2016 Vol. 7, No. 1

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Reflections on a Science and Technology Agenda for 21st Century Disaster Risk Reduction
Amina Aitsi-Selmi, Virginia Murray, Chadia Wannous, Chloe Dickinson, David Johnston, Akiyuki Kawasaki, Anne-Sophie Stevance, Tiffany Yeung
2016, 7(1): 1-29. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0081-x
The first international conference for the post-2015 United Nations landmark agreements (Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, Sustainable Development Goals, and Paris Agreement on Climate Change) was held in January 2016 to discuss the role of science and technology in implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. The UNISDR Science and Technology Conference on the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 aimed to discuss and endorse plans that maximize science’s contribution to reducing disaster risks and losses in the coming 15 years and bring together the diversity of stakeholders producing and using disaster risk reduction (DRR) science and technology. This article describes the evolution of the role of science and technology in the policy process building up to the Sendai Framework adoption that resulted in an unprecedented emphasis on science in the text agreed on by 187 United Nations member states in March 2015 and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in June 2015. Contributions assembled by the Conference Organizing Committee and teams including the conference concept notes and the conference discussions that involved a broad range of scientists and decision makers are summarized in this article. The conference emphasized how partnerships and networks can advance multidisciplinary research and bring together science, policy, and practice; how disaster risk is understood, and how risks are assessed and early warning systems are designed; what data, standards, and innovative practices would be needed to measure and report on risk reduction; what research and capacity gaps exist and how difficulties in creating and using science for effective DRR can be overcome. The Science and Technology Conference achieved two main outcomes: (1) initiating the UNISDR Science and Technology Partnership for the implementation of the Sendai Framework; and (2) generating discussion and agreement regarding the content and endorsement process of the UNISDR Science and Technology Road Map to 2030.
Human Mobility in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
Lorenzo Guadagno
2016, 7(1): 30-40. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0077-6
This article looks at how population movements are addressed by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (SFDRR), and highlights some of the potential implications of the SFDRR on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and mobility management work. The article looks at the operational implications of the SFDRR text and covers issues of including migrants in DRR work; informing urban development about current and future mobility trends; managing relocations, evacuations, and displacement to prevent future risks and reduce existing ones; and preparing for and managing disaster-induced population movements to reduce the direct and indirect impacts of natural hazards. Overall, the references to human mobility within the SFDRR show an evolution in the way the issue is considered within global policy dialogues. Both the potential of population movements to produce risk and their role in strengthening the resilience of people and communities are now clearly recognized. This is an evolution of previously prevailing views of mobility as the consequence of disasters or as a driver of risk. While some implications of the DRR-mobility nexus might still be missing from DRR policy, population movements are now recognized as a key global risk dynamic.
After Sendai: Is Africa Bouncing Back or Bouncing Forward from Disasters?
Bernard Manyena
2016, 7(1): 41-53. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0084-7
The 187 countries that adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 at the March 2015 UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction included most African countries. Many developing regions of the world, particularly in Asia and Latin America, made considerable progress in implementing the previous Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015. But, despite the fact that Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable and least resilient to disasters, which continue to be exacerbated by poverty, climate change, rapid urbanization, and structural transformation, it saw only slow progress. This article considers the challenges Africa faces in implementing the Sendai Framework and recommends that besides “Africanizing” Sendai goals and strengthening the region’s political commitment to disaster risk reduction (DRR), Africa should also develop a single framework that integrates DRR, sustainable development, climate change adaptation, and conflict prevention. Equally important is the need for a strong recognition that disasters are created endogenously as well as exogenously, and thus require local solutions and local investment.
Mapping Global Mortality and Affected Population Risks for Multiple Natural Hazards
Peijun Shi, Xu Yang, Wei Xu, Jing'ai Wang
2016, 7(1): 54-62. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0079-4
Substantial reduction in both mortality from and the number of people affected by natural hazards by 2030 are two principal targets that can be measured to assess global progress toward meeting the goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (SFDRR). Based on existing research of expected annual multi-hazard intensity (Mh) of 11 hazards at the 0.5°×0.5° grid scale in the World Atlas of Natural Disaster Risk, including earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, flood, storm surge, tropical cyclone, sand and dust storm, drought, heat wave, cold wave, and wildfire, a vulnerability model involving Mh and GDP per capita was developed to estimate the mortality level and scale of affected populations in 2005–2015 and 2020–2030. Global mortality and affected population risks were then mapped at the 0.5°×0.5° grid scale and the mortality and affected population rates were ranked at the national scale. The results show that most countries can achieve the target of reducing the mortality and affected population rates. Countries with increasing rates such as Bangladesh and Madagascar, where the coping capacity for natural hazard risks cannot keep pace with the increase of Mh and the growth of exposure, should be the “hotspots” of concern in global disaster risk reduction. The method proposed to quantitatively calculate the mortality and affected population risks can provide scientific and technical support for assessing global and national/regional progress in achieving the outcome and goal of the SFDRR.
Spatiotemporal Variations of Meteorological Droughts in China During 1961–2014: An Investigation Based on Multi-Threshold Identification
Jun He, Xiaohua Yang, Zhe Li, Xuejun Zhang, Qiuhong Tang
2016, 7(1): 63-76. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0083-8
As a major agricultural country, China suffers from severe meteorological drought almost every year. Previous studies have applied a single threshold to identify the onset of drought events, which may cause problems to adequately characterize long-term patterns of droughts. This study analyzes meteorological droughts in China based on a set of daily gridded (0.5°×0.5°) precipitation data from 1961 to 2014. By using a multi-threshold run theory approach to evaluate the monthly percentage of precipitation anomalies index (Pa), a drought events sequence was identified at each grid cell. The spatiotemporal variations of drought in China were further investigated based on statistics of the frequency, duration, severity, and intensity of all drought events. Analysis of the results show that China has five distinct meteorological drought-prone regions: the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain, Northeast China, Southwest China, South China coastal region, and Northwest China. Seasonal analysis further indicates that there are evident spatial variations in the seasonal contribution to regional drought. But overall, most contribution to annual drought events in China come from the winter. Decadal variation analysis suggests that most of China’s water resource regions have undergone an increase in drought frequency, especially in the Liaohe, Haihe, and Yellow River basins, although drought duration and severity clearly have decreased after the 1960s.
Modeling the Adverse Impact of Rainstorms on a Regional Transport Network
Saini Yang, Guofan Yin, Xianwu Shi, Hao Liu, Ying Zou
2016, 7(1): 77-87. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0082-9
Cities are centers of socioeconomic activities, and transport networks carry cargoes and passengers from one city to another. However, transport networks are influenced by meteorological hazards, such as rainstorms, hurricanes, and fog. Adverse weather impacts can easily spread over a network. Existing models evaluating such impacts usually neglect the transdisciplinary nature of approaches for dealing with this problem. In this article, a mesoscopic mathematical model is proposed to quantitatively assess the adverse impact of rainstorms on a regional transport network in northern China by measuring the reduction in traffic volume. The model considers four factors: direct and secondary impacts of rainstorms, interdependency between network components, and recovery abilities of cities. We selected the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region as the case study area to verify our model. Socioeconomic, precipitation, and traffic volume data in this area were used for model calibration and validation. The case study highlights the potential of the proposed model for rapid disaster loss assessment and risk reduction planning.
A Complementary Engineering-Based Building Damage Estimation for Earthquakes in Catastrophe Modeling
Siau Chen Chian
2016, 7(1): 88-107. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0078-5
Catastrophe modeling for earthquakes is conventionally designed as a probabilistic model to estimate the losses based on risk and vulnerability of a portfolio of exposures for a foreseeable set of events. This approach lacks a physical science of building damage that is linked to ground-shaking characteristics. A proposed engineering-based building damage estimation model based on established theories of seismic wave propagation and structural resonance is presented to address some of these shortcomings. A damage factor is introduced to provide an indication of the relative extent of damage to buildings. Analysis based on the proposed methodology is carried out using data derived from four case studies: the 2011 Tohoku earthquake; the 2007 Bengkulu earthquake; the 2011 Christchurch earthquake; and the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake. Results show that the computed damage factors reasonably reflect the extent of actual damage to buildings that was observed in post-earthquake reconnaissance surveys. This indicates that the proposed damage simulation model has a promising future as a complementary assessment tool in building damage estimation in catastrophe modeling.
Global Community of Disaster Risk Reduction Scientists and Decision Makers Endorse a Science and Technology Partnership to Support the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030
Chloe Dickinson, Amina Aitsi-Selmi, Pedro Basabe, Chadia Wannous, Virginia Murray
2016, 7(1): 108-109. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0080-y