social capital is multidimensional, consisting of such elements as attachment to place, social cohesion and support, and social network density. As of 2008, there was little research examining the contribution of social capital to disaster resilience.
This study examines the social impacts of the failure of a coal fly ash retention pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tennessee in December 2008. The largest such incident in U.S. history, this technological disaster released more than 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash across almost 300 acres.
The research design for the study employs a mixed-method approach with two primary data collection components: structured face-to-face interviews, and self-administered household surveys using an ex post facto research design in the impact (Roane) and control (Anderson) counties. These post-event data will be compared with predisaster data from the 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey. In addition to making pre- and post-event comparisons, the study will also follow both impact and control communities over time.
The project will make a major contribution to scholarly understanding of the effects of disasters on measures of social capital. It will also add to the literature on the consequences of technological disasters, with a particular emphasis on their impacts on trust in institutions, as well as the effects of postdisaster litigation. The study has potential for transforming how researchers conceptualize and measure the social capital dimensions of disaster resilience—a fundamental issue in the field—and also for demonstrating how social indicators collected for other purposes can be productively used by disaster researchers.
Collaborative Research: To Investigate and Document Social Impacts of High-Stakes Litigation Resolution in a Renewable Resource Community
On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef, a well-marked navigational hazard in the Valdez Arm of Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world. In various ways, the Exxon Valdez oil spill continues to wreak havoc on the sound's ecosystem and renewable natural resources, as well as individuals, groups, and communities that have built their lives and culture on ecosystem resources.
The primary goal of this project is to document how the Supreme Court decision and subsequent disbursement of punitive damage awards in the oil spill case affects communities, groups, and individuals in a renewable resource community. This study builds directly upon research conducted in Cordova from 2000-2009 and 2002-2004 and 2009 to create a longitudinal data set designed to document community change and transformation associated with the spill, high-stakes litigation, resolution of litigation, and punitive damage payments.
This study has three primary objectives: (1) to expand and continue a line of inquiry on human impacts of the oil spill that began in 1989; (2) to examine how prolonged related litigation has been associated with chronic stress, social disruption, and diminished social capital; and (3) to explore how and to what extent resolution of the long-term litigation influence renewable resource communities and groups.
The achievement of these objectives will provide empirical data on community change, disaster recovery, and personal adjustments that occur when fragile renewable resource communities are stressed by technological failure and long-term litigation. These results will also provide directives for understanding issues of vulnerability and enhancing the resiliency of renewable resource communities in the twenty-first century.
Analysis of Federal Mitigation Policy: Mitigation Plans, Land Use, Civic Engagement, and Local Capacity
The study evaluates the effects of the federal Disaster Mitigation Act on local government decisions to incorporate land use policy actions into local mitigation plans. We employ a meta-theoretical plan quality framework for analyzing state and local hazard mitigation planning programs under DMA.
Data are derived from a sample of 30 state programs and 175 local programs in six states. Major findings include: (1) local mitigation plans place much lower priority on land use policy compared to less tangible and easier to achieve activities like emergency services and public information programs; (2) local mitigation planning is the domain of emergency managers leaving an expertise gap for integrating land use policies into hazard mitigation efforts; and (3) federal policy exerts significantly less influence on local land use actions than state mitigation programs which can support or stifle land use actions.
Core recommendations for making improvements to federal policy include: (1) strengthen the DMA requirements to consider preventative land use approaches to hazard mitigation; (2) increase incentive credits for high quality mitigation plans to reduce insurance premiums under the National Flood Insurance Program; (3) offer more incentive credits for land use actions relative to other mitigation actions; and (4) give greater attention to engaging local land use planners in the hazard mitigation planning process and in building their capacity and commitment.
Next steps are aimed at translating research results to practice through developing an interactive mitigation planning website in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agenmcy, and engaging two vulnerable demonstration communities to review and update their local mitigation and land use plans.
Articles, book chapters, and research/policy summaries are available at UNC Institute for the Environment (http://ie.unc.edu/cscd/projects/dma.cfm) and UNC Coastal Hazard Center (http://hazardscenter.unc.edu/mitigation-planning/).
Social Media in Extreme Events
Social media have become important for emergency management. During disasters, it is imperative for people to get accurate information. People using social media make a conscious decision to trust, act on, propagate, or disregard relevant information. The researchers are studying the linkages among social media message characteristics with human behavior in response to actionable information. We seek to understand the content and diffusion of the messages through social media to understand people's behaviors in response to this information.
We evaluated Facebook to demonstrate the ways emergency management can successfully partner with local media. The emergency manager utilized Facebook to develop relationships with the affected community via social media. The study proposed ways to use Facebook during disaster events—by closing a feedback loop between first responders and the public, by monitoring information flow, and by providing regular updates to the public.
The study of Twitter and Twitter networks was conducted with the specific case of the 2011 Japan tsunami.We identified key actors, studied formation of cohesive groups, and studied the role of key actors in those groups. The results revealed that the diffusion began with the central actors, propagating then through the "gatekeepers" of information to the rest of the network. These key actors showed their own intentions to take the prescribed action, urging others to do so. Finally, the key actors played an important role in bridging the cohesive groups in the network in order to facilitate the diffusion of actionable information.
Resilient Organisations Research Programme
The Resilient Organisations Research Programme is a multidisciplinary collaboration among top New Zealand universities. Activities include informing debate in areas such as emergency management, post-disaster recovery, and the resilience of critical infrastructure sectors, in addition to core activities in organization resilience capability building and benchmarking.
Current projects by Resilient Organisations' researchers include:
Organizations facing crisis: Exploring the disaster impacts and recovery trajectories of organizations following the Christchurch 2010-11 earthquakes. Current projects include: the recovery of organizations within central business districts; the use of collaborative approaches to support business recovery; the effects of external aid upon small to medium sized enterprises; and using a systems approach to investigate recovery and resilience for industry sectors.
Reconstruction following disaster: Research on the capability and capacity of the construction sector to deal with a major reconstruction effort, including key issues of resourcing, productivity, procurement, and governance.
Economics of resilient infrastructure: Resilient Organisations is part of a project to produce a high resolution economic assessment, across space and time, of infrastructure failure aiming to inform post-disaster business response and recovery options.
Resilience of organizations: Ongoing development of the benchmark resilience tool with an online "thumbprint" version now available and an online version of the full tool to be released soon. Current projects have benchmarked the resilience of Australian water companies, and a new project focuses on improving the resilience of New Zealand infrastructure organizations to provide greater security of services, with strong emergency response and recovery characteristics.
For further information please visit our website www.resorgs.org.nz.
Vulnerability Exposed by Ian McHarg's Design by Nature in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy
Exposure and sensitivity are critical components of disaster impacts. Sensitivity is not restricted to social and cultural dimensions, but also extends to planning and regional adaptive measures in terms of biophysical risk. Recognizing environmental constraints and opportunities is paramount in determining vulnerability based on the intrinsic suitability of land use planning as detailed by Ian McHarg's Design by Nature.
This research adds to the few geospatial analyses that have fused land use policy by exploring how GIS can be utilized as a policy tool in vulnerability reduction strategies. We examine the impact of Hurricane Sandy and compare the aftermath with McHarg's suggested land use policy on Staten Island.
Findings show the most extensive damages on Staten Island correlated with regions unsuitable for urbanization and best suited for conservation and passive recreation based on McHarg's criteria. Following these results, this study then employs McHarg's weighted criteria using contemporary data to examine if sensitivity has changed since McHarg's analysis. Expected findings suggest an increased sensitivity as a result of status quo practices disconnected from knowledge and policy.
This research concludes by offering future suggestions for complementary land use as a means to recognize existing environmental constraints and reduce vulnerability to future events.
Inequalities in the Recovery from Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Part of a larger interdisciplinary project of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, this community-based research investigates inequalities in Mississippi's recovery after Hurricane Katrina, exploring the ways that power relations of race, class, gender, place, age, ability, and other social inequalities shape the meaning of recovery, the allocation of resources, voice in resource allocation processes, and access to resources (affordable housing, health care, child care, employment).
The research employed a variety of data sources and methods: extensive analysis of public documents, direct observations in multiple locations, and attendance at public forums as well as in-depth interviews, conducted in 2007 and 2008 with leaders from state and local governments, businesses, community-based, nonprofit organizations and with residents from vulnerable populations.
The data reveal the contest between a government/corporate/elite alliance promoting large-scale economic development and housing for middle- to upper-income residents and the front-line workers in nongovernmental-organizations struggling to meet the needs of the poor, working class, elderly, single mothers, and people of color on the Gulf Coast. As the alliance solidified its power, these workers suffered stress and exhaustion advocating for vulnerable people and communities. But they also found a kind of power in forming their own alliances to make their voices heard.
Studying Life in the Katrina Diaspora
About 1.5 million people evacuated from the Gulf Coast before Hurricane Katrina's landfall in August 2005. Katrina survivors eventually scattered across all 50 states. Seven years later, tens of thousands remain displaced.
In 2006, 12 scholars—six from New Orleans and six from across the country—who had begun research projects exploring the experiences of Katrina's displaced in 13 different locations began a collaboration, the Research Network on Persons Displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Supported by the Social Science Research Council, the network shared insights and research challenges in studying the displaced.
Its first major product, Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora (https://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/webdis.html), offers the first comprehensive analysis of the experiences of the displaced. From their research in 13 communities in seven states across the country, members of the network describe the evacuees' struggles in rebuilding their lives. They also explore the impact the displaced have had on communities that initially welcomed them but later experienced "Katrina fatigue," as the ongoing needs of evacuees strained local resources.
The network has continued its unique collaboration for seven years. It currently is developing a methodological resource describing its "collective method," emphasizing multiple feedback processes and ongoing reflection and engagement on issues of researcher positionality, transparency, and accountability to research participants, to affected communities, and to each other.
U.S. Irrigation, Agricultural Capacity, and Climate Change—A Series of Presentations and Projects
This series of presentations and projects—posted on www.colorado.edu/ibs/eb/wiener/—continues work on the problems of extreme weather and climate change impacts on the sustainability of western and U.S. Agriculture.
The work began with use of climate information in water management, expanding to considerations of institutions and opportunities for more flexible and resilient management. That led to recognition that protection of irrigation supply is necessary but not sufficient. There is increasing consumer preference for local and regional food, and concern with food supply chains.
Less well appreciated are the ecosystem services that farm land provides, as well as negatives such as water pollution from nutrient runoff. Even less appreciated are the rates of land base loss. Small farms and the rapidly dwindling medium-sized farm operations still comprise roughly 60 percent of U.S. cropland, but generate only 7 percent of net farm income. This financial vulnerability reduces future productive capacity, rapidly losing ground to perforation by rural residential development and urban sprawl.
The National Research Council has called for "transformational change" in U.S. farming systems, beyond only incremental improvements, and so has the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development. The impacts of high intensity precipitation on soil erosion may have been badly underestimated, and will almost certainly increase. Urban interests in long-term resilience and hazard mitigation must include the watersheds and farmland.
An Integrated Approach to Geo-Target At-Risk Communities and Deploy Effective Crisis Communication Approaches
The Mississippi coastal counties (Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties) are prone to coastal hazards. They were impacted by hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Isaac (2012), and the BP Oil Spill (2010). The counties are home to an ethnically diverse urban and rural population. Effective crisis communication is vital to ensure this population receives timely, accurate, actionable information regarding the state of a crisis, including the magnitude, intensity, possible consequences, and duration.
Research shows that responses of people to risk and crisis information are influenced by their socio-cultural traits (e.g., risk perception, experience, language), the characteristics of communication platforms (hierarchical communication, e.g., the Weather Channel) vs. network communication (e.g., Twitter)), and the protocols guiding warning dissemination.
The purposes of this research are to: (1) geo-target the coverage provided by warning platforms to at-risk populations in the Mississippi coastal counties; (2) explore the role of the social, economic, and cultural characteristics of people in their responses to warning messages and communication platforms; (3) explore the relationship between people's perceptions of and responses to communication platforms; and (4) investigate the role of policy guidelines on people's responses to risk communication.
A number of geo-spatial models are under development to address the coverage of communication platforms (cell propagation model), spatial distribution of at-risk zones (risk assessment model), and spatial distribution of at-risk populations (population density distribution model). Ethnographic research, rapid assessment survey instruments, and a spatial decision support system are also under development for this project to increase its applicability by different stakeholders.
How Do Rural Residents Improve Readiness for Disasters in Eastern China? Empirical Research
How to improve public readiness for disasters is a permanent research issue. Since the SARS outbreak in 2003, China has begun to establish a comprehensive emergency management system, which did improve the readiness of the government. However, efficient disaster management depends on the combined efforts of government and the public.
Compared to the rural residents who suffered and learned from the Wenchuan and Yushu earthquakes, the rural residents in eastern China improve their readiness for disasters in everyday life. How do they do that? Although eastern China has not had a large scale natural disaster as a focusing event in recent decades, it is at high risk of large-scale disasters like earthquakes.
This paper investigates how the rural residents in eastern China improve their readiness for disasters in the absence of a focusing event. The paper primarily proposes three kinds of social mechanisms which may be able to work to improve their readiness for disasters in the everyday life: (1) self-learning based on knowledge level; (2) economic wellbeing based on income promotion; (3) political interest based on policy implementation.
A survey was conducted in 2011. All the three hypotheses were tested. The conclusion is that the political mechanism works significantly, while the others need to be developed.