The Disaster Research (DR) electronic newsletter is a moderated e-mail newsletter published by the Natural Hazards Center. DR comes out approximately twice monthly and comprises some of the news items that appear in center's printed newsletter, the Natural Hazards Observer, as well as other timely articles. In addition, it contains queries and messages from DR's many subscribers. DR is distributed worldwide via the Internet to over 2,700 people.
Disaster Research 394 September 12, 2003


September 12, 2003


  1. Virtual Earthquake Engineering Laboratory
  2. National Science Foundation Proposals
  3. Act Now for a Free Disaster Resource Guide
  4. Lifeline Project Suggestions Wanted!
  5. New Electronic Newsletter
  6. Revised Good Practice Code for Humanitarian Staff Support
  7. Social Vulnerability, Sustainable Livelihoods, and Disasters
  8. Recently Awarded Grants
  9. Comments Wanted on Warning Capability Document
  10. Advanced Institute on Vulnerability to Global Environmental Change
  11. Call for Papers
  12. Call for Participants
  13. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
  14. Some New Web Resources
  15. Conferences and Training

1) Virtual Earthquake Engineering Laboratory

A series of virtual laboratory (VL) experiments on topics related to earthquake engineering have been made available on the Internet by the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) and the Smart Structures Technology Laboratory at the University of Illinois. Four experiments are available on-line, and in each scenario users can select a variety of test parameters.

The VL experiments may be found at (select the education button); or MCEER may be contacted directly at Red Jacket Quadrangle, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo NY, 14261; (716) 645-3391; e-mail:

2) National Science Foundation Proposals

The Infrastructure Systems Management and Hazard Response program within the Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems at the National Science Foundation (NSF), announces a new deadline for the submission of unsolicited proposals. The revised deadline of December 1, 2003, replaces all previous deadlines.

The program has traditionally supported social science and multidisciplinary research on hazards and disasters. In addition to this single unsolicited deadline, solicitations for multidisciplinary proposals on hazards and disasters will be held in the spring of 2004.

For more details, contact Dennis Wenger, NSF, Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 545, Arlington, VA 22230; (703) 292-7014; e-mail:

3) Act Now for a Free Disaster Resource Guide

The publishers of the "8th Annual Disaster Resource Guide" will supply free copies of this business continuity and disaster response publication for those working in the crisis, risk management, or business continuity fields who have mailing addresses in the U.S.

The guide has six categories: planning, human concerns, information technology, telecommunications, facility issues, and crisis communications and response. There are also listings of companies and non-profit organizations.

To receive a free copy of the guide, you must sign up at before September 14, 2003. For additional details, contact Kathy Rainey, Disaster Resource Guide, P.O. Box 15243, Santa Ana, CA 92735; (714) 558-8940; e-mail:

4) Lifeline Project Suggestions Wanted!

The American Lifelines Alliance (ALA) invites topics for potential projects to improve current hazard management practices for both natural and human-made hazards in the lifelines industry. ALA is in the process of identifying projects that can be funded in FY 2004 (October 1, 2003, to September 30, 2004).

Potential projects should be related to one of the following topics: improvement of existing guidelines and standards for lifeline systems and components, new guidelines based on past successful industry practices, focused studies that provide information necessary to assess lifeline systems to various hazards, integrated approaches for assessing lifeline system performance to multiple hazards, and assisting decision makers in the public and private sectors to assess the performance of lifeline systems and identify appropriate ways to improve performance.

ALA requests a brief (not more than two pages) description of the project that identifies the need for the project, its key aspects, and the approximate level of effort envisioned to carry it out (in terms of duration, total staff-hours, or approximate cost). Those responding are reminded that ALA contracting requirements generally require competitive bids for new projects funded entirely through ALA.

Send comments or suggestions to Joe Steller, ALA, c/o National Institute of Building Sciences, 1090 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005; (202) 289-7800 e-mail:;

5) New Electronic Newsletter

The International Red Cross/Red Crescent Center on Climate Change and Disaster Preparedness, the United Nations Development Program, and the Inter-agency Secretariat of the Strategy for Disaster Reduction announce the inaugural edition of "DR+CC infolink," an initiative to stimulate linkages and information exchange between the disaster reduction and climate change communities.

The main focus of the DR+CC infolink is the intersection of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, to promote disaster risk reduction as an adaptation strategy, and to clarify the role of climate change in disaster risk management. DR+CC infolink will provide information on key issues, upcoming events, publications and linkages with other like-minded organizations and individuals.

The newsletter will be published every three to four months. The editors would greatly appreciate contributions and comments about content or outreach. To contact the editorial staff, or to subscribe to the newsletter e-mail:

6) Revised Good Practice Code for Humanitarian Staff Support

"People In Aid," a network of over 50 relief, development, and advocacy agencies, has launched a revised code of good practice in the management and support of aid personnel to help improve the quality of the assistance provided by international and host country staff to communities affected by poverty and disaster.

Building on previous guidelines, the code links aims and indicators in seven areas: health, safety and security; learning, training and development, recruitment and selection, consultation and communication, support, management and leadership, staff policies and practices, and human resources strategy.

Along with the revised code, People In Aid offers the aid community a range of training, research and information on topics from psychological support to staff benefits, security to HIV/AIDS. The full code and additional information is available from People In Aid, Regent's Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL UK; tel: +44 (0)20 7520 2548; e-mail:;

7) Social Vulnerability, Sustainable Livelihoods, and Disasters

A new and timely report has just been released by the Benfield Hazard Research Center. Titled "Social Vulnerability, Sustainable Livelihoods and Disasters" the report explores the links between standard methods of social vulnerability analysis used by disaster managers and the sustainable livelihoods approach being promoted in development practice. It includes a general discussion, case studies of four vulnerability analysis methods, and a resource list.

The report is available from the Benfield Hazard Research Center, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT UK; tel: +44 (0)20 7679 3637; (please cut and paste complete link).

8) Recently Awarded Grants

Designing Educational Opportunities for the Hazard Manager of the 21st Century. Funding: National Science Foundation, $59,988, 12 months. Principal Investigators: Deborah S. Thomas and Dennis S. Mileti, Department of Geography, 172 UCD, University of Colorado–Denver, Denver, CO 80217-3364; (303) 556-6370; e-mail:

Development of Remote Sensing Assisted Natural and Technological Hazards Decision Support Systems. Funding: National Aeronautic and Space Administration, $2.09 million, 48 months. Principal Investigators: J.R. Jensen, D.J. Cowen, S.L. Cutter, M.E. Hodgson, Y. Cheng, B. Davis, J. Gladden, and T.E. Slonecker. For information about this project, contact Susan L. Cutter, Hazards Research Laboratory, Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208; (803) 777-5236; fax: (803) 777-4972; e-mail:

Prevalence and Preparedness for Conjoint Natural and Technological Disasters. Funding: National Science Foun-dation, $210,008, 36 months. Principal Investigator: Laura J. Steinberg, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 206 Blessey Hall, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 70118; (504) 862-3254; e-mail:

Disaster Prevention and Mitigation: Protecting the Nation's Critical Infrastructure from Natural, Technological, and Deliberate Disaster. Funding: National Science Foundation, $79,404, 12 months. Principal Investigator: Charles B. Perrow, Department of Sociology, 140 Pros, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520; (203) 432-3231; e-mail:

9) Comments Wanted on Warning Capability Document

In May 2003 the Partnership for Public Warning (PPW) issued "A National Strategy for Integrated Public Warning Policy and Capability," to help establish a vision and a road map for improving America's alert and warning capabilities.

PPW's vision is that citizens at risk from terrorism, natural disasters, and accidents will receive timely and effective warnings regardless of where they are, the time of day, or the language they speak. The road map identifies the key steps that are necessary to achieve the vision.

The Partnership has now developed a proposed implementation plan to create a national consensus on an all-hazard alert and warning capability. Public comments are now invited on this proposed implementation plan. Comments are due to PPW by October 3, 2003. Please see for complete details. PPW may be contacted at 7515 Colshire Drive, Mail Stop N655, McLean, VA 22102; (703) 883-2745; e-mail:

10) Advanced Institute on Vulnerability to Global Environmental Change

Systems for Analysis Research and Training (START), in partnership with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and with the financial support of the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, invites applications to participate in an "Advanced Institute on Vulnerability to Global Environmental Change." The Institute will have three components: a three-week long seminar to be held May 3-21, 2004, at IIASA in Laxenburg, Austria; one-year research grants for institute fellows; and a culminating workshop that will follow completion of the research.

Fellows will focus on the theoretical foundations and methods of vulnerability analysis, evaluate and derive lessions from case studies, and learn selected tools with the goal of building a base of knowledge and skills with which to conduct research on vulnerability.

All application materials must be received by October 15, 2003. More information and complete institute details are available from the International START Secretariat, 2000 Florida Avenue, N.W., Suite 200, Washington DC 20009; (202) 462-2213;

11) Call for Papers

The Southwestern Sociological Association is soliciting papers for the 2004 Annual Meeting: The Social Sciences as an Instrument of Policy Formation, to be held in March 2004. Patricia Stukes is organizing a special session on disaster and is looking for abstracts and paper submissions. General information about the meeting is available at; contact Patricia Stukes directly if you have questions or submissions for the disaster session at Texas Woman's University/FEMA, 2125 Wellington Drive, Denton, TX 76209; (940) 390-4163; e-mail:

12) Call for Participants

The Church World Service Emergency Response Program is seeking speakers, panelists, workshop leaders, and other participants to present research and case studies, introduce new concepts and approaches, and generate discussion related to domestic disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery for the first Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry.

The objective of the forum is to bring together experienced volunteers and professionals in disaster ministries from the interfaith community. The forum will be held in Princeton, New Jersey, on March 27-31, 2004.

Organizers are inviting the hazards and disasters community to submit program proposals via a special form. To request a form or more information, contact Bob Arnold, Church World Service Emergency Response Program, 7th Floor, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115; (212) 870-2061; e-mail:;

13) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

[Below are a few recent job vacancies that are related to some of the myriad activities in which DR readers engage. Please contact the organizations directly for more information.]

GIS Analyst

The Pacific Disaster Center, Maui, Hawaii, is searching for a GIS analyst to be responsible for the development, evaluation and implementation of methods for applying GIS technology and applications. Requirements include experience with raster and vector data in a relational database environment, experience in database design and the logical structuring of geospatial data and information, experience with COTS relational databases and spatial database support software, and other geospatial customization languages. Additionally, the candidate is required to have experience working with metadata for geospatial data in the context of federal international standards. Other duties include leading projects involving the use of multi-source imagery and spatial data including access, data analysis, application development and transfer to a user environment.

The candidate will also be contributing to briefings and generating requirements documentation. The candidate must have experience with and a working knowledge of spatial data and databases, web-based GIS mapping tools (ARC/INFO, ArcView, ARCIMS and ARC SDE), visualization routines and programming experience in Visual Basic. Expertise with relational databases, such as Oracle, Sybase, or Informix is also required.

A master's degree and five years of experience or a bachelors degree and seven years experience is required, with a degree in a related discipline, and a minimum of three years of practical experience in GIS application development and implementation, remote sensing and programming script development.

For more information or to submit an application, contact Michele R. Fowler, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, TASC;(703) 633-8300 ext.4780; e-mail:

NOAA Internships

The Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) announces several open assistantships with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). ECO is actively recruiting qualified candidates for their Pacific Islands Technical Assistant and Coral Management Assistant programs. All ECO/NOAA positions are at least one-year terms with competitive pay and benefits. This year ECO will place students at NOAA sites across the U.S. as well as at facilities in Guam, American Samoa, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Job descriptions are available at (click on the "jobs" link). Information is also available from Keri Jones, ECO, 179 South Street, Boston, MA 02111; (617) 426-4783 x155; e-mail:

14) Some New Web Resources

[Below are some new or updated Internet resources we've discovered. For an extensive list of useful Internet sites dealing with hazards, see]
General information about THORPEX: a Global Atmospheric Research Program, an international research program to accelerate improvements in the accuracy of 1 to 14 day weather forecasts for the benefit of society and the economy, is found on this web site.
Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, the National Biological Information Infrastructure, U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, have launched an on-line "biocomplexity thesaurus."
The New Yorker Magazine has archived the series of articles that it ran in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
This web site houses on-line information from a network of seismometers throughout Britain monitors seismic activity and provides the database for research and seismic hazard assessment.
Using newly collected data and evolving theories of earthquake occurrence, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other scientists now conclude that there is a 62% probability of at least one magnitude 6.7 or greater quake, capable of causing widespread damage, striking somewhere in the San Francisco Bay region before 2032. This web site presents a variety of resources, fact sheets, and interactive activities about this subject.
The U.S. Geological Survey has recently updated its Global Earthquakes page on the Earthquake Hazards program web site. Maps of both global and U.S. earthquakes include new hemisphere views and regional maps to supplement standard web-based maps.
This site profiles examples of future National Weather Service forecast products to enable communities to better prepare for potential flood conditions.
The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has released an "Asia-Pacific Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas" to provide a dynamic geospatial framework through which information may be accessed and viewed by the disaster management and humanitarian assistance communities. An objective of the atlas is to provide emergency managers and decision makers with greater awareness of the risks of natural hazards in their area of concern.
The Center for State Homeland Security is a unique national resource dedicated to supporting state and local governments carry out their crucial role in homeland security while supporting the evolution of a national strategy across all levels of government and the private sector.
The capital area chapter of Red Cross Florida is working to create a national resource library of disaster mitigation initiatives undertaken by community-based organizations. Visit this section of their web site to tell your story and see what others are doing.

15) 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:]

The National Association of Hispanic Firefighters 2003 Training Convention. Sponsors: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Bureau of Land Management, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Firefighters, and the International Fire Service Training Administration. Denver, Colorado: September 24-28, 2003. The goal of this convention is to provide insight into legislative issues, networking opportunities, skill improvement, and discussion of current fire-related issues. Information is available from Dave Quintana, Denver Fire Department Station 15, Denver, CO; (303) 331-4015;

4th Annual International Disaster and Emergency Readiness Forum (IDER). Sponsors: United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), European Commission, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Training and Simulation Association. London, England: October 14-15, 2003. The threats of global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction lead to increasing concern about national and international security. This comes at a time when there seems to be an increase in natural and other disasters. This conference brings together professional disaster and emergency managers from many parts of the world and sectors, with a focus on case studies, workshops, and country briefings to ascertain how these threats are being addressed around the world. Complete information is available from Simon Langdon, Insight Consulting Ltd., Churchfield House, 5 The Quintet, Churchfield Road, Walton-on Thames, Surey KT12 2TZ UK; tel:+44 1932 241000; e-mail:;

Terrain Data: Applications and Visualization – Making the Connection. Sponsors: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Geological Survey. North Charleston, South Carolina: October 27-30, 2003. The conference combines general sessions on homeland security, a wide variety of disaster response technologies, and more. Conference information and registration is available from CONDOR registration services, P.O. Box 17276, Huntsville, AL 35810; (256) 852-4490;

Canadian Conference on Counter-Terrorism and Public Health (CPHA). Sponsor: Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Health Canada, and the Canadian Public Health Association. Toronto, Ontario: October 29-November 1, 2003. This conference will provide a cross-jurisdictional open forum for the community to share research and best practices on emergency planning, preparedness, responses, and recovery associated with chemical, biological, radio-nuclear, and explosive terrorism, including the psycho-social aspects of these events. Registration information is available from CPHA, Conference Department, 400-2565 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R1; (613) 725-9826;

Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Conference: Stay the Course. Sponsor: U.S. EPA Region III. Norfolk, Virginia: November 16-19, 2003. This conference will focus on training, networking, and continuing education for a variety of emergency management issues. Conference information is available from Katrina Harris, 2003 Conference, c/o General Physics Corporation, 500 Edgewood Road, Suite 110, Edgewood MD 21040;(800) 364-7974;

4th National Seismic Conference on Bridges and Highways. Sponsor: Federal Highway Administration and Tennessee Department of Transportation. Memphis, Tennessee: February 9-11, 2004. This conference is a forum for information exchange about current national and regional practices and research for seismic-resistant design and retrofit of new and existing bridges and highway systems in all seismic zones. It will focus on advances in engineering and technology that provide increased seismic safety of highway bridges, other highway structures, and highway systems in the new millennium. For registration information and conference details, contact Wendy Pickering, (217) 333-2880; e-mail:;

Asia Conference on Earthquake Engineering. Sponsor: Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, Inc. (ASEP). Manila, Philippines: March 5-6, 2004. This conference aims to provide a venue for dialogue and cooperation among scientists, engineers, researchers, and planners addressing the issues of earthquake engineering practice and research, and seismic hazards and loss mitigation in "earthquake countries", from both highly and moderately seismic regions in Asia. Abstracts are due by September 22, 2003 and must be e-mailed to: Conference information may be obtained from ACEE 2004 Secretariat - ASEP Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, Inc. Unit 713 Future Point Plaza Condominium, Panay Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines; tel: +632 4118603; e-mail:

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