Research and Practice Highlights

Sherry Ahrentzen, University of Florida
Abdulnaser Arafat, University of Florida
Andrea Galinski, University of Florida
Jim Martinez, University of Florida
Diep Nguyen, University of Florida
Bill O’Dell, University of Florida
Anne Ray, University of Florida
Russell Watkins, University of Florida
Doug White, University of Florida

Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, University of Florida

The mission of the University of Florida’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies is to promote safe, decent and affordable housing and community development throughout the state of Florida. Recent projects at the intersection of housing and hazards include:

COVID-19 Data and Mapping Applications: Several tools provide county and state-level data related to housing and workforce. For instance, a mapping application shows neighborhoods with concentrations of jobs in accommodations, service, and retail by workplace and employees’ home locations; rent data is provided to flag areas with high housing costs. Also, data on rental properties covered by CARES Act eviction protections are available, including assisted housing, McKinney-Vento site-based housing, and federally insured market-rate properties.

Quantifying the Effectiveness of Resilience Planning for Affordable Housing, Florida Sea Grant ($191,000): This project evaluates affordable housing plans to better understand how they may or may not be effective in advancing a community’s resilience goals. Spatially explicit housing plans are scored based on the extent to which they increase or decrease vulnerability of affordable housing for both current and future coastal risk associated with sea level rise and storms.

Resilience and Energy Analysis of our Communities and Housing Initiative, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Commission (TBRPC) ($500,000): The project’s aim is to define the risks and opportunities for creating sustainable and resilient affordable housing. As part of this effort, a TBRPC-specific web application will be developed to identify coastal flood hazards for single-family and multi-family housing as well as the characteristics of resident populations.

Alyssa Banford Witting, Brigham Young University

Couples Outcomes in Catastrophic Situations

In the past two decades, there have been only three dyadic studies of couples affected by natural disasters. In all three, post traumatic stress disorder symptoms were a primary focus. Further research is needed to understand a range of responses to natural disaster and other catastrophes as experts have concluded that many people affected by mass trauma and disasters do not have significant symptoms. In response to this need, two data sets have been recently collected to explore dyadic responses to disaster. One data set is longitudinal with two time points; the first was collected as a baseline right before the onset of the 2019 hurricane season and the second point was collected in December of 2019 at the conclusion of the 2019 hurricane season. There are 240 couples with responses at both time points, 109 of which were affected by a natural disaster prior to the 2019 hurricane season. Additionally, a longitudinal data collection is currently underway to assess couples affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Wave I has over 600 couples; wave II will be collected in July of 2020 and wave III in October of 2020. Both data sets are designed to assess numerous outcomes that will allow for planful inquiry into couple well-being in the context of catastrophe. These outcomes include disaster and pandemic losses, mental health distress, dispositional characteristics, including grit and trauma-coping self-efficacy, as well as a range of relational health indicators, including satisfaction, communication, and attachment behaviors.

Miriam Belblidia, Imagine Water Works
Klie Kliebert, Imagine Water Works
Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, RAND Corporation
Jacqueline J. Ratner, Columbia University

Mutual Aid Response Networks for Concurrent Disasters: COVID-19 Pandemic and 2020 Hurricane Season

Disasters disproportionally impact Black and Indigenous communities, and traditional emergency response often fails to provide adequate resources within an impacted community. The novel coronavirus pandemic is compromising the ability of vulnerable and marginalized households to access health, economic, sociocultural, and other resources necessary for wellbeing; this is further exacerbated by hurricane season on the Gulf Coast. Imagine Water Works, a nonprofit group based in New Orleans, initiated a Mutual Aid Response Network in March 2020 to provide direct community assistance to residents. This program uses a social networking site (SNS), Facebook, to organize and support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent disasters of flooding and hurricane impacts. Spontaneous and emergent response is common in disasters, but there is a noteworthy reliance on SNS for this pandemic. Analysis of requests and offers made by members of the New Orleans mutual aid Facebook group, established and moderated by Imagine Water Works, shows: members use the group to provide essential services, including for health, housing, food, and navigating government bureaucracy; members support vulnerable and marginalized populations, from hospitality and gig workers to people experiencing houselessness; and the group is used as a site for facilitating a larger network of emergent responses. Our research suggests that mutual aid groups can be used to help vulnerable populations meet many different needs and provides recommendations on how policymakers can incorporate more equitable community-centered disaster response. 

Kyle Breen, Louisiana State University
Michelle Meyer, Texas A&M University
Carlee Purdum, Texas A&M University
Stuart Nolan, Louisiana State University
Brant Mitchell, Louisiana State University
Abigail Bowers, Louisiana State University
Arthur Chambers, Texas A&M University
Romel Fernandez, Texas A&M University
Jackson Pierce, Texas A&M University
Nathan Young, Texas A&M University

Organized Behavior in Disaster: A New Typology Model for Future Disaster Research

The typology of organized groups and their behavior is foundational to classic disaster scholarship and the field of disaster research as a whole. However, due to the increasing frequency and intensity of hazards, the emergence of numerous new groups and organizations, technological advancements and new media, and increasing social and environmental pressures, does the classic typology still fit? This study addresses this question through a case study of civilian search and rescue groups, often referred to en masse as the Cajun Navy. Longitudinal ethnographic and virtual ethnographic research is conducted to capture a wider view of organizational development and processes than what is apparent in just the immediate response period. These data, thus, provide a better understanding of group structure and, importantly, the mechanisms that affect group structure and operation. Findings suggest an expansion to the four classic group types with a fifth type of group: evolving groups. These are groups that move from one type of organized group to another depending on internal and external pressures, such as financial, media attention, disaster frequency and magnitude, competition with similar groups, and founder influence, among others. Some groups that were considered “emerging” in past literature, may indeed fit within “evolving groups” due to external social and environmental pressures. Finally, discussion is provided as to what this new typology and model means for disaster researchers and what further research is needed in the field. This research is funded by the National Science Foundation through grant number 1851493.

Christopher Brennan, University of North Texas

Analysing the Significance of Social Vulnerability on the Incidence Rate of West Nile and Dengue Virus in the United States

Mosquito-borne diseases are an issue that humans face across the world and some populations are more vulnerable than others. Social vulnerability is designed to measure the extent to which a population is susceptible to a disaster. This research questions to what extent does social vulnerability predict the incidence rate of mosquito-borne diseases. Analysis focuses on the social vulnerability index and mosquito disease incidence data for dengue and West Nile virus, both provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, across the United States of America. Regression analysis reveals that the percentage of single parent households with children has a significant effect on both diseases. The other significant factors were the percentage of elderly, minority and unemployed for West Nile virus and vehicle access for dengue. This research offers support to communities and governments who seek to investigate and reduce the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases in the United States by targeting certain social factors that are present in a society.

Heejun Chang, Portland State University
Arun Pallathadka, Portland State University
Sauer Jason, Arizona State University
Rae Zimmerman, New York University
Ryan Brenner, New York University
Chingwen Cheng, Arizona State University
Nancy Grimm, Arizona State University
David Iwaniec, Georgia State University
Yeowon Kim, Arizona State University
Robert Lloyd, Georgia State University
Timon McPherson, The New School
Bernice Rosenzweig, City University of New York
Tiffany Troxler, Florida International University
Claire Welty, University of Maryland at Baltimore County

Understanding Urban Flooding Vulnerability through a Social-Ecological-Technological Systems (SETS) Lens

Climate change is escalating flood hazards in North American cities by increasing the frequency and magnitude of extreme rainfall events. As urban populations will continue to grow through the 21st century, more people are at risk of exposure to those climate change associated events. To investigate the complexity of urban floods, this study applied the interlinked social-ecological-technological systems (SETS) vulnerability framework by developing an Urban Flood Vulnerability (UFV) index for six selected North American cities that are part of the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network. Indicators were selected based on the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity to flooding vulnerability respectively to the three dimensions of SETS. A total of 18 indicators were selected, and each indicator was normalized by the city’s floodplain area at the unit of the census block group. Hotspots of UFV areas were identified for each dimension of SETS. The spatially-explicit SETS framework can be transferred to other urban regions facing challenging urban floods as well as other types of environmental hazards. The SETS UFV maps help reveal intersections of complex social-ecological-technological systems and inform policy-making for building more resilient cities in the face of extreme events.

Moushumi Chaudhury, The Nature Conservancy
Mark Way, The Nature Conservancy

Linking Disaster Risk Reduction to Climate Change Adaptation (Practice Highlight)

More than 600 million people (around 10 percent of the world’s population) live in coastal areas that are less than 10 meters above sea level. In 2018, two million people were displaced due to disasters linked to climate events. Nature has a critical role to play to support people in highly exposed coastal areas to reduce disasters and become resilient by adapting to climate change. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), is embarking on a new project funded by the United States Agency for International Development to identify how nature-based solutions can be integrated with disaster planning. Nature-based solutions include using reefs to reduce wave energy during a storm surge and mangroves to reduce wind speed and reduce sea level rise. This project aims to target 100,000 participants in the Caribbean, Indonesia, and Micronesia to build their capacity to better understand the links between disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation in a coastal context. TNC and IFRC will train DRR volunteers from Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to integrate nature-based solutions into disaster planning and influence policy change by including nature-based solutions into national level disaster policies. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about this project or discuss links between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation more generally. 

Christina Danis, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Choosing a Resilience Partner: A Comparative Study of Regional Natural Hazard Preparedness

This research examines natural hazard preparedness conditions across the urban-rural continuum to better understand how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy to ensure that vulnerable communities are partnering with more prepared communities is activating regional resilience partnerships that are both near and far afield. This research highlights an opportunity to assist decision makers by providing examples of how urban, suburban, and rural counties inform regional preparedness conditions. This research evaluates how regionalism within states via the urban-rural dynamic and the extent of state hazard regulations inform community natural disaster resilience. Inferential and spatial statistics are examined and further informed by interviews with FEMA Federal Preparedness Coordinators. This study analyzes county-level cross-sectional data with a natural hazard resilience and vulnerability measurement tool, the Missouri Transect Project (MTP), as model dependent variables. The MTP was developed by the University of Missouri with National Science Foundation funding, is available online, and includes county level data for four variables: economic; environment; infrastructure; and social natural hazard resilience and vulnerability conditions. The nature and extent of resilience as compared to the vulnerability of a county serves as proxy for establishing the level of statewide, regional, and neighboring county preparedness in the event of a natural hazard occurrence. A mixed methods approach is used to assess the nature of preparedness conditions and what may be influencing differences in urban, suburban, and rural counties across the 48 contiguous states and FEMA regions. 

Wayne Day, Texas A&M University
Shannon Van Zandt, Texas A&M University
Walt Peacock, Texas A&M University

Multifamily Housing Recovery

Multifamily housing (MFH) has been documented as lagging in the recovery process compared to other housing types. However, it is significantly understudied. Current U.S. disaster policy favors single-family owner-occupied housing, especially regarding recovery finance. With disasters occurring more frequently, and increasing population in dense urban environments, this housing type necessitates further investigation.

MFH is of considerable importance for rental housing. Multifamily-renters comprise the second highest structure-tenure combination behind single-family owner-occupants. Housing tenure, namely renters, is an important determinant of social vulnerability and correlates with other social and physical vulnerability dimensions. Recovery for MFH involves a complex group of stakeholders during the recovery process and is largely dependent on the owner-manager’s motivation and capacity. Owners residing in the impacted community may be dealing with the recovery of their household concurrently. Further, an impacted property is subject to lender conditions and other property interests such as local housing authorities and community residents with “not in my backyard” attitudes towards MFH.

This planned research examines MFH recovery through three distinct yet interrelated perspectives: (1) the ownership; (2) the physical structure; and (3) renters, with emphasis on the owner-managers. We ask: how is MFH vulnerable to disasters and to what extent do these vulnerabilities manifest across market segments? We expect MFH to have vulnerabilities aligned with prevailing business disaster research. Also, recovery motivated by business interests and without intervening policy leads to properties restored to a higher economic status and thus a reduction in available and affordable rental housing. See:

Billy Edge, Texas A&M University
Julio Ramirez, Purdue University
Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center
Antonio Bobet, Purdue University
William Holmes, Rutherford & Chekene
Ian Robertson, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Thomas Smith, Smith Consulting

Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Five Year Science Plan: Multi-Hazard Research to Make a More Resilient World, Second Edition

In 2020, the National Science Foundation-supported Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) released the second edition of its five-year Science Plan to inform natural hazards engineering research. The Science Plan is written for a wide range of audiences, including early career scholars and more senior researchers as well as hazards practitioners. The Science Plan identifies a roadmap to respond to a series of grand challenges facing the natural hazards field. It covers both the scope and the process for conducting multi-hazard research for improving civil infrastructure and increasing resilience, with a focus on earthquakes, windstorms, storm surge, tsunamis, and waves. The plan also considers the physical vulnerability of civil infrastructure and the social vulnerability of populations exposed to these hazards. The plan concludes with detailed appendices that provide examples of research campaigns that could be developed into full proposals as well as offer a brief description of the objectives, capabilities, and research opportunities at each of the NHERI Experimental Facilities and components.

Michael Ellis, British Geological Survey
Aileen Guzman, Ateneo de Manila University
Hung Quang Bui, Vietnam National University
Andres Payo, British Geological Survey
Tuan Anh Nguyen, Vietnam National University
Greg Bankoff, University of Hull
Anthony Schrag, Queen Margaret University
Thanh Thi Nhat Nguyen, Vietnam National University
Joel Gill, British Geological Survey
Anh Phan, Vietnam National University
Angelo Galindo, Ateneo de Manila University
Thang Quang Luu, Vietnam National University
Dong Van Pham, Vietnam National University
Hang Thuy Dao, Vietnam National University
Tat Thanh Duong, Vietnam National University
Raushan Arnhardt, British Geological Survey
Nicole Manley, Queen Margaret University

Multi-hazards and Resilience of Rapidly Expanding City-Catchments: 1. The Project

Many cities in the so-called developing world are expanding faster than the necessary planning and safety regulations. Significant populations and institutions are increasingly vulnerable and exposed to multiple and cascading hazards. These important urban environments and their physical and socioeconomic catchments are tightly coupled, and as one part of this complex system changes, so does the other. In this context, resilience is a potentially complex array of interactions that combine antecedent conditions and processes of response, each of which may involve decades of policies, behavioral and cultural processes.

This research explores these issues in two case study settings: Hanoi and Marikina City (Metropolitan Manila), plus their respective catchments. The research objective is to better understand the dynamics of resilience of rapidly expanding city catchments over time scales of days to decades. Usable tools and/or policy suggestions will be provided to stakeholders that aim to increase the resilience to hazards and their impacts (see the partner abstract by Nguyen et al. for methods).

The research addresses the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals 11 (cities and communities) and 13 (climate change) and the implementation of the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The project brings together scientists in environmental systems, disaster risk analysis, and scholars from environmental history, the creative arts and cultural policy, as well as stakeholders from local to national government, from individuals to institutions. Project funding comes from the Royal Society (Global Challenges Research Fund).

David Etkin, York University
Peter Timmerman, York University

Narratives of Disaster: Sensemaking in Crisis

Storytelling as a way of understanding the world around us, both literally and metaphorically, is a powerful tool. Disasters come in many shapes, sizes and forms, but have in common the need for people to make sense of these tragic events that disrupt their perception of normalcy, and perhaps even their worldview. The process of sensemaking is not limited to times of crisis; it occurs continually throughout our lives, but is particularly active and important during times of crisis. 

This paper is about disaster narratives, the individual, community and cultural stories we try to use to place disasters within an explicable conceptual, cultural and emotional framework. Disaster narratives do not begin with a damaging event, but rather are pre-existing constructs that people tap into when explanatory frameworks are needed. They then form the basis of personal stories, media reporting, institutional analyses and after-action reports. These narratives are heavily imbued with morals, judgements and descriptions of our relationship to the world around us, though they are often implicit in the language, tone and metaphors used rather than explicitly stated.

Beginning with a historical perspective, in this paper we outline the dominant disaster narratives and traditions, and illustrate how they play out in society through the use of classic literatures and contemporary case studies. We examine how the process of interpretation works in the midst of and after disaster, and make recommendations about how considerations of narrative may assist in disaster management.

Monica Farris, University of New Orleans
Marla Nelson, University of New Orleans
Pamela Jenkins, University of New Orleans
Nina Balan, University of New Orleans
Elizabeth Maxwell, University of New Orleans

Capacity and Change in Climate Migrant-Receiving Communities Along the U.S. Gulf

Climate migrants exist within the United States, and the Gulf region is a common source and destination for them. Previous research of U.S. climate migrants, post-disaster evacuation, and relocation have encouraged the development of programs for temporary shelter and buyouts. Studies show that migrant destinations are understudied and, most likely, underprepared. Therefore, as migration across the Gulf increases, the need for expanding policy and program capacity to support receiving communities is critical. Funded by the National Academies of Science Gulf Research Program, data will be collected in three sites that have received migrants as a result of climate issues: Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, Louisiana, which continue to receive population from areas experiencing sea-level rise in coastal Louisiana; metropolitan Orlando, Florida, which has seen significant in-migration from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria; and Houston, Texas, which received population from New Orleans, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. While Urban Institute serves as the overall project lead, the University of New Orleans' Center for Hazards Assessment, Response & Technology (UNO-CHART) is the site team leader for Louisiana. Other project partners include the University of Central Florida, Texas Southern University, Enterprise Community Partners, and RAND. The team will use a mixed-methods analysis to explore five aspects of climate-receiving communities: (1) housing; (2) financial health; (3) employment and economic development opportunities; (4) healthcare capacity; and (5) social, cultural and recreation. The capacity of "receiver" communities to serve migrants will be evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively across the three study sites.

Mahmood Fayazi, Université de Montréal
Lisa Bornstein, McGill University
Gonzalo Lizarralde, Université de Montréal
Nathalie Barrette, Université Laval
Manel Djemel, The Flood Recovery Office in Rigaud

The Impacts of Post-flood Interventions on Households, Neighborhoods and Cities in Quebec

In response to floods in 2017 and 2019, the Quebec government adopted the Special Planning Zone (ZIS) policy to support recovery of affected areas and reduce future risks by prohibiting urban development in flood zones. Affected households are to retrofit their houses or, if in a flood zone, receive up to $265,000 to relocate. Other vulnerability factors (e.g., demographics or livelihood) do not affect how the policy functions. Neither do municipal characteristics (e.g., economic base or spatial structure). Given unevenness in post-disaster recovery worldwide, this project asks: to what extent have ZIS and related policies reduced the vulnerability of different individuals and households? to what extent have they bolstered different municipalities’ capacity to provide safe, livable, well-structured environments? This research tackles these questions, identifying that flood policies have affected people and places in different ways and specifying conditions that contribute to reduced vs. enhanced vulnerability. The geographic focus is the county of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, where 2019 floods damaged 800-plus houses and 100 households were told to relocate. Preliminary observations suggest uneven and distorted recovery, even within a single county. To assess such policy outcomes, we will document: (1) pre-existing spatial and demographic patterns; (2) flood damage, rebuilding, and ZIS-relocation; and (3) strategies taken by various actors to ensure socioeconomic stability. Taking into consideration socio-demographics and psychosocial dynamics, the data will help to: (1) understand patterns of vulnerability and resilience; (2) identify factors reducing vulnerability; and (3) recommend household, service-provider, or government strategies to enhance resiliency to floods and other potential calamities.

Corinna Fleischmann, U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Brian Maggi, U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Hudson Jackson, U.S. Coast Guard Academy

Project-Based Approach to Educating Students About the Global Need for Coastal Resiliency

There is alarming evidence of changing climatic conditions, such as increased atmospheric and ocean temperatures, extreme precipitation events, and global-sea level rise. Predictions of the full impact on engineered systems continues to be a challenge. This has positioned engineers, scientists, and policy makers with the task of ensuring the resiliency of coastal infrastructure, facilities, and communities. At the United States Coast Guard Academy (CGA), the engineering faculty recognize the need to educate the future of our Service and have developed a Coastal Resiliency course that provides a clear view of reality regarding the science of climate change, its impact on coastal infrastructure, and on the necessary socio-economic planning and design of resilient communities. The course provides preparation for the real-world practice of engineering by exposing students to the importance of risk and vulnerability assessment within the context of changing climatic conditions. Through project-based learning and community engagement with local town stakeholders, students are exposed to engineering vulnerabilities associated with extreme weather, rising sea level, and to the challenges and concerns with implementing solutions in communities where these vulnerabilities exist. As the U.S. Coast Guard’s primary accession point for engineers and scientists, ensuring future community and industry leaders are informed about the potential challenges that will likely occur during their career is an example of how CGA is developing active hope in an era of environmental extremes.

Carol Friedland, Louisiana State University
Monica Farris, University of New Orleans
Pamela Jenkins, University of New Orleans
Yongcheol Lee, Louisiana State University
Robert Rohli, Louisiana State University
Arash Taghinezhad, Louisiana State University
Ehab Gnan, Louisiana State University
Rubayet Bin Mostafiz, Louisiana State University
Hoang Tao, University of New Orleans

Incentives and Barriers to Increased Freeboard to Enhance Flood Resilience: Louisiana Perspectives

Significant debt owed by the National Flood Insurance Program and continued development in the floodplain are just two points that underscore the reality that much of the United States is failing to address flood risk, and that economic, physical, and social resilience to flood hazards remains unattainable. A primary reason that significant levels of flood losses continue and that community resilience remains elusive is that the building code standard fails to reduce flood damage sufficiently. The solution appears simple: create and enforce freeboard standards. However, competing physical and economic facts and data, policies, and perceptions across stakeholder groups – owners, renters, designers, builders, planners, and parish officials – confound our pursuit of enhanced community resilience. As a result, there is currently no statewide-mandated freeboard in one of the most flood-prone states in the nation – Louisiana.

Funded by Louisiana Sea Grant, researchers from Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans are working to identify, evaluate, and address stakeholder-informed economic, physical, personal perception, and policy incentives/barriers to increased freeboard for new home construction in Louisiana. Project objectives include: (1) collect freeboard incentive/barrier data and analyze to characterize perspectives; (2) characterize flood probability functions at the parcel level considering climate variability across the study areas; (3) develop freeboard new construction cost and flood hazard life-cycle cost (LCC) models at the parcel level; (4) develop a web-based platform to disseminate economic aspects of increased freeboard; (5) identify potential solutions to identified non-economic freeboard barriers; and (6) widely disseminate project results.

Michael Gallis, Gallis & Associates
Stephen Jordan, Institute for Sustainable Development

Co-Evolution–A Systems Framework to Shape the Future

Between 1980-2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has documented over 258 billion-dollar natural disasters. The Institute for Sustainable Development has calculated that the economic costs of these disasters have more than doubled every decade. Clearly, new strategies are needed to resolve the increasing conflicts between the built environment (human network) and nature (the natural system). Preparing for and recovering from disasters is insufficient to address the underlying problem; the gap between the patterns and dynamics of two entirely different systems.

Co-Evolution, a study sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service in 2009, was the first global-scale attempt to address the issue of resolving the gap between the two systems; human and natural. The study revealed the differences between the patterns, dynamics, and evolutionary trajectory of the two systems. The gap between them was a result of the differences in the way they were evolving. As the human network grows and evolves, it has created five basic impacts that degrade the natural system, causing it to devolve. The two systems have been heading in two different directions with increasing negative impacts on each other.

Is it possible to close the gap between the two systems by recognizing that each system must be able to evolve in a mutually supportive relationship by rethinking and re-engineering the relationship between them? Co-Evolution is meant to be a first step towards reshaping the relationship. This panel will explore these issues and their implications for sustainable development strategies and regional planning.

Anthony Gampell, The University of Auckland
JC Gaillard, The University of Auckland
Meg Parsons, The University of Auckland
Loïc Le Dé, Auckland University of Technology

Beyond Stop Disasters 2.0: Emphasizing the Role of the Meta-Game for Learning

International organizations, governments, non-government organizations and academics are developing video games to raise player awareness of disaster and disaster risk reduction (DRR). Beyond Stop Disasters 2.0 (BSD2.0) explores how disaster video games both ‘serious’ and mainstream can foster participation in learning about disaster and DRR. ‘Serious’ disaster video games like Stop Disasters! may struggle to motivate and engage players in the repetitive gameplay required for learning. Whereas, mainstream video games like Minecraft, while primarily developed for entertainment, successfully engage players in repetitive gameplay and can be adapted for learning. Importantly, BSD2.0 suggests gameplay is not a teaching substitute and cannot solely achieve positive learning outcomes. Mainstream video games give rise to meta-game sources like forums, often driven by the gaming community, as platforms to share strategies, ask for advice or other game related information. While, ‘serious’ and mainstream video games connect to constructivism, the meta-game strongly reflects the importance of the social environment for learning. By conceptualizing the classroom as a meta-game platform, BSD2.0 informed how a multiplayer geo-referenced Minecraft world, reflective of the local context, could be utilized in learning about disaster and DRR. Conducting group discussion activities using a variety of other tools within the classroom fostered critical and active discussion between students. These activities influenced how players approached gameplay and their social interactions both inside and outside of Minecraft. Evidently, further attention should be diverted toward how the meta-game can enhance player learning about disaster and DRR versus directing sole focus upon the disaster video game.

Christine Gibb, University of Ottawa
Nnenia Campbell, University of Colorado Boulder
Gabriella Meltzer, New York University
Alice Fothergill, University of Vermont

Experiences and Mobilities of Children and Seniors During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our nascent research project aims to understand the experiences and mobilities of children and seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. This two-year study will focus on these two age groups to examine commonalities in their feelings and experiences, as well as differences in how each group navigates them. Our CONVERGE working group team will use multiple methods in settings in Canada and the United States. We will utilize journaling as a tool through which children and seniors are invited to express their everyday experiences during the pandemic in their own words, drawings, photographs, audio and video recordings, and maps. The journaling will be complemented by a survey, interviews, focus groups, and research workshops – methods that have previously been used effectively to study the disaster experiences of children and of seniors. We hope our findings will draw attention to possible intergenerational connections and concerns. One area of interest in the project is the potential for digital communication and connection between generations during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. As in previous disasters, it is expected that existing inequalities linked to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, immigration status, disability, religion, and other social determinants of health will be exacerbated during the pandemic. Thus, we will be particularly attentive to these issues during the research process and will use an intersectional approach to better understand how other facets of identity affect the experiences of children and seniors throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Kristen Goodrich, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
Sarah Watson, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium
Susanne Moser, Susanne Moser Research and Consulting

Responding to the Need for Trauma-Aware Risk Communication

Effective risk communication methods emphasize connecting with what individuals care about to make risks salient and help identify appropriate responses. However, as more communities experience the effects of climate change, some already have experienced traumatizing natural hazard events and are vulnerable to retraumatization from risk communication. Others have experienced vicarious trauma from media exposure to repeated disasters and ecological/climate grief. Risk communication may be especially challenging for professionals who engage in natural hazard preparedness, response, and recovery and climate change adaptation, as they themselves are exposed to information while serving in an outreach role, and in some cases, living in the same communities they serve. The Adaptive Mind Project conducted a survey in an effort to better understand and support professionals who are increasingly required to navigate a world of rapid change and great uncertainty. Respondents reported communications and outreach as a typical activity conducted as part of their work as it relates to climate change and climate-related extreme events. This underscores the need for techniques to evolve and acknowledge this changing landscape, such as trauma-aware risk communication approaches, and to help inspire active hope rather than overwhelming anxiety and fear. 

Erna Grasz, Asante Africa Foundation
Nancy Suski, University of California

Building Resilience Through Education and Leadership

Founded in 2006, Asante Africa Foundation (AAF) has educated African youth to address life’s challenges and catalyze positive change. With an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving, the interdisciplinary learning environment enabled African youth to find opportunity in the midst of chaos. COVID 19 was no exception.

With guidance and resources, our youth and their communities were prepared to respond to the pandemic. Their knowledge and education empowered them to take action. The AAF goal was to stabilize the safety and health of the learning environment and life skills needs. Proactive communities were able to manage their own health, safety, and child security. AAF’s educational approach resulted in a community that was prepared, and able to utilize design thinking to meet local community COVID 19 challenges.

Key findings from the COVID 19 response and youth engagement validated the importance of an interdisciplinary approach and engaging the “whole of community” to deal with critical issues, including food insecurity, and taking preventative measures to slow the spread of disease. Novel approaches to meeting the needs of the community included uploading community videos, making facemasks, and creating a foot pedal “no touch” hand-washing station. During this crisis, AAF staff, teachers, and students worked together to create Swahili based communication tools to get the word out and to help students stay connected to their schools and families.

Sara Harrison, Massey University
Sally Potter, GNS Science
Raj Prasanna, Massey University
Emma E.H. Doyle, Massey University
David Johnstons, Massey University

Exploring Data Needs and Opportunities for Severe Weather Impact-based Forecasting and Warnings

There is a growing need for standardized collection and storage of impact data. The importance of systematically recording, sharing, and publicly accounting for disaster losses and impacts is threaded throughout the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Moreover, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has pushed for the implementation of impact-based forecasting and warning systems, furthering the need to systematically collect, store, and share impact data. However, methods for collecting impact data differ by country and region, making standardized collection and sharing difficult.

Drawing from both international and national practices and experiences through interviews with key informants and case studies, this exploratory PhD research, supported by the WMO’s HIWeather Project and funded by the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, Weather and Wildfire Theme, aims to map out existing and potential impact data sources from severe weather events in New Zealand.

The expected outcome is a framework outlining the chain of impact data collection and use from the source (e.g. the public) to the end-users (e.g. Civil Defense, the Meteorological Service, impact/risk modelers, etc.) for impact-based forecasts and warnings, and identifying associated challenges and opportunities. The objective is to help stakeholders understand what is available to them, and how they can access and contribute impact information. This will contribute to the implementation of impact-based forecasts and warnings in New Zealand while also supporting efforts towards meeting Sendai Framework priorities. It is expected that fellow WMO-member nations will learn from these findings to support their own impact-based forecasting and warning implementation plans.

Jennifer Helgeson, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Alfredo Roa-Henriquez, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Juan Fung, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Business Recovery From a Pandemic in the Face of Natural Hazard Risks

National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers are surveying small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to document their experiences with planning for natural disasters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lessons learned will assist our federal partners and other entities in providing guidance to SMEs on: (1) mitigation planning for natural disasters during the pandemic and (2) disaster readiness strategies to cope with the disruptions from the pandemic. The summarized lessons learned will facilitate partner federal agencies (e.g., Economic Development Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Small Business Administration) to frame and distribute SME-relevant resilience-based guidance during a pandemic, enhancing business operations and strengthening the U.S. economy. The U.S.’s 30 million SMEs are the backbone of the economy, contributing 44% of economic activity and employing nearly 60 million people, but federal agencies that provide disaster assistance and best practice guidance to SMEs are unaware of the range of mitigation and coping strategies SMEs are adopting during the pandemic. This project will fill the information gap and provide better guidance for SMEs moving forward. Additionally, the developed web-based survey instruments will provide best practices for ready-to-deploy business recovery questionnaires. This current data collection is part of a larger longitudinal dataset that allows documentation of (1) novel resilience-based mitigation actions employed during the COVID-19 pandemic by SMEs by sector, (2) challenges in implementing resilience-based mitigation actions, (3) utilization of past strategies and approaches to provide assistance to the current situation, and (4) planned resilience actions and strategies.

Nicole Hutton, Old Dominion University
Joshua Behr, Old Dominion University
Elizabeth Dunn, University of South Florida
Jennifer Marshall, University of South Florida
Wie Yusuf, Old Dominion University
Carol Considine, Old Dominion University
Rafael Diaz, Old Dominion University
Saige Hill, Old Dominion University
Kelsey Merlo, University of South Florida
Jennifer Whytlaw, Old Dominion University

Evacuation and Sheltering of Vulnerable Populations in a Hurricane-Pandemic

Old Dominion University and University of South Florida recently formed a national working group to convene calls of state, county, and local leaders, experts, and providers from public health, government, healthcare, community civic groups, and others. Knowledge gaps, needs, and concerns related to the 2020 hurricane season under the current public health crisis are being identified through online workshops, including interactive breakout session discussions. These facilitated calls foster relationship-building/collaboration, information and resource sharing, and co-learning to fill knowledge gaps to inform policies, procedures, and planning. The working group focuses on six topics: (1) overview of vulnerability and planning; (2) health; (3) logistics; (4) public messaging/risk communication; (5) workforce; and (6) psychological adjustment.

Preliminary qualitative analysis shows that: (1) preparedness plans are being re-evaluated; (2) the definition of a medically vulnerable populations is expanded because of COVID-19; (3) additional shelter and transportation options are needed to allow for screening, isolation/quarantine, and social distancing; (4) clear and accessible messaging is needed to raise awareness of shelter safety precautions and to emphasize the importance of personal preparedness; (5) staffing and personal protective equipment shortages are expected; and (6) monitoring and support to address burn-out and stress is needed for disaster response staff and evacuees. Please visit the website for updates and information at: 

This COVID-19 working group effort is supported by the National Science Foundation-funded Social Science Extreme Events Research Network and the CONVERGE facility at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder (NSF Award #1841338).

Mehdi Jamali, Venesco, LLC.
Ali Nejat, Texas Tech University
Saeed Moradi, Texas Tech University
Souparno Ghosh, University of Nebraska
Guofeng Cao, Texas Tech University

Social Media Data and Housing Recovery Following Extreme Natural Events

Identifying initiatives that influence the decision-making process of individuals in the aftermath of extreme natural events is a critical task in post-disaster recovery research. Due to the diversity of disaster-induced physical and psychosocial damage, as well as the complexity of human behavior, a comprehensive understanding of contributing factors requires a collective effort. The growth of social media platforms with millions of users provides researchers with an exceptional opportunity to conceptualize spatial patterns and communal behaviors. This longitudinal study proposes a multistep machine learning algorithm to understand such recovery decisions using social media data. Two publicly available databases, New York City tax lot data and 109 million geotagged tweets from the period October 2012–October 2014 were used to explore residents’ recovery decisions in the two years following Hurricane Sandy. The results reveal that communities with more tweets about social interactions and fewer tweets related to infrastructure and assets were more likely to rebuild rather than relocate.

Sangman Jeong, Kongju National University
Leehyung Kim, Kongju National University
Hayong Kim, Land & Housing Institute
Jungmin Lee, Land & Housing Institute

Development of Smart Integrated Management Technologies for Urban Water Resources

Water resources components, such as water sources, water supply facilities, water pipelines, sewerage facilities, and low impact development (LID) elements are managed individually, despite their interconnectedness. A scheme to combine the traditional water resources management facilities with a smart city plan is required to establish an integrated intellectual water management strategy. In 2019, the Korean Ministry of Environment implemented a four-year (2019-2022) research and development program called Development of Smart Integrated Management Technologies for Urban Water Resources Based on the Cyber Physical System. In this program, water supply, demand, and circulation data within a smart city are collected through a hyper-connected platform and analyzed by the cyber physical system in real time. It is expected to secure the resilience of an urban water supply system and to improve the soundness of the water cycle. In addition, the implementation of this program can encourage citizens to participate in water resources management through a living lab. The project aims to: (1) have technologies on a hyper-connected smart water grid and LID data management platform; (2) develop a real-time simulation model based on the cyber physical system and decision support system for the management and maintenance of urban water resources; (3) develop technology for a convergence system for urban water supply and water cycle, and; (4) develop a planning and operating platform for urban water resources management based on a pre-cyber physical system.

Stephen Jordan, Institute for Sustainable Development
Leann Hackman-Carty, Institute for Sustainable Development

Lessons Learned From the Resilience READI(c) Implementation Pilot

The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) teamed up with the Canadian Red Cross and Rocky View County, Alberta to pilot a new program called READI - short for Resilience - Engagement - Assessment - Design - Implementation in 2019-2020. The READI program is designed to assist the county's Emergency Management office, enhance resilience buy-in among key business, non-profit and community leaders, and thereby enhance the county's overall capabilities to prepare for and overcome disasters. This session will discuss the READI (c) pilot process, challenges, lessons learned, and the benefits of moving from a government-centric approach to a "whole of society" approach to enhancing resilience.

David Lallemant, Nanyang Technological University
Sabine Loos, Stanford University
Nama Budhathoki, Kathmandu Living Labs
Feroz Khan, Nanyang Technological University
Jamie McCaughey, ETH Zurich

Mapping and Integrating Social Vulnerability Into Post-Disaster Impact Assessments: The 'Informatics for Equitable Recovery' Project

Following disasters, stakeholders come together to make sense of what has happened — to count damage, understand needs, and plan pathways to recovery. Ideally, these sensemaking processes would incorporate a deep understanding of the drivers of vulnerability and recovery need in the affected region so that interventions can be allocated accordingly. However, post-disaster impact and needs assessments currently focus on economic losses and infrastructural damage instead of focusing on recovery needs, which can be more challenging to measure and incorporate into analyses.

This project — Informatics for Equitable Recovery, a transdisciplinary and international collaboration between engineers, social scientists, and civil society groups — develops tools and frameworks to improve such post-disaster impact assessments. Drawing on five years of quantitative and qualitative data from the 2015 Gorkha earthquake recovery in Nepal, this research team is establishing empirical relationships between short-term damage information and longer-term recovery outcomes, with a strong emphasis on differential needs and social equity. These empirical relationships allow development of openly available tools that are both context-specific and input-agnostic, meaning that they flexibly incorporate diverse data inputs while remaining locally calibrated and actionable. The project aims to enable stakeholders to use post-disaster information systematically and holistically, creating recovery interventions that are more equitable and effective.

David Lallemant, Nanyang Technological University
Sabine Loos, Stanford University
Nama Budhathoki, Kathmandu Living Labs
Feroz Khan, Nanyang Technological University
Jamie McCaughey, ETH-Zurich

Mapping and Integrating Social Vulnerability into Post-Disaster Impact Assessments: The 'Informatics for Equitable Recovery' Project

Following disasters, stakeholders come together to make sense of what has happened—to count damage, understand needs, and plan pathways to recovery. Ideally, these sensemaking processes would incorporate a deep understanding of the drivers of vulnerability and recovery need in the affected region so that interventions can be allocated accordingly. However, post-disaster impact and needs assessments currently focus on economic losses and infrastructural damage instead of focusing on recovery needs, which can be more challenging to measure and incorporate into analyses.

This project—Informatics for Equitable Recovery, a transdisciplinary and international collaboration between engineers, social scientists, and civil society groups—develops tools and frameworks to improve such post-disaster impact assessments. Drawing on five years of quantitative and qualitative data from the 2015 Gorkha earthquake recovery in Nepal, our team is establishing empirical relationships between short-term damage information and longer-term recovery outcomes, with a strong emphasis on differential needs and social equity. These empirical relationships allow us to develop openly-available tools that are both context-specific and input-agnostic, meaning that they flexibly incorporate diverse data inputs while remaining locally calibrated and actionable. We aim to enable stakeholders to use post-disaster information systematically and holistically, creating recovery interventions that are more equitable and effective.

Nicolas LaLone, University of Nebraska Omaha

Reality of Technology Use in Emergency Management Versus the Fantasy of Designers

In 2016, researchers in crisis informatics, a sub-field of human-computer interaction (HCI), noted that designers should stop trying to prove that artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other forms of automated information-seeking technology could help emergency responders. Designers and researchers should “design in use,” or design software for crisis response professionals – from dispatchers to search and rescue teams – to use. Yet, in order to design for use, designers must move from the fantasy of pristine and stable conditions to use scenarios that may not include electricity or connectivity. Further, even within existing fantasy conditions, the crisis informatics technology often requires knowledge beyond the expert level to achieve limited or hyper-specific results.

HCI has much to learn before “design in use” can become reality. From the processes required to maintain the Master Street Address Guide to the institutional knowledge required to deploy an emergency operations center, this project focuses on narrowing the gap of knowledge HCI, crisis informatics, and computer science has about how emergency response actually works. This project is career-focused. It begins with a systematic review of HCI research that uses emergency management from its own perspective. Next, this project focuses on how different technological fields have also attempted to understand emergency response from everyday incidents to large-scale response efforts. Issues, research questions, and opportunities for collaboration will be highlighted.

Nina S. N. Lam, Louisiana State University

Cultivating Interdisciplinary Computation and Analysis of Resilience

Utilizing real-time big data, such as social media and human mobility data, for disaster resilience analysis is innovative and very useful, but it is very challenging. These big data typically are noisy, redundant, and difficult to process. Also, big data such as Twitter data are known to be socially-demographically biased. Experts are needed across disciplines to collaborate to better understand how these data can be integrated and used effectively. An Interdisciplinary Computation and Analysis of Resilience (ICAR) research group was established at Louisiana State University in 2016. The ICAR group has been conducting five National Science Foundation-funded projects on Twitter use and disaster resilience. This research starts from analyzing the effects of social and geographical disparities in Twitter use on community resilience during Hurricane Sandy and Isaac in 2012, to investigating the changing role of Twitter use during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The third project examines the issue of fairness when applying artificial intelligence algorithms to predicting hurricane rescue requests. This is followed by the fourth project which studies how to combine data from drones and Twitter to help with real-time monitoring of flooding and damage. The fifth project studies how Twitter response to COVID-19 shutdown orders, especially responses from young people, can be used to infer the infection rates. These interdisciplinary collaborations have generated new thinking and new results; they should be promoted and nurtured as a capacity for disaster resilience. 

Hsiang-Chieh Lee, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Chuan-Zhong Deng, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Hongey Chen, National Taiwan University

Trust in Government, Social Determinants, and Resource Distribution After a Catastrophic Typhoon

This study investigates the effects of social determinants and resource distribution after a disaster on trust in government. Four waves of the Social Impact and Recovery Survey of Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan were analyzed. The trust scores were given to four levels of government. The latent process mixed model for multivariate longitudinal outcomes statistical method was adopted. Social determinants were chosen to represent resource distribution in pre-disaster situations. The results showed that ethnicity was more important than education and income. Regarding resource distribution after a disaster, resource gain and resource loss were both important in shaping trust in governments. The results also suggested that resource gain had a greater effect than resource loss on trust in government in the long run. In addition, resource loss was especially important for lower level of governments to gain trust of people. This study advises that a post-disaster model of trust in governments must prioritize resource distribution both in pre-disaster situations as well as after a disaster.

Hsiang-Chieh Lee, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Mei-Chun Lin, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Ming Jen Chuang, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Chih-Hsin Chang, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction

Cost-Benefit Assessment for Soil and Water Conservation Engineering

This project developed a cost-benefit assessment method for reviewing soil and water conservation engineering after they were constructed, in contrast to common methods for assessment before engineering was constructed. Both the before- and after-assessments are important according to the circle of risk management. Using the literature review and interviews of specialists from Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, we concluded three categories of items for calculating cost and benefit: (1) Predicted Benefits: we calculated predicted benefits of an engineering during its service life, defined as 30 years. Items and parameters for calculation included several red alert warnings of debris flow, probability of occurrence debris flow after issuing a red warning, number of protected households registered for the impact area of each potential debris flow torrent, the possible cost of repairing building damage, possible loss of furniture, equipment, and electrical appliance, and possible maintenance cost of road for agriculture use. (2) Loss: we defined that benefit was predicted benefit minus loss after engineering was constructed. Items and parameters for calculation included the cost of repairing building damage, loss of furniture, equipment, and electrical appliance, the maintenance cost of the road for agriculture use, cost of each emergency repairs, the cost for removing stones and soil by village, length of destroyed agricultural roads, and the number of houses damaged. (3) Cost: this study included the actual cost of risk reduction engineering and disaster recovery engineering. Items and parameters for calculation included the cost of each engineering and engineering depreciation rate.

Hsiang-Chieh Lee, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Su-Ying Chen, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Ming Jen Chuang, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Chih-Hao Hsu, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Sheng-Chi Lin, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Chia-Ying Lin, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Tzu-Yin Chang, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Hsieh Lung Sheng, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Hongey Chen, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction

Building Resilient Cities to Extreme Disaster Events

To echo the Making Cities Resilient Campaign and Ten Essentials of UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the Disaster Prevention and Protection Consultation Committee of the Executive Yuan (DPPCC) in Taiwan, with 35 professionals from the central government, academia, and NGOs chose Building Resilient Cities to Extreme Disaster Events as the topic of its 9th Policy Recommendation. DPPCC held 29 meetings from November 2018 to April 2020 and identified four steps to help a city formulate its resilient strategies. First Step: setting up scenarios. UNDRR stresses that scenarios is important for discussing the Essentials. DPPCC provided three types of scenarios as examples: a typhoon event and a heat wave, both included climate change effect, and a magnitude-6.6 earthquake. Second Step: identify priority Essentials for those scenarios. Following the lead of Ten Essentials, DPPCC provided a list of Eight Essentials: look for comprehensive policies and system, understand scenarios, strength financial capability, take disaster risk into consideration when plan a city, strength social capability, increase infrastructure resilience, ensure effective response, and build back better. Third Step: conduct vulnerability analyses, quantitatively or qualitatively, based on the scenarios and priority Essentials chosen. DPPCC provided 27 mapping examples for quantitative analyses, including spatial distribution of social welfare institutions, fire departments, schools, etc. Fourth Step: have different stakeholders to discuss resilience strategies based on results of vulnerability analyses. DPPCC provided an example list of suggestions, including setting up heat warning system, establish and investigate pipeline data, etc.

Chelsea LeNoble, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Allison Kwesell, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Kristin Horan, University of Central Florida
Mindy Shoss, University of Central Florida

Effects of COVID-19 on Undergraduate Faculty and Students Across Disciplines

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in the unprecedented, nation-wide disruption of academic institutions. Grounded in the literatures of crisis communication, organizational science, and disaster management, this project addresses gaps in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education research related to faculty and student reactions to disruptive contexts, characteristics of institutions that make them resilient toward disruptive contexts, and institutional learning from disruptive contexts. Our project captures this rapidly changing situation by examining the extent to which faculty and students are able to adapt to changes, the extent to which changes create distress, and how faculty and students have coped with events—information that will be vital to facilitating post-traumatic recovery, learning, and growth.

Using the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the project team has begun to recruit faculty and students from a stratified random sample of institutions of higher education. Participants will be asked to share perceptions and experiences through a series of online surveys and semi-structured interviews assessing well-being and teaching and learning outcomes across three time points, with the first launching at the beginning of June. The findings of this project will be used to develop actionable recommendations for institutions of higher education, including crisis communication strategies and guidelines for pedagogy in times of crisis. This RAPID award is made by the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program in the Division of Undergraduate Education (Education and Human Resources Directorate), using funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Amy Lesen, Dillard University
Chloe Tucker, Tulane University
Matthew Olson, Tulane University
Regardt Ferreira, Tulane University

Partnerships, Dissemination, and Outreach in a Gulf Coast Disaster Resilience Survey Project

This case study analyzes the community-researcher partnerships, and outreach and dissemination efforts for a disaster resilience and preparedness study of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative-funded Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities (CRGC). The CRGC partnered researchers with community-based organizations in three Gulf Coast communities in Louisiana and Alabama to carry out a survey assessing the continuing impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on psychosocial resilience, social networks, and disaster preparedness. Community partners hosted survey administration, provided advice about recruiting participants, and worked with CRGC researchers to plan and carry out dissemination of survey results to community members. After data collection was complete, CRGC researchers interviewed staff at community partner organizations to evaluate the project's community outreach. Input from community partners stressed the importance of engaging with local community brokers to enhance trust in research; researcher-partner communication; and researcher interaction with community residents that respects local knowledge and culture. Partners indicated that even communities that have often been the subjects of post-disaster studies are receptive to research participation, especially when the effects of disasters are long-term and ongoing. Recommendations include using research methodologies that are congruent with post-disaster community characteristics such as educational attainment; collaborating with partners to disseminate research findings; and incorporating theories and practices that center critical reflection and consider power dynamics. CRGC researchers shared survey results with residents in the three communities where the survey was administered. This case study also presents recommendations for effective dialogue and information-sharing between researchers and community members.

Yolanda Lin, Nanyang Technological University
Maricar Rabonza, Nanyang Technological University
David Lallemant, Nanyang Technological University

Celebrating Successful Disaster Risk Reduction Through Counterfactual Probabilistic Risk Analysis

We call for a future where we are able to celebrate the successes of disaster risk reduction (DRR) interventions through systematic quantification of probabilistic lives saved. Successful DRR programs save lives, but there are few opportunities to publicly celebrate these success stories amidst other losses during and after a disaster. Many current methods attempt to quantify mitigation payoffs through cost-benefit analysis, or tie risk reduction evaluation to initiative outputs (such as number of people trained) rather than the eventual impact (e.g., number of lives saved). In pursuit of this future, we have developed a quantitative framework to estimate the mitigating effect of DRR interventions. We envision this analysis to cover two probabilistic lives saved cases: (1) following a disaster, and (2) at the start of new DRR intervention. The framework takes a counterfactual approach by analyzing the probabilistic consequences (in terms of lives lost) both with and without the intervention. By lifting up tangible and quantifiable benefits of DRR interventions, we contribute to the theme of active hope with the goal to ultimately reinforce more investments in DRR policies and actions and build a collection of best practices for future DRR measures. This year, we have launched this vision by illustrating how to implement this framework using the School Earthquake Safety Program in Nepal as an example. We hope that this is the first of many analyses to calculate lives saved through successful DRR interventions and invite other researchers to join our movement. 

Michal Linder, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Trust and Resilience During COVID 19 - A Global Perspective

The high uncertainty due to COVID-19 and its potential severity has led countries around the world to establish different policies and measures to manage the crisis. Although all shared a common goal to lower the spread of the disease, the crisis provoked a large media coverage generating alternative discourses on the pandemic and its effects on communities, which shaped public perceptions about risk and the appropriate response strategy. The goal of this study is to examine how individuals from different regions of the world are coping with COVID-19 and its restrictions, and what factors are associated with crisis-related perceptions and behaviors. I hypothesize that trust in sources of information and governmental policy decisions are key predictors of the degree to which individuals will adopt safety guidelines or engage in proactive behavior. In addition to the credibility of information sources, however, community resilience factors, such as social trust and leadership, play a role in individual behavior and overall sense of well-being. Focusing on a large group of international participants, I draw on information gathered through surveys and semi-structured interviews to examine individuals' crisis-related behavior in terms of the following: (1) correlations between trust in sources of information and governmental policy decisions and compliance with behavioral guidelines; and (2) correlations between trust in the community’s ability to cope, compliance with behavioral guidelines and overall sense of well-being.

Raquel Lugo Bendezú, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Yahaira D. Álvarez, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Jocelyn West, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado Boulder
K. Stephen Hughes, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Lindsay Davis, U.S. Geological Survey
Jonathan Godt, U.S. Geological Survey
Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center

Collaborative Risk Communication for Landslide Risk Reduction in Puerto Rico

Heavy rainfall from Hurricane Maria triggered more than 70,000 landslides across Puerto Rico when it struck the island in 2017. In the aftermath of the disaster, Puerto Rican officials expressed a need for application-based scientific products and educational materials about landslide hazards to help guide residents, emergency managers, and planners in reducing landslide risk.

In 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey formed a partnership with the Natural Hazards Center and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (UPRM), to answer this request. Over the last year, this interdisciplinary team has continued collaborating with a wide range of local institutions, including the Puerto Rico Seismic Network and Puerto Rico Planning Board. A broad network of hazards professionals and researchers in Puerto Rico became collaborators in the creation of the Landslide Guide for Residents of Puerto Rico, now available to the public in Spanish and English. The many reviewers of the guide helped improve its scientific accuracy, accessibility, relevance to Puerto Rico, and translations between Spanish and English.

The Landslide Guide was released to the public in early 2020, amid a sequence of damaging earthquakes in southwest Puerto Rico. Since then, the team’s undergraduate research assistants from UPRM have used their new graphic design skills to develop a suite of complementary educational tools about landslides, which are also available for public use. These products and activities include ready-to-use presentation slides, a short animated video, webinars, promotional flyers, and scripts for radio

Lisa McLaren, Massey University
David Johnston, Massey University
Emma Hudson-Doyle, Massey University
Julia Becker, Massey University
Denise Blake, Massey University

Action Coping: Building Community Resilience Through Youth Climate Change Activism

The concept of 'action coping’ has been described as a form of problem-focused coping where people confront problems or pressures head on. This research connects the concept of ‘action coping’ with the work of youth climate change activists who designed and campaigned for new climate change legislation for Aotearoa New Zealand, which was successfully adopted by the New Zealand Parliament in November 2019. The primary investigator for this research held a dual role of climate activist as the national convener of the youth-led Zero Carbon Act campaign, and as a PhD student at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, exploring how community-led science could be used as a tool for building community resilience to disasters. Through an autoethnographic method, these two worlds are combined by exploring the role of ‘action coping’ within the motivations for, and development of, the Zero Carbon Act campaign. The research also uses the campaign to connect in the concept of ‘science for change’ by investigating how communities could increase their resilience by taking back agency and a seat at the decision-making table through participation in science and policy development. 

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

RecovUS: An Agent-Based Model of Post-Disaster Household Recovery

building market, and shapes the community. Meanwhile, increased housing development in hazard-prone areas along with the intensification of extreme events have amplified the potential for disaster-induced losses. Consequently, housing recovery is of vital importance to the overall restoration of a community. In this regard, recovery models can help with devising data-driven policies that can better identify pre-disaster mitigation needs and post-disaster recovery priorities through predicting the possible outcomes of different plans. Although several recovery models have been proposed, there are still gaps in the understanding of how decisions made by individuals and different entities interact with output recovery. Additionally, integrating spatial aspects of recovery is a missing key in many models. The current research proposes a spatial model for simulation and prediction of homeowners’ recovery decisions through incorporating recovery drivers that could capture interactions of individual, communal, and organizational decisions. RecovUS is a spatial agent-based model for which all the input data can be obtained from publicly available data sources. The model is illustrated and validated using the data on recovery of Staten Island, New York after the 2012 Hurricane Sandy. The results confirm that combination of internal, interactive, and external drivers of recovery affect households’ decisions and shape the pattern of recovery. 

Melissa Moulton, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Joe Zambon, North Carolina State University
Z George Xue, Louisiana State University
Ruoying He, North Carolina State University
Zafer Defne, U.S. Geological Survey
Dongxiao Yin, Louisiana State University
Daoyang Bao, Louisiana State University
Haibo Zong, North Carolina State University
John Warner, U.S. Geological Survey

New Forecast Tools for Coastal Flooding and Contaminant Dispersal During Extreme Precipitation

Coastal ecosystems, infrastructure, and human health are inherently vulnerable to storms and flooding. In events with extreme precipitation, the compound effects of river flooding, ocean surge, and vulnerable infrastructure can be extremely hazardous, and new tools are needed to simulate these complex combined hydrologic and ocean processes. Integrating a hydrologic model (WRF-Hydro) into the Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Wave Sediment Transport modeling system (COAWST), which includes a three-dimensional ocean model (ROMS), a weather forest model (WRF), and a wave model (SWAN), offers the potential to investigate compound flooding and contaminant dispersal during coastal storms. This new forecast model coupling is being applied to investigate Hurricane Florence, along with future storm and land use scenarios.

Extreme precipitation during Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in North Carolina in September, 2018, led to breaches of hog waste lagoons, coal ash pits, and wastewater treatment facilities, causing contamination of drinking water supplies. In addition, a surge of freshwater carrying pollutants, sediment, organic matter, and other debris was released to the coastal ocean, contributing to beach closures, algal blooms, hypoxic events, and other ecosystem impacts. The pathways of these pollutants through the land-ocean system are investigated by simulating freshwater and tracer dispersal from several contaminant release events. The results can be used to guide mitigation efforts and actions to improve resilience to extreme coastal flooding.

This work is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey, North Carolinia State University, Louisiana State University, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Adina Nack, California Lutheran University

Creating COVID-19 “Counterwaves”: Risk Communication and Health Education to Promote “Safer” Reopenings

Drawing on a rapidly evolving multidisciplinary body of research on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), this project will develop messaging for a public health campaign which defines and promotes the individual behaviors and community policies which support “safer” reopenings. As a medical sociologist and health educator who has focused on infectious sexually transmitted diseases, I call for collaboration with scholars and practitioners to create a “counterwave” of evidence-based health education. The U.S. is not alone in pandemic policies having been politicized, resulting in dangerous distortions of the benefits of societal behavioral modifications, such as mutual-masking. Drawing on the wisdom of HIV/AIDS activists, this project seeks to build momentum behind a well-coordinated health education campaign which protects against waves of actual viral outbreak and of harm caused by misguided policies/strategies. Imagine the possibilities of working with experts in social marketing to harness the power of social media, art and graphic design to turn the tide on the unnecessary suffering and harm being wrought by the mishandling of the public health communications about COVID-19. By raising awareness about what is known about COVID-19, we can clarify messages to better convince the public to embrace attitudes and norms which reflect scientific knowledge and social values. A unifying health education campaign has the power to reduce risk, increase social connection and restore economic viability, while protecting those among us who have the least power and privilege when it comes to being able to safeguard their own health.  

Marla Nelson, University of New Orleans
Renia Ehrenfeucht, University of New Mexico
Traci Birch, Louisiana State University
Anna Brand, University of California, Berkeley
Jessica Williams, Asakura Robinson

Beyond Buyouts: Adaptive Migration and the Need for Equitable Relocation Strategies

As residents of coastal communities in Louisiana and elsewhere respond to increased flooding and storm intensity due to sea level rise, coastal erosion, and subsidence, relocation will become an increasingly important adaptation option. This project responds to the need for effective programs that help people move away from risky areas in the face of ongoing environmental change. It draws on semi-structured interviews with 58 current or former residents of coastal communities in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana and 29 local officials and community leaders conducted between 2018 and 2020.

Resident interviews illustrate how households are adapting, including how they make decisions about whether to stay or relocate, and the impediments to the widespread use of buyout and relocation programs. Findings also address the conditions associated with long term environmental change, the relationships among land loss and increased flooding, larger economic and population shifts, and the diverse and changing circumstances of people living in at-risk communities. Professional interviews focus on strategies to address coastal vulnerability as well as priority planning and policy interventions.

Additionally, buyout and relocation programs in the U.S. are analyzed to identify useful lessons, promising practices, and pitfalls to avoid during the relocation process. The study’s findings are used to develop recommendations to inform adaptation policy that moves beyond merely acquiring at-risk properties and leads to just outcomes for communities and residents on the frontline, dealing with disasters from both extreme weather events and ongoing environmental change. This project was funded by The Water Institute of the Gulf.

Tuan Anh Nguyen, Vietnam National University
Aileen Guzman, Ateneo de Manila, Manila, Philippines
Hung Quang Bui, Vietnam National University
Thi Nhat Thanh Nguyen, Vietnam National University
Hang Thuy Dao, Vietnam National University
Angelo Galindo, Ateneo de Manila
Anh Phan, Vietnam National University
Thang Quang Luu, Vietnam National University
Pham Van Dong, Vietnam National University
Tat Thanh Duong, Vietnam National University
Raushan Arnhardt, British Geological Survey
May Celine Vicente, Ateneo de Manila
Joel Gill, British Geological Survey
Nicole Manley, Queen Margaret University
Anthony Schrag, Queen Margaret University
Greg Bankoff, University of Hull
Michael Ellis, British Geological Survey

Multi-hazards and Resilience of Rapidly Expanding City-Catchments: 2. The Approach

A new project tackles the endemic problem of multi-hazards and resilience in rapidly expanding cities and their catchments in the so-called developing world, using the city catchments of Hanoi (Vietnam) and Marikina City (Metropolitan Manila, the Philippines) as case studies. This study takes the long view, examining the historical connections between hazards, their impacts, and policies and regulations (see abstract by Ellis et al. for more project description). Work is conducted with stakeholders and academe in disaster risk reduction, emergency services, environmental and public health, city and regional planning, and sustainable development. The goal is to deliver usable tools to increase resilience of people and institutions.

To better understand the characterization and dynamics of resilience in these environments, a broad church of methods and data are utilized, including: (1) formal historical analyses; (2) theory-of-change; (3) psycho-visual creative art techniques that can reveal the tacit perception among participants of hazards, risk, connectivity, and the enveloping physical and cultural environment, etc.; (4) remote sensing; (5) an understanding of the physical hazard environment; and (6) complex system analyses.

Phase one will generate a unique chronological database (1946-present) that places the development of socioeconomic policies against the occurrence of natural hazards and their impacts. Phase two forensically examines selected shorter timescales, testing apparent connections between policies and hazardous events. Phase three examines the system for sensitive intervention points that can increase the resilience (and decrease vulnerability and exposure) in this complex system. Project funding comes from the Royal Society (Global Challenges Research Fund).

Richard Nkrumah, University of Nebraska Omaha
Shawn Maxwell, University of Nebraska Omaha
Njoki Mwarumba, University of Nebraska Omaha
Bryce Hoflund, University of Nebraska Omaha

Community Health Centers in Pandemic Preparedness Planning

Community Health Centers (CHC), like hospital systems, provide a broad spectrum of healthcare services as part of an integrated care model. They are legislatively mandated to provide healthcare services, before, during, and after disasters to the nearly 29 million people they serve annually. Many CHC patients represent vulnerable communities with little or no insurance. CHC funding is made available through allocated government funding, grants and reimbursements, the 340B Drug Pricing Program, private insurance, and fees collected. Also, CHC services play a central role in supporting overall community health, include primary and preventive care, infectious diseases, and adjacent services such as transportation, case management, and food insecurity interventions.

The global impact of COVID-19 has exerted unprecedented pressure on vulnerable communities and the healthcare infrastructure. We argue that it is necessary to examine more closely the role of the CHCs in disasters and to identify the challenges they face in preparing for and responding to disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, in collaboration with Nebraska’s Health Center Association, we seek to explore local CHC pandemic preparedness planning and response in Nebraska. We plan to use qualitative research techniques to engage Nebraska CHC leadership through remote interviews and focus groups. We draw on literature from emergency management, public health, and public administration to explore the following four key aspects: collaboration with emergency management stakeholders, organizational networks, local food insecurity, and funding adequacy.

Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center

COVID-19 Global Research Registry for Public Health and Social Sciences

The COVID-19 Global Research Registry for Public Health and Social Sciences is a worldwide registry for the identification of COVID-19-related research and risk reduction efforts. This first-of-its-kind registry is available in English, French, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. Researchers with projects focused on topics related to the social and behavioral consequences, policy responses, educational and economic impacts, and public health implications of COVID-19 are invited to register at: The form takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and the information produced will help: (1) highlight novel public health and social science research initiated in response to COVID-19; (2) expand opportunities for research collaboration and reduce duplication of effort; (3) identify unmet research needs; (4) create possibilities to share and publish research instruments, data collection and ethics protocols, and data; and (5) set a comprehensive social science research agenda. 

Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center
Heather Champeau, Natural Hazards Center
Jessica Austin, Natural Hazards Center
Mason Mathews, Arizona State University
Haorui Wu, Dalhousie University

What Methods Do Social Scientists Use to Study Disasters? An Analysis of the Social Science Extreme Events Research Network

The National Science Foundation-funded Social Science Extreme Events Research (SSEER) network was formed, in part, to respond to the need for more specific information about the status and expertise of the social science hazards and disaster research workforce. Drawing on data from 1,013 SSEER members located across five United Nations regions, this project reports on the demographic characteristics of SSEER researchers; provides a novel inventory of methods used by social science hazards and disaster researchers; and explores how methodological approaches vary by specific researcher attributes including discipline, professional status, researcher type based on level of involvement in the field, hazard/disaster type studied, and disaster phase studied. This analysis showed that SSEER respondents range in age from 21 to 78 years old; 52.02% identify as female; 59.62% identify racially as White; 62.59% report having earned a doctoral degree; and 57.85% work in an academic institution. Most SSEER respondents described themselves as core researchers (45.11%), meaning they view themselves as highly involved in and deeply committed to hazards and disaster research. Case study (60.41%) was the most often selected methodological approach among SSEER researchers, followed by survey research (59.53%) and in-depth interviews (58.74%). Just over 80% of SSEER respondents said that they use four or more primary methods in their research. The results have implications for training, mentoring, and workforce development initiatives geared toward ensuring that a diverse next generation of social science researchers is prepared to study the root causes and social consequences of disasters. 

Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center
Emmanuelle Hines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mason Mathews, Arizona State University
Jeffrey Gunderson, Natural Hazards Center

Global List and Interactive Web Map of University-Based Hazards and Disaster Research Centers

The Natural Hazards Center maintains an online Global List and Interactive Web Map of University-Based Hazards and Disasters Research Centers, available at: To date, this initiative has led to the identification of 370 academic hazards and disaster research centers across the five major United Nations geographic regions, including 23 in Africa, 187 in the Americas, 99 in Asia, 38 in Europe, and 23 in Oceania. This web-based initiative is launched in an effort to allow more systematic identification of hazards and disaster research centers and to increase connections, communication, collaboration, and access to emerging research from a variety of disciplines.

The data that informs this project is available for download through the NSF-NHERI DesignSafe-Cyberinfrastructure: Peek, Lori, Emmanuelle Hines, Mason Mathews, Jeffrey Gunderson, and Haorui Wu. 2019. “Global Academic Hazards and Disaster Research Centers Data.” DesignSafe-CI.

For further information on the project, see: Hines, Emmanuelle, Mason Mathews, and Lori Peek. 2020. “Global List and Interactive Web Map of University-Based Hazards and Disaster Research Centers.” Natural Hazards Review 21(2),

Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center
Jessica Austin, Natural Hazards Center
Elizabeth Bittel, State University of New York College at Cortland
Simone Domingue, University of Colorado Boulder
Melissa Villarreal, Natural Hazards Center

Helping Behaviors and Organized Action Among Young People After Hurricane Katrina

What do children do for themselves and for others in disasters? Drawing from a dataset of 108 news articles published in the 10-year period following Hurricane Katrina (2005-2015), this project examines the helping behaviors of children and youth in the aftermath of the disaster. Our analyses revealed that the media covered six primary ways that children helped after Katrina: (1) raising money; (2) collecting material goods for children and adult survivors; (3) developing programs to raise awareness of the disaster; (4) assisting with restoration or rebuilding activities; (5) raising spirits and mental health considerations; and (6) creating new organizations to help with Katrina and future disasters. According to the available news coverage, children donated or raised over $471 million dollars after Katrina. Children also helped generate over 14,000 toy donations, and they organized the collection of over 23,000 new and used books and 400 new reading kits after Katrina. Necessities offered included 200 toiletry kits; a trailer full of bottled water; two truckloads of clothing; 500 hams for the holidays; 2,000 meals; and 130 bricks for rebuilding. Children also volunteered and gave their labor and time. This research underscores the importance of understanding children’s helping behaviors—including those emergent or spontaneous behaviors as well as ones encouraged within organizational contexts. It is clear that both disaster-affected and non-disaster-affected children can contribute in meaningful ways to reducing risk and supporting those who have lived through crisis, and this recognition can help foster disaster resilience at a grassroots level.

Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center
Simone Domingue, University of Colorado Boulder

Federal Initiatives Focused on Children and Youth Across the Disaster Lifecycle

This project offers an overview and analysis of programs, educational initiatives, and guidance documents created by U.S. federal agencies to engage children and child-serving organizations in emergency management. Taking stock of such programs is timely, as increased recognition of children’s vulnerability in disasters has coincided with the development of new initiatives and curricular materials aimed at engaging children and youth and their caregivers in understanding and reducing the risks that they may face in their homes, schools, and communities. We reviewed websites, guidance documents, and other materials for programs developed by agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Institutes of Health, National Weather Service, and U.S. Geological Survey. We then prepared a brief description of each program, highlighting the phase of the disaster lifecycle (e.g., preparedness, emergency response, recovery, mitigation) that the program is focused on, as well as the target age for the population the program is geared towards. We found that these federal resources cover a range of natural and environmental hazards and focus on different age groups from pre-Kindergarten to beyond high school. Almost all currently available programs are about educating children and youth and helping them to prepare for, and in some cases, effectively respond during the emergency phase of disaster. Mitigation and long-term recovery are much less rarely the focus, which represents an important opportunity for the development of new resources.

Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center
Jennifer Tobin, Natural Hazards Center
Paul Kovacs, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Sophie Guilbault, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

CONVERGE Extreme Events Research Check Sheets Series

The National Science Foundation-funded CONVERGE facility, with supplemental support from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, has developed a new Extreme Events Research Check Sheets Series. These check sheets are meant to be used as researchers design their studies, prepare to enter the field, conduct field research, and exit the field. Although the series is still in development, check sheets are already available in the following categories: (1) Preparing to Conduct Extreme Events Research; (2) Institutional Review Board and Ethical Considerations; (3) Cultural Competence and Power Differentials; (4) Social Science Methods and Approaches; (5) Training, Mentoring, and Building Teams; (6) Collecting Data and Conducting Fieldwork; (7) Data Management and Data Use; (8) Data Analysis and Data Publication; and (9) Sharing and Communicating Results. The series offers best practices for extreme events research and is available for free online at: 

Omar Perez-Figueroa, University of California, Irvine

Linking Water Governance and Disaster Resilience: Experiences From the Caribbean

Sustainable water governance is a potential mechanism by which communities can build the physical infrastructure and social capital necessary to enhance recovery to environmental hazards and disasters. Using the cases of Puerto Rico and Cuba, this research explores whether different systems of water governance—defined as the rules and social relationships that establish who gets water, when water is distributed, and how this distribution is done—influenced recovery to recent hurricanes on the islands. The Caribbean as a geography can provide critical insights toward the interpretation of how communities cope with disasters when they have limited resources. This mixed-methods study draws on interviews and archival research, paired with content analysis of artwork, podcasts, Twitter posts, and other materials produced by community members to understand how disaster resilience and sound water governance are connected, and what policies support and/or ensure that governance will be resilient. Furthermore, this research frames disaster resilience as fundamentally an issue of social justice, local community empowerment, and polycentric governance—characterized by democratic and egalitarian politics. Data collection is ongoing, so stay tuned for results!

Sally Potter, GNS Science
Sara Harrison, GNS Science
Graham Leonard, GNS Science
Kristie-Lee Thomas, GNS Science
Janet Skilton, GNS Science
Natalie Balfour, GNS Science
Sue Harvey, GNS Science
Moka Apiti, Iwi Spatial Consultant, New Zealand
Geoff Kilgour, GNS Science
Maureen Coomer, GNS Science

Scoping out a Hazard and Impact Visualization Tool for New Zealand

When a hazardous event occurs, such as an earthquake, eruption, storm, tsunami or landslide, there are often delays in understanding the severity and extent of the hazard and impacts. Monitoring networks have gaps, and there is limited capacity for officials to quickly visit every site to assess the damage. This data gap results in delays in mitigating the impacts, a reliance on media for situational awareness, and a lack of information to inform messaging. There are also gaps in loss databases, which help inform future risk management decisions, and impact-based forecast and warning systems.

Funded by the New Zealand Government, we conducted 16 interviews with stakeholder agencies to understand their challenges in accessing real-time hazard and impact information. As a potential solution, we scoped out developing a real-time hazard and impact visualization tool for New Zealand. We also aligned with other projects to collect data on the public’s willingness to submit observations (N=4725 through an online survey), and to understand user needs for risk modelling outputs (six workshops and a survey N=145).

We found there is a need to connect existing hazard and impact data from multiple agencies, including monitoring data, forecasts and warnings, and real-time risk model outputs. Additionally, crowdsourced observations would be beneficial, despite the associated data quality challenges. There was support for an online viewer application to be co-developed, as well as making data available to be incorporated into agencies’ existing dashboards. Next, we will apply for funding to support the development of these tools.

J. Carlee Purdum, Texas A&M University
Michelle Meyer, Texas A&M University

Prisoner Labor Throughout the Life Cycle of Disasters

Disaster impacts are on the rise, along with the costs to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from these events. Inmates housed in prisons are a source of low‐cost labor for various tasks before, during, and after disasters. However, little is known about whether states plan to use inmate labor for emergency management needs. This paper responds to this gap through a content analysis of the inclusion of inmates as a labor resource in U.S. state‐level Emergency Operations Plans. Results show a majority of states include inmates in their plans and that inmates are a source of labor throughout the entire life cycle of a disaster. Further, planning documents include 34 different tasks that inmates may be assigned. States’ disaster experience, rates of incarceration, rates of minority incarceration, imprisonment costs, and region related to the inclusion of inmate labor in these plans. This research raises questions about how inmate labor may offset against the rising costs of disasters during a time when mass incarceration is under increased scrutiny. Furthermore, prisoners, who are disproportionately poor and minority, may be exposed to undue risks from this labor if the plans are implemented as written—increasing their social vulnerability to disasters.

Rebecca Quinn, RCQuinn Consulting
Leigh Chapman, Salter's Creek Consulting
Jeff Stone, Association of State Floodplain Managers
Dave Fowler, Association of State Floodplain Managers

Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials

Flood management protects people and property. The Association of State Floodplain Managers’ free three-part Elected Officials Guide breaks down the key information elected officials need to fulfill their responsibility as community leaders. Wise flood management provides the means to address flood problems before, during, and after an event, as well as create sustainable development for future generations.

Start reducing flood problems today! This guide helps elected officials: (1) communicate flood management concepts to their staff and the public; (2) understand the National Flood Insurance Program; (3) support flood management staff; (4) customize their community’s approach to flooding; (5) learn how to protect their community before, during, and after flood events; and (6) access more flood management resources.

Volume I: The Essentials - Learn the essentials that elected officials need to know about flood risk in their communities, including funding resources and community liability. Volume II: Moving Beyond the Essentials - Take a deeper dive into higher floodplain management standards, property protection, flood insurance, managing and strengthening local flood management programs, and more. Volume III: Success Stories - Explore case studies and interviews from a variety of communities nationwide that successfully tackled flood mitigation. For the full guide, visit:

Mayeda Rashid, Central Queensland University
JC Gaillard, University of Auckland
Kevin Ronan, Central Queensland University
Briony Towers, RMIT University
Quamrul Alam, Central Queensland University

Through Children’s Eyes: DRR Education for Children, with Children and by Children

Over the last decade, a number of studies have investigated the benefits of disaster risk reduction (DRR) education programs for children. Although these studies suggest positive outcomes, they are primarily based on the evaluations of adult researchers, such as those undertaken by non-government organizations (NGOs), and many of them have significant methodological limitations. This project aimed to overcome these challenges by conducting rigorous research on DRR education in Bangladesh through the eyes of children. This involved children serving as co-researchers alongside a local adult researcher. Children participated in various research activities ranging from data collection to analysis, and importantly, documenting the findings through child-friendly methods which built on their competencies and interests. The project thus makes a significant contribution to our theoretical understanding of DRR education from children’s perspectives and further provides a framework for empowering children’s participation in disaster research. The power inequalities between children researchers and adult researchers are inevitable for obvious reasons, namely the age differential, the lack of experience of children in research, and above all, the existing accountability mechanism in academia. However, efforts should be made to minimize unequal power relationships and foster children’s participation in research about DRR education programs.

Ellen Rathje, University of Texas at Austin
Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center
Joseph q Wartman, University of Washington

Social Science and Interdisciplinary Data Publication: A Partnership Between DesignSafe, CONVERGE, and RAPID Facilities

DesignSafe ( is the web-based cyberinfrastructure platform for the National Science Foundation Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NSF-NHERI) network. Headquartered at the University of Texas, DesignSafe provides a secure data repository and the computational tools needed to manage, analyze, and publish critical data for natural hazards research. The DesignSafe cyberinfrastructure supports cloud-based research workflows, data analysis, and visualization. Since its launch in 2015, thousands of researchers—predominantly from engineering—have taken advantage of DesignSafe functionalities, publishing almost nine terabytes of data across more than 100 datasets.

DesignSafe research and development teams have partnered with the NSF-NHERI RAPID facility and the NSF-NHERI CONVERGE initiative to develop a novel social science and interdisciplinary data model for natural hazards research. This data model, which was released in May 2020, allows social and behavioral scientists and members of interdisciplinary teams to publish legacy datasets as well as new qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods field research data. In addition, the data model is robust enough for researchers to publish data collection protocols, research instruments, and Institutional Review Board protocols. Through expanding the potential for researchers to have a Digital Object Identifier assigned to their datasets and data collection protocols, the vision is to advance the possibility for richer collaboration and more cross-geographic site, cross-disciplinary, and cross-hazards replication within the disaster social science and engineering fields.

Andrea Roberts, Texas A&M University
Jennifer Blanks, Texas A&M University

Developing Participatory Assessment & Mapping Tool to Support Disaster Mitigation Planning for Endangered, Historic Black Settlements & Cemeteries

African American settlements throughout Texas, founded from 1865-1930, are called freedom colonies. While there were once hundreds of populated settlements, many freedom colonies are now unpopulated, have been annexed into larger jurisdictions, or were never “mapped.” To spatialize these places—often absent from census or government records-- The Texas Freedom Colonies Project developed The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Atlas and Study, which crowdsources data about African American settlements through a StoryMap platform. The project will expand the current Texas Freedom Colonies Atlas’s capacity to map not only settlements but also cemeteries—landscape features that are often the last remaining evidence communities ever existed. Cemeteries’ headstones are pregnant with genealogical and historical information. As a result, the authors are determining ways the Atlas can be modified to both capture landscape data while assessing features’ susceptibility to flooding. Proposed pilot study engagement approaches and proposed changes to the Atlas’s ArcGIS platform will be tested by descendant communities associated with Shankleville, Texas, a 150-year-old freedom colony with historical burial sites. Cemeteries in Shankleville are vulnerable to flooding and damage from natural disasters. Community members actively maintain the cemeteries; however, they have no systematic approach to assessing and planning for frequent disasters that threaten their settlement and cemeteries. Further, they have little knowledge about the mitigation measures and technical assistance available through state agencies. This paper describes the methodologies, engagement strategies, rationale, and mixed methods approach to retrofitting the current platform to accommodate increased participatory preservation planning and mitigation activities among descendants on site.

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

Using Novel Communication Tools to Understand and Motivate Earthquake Preparedness Behavior

Communication plays a critical role in motivating and guiding disaster risk reduction and preparedness, especially absent direct experience with a hazard. Communication strategies that reach large audiences tend to favor short, consistent, and repetitive messages, but one-size-fits-all messaging may undermine positive outcome expectations and self-efficacy toward preparedness behaviors for audiences who do not identify with the people, situations, or solutions portrayed. On the other hand, interactions tailored to the varied circumstances of diverse communities reach small audiences and tax emergency managers’ limited outreach resources. This interdisciplinary research group studies learning and behavioral impacts linked to disaster-related, entertainment-based media, especially how individuals choose preparedness actions they consider both meaningful and feasible and how social influences affect behavior adoption. The current focus is on video games as tools for both elucidating earthquake-preparedness behavior and communicating risk. Because video games inherently entail problem-solving and commonly support multiple solution pathways, they may avoid the pitfalls of single-prescription messaging. The focus is on preparedness for the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake among 18 to 29 year-olds in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, as this typically under-messaged demographic has significant capabilities as well as vulnerabilities. Young adults also strongly favor digital information sources and have a culture of sharing that can be leveraged in mass media campaigns. Collaboration will take place with local emergency managers in city, county, and non-profit offices to share results and to better understand the constraints and barriers to preparedness among various communities.

Wendy Saunders, GNS Science
Scott Kelly, GNS Science
Finn Scheele, GNS Science
Maureen Coomer, GNS Science
Kristie-Lee Thomas, GNS Science

The Canary in the Community: Do Surf Life Saving Clubs Have a Role in Community Adaptation to Climate Change?

Surf life saving clubs (SLSC) save lives; in New Zealand they are a key community asset of volunteers, usually located right on the dunes in coastal communities. Many are making difficult choices about their future due to climate-related changes to the beaches they patrol.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand does not at present fully understand the national risk exposure to its clubs from rising sea levels and associated impacts. In addition, communities often do not consider adaptive planning issues until surf clubs are needing to (often urgently) plan to relocate. As such, SLSC are often the ‘canary in the community’, being the first community asset to be affected by rising seas. The aim of this research is to explore whether focusing the climate change adaptation narrative on community-led SLSC is a good conversation starter for wider community engagement on their future with rising sea levels.

This project has three key objectives: 1. To assess the exposure of 74 SLSC around New Zealand to coastal inundation; 2. To understand individual SLSC understanding and perceptions of risk, adaptation options, and community response; and 3. To undertake a case study of threes clubs to understand their detailed issues and options, including those for the wider community.

The outcomes of this scoping project will be an assessment of SLSC exposure to coastal inundation, to prioritize which clubs will need to start planning for adaptation; and an understanding of what influence this has on the community around the club for their adaptation planning.

Ted D. Serrant, The University of the West Indies Open Campus

Natural Hazards and Policy Changes in Dominica, 2012 to 2018

In 2013, a review of disaster policies in Dominica found a phased approach to disaster management, non-binding policy language, a reactionary approach to disaster response, dependence on external response aid and funding, and repurposing of public funds to address disasters. The review also found an interagency approach to disaster management and a practice of declaring a state of emergencies ahead of natural disaster events. An adaptive developmental approach was proposed to incorporate disaster risks and vulnerabilities in public policies, plans, and operations. It was essential to return to the policy environment to identify disaster policy changes since Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 and Hurricane Maria in 2017 struck the island. Erika resulted in $480 million in damages, 13 deaths, and destroyed 90% of the country’s GPD. Maria caused losses totaling $1.3 billion, 31 deaths with 37 missing, and destroyed 226% of the islands GDP. Using the window of opportunity concept, data from documented annual budget speeches, and coding and thematic analyses, this paper identified changes in Dominica’s policy approaches to natural hazards. Preliminary findings revealed a shift from non-binding to binding policy language, government commitment, movement from a phased to an adaptive development approach, hardening of national assets, changes in building codes and the construction a model community. These were driven by changes in access to international disaster aid, access to local funding, the widespread and devastating impact of Erika and Maria, and the acceptance of local responsibility for disasters and disaster management.

Ethan Slate, Western Kentucky University

Hazard Mitigation in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey wreaked devastation on the Houston area in 2017 that came with a price tag of over $125 billion in property damage. Residents were left devastated with many applying for the home buyout program sponsored by Harris County and propped up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). According to recent data, few homes have been approved for a buyout. In addition, only a small percent affected are eligible for a buyout under the current guidelines. Of the 80,000 homes affected, most did not have flood insurance. In this study, we examine homeowner’s options in the aftermath of Harvey, including FEMA sanctioned options, such as utilizing demolition grants and elevation or relocation grants. Factors evaluated in the study include the environmental impacts of demolition and financial loss sustained by communities.

Elevation will also always be more environmentally friendly as it saves thousands of trees and acres of space in landfills. Millions of board feet of lumber can be salvaged as well as millions of acres of forest. Greenhouse gas causing materials can be held in their current state and the initial investments made on the energy put into building elevated homes can be extended in value. This study evaluates all these issues and ascertains their effectiveness.

Jessamin Straub, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Katherine Chambers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Joshua Murphy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Recommendations for a Resilient Path Forward for the Marine Transportation System

The Marine Transportation System (MTS) plays a critical role in U.S. commerce and security, facilitating the movement of over two billion tons of goods annually. As the infrastructure, technological, and management systems that support the MTS evolve, the best practices for the preservation of these functions throughout weather and climate disruptions must be kept current and collaborative. The MTS is particularly susceptible to the impacts of coastal storms such as the major hurricanes in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Furthermore, ports and the marine transportation system play a key role in the recovery of the surrounding region after disruption, facilitating the mobilization of response and recovery, and the delivery of life-sustaining commodities for impacted communities. To foster collaboration and improve understanding around evolving storm season challenges, the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System’s Resilience Integrated Action Team has served as a platform to gather relevant federal agencies to contribute impacts, best practices, and lessons learned. Participants in this effort included representatives from over 12 federal agencies who had direct knowledge of their agency’s actions to assist in the response and recovery efforts following hurricanes. Agencies were tasked to identify challenges and successes they faced during storms and to identify and prioritize recommendations to minimize the impact from future storms and other disruptive events. This work outlines the findings across each storm season to determine if these challenges have been addressed and the best practices adopted, and to make recommendations to enhance the future resilience of the MTS.

Jaimlyn Sypniewski, Two Bears Environmental Consulting
Ronni Wilcock, Two Bears Environmental Consulting

Integrating Traditional Knowledge Into Climate Impact Statements for Indigenous Villages in Alaska

Climate change has significant impacts on the livability of villages in the Arctic. However, knowing that there may be a 2°F increase in temperature or a 10% increase in rainfall is not meaningful to environmentally threatened villages; they require actionable data that allows them to address their specific concerns. Community members want to know the holistic impacts of future climates and how it will impact their lifestyles and culture. Climate impact statements (CIS) were conducted for the villages of Newtok, Chefornak, and Napakiak, Alaska, to facilitate interdisciplinarity and mutual understanding between different knowledge systems, promoting interactions among the indigenous communities and scientists. Whereas determining the risk to infrastructure is relatively straight-forward, identifying the risks to their social, economic, and ecological systems required knowledge of how communities use their resources now, and how they might use them in the future. Traditional knowledge, combined with scientific knowledge, enhanced the understanding of the potential impacts on the ecosystems and communities, and the rate of environmental change. The CIS projected a range of slow onset and extreme climate events through the year 2100, incorporating projected climate impacts to erosion rates, flooding frequency, permafrost risk, and food security. The CIS was a practical mechanism providing transparent and constructive ways of creating synergies across knowledge systems, whereby indigenous and scientific knowledge were incorporated and respected. The villages used the actionable data developed through the CIS to obtain grants for evaluating relocation sites and developing hazard mitigation plans to qualify the villages for additional federal funding.  

Sanjana Tadepalli, Nanyang Technological University
David Lallemant, Nanyang Technological University
Feroz Khan, Nanyang Technological University
Tian Ning Lim, Nanyang Technological University
Yolanda Lin, Nanyang Technological University

Towards Ethical Research in Post-disaster Settings in Southeast Asia

Fieldwork and data collection in the aftermath of a disaster is seen as an essential and necessary part of hazards and disaster research. However, there are numerous ethical complexities to doing research in post-disaster settings. Researchers must navigate the complex dynamics that emerge from working in these challenging spaces, including balancing research and humanitarian goals, working with local collaborators, and working with or in affected communities that may be dealing with the sudden loss of lives, livelihood, and shelter. Despite the unique challenges of conducting research in the context of a disaster, there is little guidance on the ethics of research practice in these spaces. Existing norms and tools such as the institutional review board are insufficient, especially given the multidisciplinary nature of research that happens in post-disaster settings.

Recent scholarship has identified the need for a separate code of conduct to address the ethical issues that emerge in post-disaster settings. Inspired by this work, this research demonstrates both the need for and processes that enable ethical fieldwork, and addresses questions surrounding the collection and handling of data, involvement of local collaborators, and interaction with affected communities. This research is focused on Southeast Asia and the particular dynamics that animate post-disaster work in the region. Through literature review, case-study development, reviews of existing pre-fieldwork training, and consultations with researchers and humanitarian organizations in the region, a set of processes are being developed to strengthen our own practice and that of our university.

Sanjana Tadepalli, Nanyang Technological University
David Lallemant, Nanyang Technological University
Tian Ning Lim, Nanyang Technological University
Yolanda Lin, Nanyang Technological University
Feroz Khan, Nanyang Technological University

Towards Ethical Research in Post-disaster Settings in Southeast Asia

Fieldwork and data collection in the aftermath of a disaster is seen as an essential and necessary part of hazards and disaster research. However, there are numerous ethical complexities to doing research in post-disaster settings. Researchers must navigate the complex dynamics that emerge from working in these challenging spaces, including balancing research and humanitarian goals, working with local collaborators, and working with or in affected communities that may be dealing with the sudden loss of lives, livelihood, and shelter. Despite the unique challenges of conducting research in the context of a disaster, there is little guidance on the ethics of research practice in these spaces. Existing norms and tools such as the IRB are insufficient, especially given the multidisciplinary nature of research that happens in post-disaster settings.

Recent scholarship has identified the need for a separate code of conduct to address the ethical issues that emerge in post-disaster settings. Inspired by this work, our research demonstrates both the need for and processes that enable ethical fieldwork, and address questions surrounding the collection and handling of data, involvement of local collaborators, and interaction with affected communities. Given our location in Singapore, our research is focused on Southeast Asia and the particular dynamics that animate post-disaster work in the region. Through literature review, case-study development, reviews of existing pre-fieldwork training, and consultations with researchers and humanitarian organisations in the region, we are developing a set of processes to strengthen our own practice and that of our university.

Sajag-Nepal Team, Global Challenges Research Fund

Sajag-Nepal: Preparedness for the Mountain Hazard and Risk Chain in Nepal

Sajag-Nepal (2021-2024), funded by the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund, will examine how to use local knowledge and new interdisciplinary science to inform better decision making, and reduce the impacts of multi-hazards in mountain countries, with a specific focus on Nepal. Nepal experiences a range of hazards resulting from earthquakes and monsoon rainfall, and is undergoing complex social, political, and economic change. Sajag (which means ‘prepared’ in Nepali) is grounded within long-term research with rural residents in Nepal and our experience of assessing and planning for earthquake and landslide risk with the government of Nepal, the United Nations, and householders themselves.

Specifically, Sajag-Nepal will: (1) think critically about the social, political, economic, and environmental context in which disasters occur; (2) establish a new approach to national-scale strategic planning for complex multi-hazard events, including earthquakes, monsoons, and landslides; (3) develop interdisciplinary science to anticipate, plan for, and communicate the range of hazards that occur during the annual monsoon; and (4) find the best ways to utilize local knowledge and interdisciplinary science to inform how to prepare for and respond to multi-hazard disasters. To do this, we bring together a team of researchers and practitioners from Nepal, the UK, Canada, and New Zealand, and from a range of disciplines, including geoscience, social science, and the humanities. Sajag-Nepal is committed to supporting a new cohort of young Nepali researchers who will help to shape disaster risk management in the future.

Staff The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Pew Charitable Trusts

How States Pay for Natural Disasters in an Era of Rising Costs

As disasters become more frequent, expensive, and severe, state governments’ role in making funds available to pay for these events is often overlooked. To help policymakers and researchers better understand how states manage these unpredictable and growing costs, The Pew Charitable Trusts examined five commonly used budgeting tools that the 50 states and Washington, D.C. use to pay for disasters. Two of the five mechanisms—statewide disaster accounts and rainy day funds—are preemptive measures that states use to appropriate resources in anticipation of future disasters. Supplemental appropriations and transfer authority are responsive measures, allowing states to allocate money during and after an event. State agency budgets can function in both ways. The researchers also looked at states' use of insurance to cover natural hazard risks.

Pew’s study found that while all 50 states and D.C. used at least three of the tools studied, there is great variability in how these budget mechanisms are used in practice. Information about those differences is important for states to understand as they begin to assess whether their current approach to budgeting best meets the growing challenges of more expensive disasters, tight budgets, and potential changes to the disaster assistance partnership between the federal government and the states.

Khanh Ton, The University of Auckland
JC Gaillard, The University of Auckland
Carole Adamson, The University of Auckland
Caglar Akgungor, Resilience Advisors Network

Exploring Disaster Risk Faced by People With Disabilities Through a Capability Approach

While the capability approach is increasingly adopted for evaluating well-being and social justice in the field of human development, its adoption in disaster research has remained scarce. This research thus seeks to address the disaster risk that humans face through a lens of capabilities, with a focus on the lives of people with disabilities. From a capability perspective, disaster risk faced by people with disabilities arises from the deprivation or lack of capabilities to cope with natural hazards. This deprivation results from a shortage not only of resources but also of conversion factors that enable them to convert the resources to their valued capabilities. It is also argued that in most cases, people with disabilities need to participate in decision-making processes to achieve their valued capabilities for their safety in times of disaster. This process of participation can be seen as both an end and a means. As an end, it refers to involvement in decision-making processes. As a means, it is a process in which people with disabilities individually or collectively exert their agency (i.e. raising their voice, influencing decision making and transforming decisions into actions). For participation as a means to be achieved, however, participation as an end must be secured. Examining disaster risk that people with disabilities face through the capability lens has also raised possibilities of applying this approach for understanding disaster risk faced by other groups of people in society.

Jamie Vickery, Natural Hazards Center
Mason Mathews, Arizona State University
Luther Green, Natural Hazards Center
Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center
Aren Koenig, Save the Children
Anita Drever, Save the Children

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

Save the Children U.S. Programs is currently working in Arkansas and Nebraska to: (a) increase Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) and emergency management knowledge and awareness of children’s needs in disasters; (b) advance the prioritization of children’s needs and ability to meet those needs in VOAD and emergency management organizations; and (c) assess the proof of concept driving the project interventions. The Natural Hazards Center (NHC) at the University of Colorado Boulder is conducting an evaluation of Save the Children’s efforts.

During year two of this evaluation, the NHC team conducted a social network analysis (SNA) survey with a total of 77 individuals representing member and partner organizations within Arkansas (n=34) and Nebraska (n=43) VOADs. The evaluation team will use the results to characterize the child-focused skills, expertise, resources, and connections available among the state VOADs. The analysis of the existing VOAD networks will also allow the evaluation team to understand the 4 C’s--cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration--of emergency management practice among VOAD members in the two focal states.

At the conclusion of the larger evaluation, the NHC team will provide Save the Children U.S. with a final report. This report will summarize the results of the SNA survey, including qualitative findings from participatory engagement activities in Arkansas and Nebraska and an interactive mapping tool. This work will help the focal states measure progress in addressing key recommendations by the National Commission on Children and Disasters and Joint Children’s Needs Response Assessment and Referral Pathways.

Melissa Villarreal, University of Colorado Boulder

How Service Providers Navigate Active and Passive Anti-Immigrant Disaster Recovery Policies

How do Mexican-origin immigrants recover after a disaster? To answer this question, I explore how service providers from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) navigate disaster recovery and immigration policies. Specifically, I conducted semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observations with service providers from NGOs and CBOs located in Houston, Texas that serve this population with post-disaster housing. Previous research suggests that the disaster recovery system is an inherently anti-immigrant racial structure, passively and actively limiting the access to resources for the Mexican-origin immigrant community. I found that to challenge this anti-immigrant racial structure of disaster recovery, service providers assist the community through direct assistance to immigrants excluded from other programs, collaborate with other organizations to combine limited resources, help the community navigate anti-immigrant bureaucracy, and build trust by embedding themselves in the victimized community. However, findings also show that these organizations face significant challenges in conducting their work. This research underscores the importance of service providers as actors in disaster recovery. These organizations are a vital part of the disaster recovery system and they need to be involved in the decision-making processes at the local and national level of government rather than being left to figure out how to assist communities on their own. This research also gives new meaning to how Mexican-origin individuals navigate the racist, structural-level processes that disadvantage them. Without accounting for these dynamics, Mexican-origin immigrant populations will continue to fall behind in post-disaster housing recovery, and as a result, become more disadvantaged in society.

Yan Wang, University of Florida
Lisa Platt, University of Florida

Examining Emergent Patterns in Twitter COVID-19 Risk Communication Congruency and Misinformation Diffusion

This research studies thematic dynamics and interactions in both information and human uptake and diffusion response aspects in communicating SARS-CoV-2 in an online environment (i.e. Twitter). To date, there have been noted incongruent communications and misinformation regarding the pandemic and its risks. Messaging inconsistent with disease safety measures, although especially salient at the early stages of the outbreak, does still appear to persist and occurrences have been observed throughout the lifecycle of the current pandemic. Congruency in health risk communication has important implications for health safety instruction interpretability and mental recall. The presence or absence of this characteristic also impacts individual- and community-level psychological reactions to messaging. Thus, this research employs text mining techniques and dynamic network analysis to investigate the risk and crisis communication patterns and trajectories of stakeholders and agencies on Twitter regarding message types, communication frequencies, timing, and coordination. Additionally, the study retrieves misinformation and its sources, then examines the evolution of the different information (i.e. credible information and misinformation) over time and reveals how different information may help achieve or inadvertently undermine response goals. The findings inform future risk and crisis communications of hazards in digital environments for public health agencies and governmental stakeholders. A goal of this research is to help population health agencies and first responders better understand how the strategic leveraging of credible information diffusion may help to suppress misinformation and the incurred consequences. 

Hung-Lung Wei, City University of New York

Exploring Household Preparedness for Volcanic Eruptions of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, Hawaii

Volcanic activity (e.g., explosive eruptions, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, lahars, ash fall, gases, and acid rain) could cause enormous casualties and economic losses worldwide. This study examines household preparedness for communities near two of the world's most active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, both located in Hawaii, United States. Specifically, correlation and regression analyses were conducted to test whether demographic variables, six variables of risk perception, hazard intrusiveness, effective response, hazard agent characteristics, risk area, and community bondedness have significant effects on the two measures of hazard adjustment (i.e., household emergency preparedness, and overall emergency preparedness). The regression results showed that community bondedness, household income, and risk area predicted household emergency preparedness. In addition, community bondedness and risk area predicted overall emergency preparedness. These results indicate that future research should conduct more detailed examinations of people’s hazard adjustments, the psychological reactions that motivate those hazard adjustments, and the antecedents of those psychological reactions. Finally, the data revealed that Kīlauea and Mauna Loa respondents had average low levels of risk perception and hazard intrusiveness, so it is important for local emergency managers to increase residents’ volcano hazard awareness and preparedness for future volcanic risks.

Nicole Weis, National Institute for Human Resilience
Charles Benight, National Institute for Human Resilience
Joe Ruzek, National Institute for Human Resilience
Carolyn Gary, National Institute for Human Resilience

Greater Resilience Intervention Teams

In rapid response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institute for Human Resilience (NIHR) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs launched Greater Resilience Intervention Team (GRIT) Resilience Support Coach Training. GRIT is an innovative approach originally established to train community volunteers to promote wellness and resilience among friends, family, and acquaintances in the wake of the stress caused by COVID-19. Participants learn about disasters, stress, and stress reactions, as well as self-efficacy, resilience, and coping. Participants then work through concrete steps of reaching out to people in their community, discussing and adding to strengths, and sharing helpful resources. Those who complete the program, which is offered virtually, are termed GRIT coaches. As the GRIT program spread, there became a clear need to bring the program to schools and GRIT-4ED was created and launched in May. GRIT-4ED provides the GRIT training with a focus on school communities and creating supportive teams for students. As participants have gone through the program, additional needs have arisen. In response, the NIHR is currently developing two new tracks of GRIT, including GRIT for leadership and GRIT for small businesses. The NIHR has partnered with several community and state agencies to provide this training at no cost to participants. The GRIT curriculum has now been shared with over 500 participants throughout 21 states. Notable among those signing up for the training include military personnel, mental health professionals, teachers, nurses, charities, and business leadership. Participants can sign up at 

John Wiener, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association
Edward Thomas, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association
Erin Capps, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association
Thomas Hughes, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association

Natural Hazard Mitigation Association

The Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA) has completed 24 modules, about one hour long, for the Disaster Risk Reduction Curriculum. These start at the basics of community and continue through technical materials, all pitched toward local non-government organizations and governments, as well as orientation for state employees. The materials have been produced by subject matter experts, including people with career experience in disaster preparedness, event experience, and recovery. The NHMA is all volunteer, with a pair of part-time employees. Everyone is welcome to join.

The Disaster Risk Reduction Curriculum is a response to the need for people at the local levels to be better prepared than shelf-weight elaborated “plans” which reflect ideals rather than possibilities. Additional NHMA activities include workshops, and the Resilient Neighbors Network, which provides fast answers from experienced professionals who have learned responses to complex situations. This backs up the learning of the NHMA and is intended to allow people to contact others with knowledge.

David Wild, Indiana University
Carol Rogers, Indiana University
Logan Paul, Indiana University
Mariem Loukil, Indiana University
Ike Obe, Indiana University
Soichi Hayashi, Indiana University
William Liao, Indiana University

Initial Findings for the Analysis Platform for Risk, Resilience, and Expenditure (APRED)

Disasters have far-reaching consequences on communities, including potential economic impacts. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) administers grants to communities affected by disasters through the Stafford Act; these grants are intended to improve the disaster resilience and the economic vitality of the community. Understanding the impact of these grants is important to the EDA to (1) further optimize the decision-making process for awarding grants and (2) to ensure the money is used to its full potential. The Analysis Platform for Risk, Resilience, and Expenditure (APRED) is a methodology and decision-making tool being developed by Indiana University for the EDA to answer these two important questions. Using the Baseline Resilience Indicators for Communities pioneered by Cutter et al. as a foundation, the platform aims to quantify the impact to county-level resilience of awards made by the EDA over time. Initial work focuses on quantifying the impact to communities that have received awards. Future work for APRED involves predictive analysis to identify communities where awards will provide the greatest impact.