RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016


213 Methods for assessing resilience and vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters (2)
Affiliation Geographical Information Science Research Group
Convenor(s) Yi Gong (Cardiff University, UK)
Alan Smith (University of Southampton, UK)
Chair(s) Yi Gong (Cardiff University, UK)
Timetable Thursday 01 September 2016, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Session abstract Population exposure to natural hazards and disasters (e.g. earthquake, drought, flooding, hurricane, etc.) remains one of the ultimate constraints on human activity. Especially, the poorest and most vulnerable is disproportionately affected by these events. Meanwhile population growth and climate change are projected to intensify the impact of future natural hazards and disasters. The development and application of geospatial methods have significantly contributed to the assessment of vulnerability and resilience from natural hazards. This session will welcome papers and discussions on the challenges, lessons learned, examples and future of methods for application to disaster risk management and resilience. Papers are particularly welcome on, but not limited to, one or more of the following themes: Extreme events (e.g. earthquake, tsunamis, flooding, etc.) / chronic events (sea level rise, costal erosion, etc.); GIS/GISci; Disaster risk reduction; Applied quantitative analyses or modelling; Spatiotemporal population estimates; Network analysis and spatial modelling
Linked Sessions Methods for assessing resilience and vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters (1)
Methods for assessing resilience and vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters (3)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2016@rgs.org
Challenging RISK: GIS apps to improve disaster preparedness and community resilience
Gretchen Fagg (University College London, UK)
Britta Ricker (University of Washington Tacoma, USA)
Patrick Rickles (University College London, UK)
Web and mobile deployments of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), as well as major improvements in usability, have widened the possible user base of this technology making it an appropriate tool for disaster preparedness communication. Today's geospatial professionals are not only expected to know map making and information management, but they must also understand programming languages, user-centred system design, and have expertise in a complementary field to the work being undertaken. Therefore, as technology adapts to changes, it is also important that the professional do so as well to remain relevant and able to address emerging needs. Challenging RISK is a multidisciplinary project that employs analytical methods from many fields of study, to understand ways of positively impacting people's preparedness for disasters and community resilience. Analyses using GIS are one part of the work, and solutions have been created and implemented with that in mind. Researchers needed to be familiar with not only GIS, but also with disaster management, psychology of behaviour change, participatory design and software engineering and development. This interdisciplinarity is becoming standard and, in the context of this project, has required collaborators to quickly learn and apply skills in new and changing environments. Web and mobile GIS solutions, with multivariate research aims to improve disaster preparedness and community resilience, have been developed and deployed in Seattle and Tacoma. This presentation will share the details of that work, and how geospatial technologies can continue to play an increasingly integral role in cross-disciplinary and cross-community understandings.
Exploring the potential of georeferencing natural disasters' footprints in the assessment of vulnerability: the EM-DAT experience
Alizee Vanderveken (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium)
Debby Sapir (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium)
Measuring disasters' impact is as important as it is challenging and requires innovative thinking. The Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) contains global data on the occurrence and consequences of natural and technological disasters that have taken place since 1900. In 2014, EM-DAT launched an effort to enhance its contents by geocoding natural disasters of 2000 onwards, developing the potential for spatial data to support epidemiological analyses. While the georeferencing is still ongoing, the challenge was finding methods and data protocols suitable for systematic global datasets. The first step is to transform the location data, currently present in EM-DAT for each disaster, from text to geocoded data. For each affected administrative unit (province or district), the corresponding geocode is extracted from the GAUL - Global Administrative Unit Layers (FAO), through ArcGIS, and added to the database. The second step is the creation of related shapefiles for each disaster, highlighting their geographic footprint. The application and benefits of georeferencing are manifold. It allows the study of the extent of a disaster in relation to its human and economic impacts; the exposure and vulnerability of the population in space and time, and the efficiency of mitigation measures. In addition, any association between events and external factors can be identified (e.g.: is the famine located at the same place as drought?). It also permits the interoperability of EM-DAT data with other standardized or geo-localized datasets (such as land use data or digital elevation model). Those are useful practical outputs that can help target DRR and DRM programmes. Such maps provide strong communication support and are easily understandable by the wider public and policy makers. Keywords: georeferencing, natural disasters, vulnerability, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), EM-DAT.
How do we assess vulnerability to climate change in India? A systematic review of literature
Chandni Singh (Indian Institute for Human Settlements, India)
Tanvi Deshpande (Indian Institute for Human Settlements, India)
Ritwika Basu (Indian Institute for Human Settlements, India)
In countries like India where multiple risks interact with socioeconomic differences to create and sustain vulnerability, assessing the vulnerability of people, places, and systems to climate change is a critical tool to prioritise adaptation. In India, several vulnerability assessment tools have been designed spanning multiple disciplines, by multiple actors, and at multiple scales. However, their conceptual, methodological, and disciplinary underpinnings, and resulting implications on who is identified as vulnerable, have not been interrogated. Addressing this gap, we systematically review peer-reviewed publications (n=78) and grey literature (n=42) to characterise how vulnerability to climate change is assessed in India. We frame our inquiry against four questions: (1) how is vulnerability conceptualised, (2) who assesses vulnerability, (3) what are the methods and scale at which vulnerability is assessed, and (4) what are the implications of methodology on outcomes of the assessment. Our findings emphasise that methods to assess vulnerability to climate change are embedded in the disciplinary traditions, methodological approaches, and often-unstated motivations of those designing the assessment. Further, while most assessments acknowledge the importance of scalar and temporal aspects of vulnerability, we find few examples of it being integrated in methodology. Such methodological myopia potentially overlooks how social differentiation, ecological shifts, and institutional dynamics construct and perpetuate vulnerability. Finally, we synthesise the strengths and weaknesses of current vulnerability assessment methods in India and identify a predominance of research in rural landscapes with a relatively lower coverage in urban and peri-urban settlements, which are key interfaces of transitions.
Accumulation of Risk in Urban India: Cities provide transformational opportunity for risk reduction
Garima Jain (Indian Institute for Human Settlements, India)
Teja Malladi (Indian Institute for Human Settlements, India)
76% of the Indian population is exposed to high or medium hazard risk, of which nearly 30% live in 0.1 million plus cities. While cities are collectors of risk, they also provide an immense opportunity to reduce this risk as the number of cities is small (0.008 million). More risk can be mitigated by directing relevant research and resources to the most vulnerable urban centres. This paper builds on the fundamental risk equations (Peduzzi, Dao, Herold, & Mouton, 2009; Wisner, Blaikie, Cannon, & Davis, 2003) with an additional attribution to capabilities inherent to cities and their institutions. It uses data for ten hazards, thirteen indicators of vulnerabilities, four for exposure and twelve for capacities to cope. It uses disaggregated micro-level geographical data collected by various agencies (ISRO-Bhuvan, Census, DesInventar, etc.) to understand geographical concentration of risk in India. This paper systematically arrives at a priority set of locations, using hazard sensitive and vulnerability sensitive equations, where prioritising the inclusion and monitoring of the Sendai Framework is pertinent. It identifies the aspects that are increasing the cities' propensity to risk—hazard exposure, higher vulnerabilities or lower capacities— where risk can be addressed by either providing better early warning systems and planning, vulnerability reduction, exposure management or by building capacities. This paper is an attempt to analyse the current status of risk in India – how is risk defined, where is it concentrated and what are the current institutional and policy gaps – which if addressed holistically, can build a more resilient society.