Research and Practice Highlights

Supriya Akerkar, Oxford Brookes University

Enabling Inclusion of Older People and People with Disabilities in Humanitarian Responses

Various reviews including that by United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee suggest that agencies continually fail to design and deliver responses that are both appropriate and adapted to the needs of older people and people with disabilities. Older people and people with disabilities face social, environmental and organizational barriers to access and participate in humanitarian action, which puts them at higher risk. 

Our research has identified nine change themes that humanitarian organizations can embed to make their organizations inclusive:

1. Mainstream inclusion within organizational structure by revising policies, practices, and tools of programming to make them inclusive.

2. Collect, analyze, and use sex, age, and disability disaggregated data.

3. Develop a wider vision on inclusion and integrate inclusion within humanitarian, development, and risk reduction programs.

4. Organizations can start by addressing inclusion in their existing program, where there may be gaps and intersectional issues to address, such as gender and disability.

5. Develop institutional pool of inclusion champions. Having management and staff who are competent and committed to inclusion will facilitate change.

6. Challenge wider cultural and social attitudes within the society, such as stigma and prejudice towards people with disabilities and older people.

7. Overcome internal barriers to implementing inclusion, challenging misconceptions such as work with older people and people with disabilities needs "specialist organizations."

8. Develop inclusion competency of staff. Training of the staff on inclusion is vital for the process.

9. Engage older people and people with disabilities, and their representative organizations in inclusion work.

Simon Andrew, University of North Texas

Smart Growth Policies in the Context of Disasters: A Study of Local Governments in Florida

Smart growth policies have gained importance in the context of climate change. Practitioner networks and urban studies scholars have argued that smart growth policies are instrumental in disaster risk reduction and making cities resilient. In spite of the advocated benefits of smart growth, these policies might be challenging to implement because of associated externalities and political costs. Occurrence of extreme events are found to create “windows of opportunity” for policy change. This study analyzes whether occurrence of extreme events help local governments to overcome associated challenges and adopt smart growth policies during the “window of opportunity” period.

The study examines smart growth policies adopted by 165 local governments in the state of Florida. Data on smart growth policies was collected from the "Energy Sustainable Florida Communities” survey of 2009. Theoretically, tools of smart growth policies adopted by the local governments have been classified as climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation policies. Correlation tests between smart growth policies adopted and disaster events suggest that local governments experiencing disaster events have adopted more climate change mitigation tools than adaptation tools. Also, jurisdictions suffering more property damage from extreme events have adopted more smart growth tools. The study hence contributes towards our understanding of smart growth in the context of climate change response. It also suggests that tangible losses from extreme events (in the form of property damage or economic losses) are more likely to create policy change.

Stacey Arnesen, National Library of Medicine
Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, National Library of Medicine
Robin Taylor, ICF

Helping Information Go Viral: Building a Disaster Information Specialist Network

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), Disaster Information Management Research Center developed the disaster information specialist program as a collaborative effort to explore and promote the role of librarians and others in the provision of disaster-related information resources throughout all phases of a disaster of public health emergency. A three-pronged approach was created to implement the program:

1.  A series of freely available online training courses that provide a foundation to build capacity for public health personnel, librarians, emergency managers and responders, researchers, and others.

2.  Bimonthly webinars that provide the opportunity to hear from experts on the latest issues in disaster medicine and public health.

3. A community of practice that functions through an online discussion forum, email updates, and social media.

Participants can earn two levels of certificates in disaster health information. The basic level requires five courses, including two Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and three NLM courses. The advanced certificate requires an additional 12 credit hours that can be earned by taking additional NLM or other approved courses, participating in NLM disaster information specialist webinars, or other approved meetings and conferences.

As of the end of 2017, more than 75 people from more than 20 states, plus three internationally based people, earned a disaster information specialization from the Medical Library Association. The program has been instrumental in providing a cadre of responsive individuals, across the United States and beyond, who are involved in preparing and providing information before, during, and after disasters.

Shadi Azadegan, Colorado State University

Dimensions of Vulnerability, Resilience, and Social Justice in a Low-Income Hispanic Neighborhood During Disaster Recovery

Disasters expose social structures and hierarchies that put marginalized communities in harm's way. The impacts of Hurricane Harvey on low-income Hispanic communities in Houston, Texas illustrate patterns of historical inequalities that have led to poor minorities in the United States being disproportionately exposed to environmental risks. In disaster contexts where inequality increases vulnerabilities and reduces adaptive capacities and resilience for marginalized groups, it can be argued that effective disaster recovery initiatives call for stakeholders to better understand and explicitly address the structural barriers to resilience rooted in social injustice. This research project explores post-Harvey disaster recovery from three angles: (1) as a lived experience at the household level from the perspectives of community residents; (2) as an issue of community organization and representation of local voices in decision-making spaces, from the perspective of community advocacy groups; and (3) as an issue of balancing immediate disaster recovery needs with long-term mitigation, adaptation, and development objectives at the community level and at broader scales, from the perspective of official city, state, and federal recovery, and aid organizations. The project considers the collective conversation surrounding these themes six and 12 months after the storm to assess how community residents, local advocacy groups, official government recovery, and aid organizations prioritize and address needs during the crucial first year of recovery efforts after the storm.

Gonzalo Bacigalupe, CIGIDEN
Lautaro Ojeda, CIGIDEN

Drones for Community Cartography in Chile: Top Down Technologies for Bottom Up Participation

Vulnerable communities living in irregular settlements are often also located in territories impacted by multiple risks including fires, landslides, tsunamis, and earthquakes. A multidisciplinary team of researchers, practitioners, and volunteers, with the support of CIGIDEN, has been working with several communities in Chile to develop the tools and expertise to utilize drones in those territories. We share the opportunities and challenges we face in the development of community participatory activities that utilize drones as an attractor to activities that include the capturing of images, processing, and analysis for assessing risk and resilience. The project intends to focus on disasters as a social phenomena and not simply as the development of tools to address the emergency elicited by an extreme natural event. We analyze the implications of local experiences with the development of a platform available to other communities and territories. 

Sara Bondesson, Swedish Defence University

Why Gender Never Sticks: Underlying Logics of Disaster Risk Reduction Policy

This chapter from the forthcoming Climate Hazards and Gendered Ramifications analyses the underlying logics of key policy documents and reports within the policy field of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). In so doing, it explores the discursive boundaries of the DRR field and looks at whether and how these boundaries render an integration of critical gender perspectives impossible. Vulnerability to disasters is conditioned by social and political inequalities that distribute vulnerability in unequal ways. There are gendered differences in terms of how women, men, boys, and girls withstand, are affected by, and recover from and adapt to disasters. These differences are contingent on the gender order of any given context. DRR is a field of policy planning with the overall goal of minimizing vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout societies. In order to produce fair and equitable prevention and planning interventions, DRR processes need to take into account the gendered dynamics of disasters. However, in comparison to other fields, DRR processes lag behind in implementing a gender perspective, despite decades of activism among practitioners, activists and researchers.

Sara Bondesson, Swedish Defence University

Reducing Vulnerability Through Collaboration: The Occupy Sandy Movement

This chapter is part of a forthcoming Routledge volume called Collaborative Crisis Management: Interorganizational Approaches to Extreme Events. The volume develops a novel research agenda for systematically investigating and harnessing cross-boundary collaboration in cases of crisis management in five countries: Sweden, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, and the United States. Unlike most academic literature that focuses on collaborative governance in stable policy environments, our book breaks new theoretical and empirical ground by studying how collaboration shapes societies’ capacity to plan for, respond to, and recover from extreme and unscheduled events. The chapter builds on ethnographic field work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that struck New York City in 2012, and focuses on issues of vulnerability reduction through collaboration between storm-affected residents and Occupy Sandy activists.

Sara Bondesson, Swedish Defence University

Resistance Against Gender Equality Within the Disaster Risk Reduction Community of Practice

This project, currently in an early planning phase, sets out to explore resistance against gender equality within the global disaster risk reduction (DRR) community of practice. DRR has been reluctant to acknowledge and accept the issue of gendered diversity in its policy design and practice. In comparison to the development agenda and the sustainable development goals, gender as a concept is yet to enter substantially into the DRR discourse. One possible explanation is that gender equality work may challenge existing norms within institutional spaces and there may be resistance against it. Resistance can effectively shut down change efforts, dilute their meaning, or distract from necessary activities. Resistance against gender equality is under-studied within DRR research, which is why identifying types and forms of resistance contribute to shedding light on problems with implementation. The project will employ three sources of data. First, interviews with gender advisors in DRR programs as well as with allies and potential opponents to gender equality among co-workers, contact persons, and supervisors will be conducted. Second, ethnographically guided field study visits on international DRR missions will be conducted. The third kind of data will be collected using an analytical auto-ethnographic approach in the author's own work as a gender advisor to international DRR missions to gather first-hand experience which will provide valuable insights into the practice of gender equality work within DRR processes.

Hannah Brenkert-Smith, University of Colorado Boulder

Enhancing Wildfire Risk Management with Collaborative Social Science: The Wildfire Research (WiRē) Team

Risk assessments in hazard-prone communities are fairly common; however, the results are often unknown to the residents, even when publicly available. In the wildfire arena, risk assessments are used primarily for hazardous fuels reduction, fire suppression strategy, and community planning. Providing residents with risk information at a relevant, actionable scale (parcel-level) and leveraging social data to engage residents in risk reduction constitutes a critical step in reducing risk, increasing resilience, and promoting fire adaptation and remains a central gap in current practices. The wildfire research (WiRē) team’s paired parcel wildfire risk assessment and household survey approach to data collection has proven to address this gap. The benefits of the approach start with the establishment of baseline data of fire-prone communities in which the parcel wildfire risk conditions and the social context (attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of residents) are understood better than ever before. Baseline data allows practitioners to attend to communities holistically and understand the social challenges that may stand in the way of mitigation and prevention activities across a community. The longer-term benefits include the establishment of the capacity to track change over time. Further, the mobilization of such data by current partnering practitioners has resulted in measurable increases in participation among residents in mitigation activities. To date, this effort has reached over 6,000 households in 80 southwestern Colorado communities.  

Please see three short illustrated videos on the WiRē approach here:

Suren Chen, Colorado State University
Guangyang Hou, Colorado State University
Yangyang Wu, Colorado State University
Qiling Zou, Colorado State University

Multi-Scale Transportation System Hazard Resilience Modeling Considering System Interdependency

Natural hazards, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, pose devastating impacts to urban infrastructure. Transportation systems play a critical role in supporting daily lives, evacuating people in the pre-disaster phase, delivering emergency supplies and services in the emergency response phase, and restoring other lifelines (e.g. pipelines and electric power systems) in the reconstruction phase. Safety and resilience of transportation systems under risky conditions are pivotal to reducing fatality and economic costs associated with infrastructure damage/failure and for effective emergency response and recovery efforts. A series of multi-scale hazard resilience studies at Colorado State University include disruption modeling, traffic performance modeling of disrupted critical nodes (e.g. critical bridges), representative road segments, traffic network, and community-level interdependent infrastructure systems. For various hazards, time-dependent disruptions caused by debris (e.g. fallen trees and collapsed buildings), work zones, and traffic accidents are modeled and the corresponding traffic delay and safety risks considering adverse driving environments can be predicted in the microscopic scales. The interdependency between power loss, traffic lights at intersections, water pumping systems, and partially flooded roads has been incorporated. Throughout different phases of disaster resilience, adaptive strategies on emergency medical service, dynamic optimal route advices, traffic control measures on long-span bridges, and prioritization of infrastructure emergency repair are developed. In the short-term and long-term recovery stages, the planning strategies of debris removal, repair of bridges, power infrastructures, and water systems are also studied at the community and system level.

Arindam Gan Chowdhury, Florida International University

Wind Hazard Research at the Wall of Wind Experimental Facility

Florida International University's Wall of Wind (WOW) Experimental Facility (EF) is one of only eight Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) EFs in the United States designated by the National Science Foundation  for hazard mitigation research, and one of only two for wind hazard research. The scientific vision of the NHERI WOW EF is to enable frontier research and education to impart resiliency and sustainability to new and existing buildings, cladding systems, and lifeline infrastructure in order to prevent wind hazards from becoming community disasters. The WOW EF allows testing of holistic building and infrastructure systems at large scales in wind speeds up to, and including, hurricane Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with a wind-driven rain option. The WOW provides distinct multi-scale test capabilities: (1) high-speed holistic full-scale testing in up to simulated Category 5 hurricane winds (70 m/s or 157 mph), (2) wind-driven rain simulations to study water intrusion through the building envelope, (3) destructive testing under extreme environments to study progressive damage, enhance designs, and develop new mitigation techniques, (4) large-scale aerodynamic/aeroelastic testing in ABL flows at high Reynolds number (Re), and (5) classic boundary layer wind tunnel testing in flows with a full turbulence spectrum. The WOW EF’s system-level testing capability helps in the characterization of strong wind flows and their effects on buildings and infrastructure systems. The WOW has been successfully used for several research and education projects funded by federal and state agencies and the industry. 

Arindam Gan Chowdhury, Florida International University
Ioannis Zisis, Florida International University
Peter Irwin, Florida International University
Amal Elawady, Florida International University
Maryam Refan, Florida International University

Large-Scale Experimentation Using the NSF NHERI Wall of Wind Experimental Facility to Assess and Mitigate Wind and Rain Impacts on Buildings and Infrastructure Systems

Wind-induced effects on buildings and infrastructure located in the United States and around the globe have caused damages worth billions of dollars. To advance knowledge on various topics of wind engineering and develop wind damage mitigation techniques, a state-of-the-art large-scale experimental facility called the Wall of Wind (WOW) was developed at Florida International University in Miami. The WOW includes a 12-fan boundary layer wind tunnel that is capable of simulating hurricane winds at different wind speeds and up to 157 mph (Hurricane Category 5- Saffir-Simpson scale). Various wind-structural experimentations have been carried out at the WOW in to assess wind loads on buildings, bridges and traffic signals, wind-driven rain intrusion in buildings; and the capability of a building or its components to withstand high wind speeds. Due to its significant contributions to the wind engineering community, the WOW has been designated as an “experimental facility” under the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) program of the National Science Foundation. The capabilities, uniqueness, and resources at the WOW enable researchers to perform cutting-edge research with the aim of preventing wind hazards from becoming community disasters. Facility enhancements that are underway, including automated roughness and the downburst simulator. 

Chris Clavin, Institute for Defense Analyses
Leslie Abrahams, Institute for Defense Analyses
Emily Sylak-Glassman, Institute for Defense Analyses

Examination of Technology and Policy Needs Associated with Assessing Immediate Occupancy Performance Objectives

Enhanced building codes and standards could aid local decision-makers and policy officials in mitigating impacts of future natural hazards. Enhanced standards that aim to achieve immediate occupancy performance objectives could reduce long-term physical, social, and economic consequences of disasters and accelerate recovery of individuals and communities. Translating the concept of immediate occupancy performance into technical requirements for codes and standards, as well as policy measures, remains a challenge and will require an interdisciplinary portfolio of engineering, basic science, socio-behavioral, and economic research. Researchers at the Science and Technology Policy Institute are conducting a study looking at two facets of this challenge: (1) examining existing or proposed policy approaches to enhance post hazard functionality and the technology and measurement science requirements associated with implementation of these policies, and (2) examining measurement science, data collection requirements, and technology capabilities necessary to assess and characterize the functionality of buildings after a natural hazard occurrence. The study aims to capture existing initiatives and efforts to establish standardized information and data collection requirements for post-event reconnaissance of the built environment, identify remote sensing and in-situ measurement capabilities that can directly or indirectly measure building impacts, examine data collection requirements associated with external systems that support building functionality (e.g. infrastructure/lifeline systems), and identify future measurement science and technology needs to meet these data collection and information requirements. Recommendations from this study aim to inform research and operational requirements associated with ensuring buildings designed to immediate occupancy performance maintain their intended functionality during and after hazard events. 

Elena Craft, Environmental Defense Fund
Marie Lynn Miranda, Rice University
Kathy Ensor, Rice University
Loren Raun, City of Houston
Hien Le, Rice University
Joshua Tootoo, Rice University
Max Grossman, Rice University
Claire Osgood, Rice University

Using Exposure Science to Identify Populations at Risk in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 26th in Rockport, Texas. Unprecedented rain from the storm dumped over five feet of rain in five days in the Houston region. Over 40 counties were declared disaster areas. The greater Houston area includes roughly 570 chemical plants, 43 superfund sites (13 of which flooded), 9 refineries, 188 cement batch plants, 80 metal recycling facilities, as well as numerous underground storage tanks. The extent of toxic contamination of the air, water, and soil has yet to be assessed. There is also uncertainty related to the complex mixtures of contaminants, as well as the impact of psychological stress. The potential for health risk is clear. We are using state of the art data and exposure science to identify who was (and continues to be) exposed to what and in so doing establish baseline understanding of the risks for longer term environmental health effects from the storm. Our specific aims are to: (1) develop an open web platform for storing, sharing, and analyzing data from the greater Houston area; (2) enroll individuals who did and did not experience flooding into a pilot registry and collect basic health and housing information on them; (3) integrate all available environmental exposure data related to the storm into the project's spatial data architecture; (4) identify vulnerable individuals and populations based on their exposures and characteristics; and (5) make the resources developed under this R21 grant available to the larger research and public health communities.

Hannah Eboh, Northern Illinois University
Walker Ashley, Northern Illinois University
Courtney Gallaher, Northern Illinois University
Thomas Pingel, Northern Illinois University

Risk Perception in Small Island Developing States: A Case Study in the Commonwealth of Dominica

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face high susceptibility to natural hazards. Understanding risk perception in SIDS is an essential step towards reducing vulnerability on these at-risk island states. A case study in the eastern Caribbean's Commonwealth of Dominica is used to explore risk perception. The study used the island’s notable volcanic risk as the research focus since this hazard, unlike the island’s others threats, has a risk that extends radially from the point source. Focus groups were conducted in 18 villages throughout Dominica. During these focus groups, participants produced and colored maps to show where they believed volcanic risk existed on the island and shared their reasoning behind their maps. Surveys were also administered to all focus group participants to collect basic sociodemographic information. Subsequently, hand drawn maps were converted to raster images and aggregated to various configurations using a raster calculator. The explanations of their maps were transcribed, coded, and analyzed qualitatively according to Strauss’ grounded theory to identify trends in thought processes among demographic groups. Using Wildavsky and Dake’s political risk theory, the influence of gender and age on risk perception were also explored. The perceived volcanic risk from the sample groups was compared to the risk objectively identified and modeled by United States Agency for International Development to identify discrepancies in perceived versus identified threats. Understanding the demographic variables that have the greatest influence on risk perception facilitates the development of better, and more tailored, public outreach campaigns that could save lives when the next hazard threatens Dominica.

Eliot Evans, U.S. Air Force

Time to Lead by Example: Implementing Change to the U.S. National Security Strategy by Making Disaster Risk Management a Priority to Prepare for Complex Disasters

Action should be taken to bring a clear and coherent leadership focus to addressing the problems with the rise in frequency, severity, and complexity of technological and natural disasters, their impact on the well-being of the people, economic prosperity of the nation, and the interconnected global community of nations. Priority needs to be given to investment in disaster risk management. Findings of studies conducted should serve as a wake-up call for action. Better coordination and collaboration is required for disaster preparedness and response. An innovative Kindgon’s model is used as the framework to include an analysis of the drivers involved in addressing a given problem. This approach illustrates an analysis of the relevant drivers of effective disaster risk management, the stakeholders, and expected outcomes. The benefit of this approach is to provide better understanding of disaster risk management and raise the attention of the president and U.S. Congress to take action at the right time in the “policy window” with the right resources in order to mitigate loss of life, devastating economic impact, and stability of governance.

Seth Guikema, University of Michigan
Lori Peek, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center

Interdisciplinary Methods and Approaches for Hazards and Disaster Research

While there have been many advances in disciplinary-specific quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches for hazards and disaster research, interdisciplinary methods in the field have not been sufficiently inventoried or studied. In light of this gap in knowledge, the National Science Foundation supported workshops in 2017 and 2018 where interdisciplinary researchers came together and collaborated to advance the science and practice of interdisciplinary research for hazards and disasters.

The forty researchers who participated in those workshops are contributing to a special issue of the journal Risk Analysis and to an edited volume to be published in the future. The special issue and the edited volume are designed to:

• Inventory interdisciplinary methodological approaches to hazards and disaster research,

• Advance epistemological and theoretical approaches to interdisciplinary work,

• Assess the most effective approaches to forming and sustaining interdisciplinary teams,

• Identify the major challenges to implementing interdisciplinary methods and approaches,

• Identify the unique contributions and methodological advances of interdisciplinary research, and

• Discuss interdisciplinary research, teaching, and next generation mentoring needs.

Derrick Hiebert, Washington State Emergency Management
Himanshu Grover, University of Washington

2018 Washington State Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan

Washington was the first state to achieve enhanced status, and the 2018 Washington State Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan (SEHMP) represents continued efforts to get the most out of a hazard mitigation program.

After nearly 20 years of plans focused on hazard and risk profiles, the 2018 SEHMP provides a comprehensive snapshot of the state’s commitment to natural hazard risk reduction. Through detailed mitigation strategies consisting of existing programs from across the state and new multi-agency initiatives, the SEHMP provides a tool to let decision-makers, agency leadership, and Washington residents see where the state spends time and money on disaster mitigation–and where greater support is needed.

The multi-agency process of developing integrated strategies also led to greater integration between agencies responsible for hazard mitigation, something that in time will be a multiplier of agency capabilities. At a time of greater federal focus on hazard mitigation–and discussion of incentives for mitigation or a disaster deductible-building a broad base of state-level support, capacity, and awareness will help put Washington in the forefront of any innovation or new opportunity.

Demian Hommel, Oregon State University

Teaching Hazards, Disasters, and Risk: A Case Study

Offering university-level courses in hazards and disasters can be a challenge. There are difficult, complex decisions to be made regarding curriculum, skill development, assessment, and outcomes. While many of these difficulties are a part of any teaching effort, the interdisciplinary perspectives, diverse problems, and real-time possibilities of our "world risk society" raise the stakes so-to-speak, both in terms of challenges and opportunities. An effective hazards course has a number of potential benefits, including integrating students' knowledge and interests into meaningful projects and preparing and inspiring future responders, planners, researchers, and citizens. This discussion will focus on one attempt to teach an upper-division hazards course (called "geographies of hazards, disasters, and risk") at Oregon State University. After providing an overview of the course format and organization, we will examine several final projects built in the the Esri story map interface, illustrating how students can incorporate geospatial data with digital storytelling to create some surprising results.

Lisa Jackson, Emergency Management Victoria
Adair Forbes Shepherd, Emergency Management Victoria

We Learn as One: The Journey of Victoria, Australia, to Collaborative Lessons Management

In November 2015, Victoria’s first lessons management framework (EM-LEARN) was released. The EM-LEARN framework established a model for lessons management, including a life cycle that defined cultural characteristics and lessons management process, based on research. The release of the EM-LEARN framework was a key communication and education tool as a first step to begin clarifying roles, responsibilities, processes, terminology, and expectations.

The State Review Team (SRT) is Victoria’s key governance committee for lessons management and the development of the EM-LEARN framework and championing lessons management over many years. The SRT began as a small group of people passionate about sharing and learning collaboratively and in 2018 it evolved to consist of representatives from 17 emergency management organizations. The SRT is now the leadership group that provides strategic influence, direction, and state level oversight of operational assurance activities including debriefing, monitoring, and review activities to promote sector wide consistency, learning, and continuous improvement in a coordinated and effective manner.

Through the collaboration of the SRT and their leadership role in lessons management, the sector is striving to continuously improve in real time together rather than organizations or individuals learning independently and inefficiently. People are empowered to actively contribute to continuous improvement of the sector to support the vision of “safer and more resilient communities”. Lessons management provides the platform for holistic learning based on a diverse and comprehensive evidence base that wouldn’t necessarily be available to individuals or organizations. 

Amy Javernick-Will, University of Colorado Boulder
Abbie Liel, University of Colorado Boulder

An Exploration of Household Perceptions of Shelter Performance and Community Resilience

Following a disaster, nongovernmental organizations and government agencies strive to build better and safer shelters, and more recently, are focusing on settlements approaches that encourage community resilience. To better understand factors influencing long-term recovery we also need to understand household-level perceptions of shelters and community resilience. This research explores these perceptions in the Philippines, following 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan. We conducted survey questionnaires, together with local research assistants, of 350 households that received various types of shelter assistance, including transitional shelter, core shelter, and resettlement. These questionnaires collected data on how households perceive their house would perform in a future disaster, how satisfied they are with their house and community, and how involved they are, and plan to be, in resilience-building activities within their community. Preliminary findings indicate households perceive better performance of shelter during earthquakes than typhoons and that perceived performance varies based upon material type, despite similar levels of satisfaction across all households. Additionally, findings suggest that the better perceived performance of shelter during future disasters, the more likely a household is to be involved in future community resilience-building activities. The results of this study should encourage post-disaster shelter actors to invest more time and resources in educating households about the expected performance of their shelter during various future hazard events.

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

Damage-Based Flood Risk Mapping for Houses in Daegu Metropolitan City

Damage-based flood risk for residential houses was evaluated using regional hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. Water depth levels generated from flood inundation maps were used to estimate the hazard while the location and price of housing exposed to flooding were used for the computation of exposure. Vulnerability, the magnitude of damage according to flood depth, was estimated from the flood depth-damage curve of houses. Flood risk was estimated by standardizing the damage costs of houses and then classifying them into the following levels: none, very low, low, moderately low, moderate, moderately high, high, and very high. The methods previously mentioned were applied to Daegu Metropolitan City which has eight administrative districts to generate damage-based flood risk map for houses. The results show that the mean damage of houses for Buk-gu, Dalseo-gu, Dalseong-gun, Dong-gu, Seo-gu, and Suseong-gu were USD $38,585, $126,988, $45,467, $35,855, $22,582, and $38,739, respectively.  Since Jung-gu and Nam-gu were not flooded, there was no flood damage for either regions. The mean risks for the houses in Buk-gu, Dalseo-gu, Dalseong-gun, Dong-gu, Seo-gu, and Suseong-gu were calculated to be 0.04 (moderate), 1.79 (very high), 0.18 (moderate), -0.01 (moderate), -0.27 (moderately low), and 0.05 (moderate), respectively. The mean risk of the houses in Dalseo-gu was higher than the rest of the region because the price of housing in Dalseo-gu is higher. The results of this study are expected to detect houses in risk to flood and to be used for establishment of the necessary countermeasures.

David Johnston, Massey University

Towards Tsunami-Safer Communities in New Zealand: Evaluating Real Events, Exercises, Drills, and Awareness Programs

Tsunami awareness in New Zealand has evolved over the last 58 years since the 1960 Chilean tsunami, which struck New Zealand without official warning and caused significant damage, despite occurring at low tide. From 1960 to 2004 various measures were put in place, such as becoming part of the Pacific Tsunami Warning System, which led to improvements in official warning mechanisms. However, surveys in 2003 showed that public understanding of tsunami risk and correct warning-response action still had room to improve. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the New Zealand government initiated an extensive review of national tsunami hazard, risk, and preparedness. New initiatives represented significant steps forward in our preparedness for future tsunami. Recent evaluations of real events, exercises, drills, and awareness programs have shown a steady improvement. However, there is still a way to go to ensure adequate awareness and preparedness of individuals and communities. This poster outlines the results of recent tsunami social science research and highlights future opportunities for building tsunami-safer communities in the New Zealand and in other at-risk countries.

David Johnston, Massey University
Brian Golding, Met Office
Paolo Ruti, World Meteorological Organization
Julia Keller, World Meteorological Organization

The High Impact Weather Project: Promoting Cooperative International Research to Increase Resilience to High Impact Weather

The Sendai Framework called for better hazard early warning systems to reduce disaster impacts. The World Meteorological Organization has launched a ten-year program, High Impact Weather (HIWeather) to address the weaknesses in our capability to reduce the impacts of weather-related hazards through warnings. Advances in meteorology have radically improved the precision and accuracy of forecasting hazard-related weather in the past decade. Together with advances in coupling to land surface, atmospheric chemistry, and ocean models, it is now possible to predict most weather-related hazards where before they could only be inferred in a qualitative sense. Advances in ensemble prediction have also made it possible to produce meaningful quantitative probabilities in the last decade. Taking the next step of using vulnerability information to generate a quantitative risk assessment is now feasible, but very demanding and currently in its infancy. In some contexts there is evidence that these advances have resulted in increased trust in weather forecasts and warnings. Yet, in others, evidence of a lack of response to warnings, especially in disasters with many fatalities, has led to a questioning of the benefits of this research and recognition of the need to communicate information more effectively. Radical changes in the communication landscape in the past decade, especially the rise of social media, have created opportunities and threats that challenge traditional approaches to warning communication. Finally, the simultaneous growth of population, especially in urban areas, together with the occurrence of weather outside historical norms as a result of climate change, poses an increasing threat to communities around the world which demands that the best science is applied to improving the capability of warnings systems, especially in the developing world. The purpose of the HIWeather research program is to promote cooperative international research to achieve a dramatic increase in resilience to high impact weather.

Jaeseung Joo, National Disaster Management Institute
Hyeonseok Choi, National Disaster Management Institute
Tae Sung Cheong, National Disaster Management Institute

Behavioral Know-How for Outdoor Electrical Facility Safety

Outdoor electric facilities such as street lamps, traffic lights, storefront signs, and low voltage distribution boxes contribute offer convenience and are beneficial. But if these electric facilities are damaged by typhoons, residents and pedestrians would be at risk. The Korean government established regulations of an earth leakage breaker in the control boxes of electric facilities, but it was not established for storefront signs. Some local governments are trying to remove storefront signs, but the electric shock risks remain and storekeepers continue to use them illegally to attract guests. Thus, this study suggests measures to respond to and reduce electric risk by conducting verification experiments in an inundated area. This experiment was performed in a real-size electric shock model with model similar to a human and impedance samples in 5 percent as suggested by IEC 60469-1 surge standards. The verification experiment results show that electric voltages and currents have the potential to give shocks and are measured within 0.6m of electric facilities and zero voltage is presented outside of 2m. So, to secure against electrical shock risk in inundation area, it is very important to keep at least a 2m distance from dangerous electric facilities.

Fuminori Kawami, Doshisha University
Shinya Fujimoto, Doshisha University
Shosuke Sato, Tohoku University
Shigeo Tatsuki, Doshisha University

An Analysis of Seven Critical Elements of Life Recovery Using Natori City Survey

Recovery is diverse from person to person and disaster survivors who can not recover by themselves will need assistance that depends on individual situations. In order to select suitable support methods and promote smoother reconstruction of the affected areas as a whole, it is necessary to clarify what the life reconstruction is. The purpose of this research is to reveal a causal relationship between seven critical elements of life recovery (housing, social ties, townscape, mind and body, preparedness, financial situation, and relation to government) and individual life recovery. To establish this relationship as a model, the relationship between within-subject variation of seven critical elements of life recovery and the within-subject variation of life recovery need analyzed by using panel data. The sample consists of whole households of temporary dwellers and survivors who have returned to their home in Natori City, Miyagi. Using 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 survey data, panel data analysis was conducted. Since using fixed and random effect model to analyze panel data, actual existence of correlation should be proven.

Justin Kerr, Talus Analytics
Ellie Graeden, Talus Analytics

Applying Data and Systems Analysis to Support Risk-Based Decision Making for Natural and Manmade Disasters

Risk is complicated. To be immediately and practically useful, explanations of that risk need to be simple. When communicated effectively, risk information significantly improves decision making for natural and manmade disasters. However, computational modeling and data analysis, whether ‘big data’ or small, tend to generate complex results and nuanced recommendations, and the best available natural hazard data and models are often not made readily available and meaningful to decision makers. To fill this gap, we have developed a systems analysis approach to understand the questions decision makers must address in the context of disaster, identify the information required to answer these questions, and align this information to the available data and models. Here, we describe this approach for projects applying risk assessment and decision support tools for floods, wildfire, and biological outbreaks. Systems analysis defines the gaps and requirements for the data not yet available. These data are generated through targeted data analysis and computational modeling, drawing from social science, the natural sciences, networking modeling, and statistical analysis. Analytical results are communicated as either static or interactive data visualizations, developed using a combination of Javascript, HTML, and D3.js. Examples include an end-to-end system to apply flood risk assessment to prioritization of community investments, a geospatial model of wildfire risk applied to insurance portfolio analysis, and identification of gaps in international biological response policy based on the requirements of outbreak management. Taken together, these methods make the results of complex risk analysis meaningful and practical.

Shefali Lakhina, University of Wollongong

Co-Learning Disaster Resilience Toolkit: A Person-Centered Approach to Engaging with Refugee Narratives and Practices of Safety

People who are displaced and fleeing persecution are most of all seeking safety and protection. But, how do newly arrived refugee and humanitarian entrants in Australia learn about local natural hazards, such as bushfires, storms, and flash flooding, and what do they do to feel safe and secure? These questions were the starting point for a doctoral research project—Resilient Together: Engaging the Knowledge and Capacities of Refugees for a Disaster-Resilient Illawarra—coordinated by the University of Wollongong with local institutions, councils, and communities in 2017. Through 26 in-depth interviews with people from Burma, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Syria, and Uganda who are currently living across the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia, the research project developed a person-centered approach to mapping refugee narratives and practices for disaster resilience. Building on the project’s methodology and findings, this toolkit explains co-learning disaster resilience as a systematic process for informing, engaging, and partnering with people based on their unique life experiences, strengths, challenges, and needs. The toolkit demonstrates how co-learning disaster resilience can contribute to grounding policy, programs, and services in people’s lived experiences and everyday practices for feeling safe and secure. It is hoped this person-centered approach can spark innovations in the design and implementation of collaborative, accountable, responsive, and empowering (CARE) programs and services. The approach can also be relevant to engaging with migrants and internally displaced people.

You can access the toolkit here:

Sophia Liu, U.S. Geological Survey
Emily Martuscello, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Leveraging Digital Volunteers, Social Media, and Emerging Technology to Operationalize Crowdsourcing for Emergency Management

Leveraging social media, crowdsourcing, and digital volunteerism can augment and enhance emergency management with real-time information to detect patterns and trends as well as predict risk that can inform disaster response, recovery, mitigation, and even preparedness efforts. Digital volunteers have the capacity to conduct rapid media tracking, geocoding, mapping, data cleaning, translation, and social media monitoring that emergency management officials do not yet have the capacity to process. During the 2017 hurricane season, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operationalized crowdsourcing to enhance situational awareness and decision-making by coordinating with six digital volunteer networks and organizing two disaster hackathons. During the 2018 national level exercise, FEMA tested the crowdsourcing coordinator position and workflows to further formalize these efforts.

Many federal agencies are interested in engaging the public by monitoring social media for real-time updates and harnessing the power of the crowd, but there are still misconceptions and distrust in the reliability of crowdsourced data and how to use social media for operational purposes. Also, there is not a unified effort in standardizing the data and tools leading to duplication of effort and data sharing challenges. This project will operationalize crowdsourcing through the standardization of crowdsourced data, tools, and procedures by developing a Crowdsourcing Playbook for Emergency Management. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) in collaboration with the Federal Geographic Data Committee has also asked Liu to lead a crowdsourcing working group as part of their OGC disasters interoperability concept development study.

Yi-Chung Liu, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction

The Changing Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Supporting Community Resilience

The main focus of nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) has been largely on humanitarian services after catastrophes. However, compared to the tremendous costs of emergency services and post-recovery efforts, investment in disaster risk reduction is rather cost-effective in reducing human and economic losses. Therefore, it is crucial to orient NGO efforts in building disaster resilient communities, especially for poor and marginalized groups.

In the wake of a devastating typhoon, a community resilience project was initiated by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. A remote indigenous community was selected to implement the project in 2017. This pilot project aimed to anchor disaster risk reduction into recovery in order to reduce vulnerability as well as enhance local resilience. The project adopted a participatory rural appraisal to used local knowledge and scientific technology in assessing disaster risks. A systematic process and a human-centered approach were developed. Local disaster risk reduction strategies, which require grassroots efforts and community participation, were carried out. Finally, a partnership was proposed, which indicated the responsibilities of different stakeholders at regional and local levels. The study concluded with a summary of lessons learned and recommendations for future community resilience projects.

Ward Lyles, University of Kansas

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program: Integrated Modeling of Hazard Mitigation Stakeholder Networks for Compassionate, Sustainable Risk Reduction

The effectiveness of federal efforts to promote the nation’s health, prosperity, and welfare by reducing risks from natural hazards like floods and hurricanes hinges on decisions made by local officials. In particular, local officials shape where, when, and how to locate buildings and infrastructure in locations with varying vulnerability to hazards. In spite of extensive advances in hazard mitigation research and major federal and state policy initiatives over the last 20 years, property losses and social and economic disruptions from disaster events continue to escalate. Notably, systematic studies of the interlinked networks of local public and private actors, including the champions who foster and maintain cohesion in the networks that translate knowledge and federal and state policy into action, are lacking.

Over the next five years, as part of the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program funded by the National Science Foundation,  I aim to advance natural hazard mitigation by examining decision-making carried out by local networks of stakeholders involved in risk reduction planning and implementing. The project develops, tests, and refines a new model for Networks for Compassionate and Sustainable Hazard Mitigation, which explicitly incorporates stakeholder thoughts and emotions as factors that interact to enhance or constrain hazard mitigation decision-making. Anticipated contributions of the project include an improved process for more effective, socially just, and sustainable hazard mitigation decision-making at the local level and expansion of a generation of hazard mitigation champions across multiple professional and academic disciplines. The integrated education and research program will foster dissemination of findings widely and cost-effectively, including to historically underrepresented populations.

Amanda Martin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Darien Williams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Southeast Disaster Recovery Partnership

The southeast disaster recovery partnership (SDRP) brings together partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to build capacity for disaster recovery. Our mission is to strengthen the ability of the southeast’s coastal economy and environment to recover from the next coastal storm.

The partnership’s approach is three-fold: first, the partnership funds projects identified as state or local priorities to advance disaster recovery and resilience in North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Second, our partners are building the capacity and relationships to engage the private sector in disaster recovery. Third, the partnership convenes disaster recovery practitioners to share best practices and build relationships across state lines and disciplines as diverse as emergency management, natural resources, and business services. 

Since the launch in 2016, SDRP partners have: 

• Held three business recovery workshops in different coastal South Carolina counties.

• Completed a disaster recovery and redevelopment plan for Brunswick and Glynn County, Georgia.

• Launched a major “lessons learned” analysis of North Carolina’s Hurricane Matthew recovery. 

• Engaged businesses and local governments to build Miami-Dade County’s disaster recovery capacity.

• Convened partners and resilient disaster recovery experts for three regional meetings.

• Released a white paper on public-private partnerships for disaster recovery.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is providing initial funding for the SDRP, and the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) provides an administrative home for the regional partnership. Learn more at and please reach out to get involved.

Emily Martuscello, Federal Emergency Management Agency

How FEMA Operationalized Crowdsourcing in Response to Hurricane Maria

In response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Office of Response and Recovery mission assigned Sophia Liu (federal crowdsourcing expert) and deployed Emily Martuscello (continuous improvement manager at FEMA Region II) to operationalize crowdsourcing and the use of social media to enhance situational awareness and inform decision-making. They became FEMA crowdsourcing coordinators at the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) for the first time to better align the response needs of FEMA and its partners with the eagerness of digital volunteers wanting to help. On October 2, 2017, the FEMA crowdsourcing coordinators launched daily coordination calls to coordinate with six digital volunteer networks (namely the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN), Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), GISCorps, Standby Task Force (SBTF), CrowdRescue HQ, and National Alliance for Public Safety and GIS Foundation (NAPSG)). The collection, analysis, and validation of imagery, social media, and other open data resulted in over 5,700 digital volunteers developing 10 real-time crowdsourced maps that enabled rapid damage assessments, enhanced situational awareness, and supported operational decision-making for emergency management. For example, the Standby Task Force was activated to collect the operational status of 71 hospitals in Puerto Rico using social media and other sources. At the time, official reports only had information on 30 hospitals, but crowdsourcing efforts were able to collect information on 61 hospitals and 44 unlisted health facilities. Two disaster hackathons were also organized enabling support and authorization from FEMA senior leadership and partner agencies to integrate crowdsourcing into emergency operations.

Rachel Minnery, American Institute of Architects
Lindsay Brugger, American Institute of Architects

American Institute of Architects Disaster Assistance Program

When a disaster strikes, one of the first demands on a community is to determine whether their buildings are safe for habitation. The trouble is, the structures that must be examined often greatly outnumber the quantity of qualified city inspectors.

The American Institute of Architects Disaster Assistance Program has an answer. For decades, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has maintained a robust nationwide Disaster Assistance Program with thousands of architects trained to keep communities safer and less vulnerable—before and after a disaster.

Architects volunteer post-disaster performing rapid safety assessments of buildings and homes to determine habitability, reducing the strain on government services, nongovernmental organizations, and supplemental resources. This pro bono service helps communities bounce back more quickly from disaster when residents are safely returned home and begin rebuilding their lives and homes. After Hurricane Harvey alone, AIA members assessed more than 4,000 homes across Texas. This valuable service is made possible through collaboration with state and local government officials, industry partners, owners, and facility managers. To learn more about AIA’s Disaster Assistance Program visit

Lori Peek, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Mason Mathews, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Haorui Wu, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Jennifer Tobin, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center

Social Science Extreme Events Reconnaissance (SSEER) and Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Extreme Events Reconnaissance (ISEEER): New Coordinating Networks and Platforms

This National Science Foundation EArly-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) project will establish two scientific platforms and coordinating networks for (1) Social Science Extreme Events Reconnaissance (SSEER) and (2) Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Extreme Events Reconnaissance (ISEEER). SSEER and ISEEER will draw on insights from the science of team science (SciTS) and leverage databases and information resources available from the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder to build the capacity of the social science, engineering, and interdisciplinary hazards and disaster research communities. The ultimate vision is to prepare individual researchers and teams to carry out extreme events rapid reconnaissance research that is coordinated, comprehensive, coherent, ethical, and scientifically rigorous.

The work plan will contribute to existing knowledge and applications by (1) developing training protocols on Institutional Review Boards, disaster research ethics, cultural competence, and the history of hazards and disaster research; (2) using geospatial techniques to identify and map researchers from multiple disciplines engaged in hazards and disaster research; (3) coordinating those researchers in major disasters; (4) developing guiding research frameworks for social science and interdisciplinary disaster research; (5) cataloging existing research protocols, instruments, validated scales and measures, and secondary datasets to allow researchers to quickly characterize affected communities; (6) identifying best practices for sharing hazards and disaster study findings; and (7) convening social scientists, engineers, and scholars working in SciTS to inform the project and advance rapid reconnaissance research.

Lori Peek, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Mason Mathews, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Jennifer Tobin, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Jamie Vickery, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Haorui Wu, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center

An Evaluation of Save the Children’s Building State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) Capacities to Protect Children in Emergencies Project

Save the Children U.S. programs recently launched a new project called the building state voluntary organizations active in disasters (VOAD) capacities to protect children in emergencies. As part of that project, our research team at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder is designing and conducting a formative outcome evaluation to assess the proof of concept behind the project model and ascertain its potential for replicability. As part of the evaluation project, our research team will identify and map the location of VOAD members in Arkansas and Nebraska, which are the two focal states in the project. In addition, we will conduct social network analyses to (1) identify the current areas of expertise of the target state VOADs to better understand who is currently involved in disaster response and (2) analyze these existing networks to understand how individuals and organizations are already connected and where meaningful connections are lacking. The geospatial and social network analyses will provide the foundation for the project and be supplemented with focus group interviews, observations, and participatory strengths mapping activities. 

Marla Petal, Save the Children

Child-Centered Risk Reduction and School Safety

Save the Children's Education Safe from Disasters strategy in the Asia-Pacific region has implemented a series of research projects and outputs designed to improved evidence-based practice. The research reports (and summaries) and a series of concise literature reviews (Research-into-Action Briefs) listed below will be published at GADRRRES.NET in mid-2018.

THEME 1. Policy, Advocacy & the Enabling Environment


Comprehensive School Safety (CSS) Policy Trends in the Asia Pacific Region & Policy Case Studies and Child-Centered Risk Reduction and School Safety White Paper: Evidence-Based Practice Framework and Roadmap.


CSS Policy Development, Gender & Disasters: Considering Children, Inclusion in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and Risk Reduction and Early Childhood.

THEME 2. Impacts of Hazards on Education


Post-Disaster Educational Continuity in Urban Floods in South and Southeast Asia, Hazards Impacts on Basic Education in the Philippines, Economic Consequences of Hazard Impacts on Education Disrupted: Education Denied Series, Urban Child-Centered Hazards, Vulnerability, Capacity (HVC) Assessment and Planning, Child Centered DRR (CCDRR): Impacts on Household Safety, and CCDRR and CSS: Scalability Assessment & Planning.


Disaster Impacts on Education and Critical Factors for Post-Disaster Educational Continuity in Urban Floods.

THEME 3. Solutions for Child Centered Risk Reduction and School Safety


Urban Child-Centered HVC Assessment and Planning, Child-Centered DRR: Impacts on Household Safety, and CCDRR and CSS: Scalability Assessment & Planning.


Child-Centered Disaster Risk Reduction, Children’s Education for Disaster Risk Reduction, Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) & Hazard, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (HVCA), Child-Centered Risk Reduction Impacts on Household Safety, Understanding Scalability, Best Practices in Community-Based School Construction, and  School Drills.

Cynthia Rivas, University of Delaware

Addressing the 2030 Problem: Long-Term Care Planning for the Elderly in Baltimore City, Md

By 2030, more than 20 percent of U.S. residents are projected to be aged 65 and over. Demand for housing will shift and rise dramatically, which will result in long-term care (LTC) facility locations becoming even more important. As such the need for services to help older adults, age in place, will grow exponentially. Location and proximity to hazardous areas are of great importance as demonstrated during Hurricane Katrina where 70 percent of the victims who died during the event were among those aged 65 or older. Long-term care (LTC) residents are among the most vulnerable population during disasters. To give us a better understanding we can look at current locations in an urban setting and the nearby hazards. The purpose of the LTC study is to evaluate the current state of disaster preparedness of LTC facilities for evacuation or sheltering in place during emergencies and disasters. A sample of LTCs in the city of Baltimore—stratified by their patient capacity and their location in flood hazard zones—were selected for inclusion in the study. In-person, qualitative interviews are being conducted with supervisory staff in each facility to determine the extent to which flood hazards and their consequences were taken into account in the planning process.

Elizabeth Safran, Lewis & Clark College
Erik Nilsen, Lewis & Clark College
Peter Drake, Lewis & Clark College
Bryan Sebok, Lewis & Clark College

Promoting Earthquake Preparedness in the Pacific Northwest Through Video Game Learning

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is subject to "megathrust” earthquakes like the devastating ones that occurred in 2004 in Sumatra and 2011 in Japan. PNW residents must learn to prepare for, survive, and thrive in the aftermath of such an event as essential services will be unavailable for many weeks. To help PNW residents explore multiple modes of addressing challenges to survival and well-being at multiple spatial and temporal scales given diverse constraints and resources, we are developing a role-playing video game. Our initial target audience is young people (ages 18-26) of diverse racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds living in Portland, Oregon. Young people couple key vulnerabilities with key capacities; they sometimes support families or communities lacking comparable levels of education, english proficiency, or legal status; are commonly left out of mainstream messaging; and emphasize media sharing in their communication culture. The video game is supported by an iterative strategy of experimental research coupled with progressive game development. Our initial research focus is on the interaction between avatar characteristics and in-game cooperation; the effects of avatar characteristics and in-game cooperation on perceived self-efficacy; and real-world consequences of perceived self-efficacy on measures of intent to act, preparedness action, or enhanced response capabilities.

Elizabeth Safran, Lewis & Clark College
Bryan Sebok, Lewis & Clark College
Erik Nilsen, Lewis & Clark College
Bruce Duffett, Lewis & Clark College
Grace Petrie, Lewis & Clark College
Hannah Smay, Lewis & Clark College
Ajna Weaver, Lewis & Clark College
Daniela Garcia, Rosemary Anderson High School

Effects of Framing and Character Identification with Narrative Videos on Intent to Take Earthquake Preparedness Action

The pacific northwest (PNW) is unprepared for a great Cascadia subduction zone earthquake because the last one occurred over 300 years ago. Promoting widespread earthquake awareness and preparedness depends in part on sharing meaningful messages through effective communication strategies. 

We conducted an experiment to assess the effects of framing and character identification on message absorption and intent to take preparedness action using short, narrative-based videos depicting an earthquake in Portland. Each participant was shown a 90-second video having: 1) gain or loss outcome framing and 2) a male or female narrator. Participants then completed a word association task and a survey about video content, character identification, previous earthquake knowledge, and intended actions regarding earthquake preparation.

Across all conditions, participants reported a significant increase in their intent to prepare for earthquakes. The loss frame narrative evoked awareness of unpreparedness while the gain frame evoked self-identification of positive qualities. Regardless of character gender, the gain frame protagonists elicited greater identification in general. Eighty-five percent of messages reported by participants in a free-write response were general messages about disasters, possibly conditioned by genre expectations or previous media experiences, while fifteen percent were specific messages about community and skill acquisition intentionally embedded in our videos. Participants who were older, more knowledgeable, and more prepared chose an emergency tool over monetary compensation for their time. Participants who were less prepared more frequently opted to browse an earthquake-readiness website.

Ted Serrant, Houston Independent School District

Policy Responses to Frequent Weather Events in Small Island Developing States: The Case of the Eastern Caribbean

Countries in the eastern Caribbean are considered among the most vulnerable in the world. Since 2007, these small island developing states (SIDS) have experienced major floods, hurricanes, and tropical storms including Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 that  have resulted in death, disruptions, and destruction totaling billions and destroying large portions of their gross domestic product (GDP). Previous research has shown a dependence on external source of assistance including loans, grants, and humanitarian assistance in response. Very little work had been done to determine the internal policy responses in recognition of the frequency of these weather events and to identify any shifts in approaches. This paper will use the annual budget addresses of four eastern Caribbean Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent, to identify any policies and their evolution as a response to frequent weather events and their impacts. Budget addresses are annual blueprints for governments’ action, their rationale, and guiding policies. They represent government’s perceptions about key sociocultural, economic, and environmental imperatives like hurricanes and related disasters. The research will be premised on the notion that disaster experiences and perceptions drive disaster policy actions. It will use context and pre-event and post-event word frequency analysis as a measure of intensity and stress drivers for these policy actions. It will also use published data on hurricanes and disasters on these islands. This will be useful for understanding the emergence of policies and rationale for policy shifts in disasters management in small vulnerable countries. 

Laura Siebeneck, University of North Texas

Research Highlights in the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science, University of North Texas

This research highlight details ongoing research activities in the emergency management and disaster science (EMDS) department at the University of North Texas, including multiple projects funded by the National Science Foundation. The department houses the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in emergency administration and planning (EADP) and in fall 2018 will launch a master's of science in emergency management and disaster science program. Committed to advancing disaster science through empirical research, the faculty of the department have been actively working on a variety of projects, including an examination of Native American disaster preparedness, a study of return and recovery processes after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Harvey, an investigation of the emergence of gathering spaces after disasters, and a study of business recovery following Hurricane Harvey.

Flavio Stimilli, University of Camerino
Massimo Sargolini, University of Camerino

A Walk in the Apennines: Field Research for New Paths of Development After the Earthquake

The hinterland of central Italy is a hilly and mountainous area with an outstanding heritage, made up of many natural and cultural resources of extraordinary value. Nonetheless, it has been declining for decades due to increasing metropolization and littoralization, ongoing phenomena, and great challenges for planners and policy makers worldwide.

Urbanization, seasonal mass tourism, and overall growing of human pressure are just few issues affecting the littoral. Dramatic depopulation, economic depression, and abandonment of rural activities are just few affecting the hinterland. In many places, it is completely changing the landscape, overexposing both overcrowded and underpopulated regions, to higher risks of natural disasters. Meanwhile, historical hamlets, villages, and towns so peculiar and precious in Italian inland areas, are further decaying, along with the surrounding rural and cultural landscapes.

In August 2017, Flavio Stimilli walked 300 km (186.4 miles) across the Apennines doing a 15-day field survey along the ancient route of via Salaria, visiting the most damaged areas after the earthquakes of 2016 and 2017. He met and talked with many people affected by the events, and reoriented his research in particular towards landscape and community resilience and recovery after natural disasters. Stimilli focused on the case study of Marche Region, with deeper insight into the town of Camerino, a remarkable example of historical urban heritage and deeply rooted community. He also participated in the first phase of an inter-university  research commissioned by the Marche Regional Council to draw up a strategic plan to regenerate the hinterland. The second phase is now starting.

Jeremy Stone, Simon Fraser University

Justice in Rebuilding and Redevelopment After Disaster

After a successful series of panels on recovery justice at the American Association of Geographers meeting, my colleagues and I are curating an edited volume on issues of justice in rebuilding and redevelopment after disasters. It is an exciting opportunity and we are looking forward to submitting a table of contents for consideration by the end of the summer.

We will now be working to define the research agenda more broadly. At a minimum we are looking to delve into issues such as:

• The intersections of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and ethnicity with mechanisms for resource access and recovery planning.

• The un/intended consequences of disaster recovery programs on vulnerable populations including disaster-induced gentrification, disruption of local economies from selective use of recovery funds, and shifts in community power structures caused by national and international foundations and governments.

• The unequal control over imaginaries and narratives that realize particular recovery outcomes over others.

• Stories and case studies of recovery justice in action, including celebrations of inclusion, thoughtfulness, innovation, joy, and progress.

This is our opportunity to provide evidence and arguments for more just and equitable recoveries after disaster. I'm interested in collaborating with others at the Natural Hazards Workshop on this project. Please find me if you're interested in discussing the topics or if you have a paper for consideration.

Laura Stough, Texas A&M University
Kayla Sweet, Texas A&M University
Amy Sharp, University of Texas at Austin

Disaster and Disability Recovery Resources and Services

In the past 10 months since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, we have been developing the REDDy (Resources for Disasters and Disability) Directory. The REDDy Directory is a dynamic online resource directory which addresses the disaster recovery needs of individuals with disabilities affected by Hurricane Harvey. The purpose of the REDDy Directory is to provide a searchable resource guide to disability-related services, organizations, and supplies for those affected by disaster. A secondary purpose has been to design an online template that can be used in a variety of other disasters and which is easily transferable for use by organizations in other states. The working template for the REDDy Directory was the Directory of Community Resources for Individuals with Disabilities (DCR). The DCR uses Web 2.0 technology which employs dynamic, user-generated content to create a continuously updated directory. The DCR database currently contains more than 2,000 disability-related resources and organizations. The REDDy Directory is based on the DCR, however it is actively managed and updated on a weekly basis to keep the content current. We have monitored the number and type of disability-related resources available post-disaster. We have disseminated the REDDy Directory to case workers, disaster organizations, disability-related organizations, and emergency managers. Usage and feedback from users have been recorded. In addition, we have examined other disaster-related resource guides and compared the inclusiveness and extent of information and resources with those in the REDDy Directory. Our expectation is that the REDDy Directory will serve as a model for directories of disaster resources in other states.

Sharon Tennyson, Cornell University
Rebecca Brenner, Cornell University

Cornell University Interdisciplinary Working Group on Disasters to Study Readiness, Recovery, and Resilience

Cornell University’s Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies has established a faculty working group on disasters to enhance Cornell’s capacity for the study of international disaster preparedness, recovery, and resilience. The focus of the working group is the interaction of human and environmental factors and social, cultural and political dimensions of disasters.

Long-term objectives of the working group are to establish sustainable research collaborations across multiple disciplines to explore new frameworks and approaches to disaster mitigation, resilience, and recovery, especially among poor and marginalized communities.

The working group is seeking research partnerships with international centers and area experts to engage in these efforts to improve public policy and community decision-making on disaster mitigation, resilience, and recovery. 

The working group plans to host invitation-only events on the Cornell campus during the 2018-2019 academic year. Please visit the working group’s website for updates and information at

Edward Thomas, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association
Erin Capps, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association
Thomas Hughes, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association
Alessandra Jerolleman, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association

Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA): Supporting Community Ambassadors for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Natural Hazard Mitigation Association’s (NHMA) mission is to be a catalyst for societal change by elevating the value of hazard mitigation so that natural hazards do not cause suffering and misery to people, damages, environmental degradation, and huge taxpayer costs.

The resilient neighbors betwork (RNN) is a special NHMA program which links together communities that act as a peer-to-peer, co-mentoring network to strengthen and expand local hazard mitigation programs. RNN peers and other NHMA leaders recognized the need for knowledge and resources to enable better-informed decisions about disaster risk reduction. They have collectively volunteered hundreds of hours to author the NHMA’s new Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Ambassador Curriculum, a handbook called Building Your Roadmap to a Disaster Resilient Future, and a soon-to-be-released Post-Disaster Resource Series. Thanks to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Cooperating Technical Partners grant, NHMA has been able to formalize and disseminate these extraordinary contributions to community DRR stakeholders.

The DRR Ambassador Curriculum will facilitate DRR efforts across the whole community by engaging in discussion of how disasters can be reduced through local action: sharing insights among local leaders and technical experts to develop cross-functional solutions and acquiring best-available information, practices, and analytic tools for better-informed decisions.

Building Your Roadmap to a Disaster Resilient Future will assist community stakeholders navigating through the varied and at times bewildering array of pre-disaster and post-disaster risk reduction programs.

The Post-Disaster Resource Series will consist of short topics identified by disaster-experienced RNN communities to be of significant importance for resilient recovery.

Sarah Thompson, Save the Children
Jennifer Smith, Save the Children
Aren Koenig, Save the Children

Save the Children Building State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) Capacities to Protect Children in Emergencies Project

Save the Children U.S. programs recently launched the Building State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) Capacities to Protect Children in Emergencies project. The overarching goals of the project are to (1) increase the awareness of children’s unique needs among VOAD and emergency management personnel and to enhance the skills and capabilities to meet those needs in emergencies, (2) influence the prioritization of children’s needs in VOAD and emergency management organizational structures, representation, and culture, and (3) assess the proof of concept model in Arkansas and Nebraska, the two midwest testbed states for the project. Ultimately, Save the Children is working to create a replicable model and a series of indicators to be used by states to improve child-focused preparedness for VOAD and emergency management partners and organizations. 

Andrew Tracy, University of Colorado Boulder
Amy Javenick-Will, University of Colorado Boulder

Factors Influencing Perception of Information Sources Regarding Induced Seismicity

Effective communication is paramount in any risk-mitigation or disaster response campaign. In order to most effectively convey information about natural and technological hazards to the public, it is important to know in advance how the public perceives different sources of information so that the most effective method and medium can be used to communicate with the public. This is especially pertinent in contexts where risk communication has become politicized, such as with hazards impacted by climate change.

This work will present the findings of a household survey sent to residents in Colorado and Oklahoma experiencing varying levels of man-made or “induced” earthquakes. These earthquakes are induced by the injection of briny wastewater, a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, deep underground. The survey seeks to understand what factors, such as sentiment towards oil and gas, exposure to earthquakes, damage incurred, and geographic location, relate to perceptions of sources, such as how trustworthy and legitimate they are regarding information on the induced earthquakes. This work will present results from ongoing analysis of survey responses.

Joseph Trainor, University of Delaware
Rachel Slotter, University of Delaware
Rachel Davidson, University of Delaware
Jamie Kruse, East Carolina University
Linda Nozick, Cornell University

Homeowner Insurance and Mitigation Decisions: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Modeling Multiple Stakeholder Decision-Making and Reduce Regional Natural Disaster Risk

Despite private sector and policy interventions, the current system of managing natural disaster risk in the United States remains problematic from the perspectives of government, the insurance industry, and homeowners. Previous research has resulted in extensive knowledge about how individuals and organizations make risk-related decisions, as well as the strategic behavior of the industry. However, efforts to understand how stakeholder choices interact as a system have been limited. This paper presents findings from several analyses of homeowner decision-making. These have been created as part of a project to produce an integrated set of mathematical models, in a game theory framework, that can be used to better design and evaluate natural disaster risk management policies. This broader framework includes stochastic optimization models of: (1) government regulation and incentive decisions, (2) insurer pricing and risk transfer decisions, (3) a Cournot-Nash model of insurer competition, (4) an empirically-based model of individual homeowner insurance and mitigation purchase decisions, and (5) a component-based regional loss and retrofit simulation model. Ultimately, this framework will provide a structure to allow for the integration of these elements in a way that advances our understanding of how the entire natural disaster risk management system works.

Amanda Wallis, Victoria University of Wellington
Ronald Fischer, Victoria University of Wellington
Wokje Abrahamse, Victoria University of Wellington

Place Attachment and Hazard Resilience: The Role of Place in Disaster Preparedness

New Zealand is exposed to many natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and flooding. Preparedness for these hazards is crucial to ensuring resilience in the face of environmental threats, yet preparation rates in the Wellington region are low overall. Survey responses from Wellington-based respondents (N=291) find that people’s bonds to their meaningful places (place attachment) are associated with their personal preparedness for a range of hazards. Further, linear regression modelling indicates that (1) attachment to different places (house, neighbourhood, city, country) differentially predict preparedness and (2) different types of preparedness (survival, mitigation, and helping) are predicted by different sets of variables. Attachment to smaller-scale places (house and neighbourhood), for example, predict mitigation and helping actions to a greater extent than attachment to larger-scale places (region and country). These findings hold true when controlling for other relevant socio-demographic variables such as home ownership, income, and length of residence. This study highlights the utility of an approach to building preparedness that considers people-place bonds. It also emphasizes the necessity of targeted approaches that consider the focus of those bonds and the type of behaviour being assessed. Future research will test the utility of place attachment as a tool to increase preparedness behaviours with the goal of informing science-based interventions to help build a more resilient New Zealand.

John Wiener, University of Colorado Boulder

Connecting Watersheds, Green Infrastructure, and Peri-Urban Agriculture

Current research goal: the number of cities investing in improved management of watersheds is increasing to reduce wildfire-flood risks to water and water-supply management and to residential and other land uses in watersheds and wildland-urban interface areas.

Within urbanized areas, the financial and other benefits of better management of floods through hazard mitigation by green infrastructure are increasingly well documented. Downstream from many urbanized areas, particularly in the west, suitable locations for flood water detention and storage in reservoirs are sparse. Unfortunately, the areas of peri-urban agriculture are rapidly shrinking with urban and sub-urban sprawl, the short-term valuation of sprawl development, increasing values of water for sprawl growth, and land-conversion to non-agricultural uses. However, there is counter-pressure from several sources. One is the preference of local food and increasing public awareness of the values of open space, water quality benefits from more sustainable agriculture, and the quality differences from diversified agriculture. This includes institutional purchases (e.g. school districts), direct marketing (farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture, often for produce shares), and food hubs, co-ops, and coordinated production to meet markets. Another is the growing awareness and research base supporting agroforestry, agroecology, and improved or restored soil quality. Restored soils with water distribution capacity may be the largest capacity to detain and improve flood flows. The challenge seems to be demonstrating that conservation of small, adaptable farms, and assistance in transition toward sustainability is an investment for cities that should parallel the investment in watershed management.

Enes Yildirim, University of Iowa
Ibrahim Demir, University of Iowa

Integrated Disaster Decision Support and Visualization System

Flood disaster management often gets involved with structural, agricultural, critical infrastructure, and demographic information. Decision makers generally need to collect the information from various different sources. On the other hand, quasi-real-time data access and analysis are other challenges for decision makers. Undoubtedly, rapid and sophisticated disaster assessment has a significant role to bring help, allocate resources, manage rescue operations, and other critical decision during a disaster. In this study, comprehensive flood disaster decision support & visualization system is aimed to bring flood disaster-related information and analysis in an accessible user-friendly web-based environment. Users can access the structural and agricultural damage, critical infrastructure damage such as power plants, hospitals, emergency centers, water utilities, etc. By making geospatial analysis using census, structural, agricultural, critical infrastructure data, and high-resolution floodplain maps, hundreds of analyses are demonstrated for 12 communities in the State of Iowa. For instance, agricultural vulnerability, property damages and losses, and critical infrastructure damages are visualized through the system. The flood maps which are developed by Iowa Flood Center allow analyzing of every half feet of flooding stages for the communities. The quasi-real-time analysis is also available using real-time stream sensor data from United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Iowa Flood Center by selecting appropriate flood maps in the framework.