Poster Session Abstracts

Muritala Adegoke, Morgan State University
Génesis Álvarez Rosario, University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras
Paula Buchanan, Jacksonville State University
Lilian Bui, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Miriam Commodore-Mensah, University of Nebraska Omaha
Sahar Derakhshan, University of South Carolina
Isaiah Higgs, East Carolina University
Gillian Maris Jones, University of Pennsylvania
Julian Jones, Tuskegee University
Rashon Lane, University of California, San Francisco
Ashley J. Méndez-Heavilin, University of Puerto Rico—Rio Piedras
Covel McDermot, University of Delaware
Karen Montes-Berríos, University of Delaware
Farah Nibbs, State University of New York
Danielle Nicholson, Florida A&M University
Christina Kaululani Sun, University of Washington
Mehari Tesfay, University of Washington
Morolake Omoya, University of California, Los Angeles
Olivia Vilá, North Carolina State University

SURGE Scholars Experience: Post-Disaster Research and Service in the U.S. Virgin Islands

The Minority Scholars from Underrepresented Groups in Engineering and the Social Sciences (SURGE) reconnaissance mission is built on a holistic service-learning model. Though not connected to one classroom experience, the mission is structured to provide minority graduate students with meaningful, real-world engagement, which is community-centric. In 2018, the SURGE scholars visited St. Thomas and St. John of the U.S. Virgin Islands to explore the effects of the 2017 hurricane season on the natural, built, and human environments. In 2019, the SURGE Scholars split into four groups and worked on: (1) a food security project in St. Thomas; (2) the All Hands and Hearts rebuilding project in St. John; (3) an infrastructure data mapping project in St. Thomas with the University of the Virgin Islands; and (4) a heritage research data collection project in collaboration with the University of South Florida. This poster highlights the activities and partnerships developed during the SURGE scholars’ reconnaissance field study experience.

Emmanuel Agbo, University College London

Social Media: Strength or Mirage for Emergency and Disaster Information Dissemination? A Nigerian Case Study

Mass media exist as the official and organized channels for generating and coordinating disaster information in Nigeria. Mass media also serves as an information sharing media for emergency operation centers, emergency broadcasting systems, and frontline emergency responders in communicating early warning and emergency information to rural communities in Nigeria. While this disaster information structure exists, its effectiveness at generating immediate, timely, and sustainable emergency information at the face of chaos from the dynamics and complexity associated with the occurrences of natural disasters has been in doubt, hence the call for a more formidable emergency and disaster communication channel. 

Use of social media for disaster information dissemination as evident in notable disaster events, among which include the 2017 Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, shows a more formidable opportunity and better possibility to interact and engage with wider audience during disaster events. 

While social media for disaster information dissemination gains wider prominence among disaster practitioners, the knowledge of its stance in Nigeria and most African countries remains unclear. Evidence points to dearth’s of literatures on social media use for emergency response and management in Africa. This research provides an evaluation of the status of its implementation and highlights its stance in Nigeria disaster information management and disaster risk reduction.

Abdulhadi Al Ruwaithi, University of Delaware
Joanne Nigg, University of Delaware

A Methodology for Estimating Flood Risk: A Case Study of Long-Term Care Facilities

This study introduces a new methodology to calculate the risk of floods affecting long-term care facilities, giving communities or facility managers a new usable tool to assess the consequences of flooding. A modeling equation [Risk = Hazard * (Vulnerability – Resource)] was tailored to estimate the flood risk associated with locations of nursing homes in Baltimore as a case study. The relevant variables were spatially analyzed, and maps were produced to illustrate the features of the study setting and the spatial risk related to floods. Driven by the equation model, nursing homes were categorized into different risk levels (low, medium, high) based on the floodplain (hazard), conditions within the nursing homes and their residents (vulnerability), and distance to the nearest hospital (resource). Out of 28 nursing homes in Baltimore included in this study, four (14.3 percent) were classified into the low-risk level, 20 (70.4 percent) were classified into the medium-risk level, and four nursing homes (14.3 percent) were classified into the high-risk level. This new methodology could be utilized as a useful tool for a quick spatial risk analysis that is conducted by any healthcare institute. It could be also tailored for estimating the flood risk affecting other organizations and establishments outside the healthcare realm. However, the application of this methodology is limited to the spatial flood risk analysis, which means a subsequent analysis for managerial aspects is needed as a complementary evaluation for the capabilities and vulnerabilities within the studied institutions. Further research is also needed to refine the current methodology and explore its applications for organizations in different industrial systems.

Gonzalo Bacigalupe, CIGIDEN
Javier Velasco, CIGIDEN

Why Crisis Platforms Fail Citizen Participation: Text Mining is Not Crowdsourcing

Sustainable disaster risk reduction requires meaningful participation. After a systematic review of crisis platforms (n=111) from 13 countries, we conclude that participation in crisis platforms has been implemented superficially, often limited to report collection. Individuals are prepared for more complex tasks than reporting facts: improvised digital volunteers have the capacity to classify and rate documents, providing context metadata computer platforms cannot generate alone. Communities of volunteers can help identify hoaxes and rumors and understand what information is most relevant in a given moment. Sustainable participation requires a sense of ownership and a sense of community, of being part of a larger effort with others. Virtual communities and multi-level crowdsourcing have shown potential for meaningful participation in the context of disasters. We propose a public-oriented crisis platform that relies on citizen participation to train an artificial intelligence system. The platform allows members to access increasingly complex levels of participation, helping to process information, while working in a socially-oriented interface that allows for discussing topics and befriending other members.

DeeDee Bennett, University of Nebraska Omaha
Hans Louis-Charles, University of Nebraska Omaha
Terri Norton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lori Peek, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Nnenia Campbell, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Norma Anderson, Bill Anderson Fund
Jenniffer Santos-Hernandez, University of Puerto Rico—Rio Piedras

NSF INCLUDES: Minority SURGE Capacity in Disasters

The Minority Scholars from Underrepresented Groups in Engineering and the Social Sciences (SURGE) Capacity in Disasters pilot project focuses on the inclusion of minority scholars from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and social science fields to solve complex problems faced in disasters. SURGE, which is a National Science Foundation-INCLUDES project, takes an interdisciplinary service-learning approach and is designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines who are interested in hazards mitigation and disaster research. Increasing the involvement of qualified minorities will help reduce broader vulnerability concerns in marginalized communities and help advance scholarship through increasing diversity of thought, perspective, and problem-solving capabilities. SURGE creates a new and replicable model that addresses the diversity concerns in both STEM and disaster fields. Through the utilization of workshops, post disaster reconnaissance experiences, and a multifaceted mentorship program, SURGE will help contribute to resilience efforts in communities across the nation. This project will be of interest to policymakers, educators, and the general public.

For more information, visit: 

Brittany Brand, Boise State University
Michael Lindell, University of Washington
Alexa Dietrich, Social Science Research Council

Assessing the Influence of Cultural Variables, Perceptions, and Earthquake Hazard Information on Household Emergency Preparedness in the Portland, Oregon, Metro Area

This project assesses the effect of earthquake hazard information on household emergency preparedness and the influence of local and cultural variables on perceptions and preparedness actions. Our research is based in the Protective Action Decision Model (PADM), which integrates approaches in social influence, persuasion, behavioral decision making, and attitude-behavior relationships to identify the phases though which people typically pass in the process of taking protective action. We explore the relationships between PADM variables and information seeking behavior through a random sampled, geocoded questionnaire (comparison group) that addresses the principal constructs of PADM. Our approach is unique in that we provide participants the opportunity to seek additional information and respond to the information through post-tests. Second, we are testing the efficacy of interventions, developed using active-learning techniques and goal-setting strategies, to engage participants in a way that facilitates personalization of risk, positive attitudes toward protective action, and a plan to take protective action (intervention group). The intervention also allows us to collect qualitative data on the factors that influence protective action intentions. Pre- and post-test questionnaires, identical to the comparison group questionnaires, allow us to compare the two groups and assess the efficacy of the intervention. Finally, we investigate the influence of cultural factors by working with the Latino population in our target area (Portland, Oregon) using the same materials and approach listed above, but provided in Spanish.

Jessica Brugh, University of South Carolina
Rachel Reeves, University of South Carolina
Susan Cutter, University of South Carolina

Scholarship, Research, and Development at the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute

The Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute (HVRI) at the University of South Carolina is an interdisciplinary research and training center focused on the development of theory, data, metrics, methods, applications, and geospatial analytical tools for understanding hazard vulnerability and resiliency science. HVRI facilitates local, state, and federal government efforts to improve emergency preparedness, planning, response, and disaster resilience through its outreach activities, including technical assistance to and translational products for practitioner communities. Our signature products include SHELDUS, SoVI®, and BRIC. Current HVRI projects include:

• Partnering with South Carolina Emergency Management Division to analyze past mitigation actions across the state and estimate impacts of dam failures to people and infrastructure

• Supporting field research to monitor natural versus anthropogenic beach-dune recovery following Hurricane Matthew on Isle of Palms, South Carolina

• Updating SHELDUS, SoVI®, and BRIC to incorporate more recent census and hazard loss data

• Statistical analysis of demographic shifts and natural hazard losses in the United States from 2000-2015

• Supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) risk index project through social vulnerability mapping at the census tract level for the United States

• Partnering with University of South Carolina's Center for GIS and Remote Sensing and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) to secure an International Center of Excellence on Big Earth Data for Coastal Zone and Disasters as part of the Digital Belt and Road (DBAR) program.

HVRI also houses the International Center of Excellence on Vulnerability and Resilience Metrics (ICoE-VaRM), part of the ICSU/UNISDR Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) program.

Paul Chakalian, Arizona State University
Liza Kurtz, Arizona State University
David Hondula, Arizona State University

Understanding Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity to Large-Scale Power Failure

The risk of U.S. electrical grid failure is growing due to increasing physical and cyber threats, rising demand, aging infrastructure, and a warming climate. Despite this, there is currently a dearth of research into why or how U.S. households are vulnerable to power failure hazards. We conducted 42 door-to-door interviews with residents of central Florida on their experiences with blackouts caused by Hurricane Irma. Our sample of households represented a range of socioeconomic statuses, genders, ages, abilities, and places of birth. We used a novel mixed-methods approach in our study combining semi-structured interviews with close-ended questions and a psychometric survey to investigate how blackout effects and access to these resources differed by demographics. We identified six major themes in our analysis: financial, social, knowledge, hazards, mobility, and consumables. Residents relied on material, social, and intellectual resources to mitigate and recover from the hazard. Residents with fewer of these resources were less successful in doing so. Early results show that respondents who reported higher levels of stress after the storm and lower levels of agency and pathways thinking were of lower socioeconomic status. Qualitatively these households were also more likely to suffer worse effects and struggle more in recovery. Hazards research is increasingly interested in multi-hazard events, particularly cascading disasters involving critical infrastructure such as the electrical grid. This work is giving us a better understanding of how blackouts specifically affect U.S. residents and the precise mechanisms that create different outcomes for more and less vulnerable households.

Ray Chang, Oklahoma State University
Yi-En Tso, Soochow University
Chih-Hao Lin, National Cheng Kung University

The Disaster Management System in Taiwan: Case Studies, Qualitative Interviews, and Analyses

Four disasters have struck Taiwan over the past three years. In the first, propylene pipelines broke beneath the downtown area of Kaohsiung City around midnight on July 31, 2014, eventually killing 32 people and injuring more than 300. In the second disaster in Taipei City, an airplane crashed into a river outside of the downtown area in February 2015, causing 43 casualties. In the third during the summer of 2015, a powdery substance at an outdoor party, that had attracted thousands of teenagers, caught fire and burned more than 500 participants, overwhelming the capacity of local emergency response. An earthquake that occurred at the beginning of 2016 was the fourth disaster, killing more than a hundred people when a high-rise building collapsed, creating a nightmare for those who woke in the early morning.  

This poster will discuss the four disasters that struck Taiwan over the past three years. Researchers have conducted multiple case studies, conducted 30 qualitative interviews with disaster responders from these disasters, and have analyzed their interview transcriptions. Results from both case studies and interviews demonstrate the need to have a response system that can incorporate people of different organizations and backgrounds. These results and suggestions will collectively shape the Taiwanese national disaster management system in the near future.

Rachel Chiquoine, University of Delaware

When and Where: Investigating Travel Decisions During the Response to a Widespread Anthrax Release

In the event of a large-scale biological outbreak, the public may need to receive medical countermeasures to protect against exposure. Points of Dispensing (PODs) is a strategy that requires the public to pick up medicine at predetermined locations. The majority of POD planning and exercises focus on site location, layout, and staffing, but implicitly assume uniform and unrealistic behaviors on the part of the public. In reality, we have only vague ideas of how people would behave during this type of public health emergency. The purpose of this research is to investigate the travel decisions that the public would make during such an event, including if they would go to pick up medicine, at which POD location, and during what time of day. This poster presents preliminary findings of the public’s stated preferences during a hypothetical aerosolized anthrax release in Wilmington, Delaware. The survey also investigates how travel decisions differ depending on the time that PODs initially open. A discrete choice behavioral model will use this stated preference data to estimate spatial and temporal demand at POD locations. Understanding people’s behaviors will allow public health, emergency management, and transportation agencies to better respond and execute plans, promoting the goal to distribute medicine to the public in a timely and efficient manner.

Youngjun Choe, University of Washington

Machine Annotation of Post-Hurricane Satellite Imagery for Identifying Damages

When a hurricane makes landfall, situational awareness is one of the most critical needs emergency managers face before they can respond to the event. To assess the situation and damage, the current practice largely relies on driving around the impacted area (also known as a windshield survey) by emergency response crews and volunteers. Recently, drone-based aerial images and satellite images started helping improve situational awareness, but the process still relies on human visual inspection. These current approaches are generally time consuming and/or unreliable during an evolving disaster.

The governing research question of the project is can a machine learning algorithm automatically annotate damages on post-hurricane satellite images? To answer the question, the project uses satellite imagery data on the greater Houston area before and after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and the damage labels created by crowdsourcing. This poster shares the progress on the project. If the project results in a successful algorithm (which is trained to quickly detect "flooded/damaged building," "flooded/blocked road," and "blocked bridge" on a satellite image for a new event), it will be an exciting technological innovation to improve situational awareness during the first response to hurricane-induced disasters. 

Woo-Jeong Choi, National Disaster Management Institute
Min-Jeong Kim, National Disaster Management Institute

Typhoon Chaba in Ulsan City: Strengthening Community to Overcome Disasters by Management of Conflict Factors

In 2016, considerable damage was caused by disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons in the southern areas of Korea such as Pohang, Gyungju, and Ulsan. These disasters occurred in an interval of several months, which required timely government response and community collaboration. Instead, there were conflicts between the government and residents about disasters, liability, and compensation. Those conflicts continue and have resulted in disintegration of communities. This study suggests establishing a causative control system to prevent such conflicts by drawing the elements that influenced the conflicts after Typhoon Chaba.

Upon analysis, it was found that conflicts occurred when realistic economic support was requested and publicized. Trust issues about information and data were the main element of conflicts in the period after the announcement of investigation results. In part, economic elements were significantly affected by pursuing lawsuits for compensation of the damages. These results implicate the governmental administration, execution, and timing of economic countermeasure preparation after the disaster.

Hiroaki Daimon, University of Delaware
Tomohide Atsumi, Osaka University
Joanne Nigg, University of Delaware

Two Approaches to Disaster Volunteering: A Comparative Study Between the United States and Japan

The purpose of our poster is to share the findings from a comparative study of spontaneous (individuals) and affiliated (organizational) volunteers between the United States and Japan. The primary finding is that both volunteers and volunteer groups focus on survivor needs. However, in the United States, who the volunteers are and their foci of attention change depending on the disaster phase (e.g., response or recovery) and survivor needs; whereas in Japan, volunteers continue assisting the survivors by actually transforming their role. We refer to these two approaches as problem-solving and staying. In the United States, most volunteers and their organizations focus on the visible needs of survivors and how to solve or meet their immediate needs in the response and very early recovery phase of a disaster. In Japan, voluntary organizations and volunteers tend to remain with survivors in their communities long into the recovery phase, even if they do nothing more than hear and repeat the survivors’ voices. There are both positive and negative aspects to both of these approaches. In the early response phase, the survivors’ obvious and explicit needs―such as removing debris and providing assistance in shelters and feeding facilities―emerge. The main problem focuses on finding effective and rational ways to coordinate affiliate and non-affiliated volunteers. In this phase, the former approach—problem-solving—is most useful. In contrast, the staying approach contributes to implicit and potential needs of survivors during the mid-term to long-term recovery phases. During this time, the survivors’ needs are not always obvious, even to them. Using this approach, solutions to survivors’ problems are often discovered through the interactions and continuing communication between the volunteers and survivors. By comparing these two approaches, we conclude that the problem-solving approach should be employed in the early response phase, and then recommend shifting to the staying approach for long-term recovery.

Claudia Der-Martirosian, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Susan Schmitz, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Aram Dobalian, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center

U.S. Military Veterans: An Untapped Resource in Disaster Preparedness

Community involvement in developing local capacity for preparedness and response is critical before large-scale disasters strike. The resilience and adaptive capacity of a local community are enhanced through the inclusion of local knowledge, skills, and resources. U.S. Military Veterans, currently more than 22 million individuals, are essential partners in disaster preparedness as their shared skills, trainings, and experiences make them a highly skilled but underutilized resource in their local communities. In 2016-2017, six 90-minute, semi-structured, moderated focus groups were conducted at Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers located at three geographically diverse urban and rural locations in the United States (midwest, southeast, west). We sought to explore veterans' interest and willingness to participate in disaster preparedness. A total of 38 veterans (30 VA employees, eight non-VA employees) participated: 53 mean age, 53 percent male, 68 percent Caucasian, 24 percent African American, and the rest Hispanic or multiracial. All focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed. Using in vivo and descriptive coding, we identified four major themes related to volunteering in disaster preparedness: (1) types of preparedness activities; (2) how to get involved; (3) specific lessons about preparedness; and (4) barriers/facilitators to volunteering. This poster presents specific identified domains for each theme. Veterans expressed a willingness to share their knowledge and teach others about preparedness by connecting with neighbors, co-workers, and actively getting involved in local community organizations. Identified barriers included time, family, and employment obligations, among others. Efforts to include veterans in community preparedness and response could bolster community resilience by more fully incorporating existing skills and knowledge of this unique population.

Sarah DeYoung, University of Georgia
Ashley Farmer, Illinois State University

“We Thought We’d Come Back": Pets, Trauma, and the 2017 Disasters

In 2017, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated communities throughout the United States. Also in 2017, wildfires destroyed communities in Sonoma County, California–where residents fled from their homes in the middle of the night to the backdrop of an orange glow on the horizon. For our fieldwork, we traveled to four cities in Texas, two cities in Florida, and two communities in California. Our research aims are to identify the ways in which ownership of companion animals affects evacuation decision-making. Preliminary results from our mixed methods data reveal four key themes: (1) resources for pets are associated with access to other community resources for people and families; (2) the speed of the onset of the hazard influences deliberation time; (3) reunification requires more long-term planning from pet owners and groups managing animals (including stray or “community” animals); and (4) animals display signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after the disaster, although their symptoms may be temporary. In communities with well-established group or coalition of animal rescue providers prior to the storm or fire event, evacuation of animals unfolds more successfully than in communities in which animal care is not prioritized through public and nonprofit programs. Findings also suggest that there may be complex factors that prevent the owners from accessing protection for the animal during the disaster. For the speed of onset, our data suggests that evacuation decisions are made as “snap judgements” for fires versus flooding associated with hurricanes—and some of those decisions are pet-centric. 

Colleen Durfee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Compound Disasters: Federal Buyouts and the Great Recession’s Effect on Household and Community Resilience of Whites and Blacks

This study examined the effects of post-disaster buyouts in neighborhoods in North Carolina following Hurricanes Fran and Floyd and the Great Recession, thereby studying compound disasters. The findings indicate that buyout neighborhoods have a larger percent black population and are more economically stressed than those without buyouts. Buyout neighborhoods also fared worse after the recession than those without buyouts. The likelihood of being approved for a conventional home purchase loan increases with the neighborhood’s concentration of buyouts from Fran and Floyd. However, this trend only proved statistically significant for black applicants after the recession. Buyout neighborhoods therefore provide greater opportunity for black home-ownership. Yet their proximity to the floodplain undermines the likelihood of such an investment being a secure wealth building opportunity by placing them at risk of future flooding. Findings shed light on the disproportionate impact of buyouts on black communities and households as they seek wealth building opportunities in neighborhoods that are not only economically struggling but flood prone.

Colleen Durfee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Darien Williams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative

The Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative (HMDRRI) was created at the request of the director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management. The initiative links what we know about disaster recovery to inform state and federal policies and address unmet needs for six of North Carolina's most physically vulnerable and low-capacity towns and cities. These communities include Princeville, Fair Bluff, Seven Springs, Windsor, Kinston, and Lumberton. Interdisciplinary teams of researchers and students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University collaborated to lead three primary efforts in response to Hurricane Matthew under HMDRRI. These include: (1) studying the impacts of Hurricane Matthew on eastern North Carolina communities; (2) advising North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management officials on state and federal recovery policies and programs; and (3) assisting communities to develop disaster recovery plans. Several projects came out of this interdisciplinary collaboration including a historic downtown flood-retrofit feasibility study, a land suitability analysis, a pattern book of home designs to support rebuilding resilient and affordable housing, and green and blue-way plans that re-imagined rivers and green-ways connecting as assets in the recovery process. HMDRRI highlights the challenges of rural disaster recovery and provides a template and lessons learned for future cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaborations to address unmet need in disaster recovery.

Corey Eide, Team Rubicon

Open Initiative

We owe accountability, clarity, mission focus, and of course, measurable outcomes and impact to our stakeholders. If we do it right, our organization earns trust and support. The challenge is that expectations are evolving quickly and organizations like ours must move from monitoring and reporting on outputs and outcomes, to better understanding the individuals we serve and demonstrating impact.

Leaning into the response and recovery from Hurricane Harvey, Team Rubicon created its open initiative program with the intent of giving public access to data about our delivery of services, fundraising, and volunteer engagement in near real-time. We are keen to explore what we learned by starting an expansive informational product during Hurricane Harvey, how this initiative continues to evolve to a more sustainable and evergreen product, and how we can come together and raise the bar on making data available to stakeholders. Version three is scheduled for launch in early May.

As an aside, we don’t have the corner on how to solve this and are interested in a robust dialogue on the topic. We’re firm believers that iron sharpens iron.

Nicole Errett, University of Washington
Nancy Wyland, University of Iowa
Erin Haynes, University of Cincinnati
Ali Everhart, University of Washington
Edith Parker, University of Iowa

Leveraging Community Partnerships to Advance Disaster Research Response: A Qualitative Analysis

In response to concerns about increasing disasters, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created the Disaster Research Response (DR2) program as “the national framework for research on the medical and public health aspects of disasters and public health emergencies.” We sought to identify perceived facilitators and barriers to community engagement (CE) in DR2 and examine how existing community partnerships can be leveraged to facilitate timely and effective DR2. We conducted key informant interviews with 15 National Institute of Environmental Health Science Centers Community Engagement Core (CEC) directors. Interviews elicited information about current community partnerships and familiarity and experience with DR2. We also explored the possibility of developing a CE response team that could be rapidly deployed to disaster-affected communities to facilitate translational research and CE activities.    

Interview notes were inductively coded and qualitatively analyzed. Common barriers to CE in DR2 included lack of DR2 experience, complexity of coordinating multiple external research groups, issues related to rapid institutional review board (IRB) approval or IRB coordination across institutions, perceived detrimental impacts to well-developed community relationships, and varying expectations and priorities among community groups and researchers. The importance of established working relationships with communities before a disaster occurs was a recurrent theme and emphasizes the important role that CECs and practice-based connections play in DR2. A DR2 CE response team was identified as an opportunity worthy of further exploration.

The results of this study will help inform the NIH DR2 program and provide information on how to quickly and effectively engage community partners when conducting DR2.

Emily Esplin, Utah State University
Peter Howe, Utah State University

It’s a Dry Heat: Shifting Professional Perspectives on Extreme Heat Risk in Utah

Heat waves are the deadliest natural hazard in the United States, and current trends indicate that they are increasing in frequency, intensity, and duration. While heat-related mortality rates are rising, U.S. population growth is occurring in places most exposed to extreme heat. The National Weather Service (NWS) acknowledges that their current guidelines to issue heat alerts do not adequately facilitate optimal heat risk communication practices across field offices. Moreover, there is little research identifying optimal heat risk communication strategies to reach vulnerable populations. This study aims to improve the effectiveness of heat alert practices to increase awareness and mobilize adaptive strategies. Based on 32 interviews with forecasters, media broadcasters, and public officials, including park managers, we analyze the mental models of decision-makers responsible for forecasting, managing, and communicating heat risk in Utah. Utah has historically low exposure to extreme heat, but its vulnerability is increasing due to climate change, population growth, and increasing outdoor recreation visitation. Results demonstrate that NWS heat products are new and unfamiliar to many Utah decision-makers, including NWS forecasters, especially in the northern metropolitan areas where previous NWS criteria did not warrant heat product issuance. While experience with NWS heat products varied widely among participants, all were familiar with heat protective behaviors and many stated that personal experience with extreme heat influenced their decisions. Personal experience with extreme heat may be a driving force to implement communication strategies. These insights may be generalizable to practitioner settings where heat risk communication is less developed or needs revision.

Diego Fernandez Otegui, University of Delaware

The Weaknesses of a Strong Early Warning System: The Case of Mexico

In September 2017, Mexico experienced a unique sequence of events that put its earthquake early warning system  to the test. Within the space of 17 days, the country was hit by two large earthquakes that triggered the warning system. Additionally, the system was activated in three other circumstances. The first was during the annual commemoration of the 1985 earthquake. Next, it was wrongfully activated through human error, and finally, triggered by an aftershock that was barely felt.

Especially in the Mexico City, the national early warning system presents remarkable strengths. Despite normal asperities in the public sector, agencies from all levels of government have managed to work in close coordination. Additionally, the entire emergency management system is well resourced and has helped produce a more resilient culture that is responsive to the alerts. However, the national EWS has not been able to break through the constant harassment of economic and political convenience. The outcome is a system that is unusually strong in the Mexico City, to the detriment of the rest of the country that is practically unprotected.

In this paper, the weaknesses and strengths of an enviable system that many other earthquake prone regions in the world would benefit from having are discussed. The data was collected during a reconnaissance trip organized by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute in October 2017.

Erica Fischer, Oregon State University
Manny Hakhamaneshi, Amec Foster Wheeler
Maggie Ortiz, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
Beki McElvain, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

Virtual Earthquake Reconnaissance—How It Supports and Supplements Data Sharing and Boots on the Ground

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is a multidisciplinary, international, nonprofit, technical society with a long history of deploying multidisciplinary teams after an earthquake through their Learning from Earthquakes program. EERI members understand the need for streamlined information sharing after a damaging earthquake to assist with reconnaissance and research. This presentation covers EERI’s newly-founded Virtual Earthquake Reconnaissance Team (VERT), the organization’s new earthquake clearinghouse web presence, and how the two work together to develop an efficient approach that provides targeted information to the earthquake science and engineering community on specific topics of interest. This partnership also informs decisions about how EERI should respond to an earthquake and provides a platform for data sharing and archiving. VERT harnesses the enthusiasm of motivated younger members to perform virtual post-earthquake reconnaissance. VERT members prepare teams for the field, provide crucial information to EERI before a decision is made to respond, and help teams post-process data upon returning from a reconnaissance trip. Earthquake reconnaissance requires extraordinary financial, time, and personnel resources. As more multidisciplinary reconnaissance teams are formed and actively engaged with communities during reconnaissance, the data that results from these trips provide both breadth and depth to reconnaissance topics. Data sharing and archiving provide opportunities for researchers around the world to build off of work and use the data to benchmark numerical analyses techniques. Access to this type of data also provide opportunities for cross-disciplinary research to demonstrate whole community impacts of the disaster, innovative pre-disaster mitigation, and post-disaster recovery initiatives. 

June Gin, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Cheryl Levine, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
David Canavan, Canavan Associates
Alicia Gable, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Susan Schmitz, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Mangwi Atia, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Aram Dobalian, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center

Disaster Preparedness to Promote Community Resilience—A Toolkit for Homeless Service Providers

People experiencing homelessness are disproportionately impacted by disasters. When disaster strikes, they often experience devastating challenges due to their inability to prepare and lack of resources for recovery. During disasters, they are likely to need assistance from nonprofit and government safety net services in managing their post-disaster service needs.

Collaboration between homeless service providers and local emergency managers is vital to building an inclusive system to address the disaster needs of homeless populations. However, achieving this interconnected community is extremely challenging. Homeless service provider organizations often face barriers to developing disaster preparedness plans and many have not identified their disaster role. Local emergency managers and homeless service providers are frequently not connected with each other in planning to address the disaster needs of people who are homeless.

A federal toolkit, Disaster Preparedness to Promote Community Resilience, is newly available to guide communities' efforts to address these challenges and improve the interconnectedness of service providers with emergency managers. Based on interviews with more than 50 subject matter experts in emergency management, public health, and homeless services, this toolkit provides resources to: (1) help homeless service providers and emergency managers identify local partners; (2) enable homeless service providers to develop organizational preparedness plans; and (3) guide health care providers in caring for people who are homeless during disasters.

Donghwan Gu, Texas A&M University
Galen Newman, Texas A&M University
Sara Hamideh, Iowa State University
Nathanael Rosenheim, Texas A&M University
Walter Peacock, Texas A&M University

Residential Building Removal and Redevelopment: Vacant Lots After Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas

Increases in vacant lots are typically a repeated circumstance after a hurricane event. The speed of neighborhood recovery to disaster events can be uneven and some neighborhoods lag behind. For these neighborhoods, vacant lots can exist many years after a disaster or never recover. The goal of this research was to analyze the post-disaster vacancy condition and the redevelopment speed of vacant lots after the flooding, examining Hurricane Ike’s impacts in 2008. The city of Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula, Texas, were selected for the research area. This research identified the spatial disparity of lasting vacant lots after Hurricane Ike. The resultant vacant lots from the flood and surge damage by Ike were distinguished from preexisting vacant lots through the use of annual land-use data. From 2009 to 2016, the length of vacancy was measured for these resultant vacant lots. This research exposed the chance of redevelopment based on neighborhood-scaled spatial characteristics focusing on the factors that hinder recovery speed. Eight years after Hurricane Ike, many vacant lots have not yet recovered. The length of vacancy is significantly increased by the number of adjacent vacant lots and neighborhood level socio-economic factors. Findings of this study can be used to improve disaster recovery plans. More specifically, this research seeks to improve the ability to recognize and manage areas prone to long term vacancy after hurricanes.

Katherine Hore, University of Auckland
JC Gaillard, University of Auckland
Tim Davies, University of Canterbury
Robin Kearns, University of Auckland

The Power of Participatory Disaster Risk Reduction: A Case Study in Franz Josef Township

Outside stakeholders and top-down approaches alone cannot address the risks natural hazards pose to populations. Local resources, knowledge, and skills are vital to reducing disaster risk and enhancing resilience. People’s participation is thus seen as crucial for effective, efficient, and inclusive disaster risk reduction (DRR). However, participation in its various articulations is often misused through standardized, top-down approaches that have little interaction with formal decision making and perpetuate existing power relations and structures within decision-making processes. This results in misunderstandings, disillusionment, and exacerbation of distrust between local and outside stakeholders and can undermine processes and efforts to reduce disaster risk and enhance resilience. Many of these shortcomings can be attributed to a failure to adequately acknowledge, analyze, and accommodate power and power relations.

This research is using existing theoretical understandings of power to develop a framework for analyzing power in participatory DRR. Using a case study approach in Franz Josef, New Zealand, it is attempting to understand how participatory processes are experienced and navigated by local and outside stakeholders, and those facilitating them. It is analyzing how power conditions participation, and its outputs, enables or inhibits processes and outcomes that are conducive to building resilience and reducing disaster risk. In doing so, we hope that this research will contribute towards the re-politicization of participatory DRR by re-centering power within its theory and application. It also seeks to provide tools for future analysis of power in participatory DRR.

Abbey Hotard, Texas A&M University at Galveston

Factors Influencing Gulf Coast Resident Willingness to Relocate for Hazard Risk Reduction

Development and population growth in coastal zones are rapidly increasing, placing more individuals and resources at risk to coastal hazards. Simultaneously, sea level rise predictions suggest that many of low-lying coastal communities will need to relocate by 2100. While buy-out and zoning policies have been recently targeted as relocation strategies, voluntary individual migration out of the coastal zone can be expected as exposure to hazards increases. This research investigates: How does the willingness to relocate vary spatially across the Gulf Coast? What factors influence the willingness of an individual to relocate to an area of less risk from natural disasters? Does proximity to flood risk mitigation structures influence an individual’s willingness to relocate? This research uses online survey responses collected from 73 Gulf Coast counties to test for the influence of characteristics on willingness to relocate. Geographic information system (GIS) analysis is used to highlight spatial distribution of willingness to relocate in relation to flood mitigation structures. Regression analysis suggests that characteristics such as age, risk perception, home ownership, political ideology, and trust in government have significant impacts on an individual’s willingness to relocate. These results have implications for how coastal risk managers can develop proactive strategies for coastal resettlement out of high risk areas. 

Da Hu, Texas Tech University
Ali Nejat, Texas Tech University

Households Post-Disaster Relocation Decisions: A Regression Analysis

To relocate or rebuild within the same area after a disaster is an exigent decision. This study examines the factors that impacted household recovery decisions after Hurricane Sandy and the Moore, Oklahoma, Tornado. The sample includes 192 blocks in Staten Island and Moore, Oklahoma, which were aggregated from 5,338 households and 2,393 households, respectively. Census data at block level was extracted from the 2010 U.S. census. Due to excessive zero relocations in Staten Island, a two-part model was used to separate the data set into zero state and non-zero state. The results indicated that the proportion of white residents had a significant positive effect on relocation decisions, while the proportion of family households had a significant negative effect. In Moore, Oklahoma, a log-transformed ordinary least squares regression model is used to examine the relationship between demographic characteristics and relocation decisions. The results show that places characterized by greater proportions of white are more likely to experience relocation in the wake of disasters. In addition, damaged occupied housing units presented a positive effect on relocation percentage. 

Chi-Ying Huang, Texas A&M University

Assessing the Adoption of Hazard Mitigation Practices in the Texas Gulf Coast

Hurricanes Ike (2008), Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), and Ivan (2004) were four of the most devastating natural catastrophes that have struck the United States. Recently, hurricanes Harvey (2017), Irma (2017), and Maria (2017) all made landfall in the United States, which caused insured losses estimated at $93 billion. These disasters not only result in plenty of deaths but also cost a fortune in insurance. Thus, reducing the adverse impacts calls for hazard mitigation efforts. This study examines the problems and issues local officials at the municipal and county levels throughout coastal Texas face when trying to undertake mitigation planning and seeking to adopt and implement mitigation policies. To better understand issues related to mitigation planning and the adoption and implementation of hazard mitigation practices among jurisdictions, this research used face-to-face and semi-structured interviews to obtain in-depth information, utilizing a qualitative data analysis software package, ATLAS.ti., from informants such as urban planners, planning directors, emergency managers, city administrators, and planning specialists who are knowledgeable about land-use and development regulations, mitigation planning, and problems associated with the implementation and adoption of mitigation practices. This study examined the obstacles that planning professionals encountered in the adoption and implementation of hazard mitigation practices in the gulf coast. We conclude that solutions to mitigation challenges among informants’ communities, and the challenges that planning professionals encounter, are interrelated with jurisdictions’ planning capacity and planning process. Results indicate that education and outreach programs can enhance hazard awareness and information dissemination.

Nicole Hutton, Old Dominion University
Michael Allen, Old Dominion University

The Role of Meteorological Hazards in Urban Tourism: The Case of Hampton Roads

The sustainability of urban tourism in the southern reaches of the United States is at risk due to climate change. As unseasonable weather, extreme temperatures, and natural disasters increase in frequency and magnitude, their role in tourist activity raises concerns. Tourists’ aversion to extreme hot and cold as well as wet conditions is shifting and limiting the peak season for attractions across North America. This case study assesses the impact of extreme weather and meteorological hazards upon visitor attendance in the Hampton Roads metropolitan region, which supports a multi-million dollar annual tourism industry along the southeastern coast of Virginia. Daily records from ex-situ conservation attractions and cultural entertainment venues from 2013 to 2016 are compared to examine the interrelationship between destinations. Preliminary findings suggest that overall attendance declines during extreme cold conditions. The act of closure for tropical storms has minimal impact on facilities once reopened, but nor’easters reduce attendance for a longer period. An inverse relationship exists between comparative outdoor and indoor facilities. Outdoor attendance is reduced by both hot and cold extremes throughout the year and precipitation events during the spring but increases for similar indoor attractions. Although tourism revenue in the area has increased over the past five years, city and regional coordination within the tourism sector may reinforce sustainability as attendance patterns fluctuate. 

Seong Nam Hwang, Southeast Missouri State University

Understanding the Impact of Earthquakes on the Human Population in the State of California

Throughout the course of its history, California has had a large number of catastrophic earthquakes. Earthquakes in the state occur when two huge blocks of the earth’s rocky crust (i.e., the Pacific and North American Plates) move toward and slip past each other. The state experiences a couple of earthquakes larger than magnitude 5.5 on a yearly basis. In general, the natural hazard accompanies seismic sea waves (also known as tsunamis), coastal flooding from storm surge, and inland landslides, all of which have a high potential of causing the loss of life, injury, and property damage, among many others. The goal of this research is to investigate relationships between past earthquake events that arose in the state and their human losses/economic costs. In doing so, this study employs geographic information system (GIS) technologies to create maps showing characteristics of the earthquakes (e.g., geographical, seasonal, and different time-period variations) in association with the state’s populations. In particular, GIS-based spatial analysis will clearly show information on the geographic locations as well as human populations and their properties, influenced by the past earthquakes in the state.

Mehdi Jamali, Texas Tech University
Ali Nejat, Texas Tech University

The Application of Social Media in Disaster Recovery

Extreme natural disasters affect all aspects of people’s lives. These immense catastrophes can cause deaths, disrupt social interactions, ruin infrastructure, and destroy residential properties, as well as causing other short- and long-term social, financial, and geographical impacts. The main task of policymakers is to restore normalcy after disasters. This requires an accurate assessments of people’s priorities. These priorities vary among individuals, who perceive damages differently based on personal characteristics such as age, income, ownership, and factors called internal attributes. Adding up the complex consequences of natural disasters to its broadness of internal attributes, revealing survivors’ priorities becomes a complex issue. Fortunately, the growth and evolution of social media applications with their penetration into all aspects of life, provides a unique substrate for researchers to explore thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of disaster survivors. On the other hand, because of the broadness of social media users alongside with complexities of disaster impacts, valuable social media data was not broadly used in post-disaster studies. Therefore, this study intends to offer a multi-step machine learning algorithm to detect the disaster-experienced social media users, estimate their location, assess their topics of discussion, and predict these topics based on their multiple internal attributes. In addition, this study will compare their preferences to those of non-disaster-experienced users.

Sangman Jeong, Kongju National University
Insang Yu, Kongju National University
Hayong Kim, Kongju National University
Christabel Jane Rubio, Kongju National University

Developing a System for a Natural Disaster Insurance Rate Map

Among the natural disasters that hit Korea in the past decade, flood, wind, and snow have caused the most damage (52 percent, 26 percent, and 20 percent, respectively). Although a natural disaster insurance policy has been implemented by the Korean government, it is not specific and representative because a common insurance rate is applied to each administrative district. Therefore, a grid-based natural disaster risk and insurance map for flood, wind, and snow disasters was developed in this study. Three factors were considered in the estimation of the natural disaster insurance rate: (1) severity of natural disaster risk, (2) damage ratio based on the magnitude of the natural disaster, and (3) frequency of the natural disaster event occurring in residential housing. Regional characteristics such as topography, climate condition, land cover, and more were also considered when generating the resulting natural disaster insurance rate map. Results from this study are expected to assist in the establishment of scientific countermeasures for mitigation, preparation, response, and restoration stages using 10m grid-based natural disaster risk. Moreover, the existing insurance policy can be improved using the reasonable natural disaster insurance rate. Finally, a system for the implementation and operation of the generated natural disaster insurance rate map will be made available for public service.

Sayma Khajehei, Iowa State University
Sara Hamideh, Iowa State University

Social Vulnerability and Public Housing Recovery After Hurricane Matthew: Lumberton, North Carolina

Social vulnerability acknowledges that social structures shape disaster vulnerabilities and recovery outcomes. Public housing residents are one of the most socially vulnerable groups due to their limited access to recovery resources and limited voice in recovery planning. To understand how social vulnerability shapes recovery of public housing, we examined the differences between the disaster impacts and recovery of the public housing and other housing units in Lumberton, North Carolina following the floods induced by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. This research is part of a larger interdisciplinary recovery-based field study conducted by the Center of Excellence (CoE) on Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning with collaborators from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Lumberton is a racially and socioeconomically diverse community with 729 public housing units. Much of the affordable housing was impacted by the flood. The impacts were investigated using comparative statistical and spatial analysis. We mapped social vulnerability using factors such as race, income, poverty, age, and housing tenure at block group level from the census estimates. Then, we compared the hotspots with the public housing locations and the residential damage distribution. Using field study data on disaster impacts, recovery resources, household decisions and dislocation, we compared recovery trajectories of public housing with other residential units.

Findings show that public housing complexes are within the most socially vulnerable neighborhoods of Lumberton that suffered severe damages and present a slower recovery trajectory. Housing tenure, racial disparities, and poverty are higher in these complexes, which might explain the damage and recovery disparities.

Amin Kiaghadi, University of Houston
Hanadi Rifai, University of Houston

Contrasting Hydrodynamic and Environmental Effects of Different Hurricane Types in Highly Industrialized Estuaries

Tropical cyclones and severe storms can have devastating effects on estuaries especially highly industrialized and urbanized ones such as Galveston Bay in Texas. While post-observation studies are necessary and important, predicting land inundation and water quality behavior prior to the event is key in damage mitigation and rapid response. This study develops predictive hydrodynamic and water quality models driven by surge and storm flows at their boundaries in order to forecast the potential land inundation and environmental pollution that accompanies a hurricane and/or a severe storm as it approaches the coast, makes its landfall, and recedes. The environmental fluid dynamic code (EFDC) was coupled with the ADvanced CIRCulation (ADCIRC) and simulation waves nearshore (SWAN) models to develop a nested model that can predict water surface elevations and spill trajectories from industrial facilities during different hurricanes types. The results of EFDC modeling revealed the need for consideration of local runoff flows from rainfall events that typically accompany hurricanes and may coincide with storm surge. Unlike a rainfall-based hurricane, fate and transport of spills during a surge-based hurricane is a function of the time of release relative to the timing of the surge hydrograph. Although spills can spread upstream of the release point during surge-based hurricanes, under a spill scenario, rainfall-based hurricanes caused a larger environmental footprint. For all scenarios, 90 percent of total spill mass reached Galveston Bay in less than 48 hours while 1 percent and 0.7 percent of the spill mass was retained on land for rainfall and surge-based hurricanes, respectively.

Katie Kirsch, Texas A&M University
Emily Sullivan, Texas A&M University
Jennifer Horney, Texas A&M University
Kirby Goidel, Texas A&M University

Are Slow-Onset Disasters Well Represented in Hazard Mitigation Plans?

Hazard mitigation plans inform residents and policymakers of the risks and vulnerabilities within a community, as well as prioritize measures to minimize hazard damage. Hazard mitigation plan development emphasizes the creation of plans with strong fact bases and risk exposure analysis, while also facilitating participatory planning. This Sea Grant-funded research discusses the intersection of citizen perception of extreme heat risk, extreme heat risk policy implementation, and extreme heat exposure in four coastal Texas counties: Brazoria, Cameron, Galveston, and Nueces County. Through surveying county residents and analyzing hazard mitigation plans, it was observed that residents perceive extreme heat risk as very high, but that hazard mitigation plans have little information on extreme heat mitigation. Although extreme heat is a non-acute, slow-onset disaster that is projected to become more severe as global temperatures rise, hazard mitigation plans seem to focus on chronic and acute, quick-onset disasters such as flood prevention and hurricane mitigation. These findings suggest that there is an opportunity to include more educational information and mitigation actions for slow-onset disasters.

Yen-Lien Kuo, National Cheng Kung University
Ya-Ming Liu, National Cheng Kung University
Wun-Ci Kuo, National Cheng Kung University
Hsin-Chieh Tseng, National Cheng Kung University

The Impacts of a Typhoon on Physiological Diseases and Mental Illness: A Case of Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan

The difference-in-difference method has been used in this paper to estimate the causal impact of Typhoon Morakot on health in Taiwan. Approximately 810,000 sampled medical claims in the longitudinal National Health Insurance Research database from nine cities and counties where residents had been mostly affected by Typhoon Morakot were used in this empirical study. After comparing the number of infected people one year before and one year after Typhoon Morakot, the flood increased the morbidity of waterborne diseases by 0.34, flood-related skin diseases by 21.7, anxiety by six, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by one per 10,000 people, and the land disasters increased the morbidity of anxiety by 9.5 per 10,000 people. Other flood-related diseases, such as vector-borne diseases and gastrointestinal tract diseases, were not found to be increased by Typhoon Morakot. The number of people who had contracted waterborne diseases—leptospirosis and melioidosis—was small. The evacuation before the typhoon made landfall, the sterilization soon after the typhoon, the high coverage of national health insurance, and the easily accessible medical services from Taiwan's national health insurance all seemed quite successful in this study. Improving personal hygiene education, providing clean water during water shortages, and providing psychological consultation services after typhoons could be useful measures to further mitigate health impacts from typhoons.

Aubry Kyle, Louisiana State University

Between Risks: Assessing Perceptions of Emergency Support Services in New Orleans, Louisiana, Following an August 5th Flood Event While Monitoring Hurricane Harvey

Emergency preparedness experts use a wide variety of indicators to map vulnerability in anticipation of providing targeted emergency support services to those in need during extreme weather events. This poster presents the results of research conducted in two neighborhoods in New Orleans, Louisiana, that do not meet the parameters for categorically high vulnerability based upon the social vulnerability index used by local health services agencies, but were adversely affected by flooding on August 5, 2017. On this date, the local sewerage and water board failed to warn residents of reduced pumping capacity and heavy rains caused severe localized flooding. Research regarding perceptions of risk and city services was conducted within a two-week period, via questionnaire and interview, with 15 households in each neighborhood, representing 87 individuals, as those individuals dealt with the aftermath of flooding in their neighborhoods and prepared for the possibility of evacuating for Hurricane Harvey with the knowledge of reduced pumping capacity in their neighborhoods. Results show that while overall categorical vulnerability indicators, such as income, educational level, and disability status for respondents indicate low vulnerability, negative perceptions and mistrust of the city combined with low knowledge of available support services and flooded cars and properties served to create a unique “situational vulnerability” that deserves consideration in future emergency planning protocols.

Flavio Lopes Ribeiro, University of Delaware

Who Can I Rely on for Water During Periods of Drought?

This poster is the result of a field trip to Brazil to understand the social impact of the São Francisco inter-basin water transfer, the biggest water infrastructure in Latin America, built to mitigate the impacts of drought for the 12 million people living in the semi-arid region of Brazil.    

The poster will show the methodology to collect data and some preliminary results of how social capital is used (or misused?) to get access to this new source of fresh water coming from the São Francisco inter-basin water transfer in the driest and poorest region of Brazil. For this study, social capital was defined as the by-product of social interactions that are embedded in and accessed via formal and informal social relationships with individuals, communities, and institutions. Evidence from different disasters has shown that social capital resources and networks are a vital part of community efforts to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from disasters. In drought-prone regions, researchers indicate that social capital contributes to promoting local adaptation to climate change, responsible use of water, and increasing agricultural productivity.    

However, the preliminary results of this study show a dark side of social capital, where the quality of the relationship between local institutions, politicians, and families is a determinant factor to access fresh water during periods of drought.   

Carson MacPherson-Krutsky, Boise State University
Brittany Brand, Boise State University
Michael Lindell, University of Washington

Out with the Old and in with the New: Does Updating Natural Hazard Maps to Reflect Best Practices Increase Viewer Comprehension of Risk?

In 2017, destructive hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires cost billions of dollars in damage. Repercussions of these disasters further highlight the need for individuals to understand their personal risks and to prepare before disasters strike. Interactive data viewers are increasingly popular tools for sharing such scientific natural hazard data with the general public. However, the presentation of content in these data viewers often does not follow hazard mapping or science communication best practices. For example, hazard data viewers often include jargon, such as 100- and 500-year flood zones, which are not readily understood by non-experts. Furthermore, the efficacy of using hazard data viewers to communicate with the general public has not been assessed.

In this study, we compare undergraduate student comprehension of information presented in two interactive hazard maps, the first being the Oregon Statewide Geohazards viewer ( and the second being a viewer developed with the same data, but incorporating best practices in map design and natural hazard risk communication ( We also assess participant spatial reasoning ability to account for map performance differences. The study, currently in progress, will include comparisons between map comprehension scores of the two data viewers along with spatial reasoning skills to: (1) identify which, if either, format is effective at communicating hazard and risk, and (2) whether spatial ability corresponds with overall map comprehension score. This work will provide insight into developing better hazard and risk communication strategies for the general public.

Awele Maduka-Ezeh, Delaware Division of Public Health
Mawuna Gardesey, Delaware Division of Public Health
Joseph Trainor, University of Delaware

Pandemics, Stigma, and the "Otherness" of Immigrants

During the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola epidemic, more than 28,000 persons are thought to have been infected and more than 11,000 died from the illness (a mortality rate approaching 40 percent). Multiple anecdotes suggested that immigrants from West Africa living in the United States may have experienced stigma because of the Ebola epidemic. Information from other industrialized countries shows that immigrants from West Africa living in those countries experienced stigmatization. Earlier studies have demonstrated that stigma results in adverse health consequences for both individuals and public health due to non-compliance with treatments or quarantine and healthcare avoidance among others. There is literature showing that immigrants in the United States were stigmatized during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic and the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic. This study hopes to identify the contexts and vehicles of stigmatization of immigrants during epidemics by examining the experience of immigrants from West Africa living in the United States during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak. The goal is that information obtained will guide interventions to prevent or minimize stigmatization during future epidemics, while optimizing engagement between immigrant groups and governmental public health entities around epidemic control measures. Data collection will be through key informant interviews of leaders of faith-based organizations serving West African immigrant populations in the United States. Initial interviews have been completed, and we are currently analyzing the data with plans to identify key concepts, themes, and plans for further data collection as needed to examine these issues in greater detail if indicated by data collected to date.

Rejina Manandhar, Arkansas Tech University

Social Media Use in a Post-Disaster Context: An Examination of Risk Communication at an Organizational Level

Social media has become a vital risk communication channel in emergency management. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr have been extensively used during recent disasters and have enabled the public and emergency managers to gather and distribute risk information on hazards and disasters. While numerous studies have examined social media use and behaviors of the public during a disaster, the use of social media platforms by emergency management organizations has received little scholarly attention. The examination of how emergency management organizations perceive and utilize social media platforms can provide an understanding of creative strategies to use social media effectively during and after a disaster. Using semi-structured telephone interviews with emergency managers in New Jersey, this study investigates the use, perceptions, and challenges pertaining to social media in the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The study findings suggest that social media was used for information gathering, dissemination and monitoring public response following Superstorm Sandy. Although many informants considered social media to be a useful risk communication tool, some informants completely avoided information from social media as they believed it to be less credible than compared to the official information sources. Furthermore, informants also reported challenges such as network connectivity, power outage, and misinformation to hinder risk communication via social media.

Aubrey Miller, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
April Bennett, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Stacey Arnesen, National Library of Medicine
Steve Ramsey, Social & Scientific Systems
Richard Rosselli, Social & Scientific Systems
Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, National Library of Medicine

Building Resilience Through Research: NIH Disaster Research Response Program

The NIH Disaster Research Response (DR2) program aims to be a national framework for research on the health aspects of disasters and public health emergencies. DR2 strives to identify important research priorities, improve access to data collection tools, improve capability to quickly collect data, integrate DR2 into planning and emergency response systems, and create a comprehensive research process that includes public health, academia, emergency management, and communities.

In response to recent disasters, including major hurricanes, the Gulf Oil Spill, and Ebola, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), in collaboration with the National Library of Medicine (NLM), developed a framework for research on the health aspects of disasters:

•     A repository of data collection tools to aid researchers' selection of appropriate tools to collect data quickly.

•    Reports from exercises conducted by the DR2 program. Tabletop exercises were conducted in Los Angeles (2014), Houston (2015), Boston (2016), and Arizona (September 2018). Reports and an assessment of the exercises (2017) were published.

•    Data collection protocols and Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. NIEHS developed the RAPIDD data collection protocol and received pre-approval from the NIEHS IRB. Other institutions developed similar protocols. Following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, a data collection protocol was implemented in Texas.

•    Resources for researcher deployment. The NIEHS worker training program provides occupational safety and health training for disaster workers, including researchers.

A major goal is to create a national disaster research framework that builds upon the existing emergency management infrastructure, much like those for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

Shingo Nagamtasu, Kansai University
Jonathan Eyer, University of Southern California
Adam Rose, University of Southern California

Return Migration After the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

This poster presents the results of our econometric analysis on return migration behavior of Fukushima migrants from the 2011 nuclear accident. Our first motivation is to identify the mechanism of repatriation decision and establish a general model that can explain the decision that would be necessary to develop an effective disaster recovery policy in multiple countries. Based on the motivation, we try to identify factors that affect people’s decision on return migration in the case of the Fukushima nuclear accident. We conduct a multi-nominal logit analysis by using individual data from evacuees from the accident which was collected in March 2012, almost one year after the accident. House and land tenure is significant, positively for returning and negatively for non-returning respectively. This finding is consistent with some of the studies on Hurricane Katrina repatriation. 

Our second motivation is to evaluate clean-up efforts done by both local and national governments. High radiation exposure in the original location reduces the possibility of return. Interestingly, however, it does not affect the possibility of no-return will. This result is quite similar to the findings of people’s moving decision after the Three Mile Island accident showing that attitudes and behavior related to the accident did not influence whether persons move or not. As a result, clean-up efforts had a very limited impact on intention of returning for migrants. 

Ali Nejat, Texas Tech University
Saeed Moradi, Texas Tech University
Da Hu, Texas Tech University

The Application of Anchors of Social Networks in Housing Recovery

Reestablishment of housing is known to be a crucial parameter in recovery processes as it has a domino effect on the overall timing of recovery. Anchors of social networks such as schools and churches, on the other hand, are perceived to be influential on households’ housing recovery decisions. The objective of this study is to collect data on households’ perceived anchors of social networks, to compare these perceived anchors with actual existing anchors, to associate this perception to households’ internal attributes such as their demographic and socioeconomic status, and to provide a model capable of indexing households’ perception of anchors of social networks based on publicly available data. This would facilitate predicting recovery trends by directing recovery efforts towards the anchors that are believed to be significant to various groups of individuals. This was accomplished by using an online data collection method targeting residents of the two highly affected states of New York and Louisiana. Perceived and actual social anchors were extracted by using survey questions and Google Map API respectively. Data analyses led to the emergence of various latent classes, each corresponding to certain demographic and socioeconomic groups.  

Lan Nguyen, University of Washington
Bob Freitag, University of Washington
Ernest Alvarado, University of Washington
Himanshu Grover, University of Washington
Harry Podschwit, University of Washington
Fabiola Pulido-Chavez, University of Washington
Stephen Veith, University of Washington

Flooding Risks Following Wildland Fires: Long-Term Risk Reduction Strategies in Plain, Washington

The combination of climate change, fire exclusion, and lack of active resource management has led to larger and more severe forest fires in the western United States. In 2014 and 2015, over 1.25 million acres burned in Washington state. Those fires were triggered by unusually hot temperatures—four to nine degrees above average in June. Landslides and flooding soon followed, due to the resulting lack of vegetation and hydrophobic soils that could not absorb the rainfall. Communities struggled to recover from the fire and subsequent flooding events.

Our research examined risk reduction approaches to fire and flooding given long-term expected changes. To examine the urban wildland interface in Plain, Washington, we used scenario planning coupled with appreciative inquiry to develop four alternative futures over 60 years.

This method blends scientific probabilistic modelling of scenarios with the local knowledge and values of a community to create stories about the community’s future that address socio-ecological problems. Considering multiple scenarios allows the community to test different mitigation strategies, identify common risk reduction approaches to all scenarios, and recognize path dependencies that limit future options for eco-system services and planning. The scenario planning approach we developed can be applied to a range of planning processes to encourage long-term thinking about complex systems and inform sustainable planning practices.

Skye Niles, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Santina Contreras, The Ohio State University

Social Vulnerability and Healthcare Response in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

This research draws from Kathleen Tierney’s theory of the social roots of risk and Eric Klinenberg’s framework of a “social autopsy of disaster” to explore critical questions about the social structures of mortality following Hurricane Maria. Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017, causing massive devastation to Puerto Rico. A wealth of previous research has shown that disasters are not “natural” and that impacts fall along social fault lines. This research includes a quantitative analysis of mortality trends after Hurricane Maria, as well as interviews and observations with Puerto Rican health care workers. This research explores the sociodemographic factors of mortality during Hurricane Maria and how health care workers have understood and integrated social vulnerability into their response and recovery efforts. Through interviews and observations with healthcare workers, this research explores how health care vulnerabilities are understood, what resources health care workers use to address these vulnerabilities, and what challenges exist in providing post-disaster health care. This analysis allows for a greater understanding of the social structures shaping mortality and the measures that can be taken to address health care challenges and prevent future disaster deaths.

Cristian Nuñez, Louisiana State University
Michelle Meyer, Louisiana State University

The Role of Social and Human Capital in Disaster Recovery: A Case Study of La Grange, Texas

La Grange, Texas, was one of the first communities to be affected by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, suffering significant housing loss and population displacement as result of record flood levels. This case study, drawing from qualitative semi-structured interviews, gathered information from key stakeholders and organizational representatives active in recovery efforts and examined the role of social and human capital in the mobilization of recovery efforts after the hurricane. Findings suggest that the religious community in La Grange acted as an effective conduit for the mobilization and distribution of social and human capital in recovery efforts following the flood. This research funding from the National Science Foundation Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment program.

Shaye Palagi, University of Colorado Boulder
Amy Javernick-Will, University of Colorado Boulder

Comparative Comprehensive Outcomes in Post-Disaster Relocation Communities

Following 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, over 16,000 households are being relocated in Tacloban City alone. Most of them are slated to relocate to sites funded and managed by the National Housing Authority (NHA), the socialized housing arm of the government, while the remainder will transfer to sites developed by a diverse range of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The location of each relocation project was ostensibly driven by risk. The cost of land was certainly influential, thus sites were purchased in the far-northern reaches of the city on previously undeveloped land. In the ensuing years, NGOs, the city, and national government have clashed over how to fund and implement supporting economic, social, educational, and infrastructure services—necessary compliments to houses should the sites have a chance at blooming into a sustainable city extension.

In Tacloban City, no two communities are experiencing identical recovery trajectories. Positively, homeowners associations are maturing into vocal community advocacy groups, but basic services lag behind—water is trucked into NHA sites and most NGO sites lack electricity. In late 2017, we surveyed more than 900 households across 13 relocation communities. We grounded our survey in qualitative interviews conducted with more than 100 households in 2016. Together survey and interview data reveal the splotchy adequacy of post-move infrastructure, economic opportunities, disaster risk preparedness, and social cohesion. Through sharing comparative findings of comprehensive outcomes across sites, we hope to fuel conversations about long-term post-disaster shelter and settlement development.

Hua Qin, University of Missouri
Hannah Brenkert-Smith, University of Colorado Boulder
Jamie Vickery, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center

Dynamic Risk Perception and Action in Response to Forest Insect Disturbance in North Central Colorado

Environmental risk perception and risk-related behavior represent pivotal topical areas within the fields of disaster risk reduction and vulnerability to environmental changes, particularly those exacerbated by climate change. However, few risk analysis studies have examined the temporal dimension of risk perception and related behaviors. In an effort to address this gap, we are conducting a mixed methods follow-up study of risk perception and action in response to forest disturbance caused by mountain pine beetles (MPB) in north-central Colorado. This builds upon qualitative and quantitative data collected in 2006-2007 used to understand local responses to the MPB outbreak in nine communities.

The purpose of the current study is to build upon baseline data collected in 2006-2007 in order to capture social and environmental changes over time associated with the MPB outbreak. The larger ongoing study uses a mixed-method approach that incorporates key informant interviews, mail surveys, media analysis, and secondary socioeconomic and biophysical data to create a holistic picture of these changes over time. However, for the purpose of this poster presentation, we present preliminary data collected through approximately 60 qualitative in-depth interviews with community stakeholders throughout the same study areas of the 2006-2007 study. Findings from these interviews help to capture important contextual differences within and between communities with regard to risk perception and social responses to the MPB outbreak.

Mayeda Rashid, Central Queensland University
Kevin Ronan, Central Queensland University
JC Gaillard, University of Auckland

Child-Centered Disaster Resilience Education Program: An Action Research Study

Research suggests that disaster risk reduction (DRR) education programs enable children to be more resilient with increased knowledge and preparedness. However, significant challenges still prevail. In spite of generating effective outcomes, the area of development and evaluation lacks a guiding model. Moreover, such programs are mostly designed and implemented by non-formal educators, like development and humanitarian agencies. As a result, the literature on this ground is primarily based on the evaluation of programs, such as those of nongovernmental organizations, many of which have been identified with significant methodological limitations. Besides, the studies to date did not identify the explicit elements of the programs responsible for generating specific positive outcomes. Therefore, based on the research and reviews to date, this study aims to conduct rigorously designed research focused on DRR education for children, particularly, those that involve children’s active input and participation within the framework of a participatory action research paradigm that also aligns with a child-centered DRR ethos. In doing so, it has the aim of identifying the specific elements of the DRR programs for children that produce the best outcomes in reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience within their schools, households, and communities. Additionally, another aim is to examine implementation factors, including those structural and process factors that facilitate or impede sustainable implementation of such programs. Thus, the study is focused on designing and testing a child-centered sustainable disaster resilience education program that consists of theory, research, and stakeholder-identified elements thought to be responsible for generating effective outcomes and effective implementation.

Reny Revariah, Iowa State University

Jakarta’s Giant Sea Wall: Threats and Assets of Resilient Infrastructure

Climate change poses substantial risks to viability and development prospects of coastal metro areas around the world. Many coastal cities are taking into account the climate change risks as a threat of more frequent future environmental hazards with increasing losses. This issue of (un)predictable disturbances has led to the emergence of resilience notion, the ability to adapt to adverse conditions, bounce back to normalcy, and bounce forward to a better state. Commonly, resilience projects sometimes focus on altering the relationship between natural and built environments. But, those also could be controversial in sociopolitical discourse. In 2010, Jakarta, Indonesia, known as the world’s fastest-sinking city, started building the $40 billion Giant Sea Wall as its resilience strategy to protect itself initially from flooding caused by land subsidence and sea level rise. However, in the process, this resilience approach has brought significant consequences, especially upon residents' fishing neighborhoods who are evicted and forced to move far from their source of livelihoods in Pantai Utara Jakarta. Interestingly, this development was coupled by land reclamation project for skyscrapers, luxury flats, shopping malls, and attractions which has given rise to widespread criticism and questions: Whose resilience are projects like this going to enhance? Who will benefit and lose from resilience projects like these? Can resilience be a threat for some and an asset for others? To address these questions, this case study of Jakarta will examine sociopolitical issues related to the Giant Sea Wall by analyzing urban fabric and spatial transformation along Pantai Utara Jakarta.

Francisco Sarmiento, University of Delaware
Cynthia Rivas, University of Delaware
Abdulhadi Al Ruwaithi, University of Delaware
Joanne Nigg, University of Delaware

Hawaii's Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities Response to the False Missile Warning

Background: In spite of the existence of a missile warning system in Hawaii, communities and healthcare facilities were not prepared to respond. 

Objective: To investigate how hospitals and long-term care facilities in Hawaii processed the false missile alert on January 13, 2018, and how they responded to it.  

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted with supervisors or managers of 15 randomly selected facilities across the state of Hawaii. Questions were asked concerning warning confirmation and response behaviors, emergency plan activation, and lessons learned.

This poster will present major recommendations for areas of improved planning.

Joy Semien, Texas A&M University
Earthea Nance, Texas Southern University

Developing a Disaster Preparedness Toolkit for the Community of Geismar, Louisiana

The purpose of this research project is to examine a novel instructional method to effectively prepare at-risk communities for natural or anthropogenic disasters. The small community of Geismar, Louisiana, is used as a case study. Geismar exhibits a high degree of vulnerability for disaster impacts. Annually, the community is disproportionately impacted by both natural and anthropogenic disasters. To address the susceptibilities of this community to disasters, the proposed project tested an emergency preparedness training workshop inclusive of a pre- and post-quantitative assessment that examined the understanding of disaster preparedness and the usability of disaster preparedness supply kits. The uniqueness of this study is that it identifies nationally recognized preparedness resources and tailors those resources to address the major vulnerabilities of the Geismar community in order to effectively build a community toolkit to address the possible impacts of natural and anthropogenic disaster. The project encompasses a series of educational pilot workshops with a core research design that: (1) prepares the community of Geismar for the possible occurrence of natural and anthropogenic disasters; and (2) develops a comprehensive disaster preparedness community lesson plan using disaster supply kits tailored to Geismar for future disaster training initiatives. 

Kyung-Min Seo, National Disaster Management Insitute
Woo-Jeong Choi, National Disaster Management Insitute

Ulsan Metropolitan City: An Analysis of the Role of Urban Planning in Hazard Vulnerablity Factors

Worldwide, urbanization and industrialization and sudden climatic change are making cities vulnerable to disasters. In particular, Korea is more vulnerable to disasters due to irresponsible urban development and excessive urban concentration for economic growth. Typhoons such as Chaba in 2016  and earthquakes such as Gyeongju in 2016 and Pohang in 2017, which have recently caused great of damage in Korea, have caused many to worry about property damage and natural disasters, and raised awareness in disaster preparedness. 

In this paper, the disaster vulnerability factors are calculated for each section of Ulsan, Korea and compared with each other. The conceptual framework for disaster vulnerability factors is composed of population, slope, altitude, buildings deterioration, shelter present condition, etc. The analytical technique used was GIS. The purpose of this study is will be used as base data for deriving disaster vulnerable areas and establishing appropriate disaster prevention measures in the area.

Kijin Seong, Texas A&M University
Shannon Van Zandt, Texas A&M University

A Systematic Literature Review: Permanent Residential Relocation After Disasters

Relocation has been implemented for the past 40 years and has been financially supported by federal, state, and municipal governments. Although the primary purpose of relocation targeting repetitive loss properties is to move residents to less hazardous areas and reduce recovery costs, research has found that residential relocation is interconnected with diverse urban matters including community and business disruption, housing affordability, social capital, and health impacts. Despite such widespread relationships, studies on permanent residential relocation are relatively new and, therefore, holistic approaches to disaster relocation as a key hazard mitigation strategy have resulted in inconclusive evidence.

The purpose of this paper is to conduct a systematic literature review of studies between 1980 and 2017 on residential relocation after disasters. By investigating 35 selected articles, this paper focuses on understanding what driving factors, processes, and outcomes relate to residents and agents, as well as neighborhood change. In addition, this study concludes with a holistic conceptual model that sequentially explains the relocation process before, during, and after disaster.

Peer-reviewed publications were identified through five databases including Web of Science, EBSCo, ProQuest, Scopus, and JSTOR. Then the study conducts a formal, systematic literature review with five steps: (1) search the literature; (2) screen for inclusion; (3) assess quality; (4) extract data; and (5) analyze and synthesize data. By using a list of a priori criteria and keywords review, 558 articles were identified at the first step of screening and inclusion. In addition, title review, abstract reviews, and full-text reviews were the logical exclusion process, leaving 35 articles to be selected as a final review list to conduct data extraction.

This poster aims to help planners gain a better understanding of current studies in residential relocation after disasters, primarily focusing on socio-economic causes and effects. In this respect, the study may give a comprehensive view of the dynamics of relocation and neighborhood change in the context of urban resilience.

Danielle Sharpe, Emory University
DeeDee Bennett, University of Nebraska Omaha

The Use of Facebook as a Disaster Epidemiology and Response Tool for Severe Winter Weather Events

The “Snowed Out Atlanta” Facebook page was created to facilitate disaster assistance requests throughout Atlanta, Georgia once traditional emergency communication and response systems were rendered ineffective after Winter Storm Leon in 2014. These requests were not documented in any standard emergency medical services (EMS), police, or disaster response record system nor have they been analyzed in the scope of disaster response.

Data on posts from the “Snowed Out Atlanta” page that were communicated between January 29, 2014 to February 4, 2014 were collected using the Rfacebook package in RStudio. Using a combination of inductive coding and existing thematic categorizations, a content analysis was conducted to: (1) determine the disaster response-related contexts and themes of Facebook posts communicated in response to Winter Storm Leon; (2) describe how the contexts and themes of posts shifted following the storm; (3) examine the health-related significance of posts for disaster epidemiology purposes; and (4) detect posts relevant to identifying vulnerable persons in need of disaster assistance. 

Of the 537 posts collected, 260 (48 percent) were relevant for disaster response, and 38 percent of these posts were communicated by individuals offering some form of assistance. One day after the onset of Winter Storm Leon, 189 (64 percent) of the Facebook posts were related to disaster response. Very few posts (3.2 percent) were relevant for disaster epidemiology purposes, and only 4 percent of posts (n=23) were communicated by vulnerable populations in need of assistance. Overall, the results from this study provide insightful information to anticipate the needs of people adversely impacted by severe winter weather.

Robert Soden, University of Colorado Boulder

Closure, Silence, and Anti-Politics: Uncovering Anti-Patterns in the Design of Disaster Information and Communication Technologies

New technologies like satellites, global positioning system (GPS), crowdsourcing, actuarial risk models, and multi-media enabled smartphones have led to an increase in the creation of information that describes disaster risks, response, and recovery. My research examines ways in which the design of technologies are used to make sense of natural hazards and the impacts of climate change that work to perpetuate problematic narratives about the relationship between society and disasters. I use qualitative and design research methods across three cases: floodplain mapping in Colorado, post 2015 earthquake damage assessment in Nepal, and sea-level rise modeling in the San Francisco Bay Area to examine the consequences of the ever-increasing role of data and information and communication technologies in mediating our understanding of disaster and guiding our response. I draw upon the concept of "anti-patterns" from system design to show how elements of the design of many of these information systems and technologies reproduce and reinforce long-standing discourses that have been widely shown to be problematic by social science research on disaster. Inspired by research in the area of feminist studies of technoscience, disaster science technology studies  and human computer interaction research into critical and participatory design, I explore novel approaches to making sense of the environment that seek to provide new ways of engaging with the complexities, uncertainties, and politics of the Anthropocene. I argue that designers of these tools must develop a critical technical practice that allows them to interrogate unexamined assumptions embedded in their work and suggest alternate ways forward.

Emily Sullivan, Texas A&M University
Nathanael Rosenheim, Texas A&M University
Walter Gillis Peacock, Texas A&M University

Public Health Data Informing Food Security Disaster Research

Natural disasters have the potential to decrease food security, a chronic problem for many households in southeast Texas. Household food security refers to the ability of households to procure food to meet the needs of its members. To study this issue, the National Science Foundation funded a RAPID project focused on how disruptions in critical infrastructure impacted food security in southeast Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the evening of August 25, 2017 along the middle of the Texas coast. During the next five days, the storm dropped unprecedented amounts of rainfall throughout southeast Texas, caused extensive flooding, massive power and water system failures, displaced thousands of households, and disrupted local food retailers. The RAPID project randomly sampled over 100 food retailers and conducted face-to-face surveys five months after the event. The local public health departments inspected all food retailers within a few weeks of the event. Both groups collected data about store closure, damage, and disruptions to water and electricity. This poster presents a comparison of these two data sources and explores correlations between the random sample and the full population of food retailers in Orange County and Port Arthur, Texas. Results from this analysis help validate the random sample methodology and explore the perishability of data quality over time, which may provide future research guidance on appropriate timeframes for data collection. Additionally, our results may encourage collaboration between disaster researchers and public health for mitigation and recovery efforts related to food security.

Jeannette Sutton, University of Kentucky
Erica Kuligowski, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Alerts and Warnings on Short Messaging Channels: Guidance from an Expert Panel Process

Information is of utmost importance to the public during disasters, especially for those under imminent threat. Without information, and more specifically, without the right information, people are often left to fill in the gaps of what is going on and how to protect themselves. New and evolving technologies have changed the way agencies and organizations can communicate with the public during disasters. Alert and warning messages can now be rapidly pushed out to populations under imminent threat via a variety of new platforms; including mobile and wireless devices, as well as social media. However, these systems were originally designed to meet technological requirements, leaving human information needs in imminent threat contexts largely overlooked. The purpose of this article is to provide guidance, based on the empirical research record, to public officials on the most effective ways to communicate with populations under imminent threat over short messaging channels. Examples of message templates that conform to research findings for wireless emergency alerts (WEA) and Twitter messages are provided. This guidance is grounded in the latest research on how improved short messages can increase the likelihood that people under imminent threat will take protective action.

Jessica Talbot, Iowa State University
Cristina Poleacovschi, Iowa State University
Sara Hamideh, Iowa State University

Evaluating the Role of Social Capital in Informal Reconstruction: A Case Study of Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017, and the effects are still crippling eight months after landfall. When official response networks are insufficient or slow to respond, communities often engage in informal reconstruction processes to facilitate their own survival and road to recovery. This is especially true in areas with a large percentage of informal structures before disasters occur, such as Puerto Rico. This research uses the theoretical framework of social capital, in the form of bonding, bridging, and linking relationships, to understand how communities mobilize to reconstruct on their own. Data collection uses qualitative methods including interviews (N=50) with community members and field observations. Data collection is underway in a four-month period between May-August 2018 in the rural communities of Adjuntas and Barranquitas. Results will contribute to theory and practice in mobilization of social capital for sustained recovery within larger disaster recovery efforts. Understanding informal reconstruction through mobilization of social capital will help highlight gaps and develop adaptability in current processes.

Alan Tamm, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Information to Reduce Disaster Risk

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has completed screening level risk assessments for most of the federally constructed levees in the upper Mississippi River valley. Catastrophic flooding that inundated many of the levee areas occurred in 1993, 2008, and 2013, causing the community to be more engaged with risk and risk information. To better inform the public of the risks, USACE developed several new information products. These include a new public interface to all levee-related information, levee system risk summary sheets specific to individual levees, levee breach and inundation studies, and a federal-state-local collaborative process to assist communities in developing locally appropriate risk management measures. Examples of action taken in the Midwest related to actual and perceived future floods will also be featured.

Hailey Teachout, Louisiana State University
Michelle Meyer, Louisiana State University

What Motivates People to Join the Cajun Navy and Volunteer for Disaster Rescue Efforts?

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, victims are most likely to be provided aid by individuals in close proximity performing spontaneous relief efforts. After the initial shock of a disaster, informal and spontaneous volunteers continue to provide aid such as emergency rescues, community clean-up, and efforts to rebuild. However, despite the essential role spontaneous volunteers have in disaster relief, their efforts have not been extensively studied, leading to a lack of information that could be implemented to effectively utilize these efforts in future disaster relief settings. By conducting in-depth, qualitative interviews of Cajun Navy members, as well as other volunteer rescuers from Hurricane Harvey, I examine the question, “what motivates people to join the Cajun Navy and volunteer for disaster rescue efforts?” This research is based on National Science Foundation-funded RAPID research grants from the sociology directorate. The interviews have been analyzed with a focus on discovering the motivations about why people decided to volunteer for these flood rescues. The research shows many motivations coming from a need to “do something”, as well as having the materials needed to provide aid. Those with boats risked physical harm and financial hardship, often feeling obligated because they had the means to do so. Interestingly, disaster relief attracts technological savvy individuals, as it is a field able to be improved by many types of technology. These findings shed light on the mental reasoning of spontaneous volunteers, and the recognition and implementation of this knowledge by formal disaster organizations will hopefully benefit both parties. 

Joseph Trainor, University of Delaware
Praveen Edara, University of Missouri
Konstantinos Triantis, Virginia Tech
Pamela Murray-Tuite, Clemson University
Yohan Chang, University of Missouri
Taylor Williams, University of Delaware
Tatiana Daychman, Virginia Tech
David Marasco, Clemson University

Multi-Perspective Evacuation Performance

This project combines sociological, engineering, and economic approaches to explore the question of what makes an evacuation a success or a failure. This question is explored from two perspectives: that of the transportation agencies charged with managing an evacuation, and that of the individual households who participate in the evacuation. Through focus groups, a survey, and simulations, this project is exploring how these two groups experience evacuations and by what criteria they deem an evacuation “good” or “bad”. The project will attempt to quantify these criteria into measurable variables which can be used to form models to evaluate how much of a success or failure an evacuation is, according to these two perspectives. These models could be used to evaluate the impact of different evacuation strategies in order to enable authorities to conduct evacuations that are more successful both for the agencies that manage them and the households that participate in them.

Emily Troisi, Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network

How a Learning Network Supports the Fire Adapted Communities Framework

A fire adapted community is a knowledgeable, engaged community that takes action before, during, and after a wildfire. The fire adapted communities framework does not give a prescription for the exact actions that a community needs to take to live more safely with fire. Because every community is unique, the steps and strategies they take to improve their wildfire resilience will vary from place to place. Networks are powerful tools to help address complex problems like the wildfire problem we face in the United States. Unlike coalitions or alliances, generative networks tackle problems that require a good deal of time and adaptive management to address. The members develop powerful, enduring relationships, and provide support and resources to each other to have real, on-the-ground impacts. The long-term, cooperative, and nimble nature of this generative network makes it ideal for addressing the dynamic problem of community resiliency to wildfire.

This poster will share the model and stories of success of the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network ( With five years in the network’s portfolio, we have seen tremendous growth in the member communities we work with around the country. By sharing lessons learned, successes, failures and innovations, network members are helping to spread the adoption of fire adapted communities practices nation-wide.

Lauren Vinnell, Victoria University of Wellington
John McClure, Victoria University of Wellington
Taciano Milfont, Victoria University of Wellington

Do Social Norms Enhance Support for Hazard Legislation? Comparing the Effects of Descriptive and Injunctive Norms

Research has shown that social norms influence behaviors in areas such as health promotion and environmental conservation, but there are few applications to encouraging actions to mitigate aversive effects of natural hazards. This research examines whether descriptive and injunctive norms can increase support for earthquake-strengthening legislation in a seismically-active city: Wellington, New Zealand. A descriptive norm described the rate at which earthquake-prone buildings were being strengthened each year, whereas an injunctive norm described the proportion of citizens who supported earthquake-strengthening. The control condition described the likelihood of earthquake-prone buildings collapsing and gave no norm information. In a community sample (N = 690), the injunctive norm led to increased support for the legislation compared to the control, whereas the descriptive norm did not. In contrast, the descriptive norm led to higher judgments of the feasibility of the strengthening compared to the control, whereas the injunctive norm condition did not. These findings extend research showing that the descriptive and injunctive norms have differing effects and suggest that the best strategy for enhancing a range of positive attitudes toward earthquake-strengthening legislation is to use both types of norms in the same communication. 

Tricia Wachtendorf, University of Delaware
Jame Kendra, University of Delaware
Joseph Trainor, University of Delaware

Disaster Science Education at the University of Delaware

The University of Delaware Disaster Research Center (DRC) has shaped thinking on social science and management of disasters for more than a half century. DRC helped pioneer quick response research, contributed to theoretical and applied advances, and trained many of the leading scholars in the field. DRC is affiliated with several University of Delaware educational programs that provide disciplinary and interdisciplinary options for students seeking careers in academics and in practice. Undergraduate and graduate programs include disaster, environment, and risk-focused areas in sociology, public policy, civil engineering, geography, and more. Interdisciplinary disaster science and management programs are also available. Students work on funded research projects and have access to the DRC library and resource collection (with more than 120,000 disaster-related items). Graduates go on to academic careers across the country and around the world, including in the private sector, public service, and non-profit organizations. University of Delaware is also the flagship of the William A. Anderson Fund, which focuses on increasing professional development and mentoring historically underrepresented students in disaster science and practice.  More information can be found at

Tricia Wachtendorf, University of Delaware
Jennifer Trivedi, University of Delaware

THIS IS NOT A DRILL: Studying Responses to and Perceptions of Hawaii’s False Missile Alarm on January 13, 2018

At 8:07 a.m. on January 13, 2018, Hawaiians and visitors received a warning, “Emergency Alert: Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” It was, however, a mistake. Afterwards, Hawaiians shared their experiences, describing their confusion about what to do after receiving the alert. While some took the threat quite seriously, others were skeptical throughout. But what we heard reflected a much more thoughtful decision-making and information seeking process than the narrative that the media seemed to portray.

In conducting rapid response fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with 81 people (largely on the ground in Hawaii the week after the event), it became clear that many immediately felt the need to seek more information about the warning, listening for the missile alert siren, checking online sources, and reaching out to people they knew. This pattern was clear across other categories, including whether or not people thought the inbound missile was real. These efforts to seek more information continued beyond the initial 38 minutes into the days after the alert and into public spaces like Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency preparedness meeting conducted later that week.

People’s reactions to and perceptions of the Hawaii false missile alert are important examples to consider for our understanding of people’s responses to disaster warnings more broadly. Analyzing the responses and perceptions of people in this narrow time frame can help researchers improve their understanding of people’s decision making and influences in interpreting warnings.

Bairong Wang, University at Buffalo
Jun Zhuang, University at Buffalo

Analyzing and Modeling the Spread of Misinformation on Social Media During Natural Disasters

Our studies investigate the spread of misinformation on social media through big data analysis and mathematical modeling. We implement techniques such as network analysis, sentiment analysis, predictive modeling, and decision modeling to understand the dissemination features of rumor spreading and rumor debunking information across Twitter’s network; specifically in times of natural disasters. Results from preliminary data analysis on Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma show that official debunks from government accounts are very effective in combating the spread of rumors—which offers valuable insight on the optimal use of such accounts. Results from our working studies will show the emotions and networks of Twitter users during times of rumor spreading on Twitter. This will lead to an understanding of the interactions and connections between users, which are both vital factors in the rapid information diffusion that occurs across social media. Our aim is to supply decision makers with valuable features of misinformation spreading and debunking, as well as predictive methods, to help mitigate the dissemination of misinformation during natural disasters. 

Maria Watson, Texas A&M University
Yu Xiao, Portland State University
Walter Peacock, Texas A&M University
Shannon Van Zandt, Texas A&M University

The Impact of Loans on Long-Term Business Recovery

This poster looks at the impact of loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on the long-term survival of businesses in Galveston County, Texas after Hurricane Ike in 2008. Previous research has examined the influence of aid on business recovery by sampling populations of impacted businesses after disaster events. It can be difficult, however, to understand the influence of financial aid on business recovery with this approach because so few businesses actually receive assistance; survey techniques are also biased towards surviving businesses since it can be almost impossible to reach closed businesses. Data used in this research, therefore, is a combination of InfoUSA business information, sales tax, and franchise tax permit information from the Texas State Comptroller, and data provided by the SBA from the Freedom of Information Act. We use a quasi-experimental design to match treated businesses (i.e. those that received a loan) to control businesses (i.e. those that did not receive a loan). Businesses were matched on flood and wind damage, number of employees, sales, sector, whether they were female-owned, whether they were a home-businesses, and whether they were a branch of a larger corporation. We collected primary data regarding the operating status of the business sample in the fall of 2017 to compare the outcomes of the treatment and control groups. We also used the operating status of the treated businesses to examine whether loan amount, timing, and loan type significantly affected in long-term survival probabilities. Our findings suggest that loans are significant, positive predictors long-term business survival, as well as vary in their influence based on their characteristics.

Hung-Lung Wei, City University of New York

Perceived Stakeholder Characteristics and Protective Action for Influenza Emergencies: A Comparative Study of Respondents in the United States and China

This study was designed to determine if respondents in the United States (Texas) and China (Anhui province) differed in their perceptions of three stakeholder types (authorities, news media, and peers) with respect to three stakeholder characteristics (expertise, trustworthiness, and protection responsibility) and if these stakeholder perceptions were significantly correlated with protective actions for influenza. Both Texas and Anhui respondents rated expertise, trustworthiness, and protection responsibility as highest for public health authorities and lowest for internet/social media. However, the differences between ratings for authorities and peers were greater in Texas than in Anhui and the correlations of stakeholder characteristics with protective action were quite different between Texas and Anhui. These results suggest that public health authorities should recognize that there are differences across countries in people’s perceptions of authorities, news media, and peers. These differences are important because people’s perceptions of different stakeholders are significantly correlated with their protective actions in response to pandemic influenza.

Amy Wolkin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Simone Domingue, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Melissa Villarreal, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Elizabeth Bittel, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Lori Peek, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center

Preparing to Respond: Vulnerable Populations Factsheets for Emergency Response

A key component of emergency preparedness and response is meeting the needs of vulnerable populations, or groups of people who may not be able to access and use the standard resources offered in emergency preparedness and response. During an emergency, public health actions must be timely and these actions often require quick access to information. In 2017-18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated with the Natural Hazards Center to update and create factsheets to serve as a quick desk-side reference for emergency responders to use to address the needs of specific vulnerable populations.

The factsheets focus on the following populations: (1) children, (2) persons with chronic medical disorders; (3) persons with disabilities; (4) persons with limited language and literacy skills; (5) low income and impoverished people and households; (6) persons with mental illness; (7) older adults; (8) pregnant, postpartum, and lactating women; and (9) racial and ethnic minorities. An additional fact sheet describes FEMA’s Communication-Medical, Independence, Supervision, and Transportation (C-MIST) framework and describes how to address a broad set of common access and functional needs irrespective of specific diagnoses, status, or labels.

Each factsheet contains a description of the population and their potential vulnerabilities before, during or after a disaster, surveillance data needs to monitor population health and track trends, targeted communication messages, special considerations by hazard type (i.e. natural, technological), and action items for the different phases of the disaster lifecycle. The factsheets include a worksheet to assist in the collection of locally-specific information for each sub-population. Finally, the factsheets include resources, potential partners, data sources, and a list of academic experts and practitioners who have expertise on each specific population.

Kai Wu, Texas A&M University
Yu Xiao, Portland State University

Understanding Social Capital in Households Post-Disaster Recovery

Recently, a growing number of studies examined how social capital affects disaster recovery outcomes. Social capital is typically defined as the ties and connections among social units that can be utilized to obtain usable concrete resources needed for recovery. Many of the existing studies are qualitative in nature. Very few studies provided quantitative evidence of the impacts of social capital on recovery.

Social capital has been categorized as bonding, linking, and bridging capitals. At the household level, bonding capital refers to the close ties with family, friends, and other emotionally close groups; bridging capital is the ties with farther social groups, such as neighborhood groups, local community boards, etc.; and linking capital is the vertical ties with higher institutionalized power or authority gradients. In this paper, we investigate how bonding, bridging, and linking social capital affect household recovery outcome.

Through a random sample survey of 1,795 households in New York City after 2012 Hurricane Sandy, we collected information on household’s social capital and recovery status in 2016. We empirically tested the correlations between social capital and household’s self-reported recovery outcome. Our preliminary results show that social capital can be a predictor of post-disaster recovery at the household level. This research provides quantitative evidence that building up social capital could potentially enhance community resilience: households with higher bonding and bridging social capital received more help from the bonding and bridging social groups, and linking social capital positively affected the household recovery outcome.

Tristan Wu, Oklahoma State University
Sky Huang, Jacksonville State University
Haley Murphy, Oklahoma State University
Michael Lindell, University of Washington
Donald House, Clemson University

DynaSearch: A Social Experiment Tool for Disaster Studies

Social scientists have long focused on household response to environmental threats. In particular, disaster researchers have focused on how residents interpret warning messages and implement protective actions. However, the majority of this research used post-impact surveys. Such designs make it difficult for researchers to know the extent to which each household member contributed to protective actions. In an extreme case, one person might have made the protective decision, but another person might have filled out the questionnaire. One way of addressing this problem is to conduct experiments in which researchers observe the process by which household members make protective action decisions about hypothetical scenarios. This study will focus on tornado risk information search and includes severe storm watch and severe storm warning advisories into the scenarios. To examine the intra-household process of protective action decision making, this study will conduct experiments using different tornado scenarios. The experimental materials are integrated into DynaSearch, a computer program that allows experiment participants to search for video, audio, graphic, numeric, and text information about a threat that evolves over time. The purpose of this study is to yield valuable data on the household protective action decision making process by observing and coding experiment participants’ interactions and comparing the DynaSearch data on individual and joint tasks. Furthermore, the researchers will be able to assess the differences between households in high and low tornado risk areas with respect to their risk assessment judgments and protective action decisions. Thus, the results of this study will advance decision-making research further by investigating household tornado risk information search and protective action decision making processes. More importantly, the findings may help emergency management practitioners and meteorologists better understand how households process the tornado risk information that is distributed by the National Weather Service and local emergency management offices during high risk tornado events.

ZongPing Wu, Central Police University
YiChun Chen, Central Police University

A Study on Development Strategy of Disaster Resistant Community Autonomy in Taiwan

It’s been an effort for the government to actively promote disaster-prevention community by advocating community participation. Since the establishment of the integrated community-based disaster management program in 2002, the public sector and the co-operation team have continued to promote the disaster-prevention community. We hope that the community will have the capability of disaster prevention and avoid over-reliance on the public sector. This study uses in-depth interviews and analytic hierarchy process as a study method to find the essential factors and analysis system of disaster resistant community autonomy. Among all, to successfully construct a disaster resistant community, or not, is highly influenced by its awareness. When promoting the construction, the most important thing is to form a consensus through the process of empowerment among community residents.

Tamar Wyte-Lake, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Maria Claver, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Leah Haverhals, Department of Veterans Affairs
Aram Dobalian, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center

Disaster Planning for Homebound Veterans

Veterans receiving home-based primary care (HBPC) are an especially at-risk population served by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) because of high rates of physical, functional, and psychological limitations. These vulnerabilities may prevent HBPC patients from being adequately prepared for disasters.

The HBPC patient assessment tool for disaster planning, created using best practices, has been piloted with ten HBPC sites. Items on the tool include: patient risk classification, patient demographics, oxygen use and emergency safety, medical equipment use, safety equipment use, and education provided. Follow-up interviews were conducted with each site to present site-specific results using an infographic-style report.

Initial results indicate that of 754 patients assessed, 40 percent use some type of medical equipment. Although much of the equipment requires electricity, most patients do not have a back-up generator. The educational item most likely to be covered was how to activate 9-1-1 services (87 percent). The item least likely to be discussed was the provision of information on emergency shelter registration and emergency specialty transportation (44 percent). Patients with physical limitations and patients with no social support were more likely to receive education preparedness items (p's<0.05).

Strengths identified included comprehensiveness, reminders to ask about forgotten items, and brevity of the tool, as well as appreciating the easily digestible format of the infographic report, particularly in helping sites identify key areas for improvement.

Home health agencies are uniquely positioned to support preparedness for homebound populations. They should provide additional education to support homebound patients, underscored by the requirements under Medicare and Joint Commission.