NH
Natural Hazards
Giulia Roder

Giulia Roder

My name is Giulia Roder, and I am a PhD candidate in Land, Environment, Resources and Health at the University of Padova (Italy). I am interested in the social, economic and cultural perspectives of flood events and how the human couples with the climate and land use changes. My interest towards these topics raised in the remote Central Mountain Range in Taiwan when I have been hosted by one of the oldest indigenous communities. I joined the EGU Early Career Scientists of Natural Hazard division (NhET) in 2017. Since then, I have been contributing to the blog and with several activities during the Assembly.

Mapping population dynamics to advance Disaster Risk Management

Mapping population dynamics to advance Disaster Risk Management

 

Today we have the honour to introduce Sérgio Freire as our guest. Sérgio Freire is a Geographer, currently working as Scientific/Technical Project Manager at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), Directorate E. Space, Security and Migration, Disaster Risk Management Unit, based in Ispra, Italy. His main activities focus on developing applications of the JRC’s Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) in the context of disaster exposure, risk, and vulnerability analysis, including modelling population distribution at a range of spatial and temporal resolutions. Current activities also include global mapping and characterisation of human settlements, and developing satellite-based indicators to support monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

  1. When we think about disasters, we firstly mean natural hazards characteristics. However, potential harm comes even from vulnerability and exposure. Can you please explain to us what these elements are and which role they play in the risk equation?

 

In fact, natural hazards are ‘normal’ acts of nature that are part of the living planet that is Earth.

These only make the news and become disasters when they affect people (or property, systems) that display vulnerabilities to those specific phenomena. A strong earthquake in the middle of the Sahara desert may have little or no impacts due to scarce population and settlements, i.e., the absence of exposure. On the other hand, an earthquake of comparable magnitude occurring in cities of dissimilar countries may cause very different impacts and casualties due to the divergent structural vulnerabilities of built-up structures. However, for extreme events or hazards above a certain magnitude, exposure is a major driver of impacts.

Figure 1. Evolution of global population exposed to the highest seismic hazard, by decade. Bars refer to the total population in Modified Mercalli Intensity levels VIII to XII (right axis) and lines refer to percent population change relative to the previous period (left axis) (Source: Freire S., D. Ehrlich, S. Ferri, 2015. Population Exposure and Impacts from Earthquakes: Assessing Spatio-temporal Changes in the XX Century. Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences (CMES), SI: ‘Modeling of dangerous phenomena for risk mitigation’. Vol.109(2): 159-182)

 

[Read More]

The emergency of disaster emergency planning

The emergency of disaster emergency planning

Today I have the honour to introduce Prof. David Alexander as our guest. David is Professor of Risk and Disaster     Reduction at University College London (UK). His expertise comprises holistic aspects of disaster risk reduction and practical matters in emergency planning and management. He has also worked as Scientific Director of the Advanced School of Civil Protection of the regional government of Lombardy (Italy). As a Professor at the University of Florence (2005-11) he was a leading member of the team that designed, launched and taught Italy’s first Master of Civil Protection course.

David Alexander is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction and was formerly Co-Editor of Disasters journal. He is Vice-President and Chairman of the Trustees of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, which is the oldest learned society in the field of disaster reduction. He strongly supports the idea that “we are part of the civil-protection process. […] Therefore, we should all prepare for the next disaster as remarkably few of us will be able entirely to avoid it”.

 

  1. How can we define ‘disaster emergency’?

Not all emergencies are disasters. Two books have been written on the topic of ‘What is a disaster?’, which shows that the definition is open to many different interpretations. An emergency can be defined as a situation caused by a threat or hazard that cannot be managed with ordinary, workaday procedures and resources. It requires rapid response via a qualitative change in the way things are done. Most emergencies involve actual or potential (i.e. imminent) damage and destruction, or at least serious disruption, and possibly casualties.

[Read More]