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Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
MON4.7: Integrative risk management approaches
Time: Monday, 27/Aug/2012: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Session Chair: Carmelo DIMAURO, RGS Srl - Risk Governance Solutions
Location: Sanada 1



A regional multi-risk assessment approach to support the definition public mitigation strategies


1RGS Srl - Risk Governance Solutions, Italy, Republic of; 2NIER Ingegneria, Italy; 3Ecometrics Srl, Italy; 4Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche e Geotecnologie, Universit`a degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Milano, Italy

In order to define mitigation strategies, the regional public administrations in charge of prevention policies have to manage large territories characterized by multiple types of risks, i.e. natural and technological risks. They need to identify scientifically sound solutions, based on a compromise between the conflicting objectives of the relevant stakeholders. Natural and technological risks are characterized by different phenomenology, frequency of occurrence, magnitude of impact. They also present different level of acceptability and perception among stakeholders. Therefore, multi-risk assessment is an innovative approach for identifying the most critical areas of a region and can support public authorities in defining and prioritising mitigation and emergency management strategies.

Multi-risk approach poses many challenges because it requires combining a large amount of information about the hazards, the exposed targets and the related vulnerability values. The systematic and coherent interpretation of such information by the decision-makers is not simple, in particular when this information supports a decision-making process involving many stakeholders. Hence, it is particularly interesting and effective to have a tool that facilitates the integration of the information and the communication to and among stakeholders. Decision-making in this field is an iterative cognitive process and, for this reason, decision support applications must be built in a manner that permits changes to occur easily and quickly, without losing in accuracy of reference information. This improves the efficiency of the negotiation process allowing stakeholders to screen and to focus on the relevant dimension of the problem of concern.

The conference contribution will report the results of a public programme aiming at defining multi-risk mitigation plans in Italy and will illustrate the main functionality of the related GIS-based decision support system for defining mitigation strategies. In particular, the focus will be laid on how such an approach meets the requirements of the risk management decision process.

A reasonable success story of vertical evacuation against tropical cyclones in India


1York University, Canada; 2University of Ottawa, Canada

There are two types of evacuations against coastal natural disasters that are practiced globally. First is the horizontal evacuation, in practice in developed countries, where people move away from the coastline in their automobiles. This type of evacuation is impractical, if not impossible in developing nations, where the required infrastructure is still in the developmental stages. In India, the traffic on the crowded streets and bazaars is terribly chaotic at the best of times. During a major natural disaster, it will be impossible to evacuate thousands of people, if not millions and move them safely away from the coast in a short time. Starting in the 1960s, various levels of government in India have developed evacuation schemes that are particularly relevant to local situations. This type of vertical evacuation is generally suitable, with some modifications to other developing countries as well. At present, thousands of cyclone shelters dot the Indian coastlines. During a major natural disaster, people have to walk about a kilometer or so to reach the nearest shelter. These shelters are well designed and well built structure, that can withstand the harshest forces offered by tropical cyclones. These cyclone shelters also serve as shelters against other hazards such as, tsunamis and river floods etc. They also serve as community gathering places, specialized schools, and libraries etc. Whereas in olden days, tens of thousands of people used to get killed in India by tropical cyclones, at present, the loss of life is considerably less, due in part to vertical evacuation procedures. Other contributing factors for the success in reducing the loss of life considerably are better and timely predictions by the India Meteorological Department, as well as public education and increased awareness due to the efforts of various levels of government, NGOs, as well as a number of charitable organizations.

Integrated assessment of high mountain hazards and related prevention strategies in the Peruvian Cordilleras


1Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland; 2CARE, Huaraz, Peru; 3Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos, Huaraz, Peru; 4Meteodat GmbH, Zurich, Switzerland; 5Laboratoire de constructions hydrauliques, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

The ice-clad Peruvian Cordilleras are often and seriously affected by high mountain hazards such as ice and rock avalanches, glacier lake outbursts, floods and debris flows. In the past, thousands of people have been killed in such disasters. More recently in 2010, massive floods in the Cusco region and an outburst flood of glacier lake 513 triggered by the impact of a rock/ice avalanche in the Cordillera Blanca draw the attention of the public, policy and science. In the face of climate change there is strong concern that warming has a destabilizing effect on perennially frozen bedrock and on steep glaciers in high-mountain flanks, with potentially severe consequences when avalanches impact existing and new glacier lakes and far-reaching floods form. Related risks are changing and need to be managed integratively. The 2010 event at the Laguna 513 where structural measures were undertaken in the 1990s is an example of successful hazard prevention but the risk reduction was not to zero, and complementary measures are necessary. As a follow up of the Laguna 513 event and corresponding assessments by international experts, an integrative project was initiated, which combines three components to sustainably enhance climate change adaptation and reduce high-mountain risks in the Peruvian Cordilleras. (1) Monitoring and early warning systems for lake outburst floods and rain-triggered mass movements are implemented at two sites, integrating technical, social and institutional components. (2) Scientific and technical capacities are significantly strengthened by postgraduate courses and collaborative research projects with a consortium of Peruvian and Swiss universities in the field of glacier, permafrost and water resources in the context of climate change adaptation and risk reduction. (3) Finally, glaciology and high mountain research, and related adaptation and risk management are strengthened at the institutional level within Peru.

A framework for sustainable natural hazard management

Beatrice HEDELIN

Karlstad university, Sweden, Kingdom of

In order to manage natural hazards in a more sustainable and integrated manner, new planning and decision-making procedures for natural hazard prevention need to be developed. In this presentation a set of useable normative criteria for the analysis and evaluation of such procedures are described. The criteria were designed as a response to the lack of deductive approaches in the evaluation of methodologies and working procedures used in the context of natural hazards, making it possible to highlight their potential for sustainable development. The criteria are based on the twin concepts of participation and integration. These concepts function as well-established dimensions of both sustainable development and sustainable natural hazard management, and they are of significant methodological relevance. The criteria were derived through a broad literature review and synthesis, complemented by interviews with key researchers. They have been applied and tested within the area of regional river basin management, where they have shown to have great practical potential. The criteria are concerned with integration of knowledge and values into the planning process, with the generation of commitment, legitimacy or acceptance for the resulting plan, and with organizational aspects.

Centre for Natural Disaster Science (CNDS) – a strategic Swedish initiative for disaster risk reduction

Sven HALLDIN1,2, Fredrik BYNANDER1,3

1Centre for Natural Disaster Science, Sweden, Kingdom of; 2Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden; 3Swedish National Defence College

Infrastructures of advanced societies become more complex and the costs of natural disasters grow. The complex interrelationships constituting a natural disaster can effectively be studied only by integrating the scientific understanding of nature, the functional foundations of society and the technology that connects the two. The Centre for Natural Disaster Science (CNDS) is a Swedish Government strategic research initiative set out to accomplish exactly this. CNDS recognises the most significant research gaps to be interdisciplinary cohesion and that decisions are taken that don’t reflect scientific knowledge. These problems are approached by bringing carefully recruited young scientist together in the beginning of their careers with clear objectives of creating problem-focused interdisciplinary research projects. The core of the programme is a tandem of cooperating research schools catering to a Swedish and a Central American group of PhD students. It recognises a collective responsibility to devise and develop research problems on (1) design and effective use of early-warning systems, (2) design of systems for decision support, effective collaboration and crisis communication, and (3) integration of data, information and expert knowledge in processes of evaluation and change. CNDS aims at increasing the understanding of the inter-woven societal, scientific and technical processes involved in natural disasters. This knowledge will allow risk reduction through improvement of society’s capacity to prevent, manage and recover from disasters. The research will be carried out in an international context while collaborating with Swedish industry and authorities. It aims at developing communication tools for warning, decision, and other support systems in natural-disaster management as well as developing infrastructure that is robust in case of natural disasters, e.g., autonomous, secure, and robust energy generation, as well as information and communication technology.

FORIN or Farout ? Exploring multiple drivers of disaster risks in Africa

Djillali BENOUAR1, Jane ROVINS2

1USTHB, Built Environment Research Laboratory (LBE), Alger, Algeria,; 2Executive Director, Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) IPO, Beijing, China

Disasters are increasingly being understood as ‘processes’ and not discreet ‘events’. Moreover, the causes of disasters are driven by complex engineering, socio-economic, socio-cultural, and various geophysical factors. Such interacting driving factors, occurring across a range of temporal and spatial scales, combine in numerous ways to configure disaster risks. Using some selected disasters in Africa, the dynamics of such risks and their configurations will be explored using a new approach and methodology, namely Forensic Disaster Investigations (also called FORIN studies). Forensic task is perhaps similar to solving a picture of a disaster puzzle. Initially, there are dozens or even hundreds of apparently disorganized pieces piled when examined individually, each piece may not provide much information. Methodically, the various pieces are sorted and patiently fitted together in a logical context taking into account all the parameters. Slowly, an overall picture of the disaster emerges. When a significant portion of the disaster puzzle has been solved, it then becomes easier to see where the remaining pieces fit. FORIN relies upon the actual evidence found and applies accepted scientific methodologies and principles to interpret the disaster in all its facets. Often, the analysis requires the simultaneous application of several scientific disciplines. The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk programme is proposing new methodologies to examine the root issues surrounding the increase in disaster cost both human and economic. This paper attempts, as a case study, to investigate the Algiers (Algeria) floods and debris flows of 10 November 2001 which caused the loss of more than 714 human lives, injured more than 312, made missing 116 and about 10 000 were homeless, damaging more than 1500 housing units and scores of schools, bridges and public works.

What role for soldiers?


Marshall Center, Germany, Federal Republic of

In an era of declining budgets, governments are increasingly relying on the armed forces to provide disaster relief and humanitarian aid, both domestically and internationally, in addition to other domestic contingencies. Yet defense budgets in most countries are also declining. This presentation will examine the role for military forces in managing these crises and their consequences. It will identify what soldiers can, must, should and should not do in support of civil authorities. It will lay out the appropriate criteria for defense support to civil authority, provide and elaborate on five categories of mission for the armed forces and make recommendations on how the military should be employed and what kinds of military forces are appropriate and capable for these kinds of missions. The intent is to provide civil authorities and the disaster management community with information that will aid their decison making on the role of the military in disaster management.

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