Disaster Research 241

December 18, 1997

Table of contents

  1. Are You Interested in an Electronic Natural Disaster Clipping Service?
  2. Seeking Software to Compute Seismic Hazards
  3. Seeking Software/Studies for Analyzing Emergency Communications
  4. Seeking Information on Delivery of Disaster Assistance/Supplies in Developing Countries
  5. Introducing the Flash Flood Laboratory
  6. An IDNDR Update
  7. U.N. Establishes Interagency Task Force on El Nino
  8. Decade Volume to Be Published
  9. FEMA Seeking Nominations for Exemplary Practices in Emergency Management
  10. Publication to Support Project Impact
  11. Three Other Guides from FEMA
  12. Florida Creates Showcase Communities

Are You Interested in an Electronic Natural Disaster Clipping Service?

The International Association of Wildland Fire is requesting expressions of interest in a project we are contemplating. We are considering establishing an electronic clipping service covering all the natural disaster disciplines. Using our United Press Inter- national, Associated Press, Reuters wire contracts, and other similar information sources, we are considering making full text news articles on natural disasters available to subscribers on a daily basis, through their e-mail accounts, for a small monthly fee. If you are interested in this idea, please let us know. There is no obligation at this point. If you are aware of a similar service or Web site that duplicates this service, please advise. Please let us know whether the site you are thinking of complements the idea or negates the need.

Jason Greenlee
International Association of Wildland Fire
East 8109 Bratt
Fairfield, Washington USA 99012
(509) 523-4003
Fax: (509) 523-5001
WWW: http://www.neotecinc.com/wildfire

Seeking Software to Compute Seismic Hazards

I am a graduate student at Kyoto University and have studied historical earthquakes of the Philippines; specifically I estimated earthquake magnitudes and epicenters. Now, I want to merge the resulting historical earthquake catalog with the instrumental database and produce probabilistic seismic hazard maps for the Philippines. I plan to try different approaches in computing seismic hazard and then compare the results of these different approaches. Hence, I am looking for different softwares/programs that can calculate seismic hazard. Any help on this regard will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much,

Maria Leonila P. Bautista
Dept of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Graduate School of Science
Kyoto University
Sakyoku, Kyoto 606-01
Fax: (075) 711-1809

Seeking Software/Studies for Analyzing Emergency Communications

[Taken from the Networks in Emergency Management list: nets-em@sfu.ca]

I would be grateful if anyone can help me locate any software, studies, manuals or other materials that identify or provide a methodology to identify and/or analyze communication relationships among individuals and emergency management organizations before, during and/or after incidents.

Peter Anderson
Director, Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology
Simon Fraser University - Harbour Centre Campus
515 West Hastings Street Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6B 5K3
E-mail: anderson@sfu.ca

Seeking Information on Delivery of Disaster Assistance/Supplies in Developing Countries

[We were recently forwarded the following e-mail from an emergency management student in India:]

Purpose of e-mail: info wanted related to assistance in disaster hit areas for a student project in India.
Why do I want: I have undertaken a project to help disaster hit areas. It will basically deal with conveying of emergency supplies, at the right time, in right place, in right condition. The actual mode or the system is not decided yet but will be after your help.
My aim: To help the peoples affected by natural disasters getting a quick response and effective system to work in even a developing country like india.
What do I want: Info leaflets, brochures, catalogues, photos, visuals, any first hand experiences.
Key words: Emergency supplies, survival supplies, medical equipment, mental shocks, air help, preparedness, disaster management, mapping, precautions and care, supplies by aircraft, etc.
Questions: What system is generally followed? What is the level of preparedness? How exactly are the materials supplied? Who extends help? How are the commodities distributed? What is the shelf life of the supplies? Is there any specific formula evolved? Are drills recommended? How do the prone people react? . . .

Thank you, sir. We will appreciate the receipt of your material. Our internet facilities are slow and do not support images, so will have to deal with hard copies. You can send materials to the institution address:

Jeevak A. Badve
Industrial Design Centre
Indian Institute of Technology
Powai, Bombay 76
Or reply on e-mail to:
p.s.: m e r r y X ' m a s

Introducing the Flash Flood Laboratory

Following the extensive flooding that occurred on the Colorado State University campus and in the surrounding community in July 1997, the university created a Flash Flood Laboratory, devoted exclusively to the study of this phenomenon. Resources have been contributed to the lab by the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, the Water Center, the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, the Department of Hydrology, and other parts of the university. Support is also provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Flash Flood Laboratory will facilitate collaborative work among hydrology, meteorology, geology, and the social science researchers. It will address flash flood issues in urban planning and emergency management, promote partnerships with federal and local governments, and create a flash flood model to assist planners and managers in addressing regional flooding problems. The Flash Flood Laboratory welcomes contributions from research professionals interested in these dangerous phenomena.

For more information, contact Ken Eis, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1375; (970) 491-8397; fax: (970) 491-8241; e-mail: eis@cira.colostate.edu; or Chris Adams; at the address above; (970) 491-3899; e-mail: adams@cira.colostate.edu; WWW: http://www.cira.colostate.edu.

An IDNDR Update

*IDNDR Regional Activities*
The government of Kazakhstan, the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Secretariat, and the United Nations Development Program will cooperate on a project to strengthen the monitoring capacities of the Seismological Centre of Almaty and to ensure regional cooperation and exchange of seismic information. Also, in 1999 the IDNDR Secretariat will cosponsor with the Kazakh government an International Conference on the Prevention and Mitigation of Mudflows, to be held in Kazakhstan.

At the same time, the government of Italy has approved an IDNDR project to improve seismic disaster prevention and management in Albania. The project, developed in collaboration with the Italian and Albanian IDNDR National Committees, will restore the Albanian seismic surveillance system and strengthen national institutions for disaster prevention.

The IDNDR Secretariat is also helping to plan the Fifth Conference on Cooperation of the Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Countries on Protection Against Natural and Other Disasters, to be held in Armenia in September 1998. One main goal of the conference will be to create a set of recommendations or guidelines for disaster reduction, regionally and globally, in the 21st century.

*Promotion and Public Awareness*
The IDNDR Secretariat recently completed a detailed analysis of the conference survey for the 1996 IDNDR Internet Conference on "Solutions for Cities at Risk." The survey provided useful feedback on issues related to Internet conferencing, and will be used to design future IDNDR Internet conferences.

*Public-Private Partnerships*
In November, the IDNDR Secretariat met with representatives of Anite Systems Inc., a British group engaged in the organization of the 1998 World Conference on Earth Observation Data in Forecasting, Managing and Recovering from Natural and Man Made Disasters. The conference will take place in London, June 3-5, 1998.

For more information about any of these activities, or to obtain copies of the reports mentioned, contact Natalie Domeisen, Promotion Officer, IDNDR Secretariat, United Nations, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; tel: (41 22) 798 68 94; fax: (41 22) 733 86 95; e-mail: natalie.domeisen@dha.unicc.org.

U.N. Establishes Interagency Task Force on El Nino

In November 1997, Mr. Yasushi Akashi, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, established a task force for cooperative work on the prevention and mitigation of and preparedness for natural disasters related to the El Nino phenomenon. The task force meetings are being convened by the Secretariat of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR).

The task force, which held its first meeting in Geneva on November 18, is composed of organizations both within and outside the United Nations system that deal with the scientific aspects of natural hazards related to El Nino, as well as with socioeconomic aspects of vulnerability and risk management for communities. Scientific aspects of El Nino were discussed along with political, economic, and social issues. There was general agreement on the present difficulty in translating scientific knowledge into prevention-oriented, capacity- building economic and social activities at the local level. Participants also agreed that the gathering of historical data would be important in order to map the possible effects of El Nino in various regions and countries.

The task force is currently focusing on cooperation through information exchange and policy formulation, and will:

Follow-up meetings are currently being organized. In addition, the U.N.'s ReliefWeb - http://www.reliefweb.int - now offers a special page on El Nino actions and background information. For more information, contact the United Nations IDNDR Secretariat, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; (41 22) 798 68 94; fax: (41 22) 733 3141; e-mail: natalie.domeisen@dha.unicc.org

Decade Volume to Be Published

In May 1999, Natural Disaster Management Limited will publish a commemorative volume celebrating the achievements of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction and encouraging the continuation of the goals and ideals of the Decade into the next century.

Titled "Natural Disaster Management," the book will document the united effort of the countries of the world to reduce damage and suffering caused by natural disasters. The volume will be divided into sections covering each element of the disaster cycle. It will be reviewed and approved by a select editorial advisory board and will be written exclusively by disaster prevention professionals in order to share possible solutions to international disaster prevention, reduction, and mitigation problems.

The publishers are currently seeking contributors, editorial advisors, sponsors, co-publishers, and other individuals and organizations interested in contributing to this effort. In addition, they are publishing a quarterly newsletter, "NDM News," to inform authors, subscribers, sponsors, advertisers, and other interested parties about progress in the publication of "Natural Disaster Management." To subscribe, or to obtain more information about this concluding Decade activity, contact Natural Disaster Management Limited, Tudor House, 70a Harwood Road, London, SW6 4PZ, England; tel: +44 171 731 7635; fax: +44 171 731 7645; e-mail: ndm@dial.pipex.com.

FEMA Seeking Nominations for Exemplary Practices in Emergency Management

For the past three years, FEMA has published a "Compendium of Exemplary Practices in Emergency Management," which pays tribute to model policies, procedures, projects, or programs from across the nation, and provides a means for forging new cooperative efforts by encouraging the replication of these exemplary practices. The compendium both describes novel and effective public- and private- sector emergency management initiatives and refers users to knowledgeable individuals for further information on any practice described.

The compendium is distributed throughout the emergency management community. It is available on FEMA's Web site at http://www.fema.gov/library/lib07.htm - or - http://www.fema.gov/pte/partner01.htm.

In addition, 42,000 printed copies of volume II of the compendium have been distributed, and FEMA continues to receive requests for the publication. Volumes I and II are available at no cost by calling the FEMA publications warehouse at (800) 480-2520.

FEMA's search for exemplary practices in emergency management is an ongoing effort. Possible contributors include state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, public interest groups, first responders, large and small private businesses, industries, volunteer organizations, and private citizens, and nominations are welcome at any time. Nominations for volume III of the compendium are currently being solicited and will be accepted through January 1998. For more information or to receive a nomination form, contact Compendium of Exemplary Practices in Emergency Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency, PT-SL Room 614, 500 C Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20472, or see http://www.fema.gov/pte/partner01.htm.

An independent screening panel consisting of representatives from several national emergency management organizations will review all submissions and make final recommendations.

Publication to Support Project Impact

As mentioned in DR#239, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently launched a new program to develop disaster-resistant communities, thus reducing the need to rebuild following disasters. Entitled Project Impact, the new approach involves moving from the current reliance on response and recovery to an emphasis on preparedness and disaster management.

To support this program, FEMA has launched an outreach effort to businesses and communities using a new "Project Impact Guidebook," which offers a formula communities can follow to become disaster resistant. The book contains four chapters that address building partnerships, recognizing hazards and vulnerability, identifying and prioritizing risk reduction activities, and communicating the goals of Project Impact and keeping the initiative moving forward. Copies of the "Project Impact Guidebook" (1997, 48 pp.) are free and can be obtained from the FEMA Document Distribution Center, 8231 Stayton Driver, Jessup, MD 20794; (800) 480-2520 or (202) 646-3484; fax: (301) 497-6378.

For more information on Project Impact, contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Office of Emergency Information and Media Affairs, 500 C Street, S.W., Washington, DC. 22222; (202) 646-4600; e-mail: eipa@fema.gov; WWW: http://www.fema.gov/about/impact.htm.

Three Other Guides from FEMA

*On Hazard Assessment*
To support its Disaster Resistant Community initiative (see the article above), FEMA has also just released the new publication, "Multi-Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment: A Cornerstone of the National Mitigation Strategy" (1997, 418 pp.). This report provides detailed descriptions of atmospheric hazards; landslides, subsidence, and expansive soils; floods and storm surges; droughts; coastal erosion; seismic hazards; volcanic hazards; and wildfires. It also describes technological hazards related to dam failures, fires, hazardous materials, and nuclear materials. For specific natural and technological hazards, the report summarizes the state of scientific and technical knowledge regarding the associated risks. It also introduces FEMA's recently developed risk assessment methodology, HAZUS (for Hazards United States) and describes FEMA's National Mitigation Strategy.

*On Floods*
FEMA has also issued a new guide to educate public officials about their community's flood risks. "Addressing Your Community's Flood Problems: A Guide for Elected Officials" (1997, 40 pp.) describes how floods can affect communities, the role of local officials in dealing with the risk, and steps to take to conduct a successful flood risk reduction program. The guide includes several local success stories.

Finally, FEMA also recently released its "National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Guidelines for Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings" (FEMA Publication No. 273, 1997, 400 pp.), along with its companion "Commentary" (Publication No. 274, 1997, 400 pp.). Using these guidelines, design professionals, building officials, and others concerned about the safety of buildings in earthquakes will have standards to evaluate seismic rehabilitation plans.

Copies of these publication are free and can be obtained from the FEMA Publications Distribution Center, 8231 Stayton Driver, Jessup, MD 20794; (800) 480-2520 or (202) 646-3484; fax: (301) 497-6378.

Florida Creates Showcase Communities

To highlight the multiple programs in the state that make its communities more disaster resistant, Florida has initiated its own Showcase Community Project, through its Department of Community Affairs. Besides supporting and highlighting local efforts at disaster resistance, the project functions like a magnifying glass to focus the efforts of all existing state initiatives on the host community. In addition, the program promotes partnerships with other organizations to make additional resources available to a community, and the state is currently working with both the FEMA and Institute for Business and Home Safety showcase community initiatives (see the articles above).

Currently projects are underway in Broward County and the city of Deerfield Beach, although once tested, the programs and projects will be replicated throughout the state. The program's effectiveness will be monitored and evaluated by researchers from the state's university system.

To support this project and assist local governments in reducing their risks from natural hazards, the state's Department of Community Affairs developed "The Local Mitigation Strategy: A Guidebook for Florida Cities and Counties" (1997, 46 pp.). Further, to address the threat of hurricane-force winds, the state is implementing a Residential Construction Mitigation Program to provide structural mitigation inspections to homeowners, along with advice and guidance on retrofitting their homes. Grants will also be offered to selected homeowners to make needed improvements. Finally, Florida is also taking advantage of the new Flood Mitigation Assistance Program from FEMA to target structures that have been repeatedly flooded for mitigation activities.

For more information on these Florida efforts, contact Dennis Smith, State of Florida, Department of Community Affairs, 2555 Shumard Oak Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32399-2100; e-mail: dennis.smith@dca.state.fl.us. Printed copies of the guidebook are no longer available; however, the hypertext version is available via the Internet at http://www.state.fl.us/comaff/DEM.

Return to Index of Disaster Research Newsletters

Return to Hazards Center Home Page