Current Issue

2020, Volume 11,  Issue 5

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Critiquing and Joining Intersections of Disaster, Conflict, and Peace Research
Laura E. R. Peters, Ilan Kelman
2020, 11(5): 555-567. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00289-4
Disaster research, conflict research, and peace research have rich and deep histories, yet they do not always fully intersect or learn from each other, even when they investigate if and how disasters lead to conflict or peace. Scholarship has tended to focus on investigating causal linkages between disaster (including those associated with climate change) and conflict, and disaster diplomacy emerged as a thread of explanatory research that investigates how and why disaster-related activities do and do not influence peace and conflict. However, definitive conclusions on the disaster-conflict-peace nexus have evaded scientific consensus, in part due to conceptual, methodological, and interpretive differences among studies. This article highlights that this nexus would benefit from a more robust engagement with each field’s foundational research that explores beyond binary and crude distinctions. Examples are concepts of destructive and constructive conflict; direct, structural, and cultural violence, and their relationships to vulnerability; negative and positive peace; and the ideals and realities of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. This article demonstrates how integrated scholarship could open up and advance new lines of questioning, with implications for developing coherent research, policy, and practice. The article concludes by offering recommendations for how to better connect disaster, conflict, and peace research.
Quick Response Disaster Research: Opportunities and Challenges for a New Funding Program
Greg Oulahen, Brennan Vogel, Chris Gouett-Hanna
2020, 11(5): 568-577. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00299-2
Quick response research conducted by social scientists in the aftermath of a disaster can reveal important findings about hazards and their impacts on communities. Research to collect perishable data, or data that will change or be lost over time, immediately following disaster has been supported for decades by two programs in the United States, amassing a collection of quick response studies and an associated research culture. That culture is currently being challenged to better address power imbalances between researchers and disaster-affected participants. Until recently, Canada has not had a quick response grant program. In order to survey the state of knowledge and draw from it in helping to shape the new program in Canada, this article systematically analyzes the body of research created by the two US programs. The results reveal a wide-ranging literature: the studies are theoretically, conceptually, topically, and methodologically quite unique to one another. This diversity might appropriately reflect the nature of disasters, but the finding that many studies are not building on previous quick response research and other insights indicate opportunities for how a new grant program in Canada can contribute to growing a robust subdiscipline of disaster research.
How Can We Make Disaster Management Evaluations More Useful? An Empirical Study of Dutch Exercise Evaluations
Ralf Josef Johanna Beerens, Henrik Tehler, Ben Pelzer
2020, 11(5): 578-591. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00286-7
The evaluation of simulated disasters (for example, exercises) and real responses are important activities. However, little attention has been paid to how reports documenting such events should be written. A key issue is how to make them as useful as possible to professionals working in disaster risk management. Here, we focus on three aspects of a written evaluation: how the object of the evaluation is described, how the analysis is described, and how the conclusions are described. This empirical experiment, based on real evaluation documents, asked 84 Dutch mayors and crisis management professionals to evaluate the perceived usefulness of the three aspects noted above. The results showed that how evaluations are written does matter. Specifically, the usefulness of an evaluation intended for learning purposes is improved when its analysis and conclusions are clearer. In contrast, evaluations used for accountability purposes are only improved by the clarity of the conclusion. These findings have implications for the way disaster management evaluations should be documented.
Public Risk Perception Attitude and Information-Seeking Efficacy on Floods: A Formative Study for Disaster Preparation Campaigns and Policies
Do Kyun David Kim, T. Phillip Madison
2020, 11(5): 592-601. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00307-5
Floods are among the most frequent and devastating natural hazards and disasters in many southern states in the United States. This study examined the relationship and reciprocal predictability between two theoretical constructs—risk perception attitude (RPA) and informationseeking efficacy (ISE)—in regard to pluvial floods. In addition, this study extended these theoretical constructs to investigate differences in RPA and ISE among potential audience segments, providing practitioners with applicable insights for designing effective flood prevention and risk management campaigns. Analysis of data from 716 residents in south Louisiana revealed a statistically strong relationship between RPA and ISE. This research also identified specific audience segments that would benefit from an increase in RPA and ISE concerning floods. These meaningful findings inform a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of the relationship between RPA and ISE and guide future disaster preparation campaigns and policies.
An Empirical Exploration of the Capabilities of People with Disabilities in Coping with Disasters
Khanh That Ton, JC Gaillard, Carole Adamson, Caglar Akgungor, Ha Thanh Ho
2020, 11(5): 602-614. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00287-6
While the capability approach is increasingly being adopted for evaluating well-being and social justice in the field of human development, this approach 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. A multi-case study approach was adopted and two rural communes in Vietnam were selected as study contexts. Data were collected using focus group discussions and interviews that involved people with disabilities, parents/caregivers of people with intellectual/psychosocial disabilities, and representatives from related organizations. It was found that people with disabilities are affected by disasters due to the lack of capabilities that they value in coping with disasters. A range of capabilities that people with disabilities value was revealed in the study sites, with many being valued not only in times of disasters but also in daily life. The findings also highlight that, to actualize their valued capabilities, people with disabilities need access not only to resources but also to the factors that enable them to convert the resources to their valued capabilities. In most cases, the limitations to the achievement of capabilities are related to the external environment.
Modified Usability Framework for Disaster Apps: A Qualitative Thematic Analysis of User Reviews
Marion Lara Tan, Raj Prasanna, Kristin Stock, Emma E. H. Doyle, Graham Leonard, David Johnston
2020, 11(5): 615-629. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00282-x
The public has access to a range of mobile applications (apps) for disasters. However, there has been limited academic research conducted on disaster apps and how the public perceives their usability. This study explores end-users’ perceptions of the usability of disaster apps. It proposes a conceptual framework based on insights gathered from thematically analyzing online reviews. The study identifies new usability concerns particular to disaster apps’ use: (1) content relevance depends on the app’s purpose and the proximate significance of the information to the hazard event’s time and location; (2) app dependability affects users’ perceptions of usability due to the lifesafety association of disaster apps; (3) users perceive advertisements to contribute to their cognitive load; (4) users expect apps to work efficiently without unnecessary consumption of critical phone resources; (5) appropriate audio interface can improve usability, as sounds can boost an app’s alerting aspect; and, finally (6) in-app browsing may potentially enhance users’ impression of the structure of a disaster app. As a result, this study argues for focussed research and development on public-facing disaster apps. Future research should consider the conceptual framework and concerns presented in this study when building design guidelines and theories for disaster apps.
The Neglected Role of Risk Mitigation Perception in the Risk Governance of Underground Technologies—The Example of Induced Seismicity
Lisa Haemmerli, Michael Stauffacher
2020, 11(5): 630-639. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00298-3
Subsurface technologies, such as geothermal energy and carbon capture and storage, are options to help limit global warming. Subsurface technologies involve the risk of induced seismicity. The successful implementation of these technologies depends on the public perception of these risks. Risk governance frameworks propose assessing the level of public concern and designing adapted risk mitigation measures. We propose that concerns should not only be investigated with respect to the perceived risks but also with respect to the potential mitigation measures. We explore this by analyzing the perception of risk mitigation measures for different subsurface technologies. With an online survey (N = 808) in Switzerland we analyzed four technologies (in-between subject design) and four mitigation measures (within subject design). We found that risk mitigation measures are perceived differently, within and across technologies. Thus, public concerns about risk mitigation really matter. We suggest that future research should focus on how risk mitigation measures can be applied and communicated to realize the full potential of risk governance frameworks.
Perception of Disasters and Land Reclamation in an Informal Settlement on Reclaimed Land: Case of the BASECO Compound, Manila, the Philippines
Ven Paolo Bruno Valenzuela, Miguel Esteban, Onuki Motoharu
2020, 11(5): 640-654. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00300-y
Southeast Asia’s coastal urban areas continue to grow, with land reclamation fast becoming an important option for megacities to address issues of economic growth and increasing population density. Experts are divided over the advantages and disadvantages of land reclamation, though this process continues unabated, exposing settlements to coastal hazards. The Bataan Shipping and Engineering Company (BASECO) compound is an informal settlement on reclaimed land in Manila, the Philippines. How informal coastal settlements view disaster risk and their more pressing socioeconomic needs is crucial to understanding the potentials and repercussions of land reclamation. Using a topographic survey, a questionnaire survey, and the protective action decision model, this study explored the perception of disasters and land reclamation of informal settlers who are living on reclaimed land. The study found that people are aware of disaster risks, but are more concerned with everyday needs. They are divided on the issue of further land reclamation. Residents on the original non-reclaimed land view it as a coastal defense, while those on reclaimed land fear potential eviction. Despite this, all locations in the community are concerned with the loss of jobs, economic opportunities, and eviction, rather than potential disasters.
Closing the Gaps in Disaster Management and Response: Drawing on Local Experiences with Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe
Nelson Chanza, Pakama Q. Siyongwana, Leizel Williams-Bruinders, Veronica Gundu-Jakarasi, Chipo Mudavanhu, Vusomuzi B. Sithole, Albert Manyani
2020, 11(5): 655-666. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00290-x
Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe exposed deficiencies in the country’s disaster management system. This study uses a phenomenological case exploration of the experiences of local residents in Rusitu Valley following cyclone-induced floods that affected the area in March 2019. Through capturing narratives of participants who were recruited through chain referrals, the research intends to understand how local actors, utilizing their local-based response systems, managed to fill in the voids that characterize disaster management practice in Zimbabwe. Results show that the participation of local "heroes" and "Samaritans", by deploying their social networks, norms, relationships, practices, and modest ingenuity, helped to speed up response times and minimize threats to lives and livelihoods. Documentation of the stories of local actors about their disaster experiences also gives a richer picture of the Cyclone Idai disaster. Although the community response system also facilitated the operation of external disaster management agencies, their premature withdrawal tended to weaken the trust and values existing in the area, and created tensions between the disaster-affected people and other villagers. Given the delays in formal responses by the government and other external relief agencies, the practices of local actors, although spontaneous and largely uncoordinated, offer rich insights into the design and development of disaster management regimes.
A Dynamic Emergency Decision-Making Method Based on Group Decision Making with Uncertainty Information
Jing Zheng, Yingming Wang, Kai Zhang, Juan Liang
2020, 11(5): 667-679. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00308-4
In emergency decision making (EDM), it is necessary to generate an effective alternative quickly. Case-based reasoning (CBR) has been applied to EDM; however, choosing the most suitable case from a set of similar cases after case retrieval remains challenging. This study proposes a dynamic method based on case retrieval and group decision making (GDM), called dynamic casebased reasoning group decision making (CBRGDM), for emergency alternative generation. In the proposed method, first, similar historical cases are identified through case similarity measurement. Then, evaluation information provided by group decision makers for similar cases is aggregated based on regret theory, and comprehensive perceived utilities for the similar cases are obtained. Finally, the most suitable historical case is obtained from the case similarities and the comprehensive perceived utilities for similar historical cases. The method is then applied to an example of a gas explosion in a coal company in China. The results show that the proposed method is feasible and effective in EDM. The advantages of the proposed method are verified based on comparisons with existing methods. In particular, dynamic CBRGDM can adjust the emergency alternative according to changing emergencies. The results of application of dynamic CBRGDM to a gas explosion and comparison with existing methods verify its feasibility and practicability.
New Partnerships for Co-delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Adrian Bucher, Andrew Collins, Ben Heaven Taylor, David Pan, Emma Visman, James Norris, Joel C. Gill, John Rees, Mark Pelling, Marta Tufet Bayona, Sonia Cassidy, Virginia Murray
2020, 11(5): 680-685. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00293-8
Partnerships have become a corner stone of contemporary research that recognizes working across disciplines and co-production with intended users as essential to enabling sustainable resilience-building. Furthermore, research that addresses sustainable development challenges brings an urgent need to reflect on the ways that partnerships are supported, and for the disaster risk management and resilience communities, efforts to support realization of the wider 2030 Agenda for sustainable development bring particular pressures. In November 2019, the UK Disasters Research Group (DRG) brought together a number of key stakeholders focused on disaster risk, resilience, and sustainability research relevant to Official Development Assistance to consider how fit for purpose existing partnership models are for the pace of change required to deliver the priorities of the wider 2030 Agenda. Participants were invited to discuss how research partnerships across three levels (individual and project-based; national and institutional; and international) could be improved based on elements that facilitate robust partnerships and learning from aspects that hinder them. From the discussions, participants emphasized the importance of effective communication mechanisms in building partnerships, co-designing projects, and establishing shared objectives. Enhanced approaches to addressing equitable partnerships and funding more substantive timelines will be key to responding to the challenges of the 2030 Agenda.
Multi-Sectoral Reflections and Efforts in Strengthening Partnerships to Reduce Disaster Risk in Mexico: The First MuSeIDRiM Conference
Irasema Alcántara-Ayala, Daniel Rodríguez-Velázquez, Ricardo J. Garnica-Peña, Alejandra Maldonado-Martínez
2020, 11(5): 686-691. doi: 10.1007/s13753-020-00302-w
Notwithstanding the high societal impact of disasters in Mexico, there is a lack of integrated efforts to establish a sound policy for reducing disaster risk to counterbalance the existing concentrated endeavors in disaster management. In the face of such segmentation, the science and technology community has advocated for a change of perspective, from civil protection to integrated disaster risk management. The first Multi-Sectoral Conference towards Integrated Disaster Risk Management in Mexico: Building a National Public Policy (MuSe-IDRiM Conference) was held in Mexico City at National Autonomous University of Mexico, 21-24 October 2019. In support of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the conference aimed at enhancing the dialogue between the science and technology community, citizens, civil society organizations, private and public sectors, and the federal, state, and municipal governments to foster the process of transforming the current National Civil Protection System into a national public policy oriented towards integrated disaster risk management (DRM). Barriers and challenges to the implementation of integrated DRM were identified. Implementation of integrated DRM challenges current socioeconomic structures and encourages all relevant stakeholders to think, decide, and act from a different perspective and within and across spatial, temporal, jurisdictional, and institutional scales. Understanding disaster risk from an integrated approach, learning skills that authorities have not learned or used, and hence, strengthening disaster risk governance are prerequisites to effectively manage disaster risk.