Introduction: Earthquake is the most important cause of death from natural disasters in Iran. This paper brings attention to the main causes of loss of life due to the Kermanshah province earthquake (Nov 12 2017), and provides a wakeup call about the unsafe nature of buildings there. Methods: This study is based on official reports review and a field assessment in the areas affected by the earthquake in western Iran. Results: Although buildings in this area are mainly old structures, strangely, more than 70% of the destroyed buildings in this earthquake were under 5 years of age, newly built or renovated buildings according to mandated building codes. Discussion: Mandated building codes and construction rules and regulations are not respected even for the newly constructed or reconstructed structures buildings. Keywords: Earthquake, Iran, construct, reconstruct, Building codes
Introduction: Despite the large number of hazards occurring every year, it is often only the most catastrophic and rapidly occurring hazards that are covered in detail by major news outlets. This can result in an under-reporting of smaller or slowly evolving hazards such as drought. Furthermore, the type or country in which the hazard occurs may have a bearing on whether it receives media coverage. The Public Health England (PHE) global weekly hazards bulletin is designed to inform subscribers of hazards occurring in the world in a given week regardless of location or type of natural hazard. This paper will aim to examine whether the bulletin is reporting these events in a way that matches a number of international disaster databases. It will also seek to answer if biases within media outlets reporting of an event is impacting on the types of hazards and events being covered. Through the analysis of data collected, it is hoped to be able to consider the ethical implications of such a bulletin service and provide recommendations on how the service might be improved in the future.
Methods: The study used a year’s worth of global hazards bulletins sent by Public Health England. These bulletins aim to communicate hazards in the form of compiled articles from news outlets around the world. Data from these bulletins was collected and analysed by hazard type and the country in which hazards occurred. It was then compared to recognised hazard databases to assess similarities and differences in the hazards being reported via media or through dedicated hazard databases. The recognised hazard databases were those run by the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) respectively.
Results: The PHE bulletin overall was found to be comparable to other global hazard or disaster databases in terms of hazards included by both country and type of hazard. The PHE bulletin covered a greater number of unique hazard events than the other databases and also covered more types of hazard. It also gave more frequent coverage to the United Kingdom and Canada than the other databases, with other countries appearing less frequently. More generally, the PHE bulletin and the databases it was compared to appear to focus more on hazards either occurring in developed countries or fast-onset ones such as landslides or floods. On the other hand, slow-onset hazards such as drought or those occurring in developing countries appear to be under-reported and are given less importance in both the bulletin and databases.
Discussion and recommendations” We recommend that the resources compared review their inclusion criteria and assess whether the discrepancies in hazard type and country can be ratified through changes in how hazards are assessed for inclusion. More research should be undertaken to assess whether similar findings arise when comparing databases in other areas within the remit of public health.
Introduction: To report on activities aligned with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, national governments will use the Sendai Monitor platform to track progress using a series of indicators that inform seven Global Targets originally agreed in 2015. In February 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted a set of 38 agreed indicators based on work led by an open-ended intergovernmental expert working group (OIEWG) on indicators and terminology relating to disaster risk reduction. In January 2018 the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction released technical guidance documents in advance of the launch of the Sendai Monitor in March 2018. Methods: This paper discusses several challenges to recording and reporting on loss data under the Sendai Framework. Additional insights to elaborate on discussion build upon commentary and examples raised during a workshop held on developing loss data that was hosted by the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme, and Public Health England (PHE) from February 15-17 2017 at the Royal Society in London, United Kingdom. The meeting’s purpose was to refine technical guidance notes concerning Global Targets A, B, C, and D, which had been drafted in coordination with the work of the OIEWG. The workshop was attended by representatives from UN Agencies, UN Member States, international scientific bodies, academic bodies, the government of the United Kingdom and the private sector. Results: Global Targets A, B, C and D of the Sendai Framework have common and specific complexities which require acknowledgement and support in recording, reporting and using disaster loss data. Discussions during the February 2017 loss data workshop highlighted a number of complexities and the need for common standards and principles for loss data. Individual target complexities include attribution of health impacts, assessing impacts, consistently calculating economic losses and measuring disruption to critical infrastructure. Discussion: Transparent monitoring is critical to ensure political will, financial efforts and effective evidence support the global shift towards more sustainable development. Data involves common challenges which can undermine accuracy and understanding of reporting across the frameworks that outline the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda. Disaster loss data adds further challenges which require support and innovation to ensure stakeholders across sectors in all sectors have appropriate technical guidance that can support useful loss data management processes. The February 2017 workshop highlighted systemic challenges with working with loss data and highlighted several pertinent pathways to progress on the breadth and reliability of disaster loss data across different settings.
Abstract Background: Animal ownership has been identified as a risk factor for human survivability of natural disasters. Animal guardians have been reported to react or act in ways that may put their own safety and that of emergency services personnel at risk when faced with a natural disaster. Recent research has suggested that this risk factor could be reconfigured as a protective factor, whereby desires to save animals from natural disaster harm could motivate increased planning and preparedness behaviours amongst animal guardians. However, there has been no research to determine if bushfire planning and response behaviours differ between pet owners with low and high attachment; and how the relationship may differ in relation to small or large animals. Methods and procedure: We investigated the relationship between people’s emotional attachment to different types of pets and their preparation and actions during the Pinery bushfire in South Australia in November 2015. Thirty-four people who were impacted by the fire participated in an online survey. Data were collected about their preparedness, planning and response behaviours as well as their animal attachment (high or low). Results: We identified 10 characteristics (behaviours, attributes, skills and beliefs) associated with high animal attachment scores, and eight associated with low animal attachment scores. Discussion: Our discussion of the differences in demographics, preparedness, planning and response characteristics of participants with high and low animal attachment confirms research suggesting that animal guardians take risks to save their animals during disasters. Our findings also support recent propositions that animal attachment and ownership could be used to increase the natural disaster preparedness and survivability of animal guardians. However, making sure that animal attachment functions as a protective factor requires active and effective intervention through education, behaviour change and social marketing strategies. Whilst our study is high in ecological validity, future research with larger samples sizes is required to determine the generalisability of our findings to animal owners and guardians in other locations, facing fires with other characteristics, especially for owners and guardians with low levels of attachment.
Introduction: Despite existing policy actions on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), many community members in Bududa still continue to settle in high-risk areas re-zoned for nonsettlement. There seems to be an apparent information asymmetry on expectations between the community and Government. The challenge then is ‘how to consult communities and seek their opinion in an adequately representative unbiased way’. This paper sets out to explore policy options on resettlement management as a DRR approach and how engaging with communities in a public discourse using the Deliberative Polling (DP) approach; to obtain their opinions and insights on these policy issues, revealed underlying challenges to policy implementation.
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in Bududa in eastern Uganda with fourteen group discussions; comprising 12-15 randomly assigned participants of mixed socio-economic variables. Trained research assistants and moderators collected data. All discussions were audio taped, transcribed verbatim before analysis. Data were analyzed using latent content analysis by identifying codes from which sub-themes were generated and grouped into main themes on policy options for resettlement management.
Results and Discussion: We used Deliberative Polling, an innovative approach to public policy consultation and found that although the community is in agreement with most government policy options under resettlement management, they lacked an understanding of the rationale underlying these policy options leading to challenges in implementation. The community members seemed uncertain and had mistrust in government’s ability to implement the policies especially on issues of compensation for land lost.
Key Words: Policy, Deliberative Polling, Climate change, risk-reduction, landslides, Uganda
Emergency medical teams provide urgent medical and surgical care in emergencies characterized by a surge in trauma or disease. Rehabilitation has historically not been included in the acute phase of care, as teams have either not perceived it as their responsibility or have relied on external providers, including local services and international organizations, to provide services. Low- and middle-income countries, which often have limited rehabilitation capacity within their health system, are particularly vulnerable to disaster and are usually ill-equipped to address the increased burden of rehabilitation needs that arise. The resulting unmet needs for rehabilitation culminate in unnecessary complications for patients, delayed recovery, reduced functional outcomes, and often impede return to daily activities and life roles. Recognizing the systemic neglect of rehabilitation in global emergency medical response, the World Health Organization, in collaboration with key operational partners and experts, developed technical standards and recommendations for rehabilitation which are integrated into the WHO verification process for EMTs. This protocol report presents: 1) the rationale for the development of the standards and accompanying recommendations; 2) the methodology of the development process; 3) the minimum standards and other significant content included in the document; 4) challenges encountered during development and implementation; and 5) current and next steps to continue strengthening the inclusion of rehabilitation in emergency medical response.
Introduction: An all-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction emphasizes inclusion and engagement in preparedness activities. A common recommendation is to promote household preparedness through the preparation of a ‘grab bag’ or ‘disaster kit’, that can be used to shelter-in-place or evacuate. However, there are knowledge gaps related to how this strategy is being used around the world as a disaster risk reduction strategy, and what evidence there is to support recommendations.
Methods: In this paper, we present an exploratory study undertaken to provide insight into how grab bag guidelines are used to promote preparedness in Canada, China, England, Japan, and Scotland, and supplemented by a literature review to understand existing evidence for this strategy.
Results: There are gaps in the literature regarding evidence on grab bag effectiveness. We also found variations in how grab bag guidelines are promoted across the five case studies.
Discussion: While there are clearly common items recommended for household grab bags (such as water and first aid kits), there are gaps in the literature regarding: 1) the evidence base to inform guidelines; 2) uptake of guidelines; and 3) to what extent grab bags reduce demands on essential services and improve disaster resilience.
Introduction: Flooding is a common natural disaster affecting 77.8 million people and claiming the lives of 4,731 people globally in 2016. During times of flood, drowning is a leading cause of death. Flooding is a known risk factor for river drowning in Australia. With little known about river usage in Australia, this study aimed to examine the links between person demographics and self-reported participation in two flood-related behaviours, driving through floodwaters and swimming in a flooded river. Methods: A self-reported questionnaire was administered to adult river users at four high-risk river drowning locations; Alligator Creek, Townsville, Queensland; Murrumbidgee River, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales; Murray River, Albury, New South Wales; and Hawkesbury River, Windsor, New South Wales. Univariate and chi square analysis was undertaken with a 95% confidence interval (p<0.05). All river users surveyed, were also breathalysed to record an estimate of their blood alcohol content (BAC) on their expired breath. Results: 688 river users responded to the questionnaire; 676 (98.3%) answered the driving question and 674 (98.0%) answered the swimming in floodwaters questions. Of the respondents, 35.7% stated they had driven through floodwater and 18.7% had swum in a flooded river. Males were more likely (p<0.001) to report having undertaken both activities. Australian-born respondents were more likely to report having driven through floodwaters (p=0.006). Those aged 18-24 years old and those residing in outer regional areas were more likely (p<0.001) to have swum in a flooded river. Those who self-reported participating in both driving through floodwaters (p=0.001) and swimming in a flooded river (p<0.001) were significantly more likely to record contributory levels of alcohol (i.e. a BAC ≥0.05%) when breathalysed at the river. Discussion: Ensuring the safe movement of people during floods is difficult, particularly for those living in regional Australia, due in part to long distances travelled and reduced investment in infrastructure such as bridges. With males and females equally exposed, more effective prevention strategies must target both sexes and may include improved education on when it is safe to drive through (low depth, still water, stable road base) and when it is not (e.g. deep water, moving water and unstable road base). This study identified one in five respondents had swum in a flooded river, most commonly young people aged 18-24 years, with participants signficantly more likely to have recorded contributory levels of alcohol when breathalysed. Further research should examine the reasons behind participation in this behaviour, including the role of alcohol. Conclusion: Preventing drowning in floodwaters is an international challenge, made more difficult by people driving through or swimming in floodwaters. Strategies for driving through floodwaters should educate both males and females on when it is safe to drive through floodwaters and when it is not. Further research is required to improve knowledge of the poorly understood behaviour of swimming in flooded rivers.
Introduction: As the years of displacement accumulate, the burden of secondary stressors (i.e., stressors not directly related to war) increase on the shoulders of millions of refugees, who do not have the option of either returning home due to war or having a sustainable livelihood in the host countries. This paper aims to shed light on the overlooked importance of secondary stressors among refugees of conflict in developing countries; it will do this by highlighting the experience of Syrian refugees in Jordan, and developing a typology of these stressors.
Methods: We approached this issue using two levels of exploration. In study 1, we used participant observation and 15 in-depth interviews in Irbid, Jordan. Data were analysed qualitatively using thematic analysis to explore the different types of stressors. In study 2, a questionnaire survey among Syrian refugees in Jordan (n = 305) was used to collect data about a wide range of stressors. Responses were subjected to factor analysis to examine the extent to which the stressors could be organized into different factors.
Results: The thematic analysis suggested three different types of secondary stressors: financial (money related), environmental (exile structures and feelings created by it), and social (directly related to social relations). The factor analysis of the survey data produced a similar typology, where secondary stressors were found to be grouped into four main factors (financial, services, safety, and relations with out-groups). The final result is a typology of 33 secondary stressors organised in three main themes.
Discussion: Syrian refugees in Jordan suffer the most from financial stressors, due to loss of income and high living expenses. Environmental stressors arise from exile and are either circumstantial (e.g., services and legal requirements) or created by this environment (e.g., instability and lack of familiarity). Social stressors were observed among a considerable section of refugees, varying from stressors due to being targeted as a refugee by the locals (e.g., discrimination) to more traumatic stressors that came from both locals and other refugees (e.g., assault). The typology of secondary stressors suggested by the present analysis needs to be investigated in a larger sample of refugees of conflict in other countries in the Middle East, in order to determine its generality. We suggest that it is a basis for a framework for practitioners and academics working with refugees in the region.
Key words: Armed conflict, Syrian, Jordan, refugees, forced displacement, exile, daily stressors, secondary stressors, trauma, typology.
Introduction: Studies show that natural disasters influence voters’ perception of incumbent politicians. To investigate whether voters are prone to punish politicians for events that are out of their control, this study was conducted in the previously unstudied context of Croatia, and by considering some of the methodological issues of previous studies. Method: Matching method technique was used, which ensures that affected and non-affected areas are matched on several control variables. The cases of natural disaster in the present study were floods that affected Croatia in 2014 and 2015. Results: Main results showed that, prior to matching, floods had an impact on voting behaviour in the 2014 and 2015 elections. Voters from flooded areas decreased their support for the incumbent government and president in the elections following the floods. However, once we accounted for differences in control variables between flooded and non-flooded areas, the flood effect disappeared. Furthermore, results showed that neither the presence nor the amount of the government’s relief spending had an impact on voting behaviour. Discussion: Presented results imply that floods did not have an impact on the election outcome. Results are interpreted in light of the retrospective voter model.