May 17, 2001


  1. Seeking Information on Natural Hazards Material for Householders
  2. Seeking Information on Artificial Intelligence Tools for Emergency Response and Related Research
  3. Seeking Information on Efforts to Create a Market for Safe Construction
  4. ALNAP Seeking Project Director
  5. Some New Internet Resources
  6. Some Recently Awarded Research Grants
  7. Conferences and Training

The May 2001 issue of the Hazards Center's printed newsletter,
the Natural Hazards Observer, is now available on-line:


Seeking Information on Natural Hazards Material for Householders

I am leading a research effort to locate pamphlets and guidelines currently available to householders that will help them before, during, and/or after any of the following 14 threats. Hard copy material is preferred, however web site material will also be reviewed. My search is global, language is English or French.

  1. Avalanche (snow)
  2. Cold Wave
  3. Drought
  4. Earthquakes
  5. Forest Fires
  6. Fire
  7. Flooding (river)
  8. Hail
  9. Heat Wave
  10. Landslide/Mudslide
  11. Power Outage
  12. Tornado
  13. Torrential Rain
  14. Winter Storms

I am looking for material on each one of these threats or publications that address more than one threat. If you prepare this type of material, or know organizations where I might obtain copies (two) of effective, high-quality pamphlets and guidelines presented in plain, easy-to-use language, your assistance would be most appreciated. Thank you.

Please contact:
John Newton, Ph.D., P.Eng.
John Newton Associates
262 Robert Street
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 2K8
Tel/fax: (416) 929-3621
E-mail: j.newton@utoronto.ca


Seeking Information on Artificial Intelligence
Tools for Emergency Response and Related Research

Dear Disaster Research Readers,

I am Ph.D. student in computer science working on an emergency response system that is based on techniques from the field of knowledge representation and reasoning. In order to propose emergency plans that are appropriate in a given situation, such a system processes a knowledge model of disaster situations and reaction plans by means of automated reasoning methods.

My question is whether you are aware of tools for supporting decision making in emergency situations, that use knowledge representation techniques or other techniques from the field of Artificial Intelligence.

Thank you very much for your help,
Martina Kullmann (LIIA, ENSAIS)
E-mail: martina@liia.u-strasbg.fr


Seeking Information on Efforts to Create a Market for Safe Construction

I have a research project on government efforts to encourage private firms in the building trades to help develop a market for safe construction. I am particularly interested in firms participating as partners in FEMA's Project Impact and firms working through the Blue Sky Foundation and similar nonprofit foundations or organizations. Any suggestions will be appreciated, including references to the literature on private instruments of public policy.

Bill Waugh
Department of Public Administration and Urban Studies
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 651-4592
Fax: (404) 651-1378
E-mail: wwaugh@gsu.edu


ALNAP Seeks Project Director

A consortium of ALNAP (Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action) members (U.N. agencies, NGOs, donors, and academics) is seeking a project director to manage a two-year global study. The aim is to develop a Handbook of Good Practice on Consultation and Participation in Humanitarian Action through action-research case studies focusing on five emergency contexts. The successful candidate will have excellent management skills; knowledge and experience of the humanitarian sector and complex emergencies; proven skills in socioeconomic research; experience of research design with operationally practical objectives; and excellent oral and writing skills. Also desirable: previous publications and a working knowledge of French and/or Spanish.

Applicants linked to academic institutions will not be required to resign their posts.

Note: This is a re-advertisement. Previous applicants need not re-apply.

Additional information can be obtained from Patsy Douglas, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London; e-mail: p.douglas@odi.org.uk; fax: 00 44 (0) 20 7922 0399.


Some New Internet Resources

[Below are some new or updated Internet resources we've discovered. For an extended list of Internet sites dealing with hazards, see http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/sites/sites.html]

The National Weather Service, Office of Hydrology, Hydrological Information Center has posted an on-line survey at this URL to gain feedback on the design of a new Web-based product to assist emergency managers in planning for flooding. The center requests responses by May 25.

The U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) is a cooperative effort of four federal agencies: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DOD), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Together, these agencies support research into many aspects of weather - including meteorologic hazards. Indeed, a priority goal is the improvement of forecasts of hurricane landfall and heavy (potentially flood-inducing) precipitation. This web site provides an overview and details about program structure and ongoing research, as well as an index of upcoming meetings and program reports.

The web site of NOAA's Coastal Services Center (CSC) is entitled "Living on the Coast: Smart Growth Tools on the Internet." One of those tools is the CSC's Community Vulnerability Assessment Methodology (CVAM). Provided on CD-ROM, this tool is designed to aid federal, state, and local coastal resource managers in conducting community- and state-level hazard risk and vulnerability assessments to mitigate potential damage. Having developed the methodology, the CSC is now in the process of creating accompanying training material and programs. To obtain background information, to see an example of how this tool is being used in one location (New Hanover County, North Carolina), or to request the CVAM CD-ROM, see the second URL above. To learn more about the project, interested persons can also contact the NOAA Coastal Services Center, 2234 South Hobson Avenue, Charleston, SC 29405-2413; (843) 740-1200; fax: (843) 740-1224; e-mail: clearinghouse@csc.noaa.gov..

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists, in partnership with NASA, have developed a new extreme-storm hazards map. Created using data gathered by a high-tech, airplane-mounted laser, the map shows critical elevations of the south Atlantic coast that indicate relative vulnerabilities of the coast to storm surge and inundation by hurricanes and extreme storms. The new data provided in the map should help local emergency managers and natural resource officials prepare for storms. The scientists have also developed a new scale that categorizes expected coastal change (erosion and accretion) that occurs during storms. The map and scale are now available on the web site above. In the future, similar maps will be made for the Gulf of Mexico and northeast U.S. coastlines.

The International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate Prediction was established through a cooperative agreement between the NOAA Office of Global Programs and Columbia University. The IRI web site posts the institute's news, upcoming events, and recently released products and publications. It also includes three principal sections:

The Climate Information System Forecasts page, at the second URL above, provides a seasonal climate forecast distilled from a variety of climate prediction tools, and, at the third URL, provides a series of global maps that illustrate the probabilities of seasonal temperature and precipitation anomalies associated with El Nino and La Nina. The user who wants to know, "How will El Nino (or La Nina) affect me?" can go to this page, enter a season, a location, and other information and receive a map that illustrates the probabilities of seasonal temperature and precipitation outcomes associated with El Nino and La Nina events. An in-depth explanation of the maps is included.


Some Recently Awarded Research Grants

[Below are brief descriptions of some recently awarded grants for hazards/ disaster research, all funded by the Center for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CDMHA) 2000-2001 Grants Program. CDMHA is a joint center of Tulane University and the University of South Florida. Its research program focuses on disaster management and mitigation in the Caribbean Basin, disasters and development, interagency and intergovernmental coordination in disaster response, technology and decision science applied to disaster management, and public health issues in disasters. For more information about CDMHA and its research grant program, see: http://www.cdmha.org.

A comprehensive list of recent grant awards is available from the Hazards Center Web site: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/sites/sites.html]

"In the Shadow of the Volcano: Human Health and Community Resilience Following Forced Evacuation." Funding: CDMHA, $139,050, 12 months. Principal Investigators: Graham Tobin, Department of Geography, and Linda Whiteford, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, SOC 107, Tampa, FL 33620-8100; (813) 974-4932; e-mail: gtobin@chuma1.cas.usf.edu or lindaw@chuma1.cas.usf.edu.

This research examines both the impacts of disasters on people's lives, particularly on their health, and the longer-term affects on community stability. The focus is how communities recover from disaster, i.e. their resilience. Based on continuing research near the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador, the investigators will test the effects of evacuation on infectious disease patterns, exposure to volcanic ash, and community resilience.

"Choosing a Paradigm for Disaster Recovery." Funding: CDMHA, $128,054, 12 months. Principal Investigator: William J. Siembieda, Department of City and Regional Planning, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; (805) 756-1315; e-mail: wsiembie@calpoly.edu.

This project examines how community groups choose between a "return to normalcy path" or a "transformative path" wherein they transform their relations with society (donors, government, employer, social groups) in ways that are sustainable. A multinational team of researchers will study nine communities in four countries (Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua) in order to develop a comparative view of community-based decision making under conditions of stress and to help inform the emerging international strategy to include mitigation plans in development programs.

"Disaster Learning, `Poder Convocatorio,' and Coordination in Six Latin American Countries." Funding: CDMHA, $122,586, 12 months. Principal Investigator: Richard S. Olson, Department of Political Science, Florida International University, University Park, DM 480, Miami, FL 33199; (305) 348-6398; e-mail: olsonr@fiu.edu.

One key to more effective national-level disaster response in Latin America and the Caribbean is the ability to coordinate efforts by an increasingly wide variety of organizations: government ministries, external donors, militaries, nongovernmental organizations, and civil society broadly understood. Few, if any, national governments in the region can maintain an emergency management organization capable of responding on its own to a major disaster. Therefore, "poder convocatorio" (convoking authority) is critical if multiorganization and multisector responses to major disasters are to be improved. This project examines changes (or lack thereof) in the "poder convocatorio" of national emergency organizations in six countries struck by disasters in recent years: Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador (the El Nino of 1997-98), the Dominican Republic (Hurricane Georges in 1998), and Honduras and Nicaragua (Hurricane Mitch in 1998).

"Assessing Disaster Vulnerability at the Community Level: A Pilot Research Project with Low-Income Women's Groups in the Dominican Republic and St. Lucia." Funding: CDMHA, $119,918, 12 months. Principal Investigators: Betty Morrow, International Hurricane Center, Florida International University, University Park, Miami, FL 33199; (305) 348-1607; e-mail: morrowb@fiu.edu; and Elaine Enarson, Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Women's Studies and Services, Metropolitan State College, Denver, Colorado (contact: 33174 Bergen Mountain Road, Evergreen, CO 80439; (303) 670-1834; fax: (303) 679-0938; e-mail: enarson@uswest.net).

This project investigates how development patterns affect disaster vulnerability of women and men in the Caribbean, with a special focus on low-income women and women maintaining households. Responding to the call for more participatory, community-based, and gender-focused disaster social science, it builds on local community knowledge. The project forges a partnership between outside researchers knowledgeable about gender, development, and disasters and local women knowledgeable about specific political-economic and social conditions affecting women's vulnerability and the utilization of this knowledge to effect social change. The investigators will work with consultants in the Dominican Republic and St. Lucia to develop and pilot an action research model involving four grassroots women's organizations in the actual conduct of research and development of guidelines for engaging low-income women in the assessment of local capacity and vulnerability.

"The Impact of Occupational Stress and Burnout on Attrition in Deployed and Non-Deployed Army Medical Personnel." Funding: CDMHA, $90,570, 12 months. Principal Investigator: Candace Burns, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, MDC 22, Tampa, FL 33612-4766; (813) 974-9160; e-mail: cburns@hsc.usf.edu.

This study explores the relationship among occupational stress, compassion fatigue, burnout, and coping in U.S. military medical personnel who leave the military (attrition) after a "mission other than war" (MOTW) deployment - i.e. disaster/humanitarian/peacekeeping operations - versus those who stay (retain). Retention of highly qualified, skilled health care providers in the military is a major challenge today. This research hypothesizes that: 1) Characteristics of military medical personnel - specifically deployment status and military grade - will directly affect the degree of burnout, compassion fatigue, and occupational stress and will indirectly affect decisions to stay or leave the service; 2) Burnout, compassion fatigue, and occupational stress will directly affect the decision to stay or leave the service; and 3) Coping strategies, both positive and negative, will moderate the relationship hypothesized above. The investigator will survey deployed and nondeployed personnel who have stayed or left the service to test


Conferences and Training

[Below are some recent announcements received by the Natural Hazards Center. A comprehensive list of upcoming hazards-related meetings and training is available from our World Wide Web site: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/conf.html]

Short Course on Risk Assessment and Management. Offered by: Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems and the Systems Engineering Department, University of Virginia. Charlottesville, Virginia: June 4-6, 2001. Contact: Sharon Davis, Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400736, Charlottesville, VA 22904; (804) 924-0960; fax: (804) 924-0865

Natural Disasters Roundtable - "Natural Disasters and Energy Policy." Host: National Academy of Sciences. Washington, D.C.: June 12, 2001. Contact: Patricia Jones Kershaw, Natural Disasters Roundtable, National Academies, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418; (202) 334-1964; fax: (202) 334-1961; e-mail: pkershaw@nas.edu; WWW: http://national-academies.org/naturaldisasters.

International Benchmark Workshop of the CUREE-Caltech Woodframe [Seismic Hazards] Project. San Diego, California: June 15, 2001. To register, e-mail name, title, affiliation, and mailing and e-mail addresses to Dr. Bryan Folz, Workshop Organizer, bfolz@ucsd.edu. Also see: http://www.curee.org.

Disaster Resistant California: Reducing Risks Through Partnerships. Host: State of California, Governor's Office of Emergency Services. Sacramento, California: June 18-20, 2001. This is a statewide conference promoting partnerships among the public and private sectors to reduce the state's vulnerability to natural disasters. For information and registration, see: http://drc.abag.ca.gov.

International Conference on Seismic Risk Reduction in the Caribbean Region. Santiago, Dominican Republic: July 24-27, 2001. Contact: CODIA, Regional Norte, Avenida Estrelle Sadhala, Apartado Postal 845, Santiago, Dominican Republic; tel: (809) 582-4992; fax: (809) 587-6077; e-mail: codia.santiago@codetel.net.do or j.lockhart@codetel.net.do.

Disaster Mental Health Institute (DMHI) Fourth Annual Conference: "International Psychosocial Responses to Disaster and Humanitarian Emergencies." Rapid City, South Dakota: August 19-21, 2001. Contact: Disaster Mental Health Institute, University of South Dakota - SDU 116, 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069-2390; (605) 677-6575 or 1-800-522-9684; fax: (605) 677-6604; e-mail: dmhi@usd.edu; WWW: http://www.usd.edu/dmhi/.

Floodplain Management in Ohio - Statewide Conference 2001. Sponsors: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Floodplain Management Association, and Federal Emergency Management Agency. Columbus, Ohio: August 29-30, 2001. Contact: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water - Floodplain Management Program; (614) 265-6750; e-mail: alicia.silverio@dnr.state.oh.us.

The Risk Communication Challenge. Offered by: Harvard School of Public Health. Brussels, Belgium: September 4-6, 2001. Contact: Center for Continuing Professional Education, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, CCPE-Department A, Boston, MA 02115-6096; (617) 432- 1171; fax: (617) 432-1969; e-mail: contedu@hsph.harvard.edu; WWW: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ccpe.

2001 American Public Works Association (APWA) International Congress and Exposition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: September 9-12, 2001. Includes several sessions on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Contact: APWA, 2345 Grand Boulevard, Suite 500, Kansas City, MO 64108- 2641; (816) 472-6100; fax: (816) 472-1610; e-mail: congress@apwa.net; WWW: http://www.apwa.net/Meetings/Congress/2001.

Natural Disasters Roundtable - "Climate Variability and Natural Disasters." Host: National Academy of Sciences. Washington, D.C.: October 25, 2001. Contact: Patricia Jones Kershaw, Natural Disasters Roundtable, National Academies, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418; (202) 334-1964; fax: (202) 334-1961; e-mail: pkershaw@nas.edu; WWW: http://national-academies.org/naturaldisasters.

Stream Corridor Restoration for Floodplain Management. Sponsors: Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Tampa, Florida: October 29-30, 2001. Contact: ASFPM, 2809 Fish Hatchery Road, Suite 204, Madison, WI 53713; (608) 274-0123; e-mail: asfpm@floods.org; WWW: http://www.floods.org.

"A 2001 Collaborative Odyssey": Annual Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) Conference. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: November 2-5, 2001. State and local emergency managers and representatives from voluntary agencies are encouraged to attend. See: http://www.okvoad.org; or contact: Linda Soos-Davis, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, P.O. Box 53365, Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3365; (405) 521-2481; fax: (405) 522-0851; e-mail: mail@okvoad.org.

National Floodproofing Conference II. Sponsors: Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) and others. Tampa, Florida: March 25-28, 2002. Contact Diane Brown Watson, ASFPM, 2809 Fish Hatchery Road, Suite 204, Madison, WI 53713; (608) 274-0123; fax: (608) 274-0696; e-mail: asfpm@floods.org; WWW: http://www.floods.org.

International Conference on Slope Instability - Planning and Management. Isle of Wight, U.K.: May 20-23, 2002. Contact: Conference Office, Instability - Planning and Management 2002, Centre for the Coastal Environment, Dudley Road, Ventnor, Isle of Wight PO38 1EJ, U.K.; tel: +44 (0) 1983 856896; fax: +44 (0) 1983 855859; e-mail: conference@iwight.gov.uk; WWW: http://www.coastalwight.gov.uk.

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