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Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session
TUE1.4: Early warning in disaster risk reduction
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 8:30am - 10:00am
Session Chair: Peijun SHI, Beijing Normal University
Session Chair: Marc STAL, Global Risk Forum GRF Davos
Location: Seehorn

Session


Presentations

Community early warning systems: back to basics

Natasha Marie UDU-GAMA1, Frank THOMALLA2, Michelle CARNEGIE2

1Macquarie University, Australia; 2Macquarie University, Australia

In recent years, there has been greater recognition for development of people-centred early warning systems (EWCIII 2006). There is a need to emphasize the importance of community ownership and participation in order to ensure EWS address community priorities, build on existing traditional knowledge and practice and are sustainable in the long-term. To date, EWS show great strides in a number of key areas such as communications technology, equipment and financial resources. Yet, despite focus upon community participation in EWS, few have genuinely managed to seamlessly incorporate community knowledge and skills on hazards with technology, sustainable financial and human resources. This paper will give evidence about critical elements of community-owned and driven, effective and sustainable EWS through insights from various cases within the Asia-Pacific region. It will review the discourse on community EWS and its evolution as disasters have increased in magnitude, frequency and severity globally. This paper will provide guiding principles for community EWS that address risks and community priorities.


Disaster management information network - a community-based multi-hazard early warning information communication process

Md. Abu SYED1, A.K.M. Atiqur RAHMAN2, Golam MAAINUDDIN3, Atiq K. AHMED4

1Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Bangladesh; 2Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Bangladesh; 3Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Bangladesh; 4Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), Bangkok, Thailand

This study aimed to assess early warning (EW) information flow between warning sources, through intermediate to community and households; and design and test appropriate disaster management information network (DMIN)(s) for operational use. The research has focused on developing methodology and modalities that would be replicable, sustainable in future and in other geographical locations. Blending household surveys and stakeholder interactions, an empirical field assessment called “Community Level Information Flow Mapping Assessment (CLIFMA)” was carried out throughout the country covering five major natural disasters viz. cyclone, riverine flood, flash flood, river bank erosion and landslide. Existing practices of community based EW, perceptions and preferences on EW issues were investigated. On the basis of the reviews and CLIFMA findings two sets of designs were proposed: one for rapid onset hazards and the other one for slow and seasonal slow onset ones. DMIN designs were then taken to the field pilot testing and demonstrative “simulations/mock-drill” to validate the proposed design. Piloting has resulted in identifying systematic designs for bringing the community level EW information down to household level. It recommended a network for the rapid onset, seasonal and slow onset hazards respectively and particularly a “parallel information sharing” to the community level was identified as a crucial system for effective dissemination, preparedness and immediate actions. This parallel system of EW resulted bringing in along a system for rapid notification of the communities and households during the pre-disaster situation and would be useful for saving lives, livelihoods and assets for the community as well as households. Another key finding, the geographically-location specific and timelier dissemination of EW at ground level introduced “local referencing systems” (riverine flood) and this allowed the remote and differentially located geographical areas to identify EW information, disseminate and maintain the local referencing system for their own areas and localities.


Analysis of evacuation system and resident's cognition on coastal disaster prevention

Sung Jin HONG, Hyung Seong PARK, Dong Seag KIM

National Disaster Management Institute, Korea, Republic of

The objective of this study is to investigate coastal disaster prevention system according to development of evacuation model considering resident's cognition in coastal inundation area. The system is possible to support administrative decision by effective selection of shelter and routes by using evacuation model.

Coastal disasters have become one of the most important issues in every coastal country. In Korea, coastal related disasters such as storm surge, sea level rise and tsunami have placed many coastal regions in danger of being exposed or damaged during subsequent storms and gradual shoreline retreat. However, it is very difficult to predict storm surge height, tsunami height and inundation due to irregularity of the course and intensity of a typhoon, tsunami and so on. Therefore, it is necessary that adequate evacuation system is prepared in accordance with formalities.

A well-designed system for evacuations warning issues is essentially necessary to reduce human loss and damages. The contents of the present study are following: (i) Questionnaire is designed to be distributed at the time of evacuation drill, which provided us information to determine route selection, parameters and initial conditions of the evacuations. (ii) Numerical experiments using the potential model are applied to analyzing the evacuation situation in the study area.

The results showed that strengthening the disaster information delivery system including quick and exact transmissions of disaster monitoring and adequate evacuation method is important to reduce casualties by coastal inundation.

Detail results are following: (i) shelter building is necessary to be install in predicted coastal disaster area; (ii) easy accessibility is more important than the shortest route to shelter; (iii) active promotion and education plan are necessary to improve cognition about inundation through a survey; and (iv) provide a direction to improve the 'Guidelines on the designation of shelter and evacuation route for hazard mapping '.


Early warning and the human factor - people-centered warning systems and awareness are key

Christian H. BARTHELT, Thomas R. LOSTER

Munich Re Foundation, Germany, Federal Republic of

Recent decades have seen a significant increase in the number of natural catastrophes with devastating consequences. Warning systems have always played a key role in preventing or minimising losses. Since the tsunami of December 2004, which caused over 220,000 deaths in Asia and Africa, effective early warning has become an increasingly important factor in disaster prevention. The USA has excellent early-warning systems, however, in 2005 Hurricane Katrina claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people in one of the richest countries in the world. When Hurricane Irene threatened the US East-Coast in 2011, the authorities reacted immediately. No lives were claimed but losses occurred. Japan has excellent systems, too. Despite this fact, the complex catastrophic event in Fukushima overcharged the existing disaster risk management. The correct estimation of risk-magnitude and preparedness for very complex risk accumulations are important. In 2009 a tsunami claimed over 170 lives in Samoa and American Samoa. The Kingdom of Tonga also was affected, despite a computer-based early warning system being in place. The system was technically working, however, the triggering quake occurred before staff had arrived at the radio and television stations and other public facilities that normally issue alerts. People-centered systems shaped according to the needs and capabilities of people at risk are key for improving integrated risk management. This can be seen along rivers in central Mozambique, where SIDPABB, a simple but effective warning system is in place. The system worked successfully several times (2007, 2008 and 2010) during severe floods.


Early warning of glacial lake outburst floods and climate change monitoring in the Karakoram mountains, P.R. China

Christoph HAEMMIG1, Hansrudolf KEUSEN1, Josef HESS2

1Geotest AG, Switzerland; 2Federal Office for the Environment, Executive Director LAINAT, Switzerland

In the last decade, 5 glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) damaged infrastructure and claimed human lives along Yarkant River, Xinjiang, P.R. China. The spontaneous floods are a threat for over 1 Mio inhabitants in the floodplains of Yarkant River and are causing an annual monetary loss of approx. 10 Mio Euro. Yarkant River drains the Karakoram Mountains with a catchment area of 50’248 km2 and ranks as number one in terms of flood frequency and damages in Xinjiang. The glacial outburst floods with peak discharges of up to 6’000 m3/s originate from a remote ice-dammed glacier lake at 4’750 m a.s.l. in the Shaksgam Valley, approx. 560 km upstream of the floodplains. There, the Kyagar Glacier snout blocks the riverbed. Hence, a lake with a volume over 200 Mio m3 has built-up in the past. Based on a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Water Resources of P.R. China (MWRC) and the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), it was decided to initiate a Sino-Swiss project to improve risk assessment and mitigation with respect to climate change, combining various technologies and know-how. The project is supported by a cooperation between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). Actions are structured into three phases: 1) establishment of an early warning system (EWS) for GLOFs; 2) risk management for the potential flood areas; 3) climate change monitoring. The automatic gauge and warning station is operational since autumn 2011. Both water level fluctuations and EWS functionality are continuously monitored. Because the volume of Kyagar glacier lake strongly depends on the thickness of its blocking ice-dam, mass-balance calculations are crucial. Such calculations and climate change monitoring are needed to define future hazard scenarios and to plan protection measures.


Hybrid socio-technical approach for effective risk communication, risk management and early warning system

Dwikorita KARNAWATI

GADJAH MADA UNIVERSITY, Indonesia, Republic of

More than 50 % of the Indonesian region are situated in the high-risk zone for multi-natural disasters, due to the natural conditions and the uncontrolled land use change in the region. Unfortunately, the relocation of local communities to safer area has not yet been successfully conducted due to socio-cultural and socio-economic constraints. Therefore, the establishment of an appropriate early warning system, such as for landslide, floods, debris flows, volcanic eruptions and tsunami is urgently required. Nevertheless, because of the socio-cultural and economic reasons the early warning system has not yet always been effectively implemented. Therefore, the importance of integrating the hybrid social and technical approach is promoted to provide an effective risk communication and early warning system at the local level (i.e. at the village level) in Indonesia. The social approach was developed by addressing the local socio-cultural-economical conditions as well as by strengthening the capacity of the local government and the local community. The technical approach was established by encouraging the participation of local task force for disaster risk reduction to develop a community-based hazard and risk maps as well as the local early warning system.

The role of local universities was very important to provide the research-based capacity development program, which is strategic for encouraging the partnership of local communities with local governments and local stakeholders in developing local action plans in disaster risk reduction. Accordingly, the cyber and community-based technology was established for facilitating effective risk monitoring, communication and an early warning system. It was also obvious that the local task force at village level played an important role as driving power in implementing the disaster risk reduction program, especially to guarantee the effectiveness of the risk monitoring, risk communication and early warning system.


The benefits of alerting system based on standardised libraries

Cristina PARRAGA NIEBLA1, Javier MULERO CHAVES1, Miguel MENDES2

1German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Germany, Federal Republic of; 2Tecnosylva

In the context of early warning systems, this presentation will discuss an approach to compose alert messages based on alerting libraries, their potential impact in the alert effectiveness and technological implications. The understanding of the alert content and trust by the recipients can be influenced by the alert message composition. It has been identified that recipients are more likely to trust the alert and implement protective actions when the alert message includes information about hazard, location, time, magnitude, guidance on protective actions and issuing source. However, the level of understanding of an alerting message can be jeopardised by the style if ambiguous or complex words are used, the message is inconsistent or jargon is used and if the recipient does speak the used language. Along with this, the creation of alerting libraries that can be used to compose alert messages in a modular manner using standardised terminology appears very suitable. Standardised libraries allow easy (even automatic) translation to any language and avoid human errors (e.g. typos) that may lead to inconsistencies or ambiguities. It also allows very efficient transmission of alert messages over communication technologies, making it very cost-effective and making the transmission time almost negligible with suitable communications protocols, even in very limited systems that are currently taken into account for alerting purposes, such as navigation devices (GPS, GNSS). The presentation provides the results and conclusions of a workshop (13-14 March 2012) with field practitioners of several European countries where they are confronted with two different alerting systems in a created disaster scenario; one alerting system is based on free writing of alert messages and the other is based on created libraries. It is expected that the workshop results will provide the tools to design a trade-off solution, exploiting the strengths of each approach that will be presented.



 
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