Disaster Prevention and Management An International Journal

Published by Emerald

Print ISSN: 0965-3562


Effects of 9/11 on individuals and organizations: Down but not out!
  • Article

December 2005


185 Reads

Purpose The purpose of this introduction is to review some of the major issues that arose after 9/11 and set the stage for the articles that follow. Design/methodology/approach A literature review was undertaken using both academic and mass media sources. Findings The events of 9/11 have produced potentially positive as well as negative consequences, some anticipated and others unforeseen. Research limitations/implications Relatively little research has been conducted on the events following 9/11, making it difficult to arrive at solid conclusions at this time. Practical implications This special issue links the events of 9/11 with the management of organizations, a topic that has received little attention, and hopefully will encourage more scholarship in this area. Originality/value It is important to more fully understand why 9/11 happened and what measures need to be taken to reduce the likelihood of future terrorist attacks, as well as improve the resiliency of both citizens and their organizational employers in dealing with the aftermath of such attacks should they occur again.

Complexity theory: A science where historical accidents matter
  • Article
  • Full-text available

September 2005


105 Reads

Purpose To follow the modern movement of using “positive feedback” to explain companies' behaviour with special focus on historical accidents. Design/methodology/approach To contribute to the emergence of new complexity theory as applied to management and prove that historical accidents matter, combining and bringing together literature sources. Findings The concept of unique equilibrium has been seriously disputed – the selection process is shown, as is the path dependent process using probability theory. Practical implications A location theory as case study is outlined – great for those fond of unique equilibrium. Originality/value To show another theory, which is dynamic, non‐linear, and complex as reality; to apply it to management underlying at the same time the role of historical accidents (random process).

Invasive Alien Species Dispersal - The Millennium Biodiversity Disaster

June 2010


212 Reads

Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to analyze the different modes of species dispersal and the various types of alien species dispersed in the Indian peninsular region and its impact on the eco system and livelihoods. Design/methodology/approach – The paper portrays the various identified alien species, the scale of invasion thereby resulting in biological disaster caused by mankind. Findings – The paper lists the invasive alien species (IAS) are those that are transmitted from their own ecological niche and to a new niche due to human influence, which causes the biodiversity disaster. International boundaries are indeed porous to the intentional and unintentional movement of species from various eco systems in the country. Originality/value – It is felt that few initiatives are being taken by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and governance of eco system from IAS is a necessity. Sustainable eco system governance (SESG) from invasive alien species should be emphasized to avoid biodiversity disasters that will have an impact on food security and nutrition of human beings.

Applying NIMH-FEMA Formulas to the Gulf war in Israel: Needs Assessment for Psychosocial Services in Emergencies

April 1994


16 Reads

Estimating the needs for psychosocial intervention in the wake of massemergencies is closely linked to the sharp controversy over theemotional impact of traumatic events. Briefly reviews some of the majorpositions on this issue to provide background for main discussion. Inthe USA especially, there have been attempts to incorporateepidemiological-community-oriented indicators of impact and not to relyexclusively on clinical diagnosis. There are still questions aboutthese formulas. Despite limitations of the predictive formulas,learning from these attempts in another country could contribute toimproving Israeli emergency psychosocial services, should they again berequired. Such formulations could also be developed through applicationto various circumstances.

A mitigation strategy for the natural disaster of poverty in Bangladesh

February 2005


96 Reads

Purpose Aims to bring attention to the problems faced by rural Bangladeshis. Several objectives for the paper were identified. First, to illustrate that Bangladeshis suffer from acute levels of poverty, a lack of clean drinking water and regular flooding and cyclonic conditions. Second, to establish the failure of western “handout” aid provision to address these problems. Third, to evidence the possibilities for the production of more durable building materials utilising regionally available waste materials and proven solar technologies. Finally, to present strategies in which solar technologies could contribute to the reduction of poverty and improvements in health standards. Design/methodology/approach The ongoing development and testing of the innovative solar technology concepts reported in the paper were informed by a literature review covering solar cookers and solar kilns. The methodology and detail of the testing of that solar technology is currently considered commercially sensitive. With regard to the poverty alleviation strategies proposed within the paper, their development was underpinned by a methodology combining a thorough review of the relevant literature with input from practitioners in Bangladesh. Findings Utilising aid moneys for the establishment of solar technology‐based small‐scale production of vernacular building materials could address poverty by affording access to wealth‐generating activities in the sale of goods and clean drinking water from rainwater harvesting. Additionally, such activities would enable Bangladeshi society to be better able to withstand and then recover from natural disasters, by possessing more resistant shelters, and being more economically resilient. Research limitations/implications The experimental component of the research is ongoing and considered commercially sensitive. No limitations have thus far been identified within this component. The implications of the research regarding solar technologies are potentially considerable in that the innovative approach under examination, if underpinned by positive results, represents a new area of activity and has both social and technical implications. Practical implications Current aid is not significantly alleviating the problems experienced by Bangladeshis resulting from poverty, arsenic contamination of deep water aquifers and regular flooding. The technology and strategies proposed address the fact that the current vernacular shelters provide little resistance to flooding, and are unsuitable for rainwater harvesting, whilst also allowing participation in wealth‐generating activities. Such a combination has the potential to reverse the trend for Bangladesh to increasingly rely on “hand‐out” aid. Originality/value The value of the paper is largely in the area of bringing new possibilities to the attention of the research and practitioner communities dealing with both solar technologies and developing world poverty alleviation.

Understanding and reducing vulnerability: From the approach of liabilities and capabilities

June 2011


8,680 Reads

Purpose This paper aims to expand comprehension of the concept of vulnerability in order to promote further scholarship in this area and provide policy guidance for practitioners. Design/methodology/approach Various findings from the academic literature pertaining to vulnerability are discussed in order to generate a more holistic understanding of this key factor of disaster. Findings This exposition defines vulnerability, illustrates the causes of vulnerability, identifies those who may be vulnerable to disasters, and suggests ways to reduce vulnerability. Research limitations/implications Because this paper offers a preliminary view that both includes and goes beyond the traditional social vulnerability school, additional research on this matter will undoubtedly be required. However, it is hoped that the breadth and complexity of challenges being faced currently will be made manifest in this discussion. Originality/value This paper extends the author's prior work in this area and reinforces the need to give greater priority to the concept of vulnerability in disaster research and emergency management.

When rehabilitation and duplication collide

April 2010


27 Reads

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the way the functioning of a fishing village changed as a result of the tsunami. Design/methodology/approach – The paper outlines the experiences of the village before and after the tsunami. Findings – The paper lists all that has been learned from rehabilitation following the tsunami. Originality/value – It is felt that a conceptual change from “teach the poor man to fish rather than provide him with fish” to “provide boat/net, do the fishing, sell them and give the money to the poor man” is the situation after the tsunami in many fisherfolk villages.

Training for the Management of Major Emergencies

March 1994


72 Reads

Looks at major disasters and the steps taken to limit the problems whichhave and may occur, by an adequate training resource. Looks inparticular at oil-rig disasters such as Piper Alpha, Ekofisk, AleksanderKjelland and Ocean Ranger all of which had contributory shortcomingsenhanced by management on-and off-shore. Reinforces the concepts that anemergency response or contingency plan must provide the basis foremergency training, and that training for the 1990s will be insimulators.

Review of an Incident at a Petrochemical Plant

May 2003


74 Reads

Major hazard installations (MHIs) are dealing with hazardous substances which exceed the threshold quantity. MHIs are characterized by tight coupling and high complexity. Due to their complexity, MHIs require well trained managers who have good experience at all levels to manage the operations successfully. The managements of major hazard installations play a vital role in the success or failure of their installation. The world has witnessed many incidents in major hazard installations due to failure of the management at all levels. This paper summarizes in brief the management errors for several incidents which occurred worldwide. Also, the paper reviews the management errors which led to an incident at a petrochemical plant in East Malaysia.

An introduction to seismology

August 1996


39 Reads

Investigates the effects of earthquakes in the Victoria region of Australia. Looks at how they can be predicted by the use of seismology, and how this information can be used to protect buildings from major damage. Examines a system developed by the Seismology Research Centre, Bundoora, Australia, to provide alarm, damage scenario and response information after moderate or large earthquakes.

Four years beyond tsunami: Contours of a roadmap for a coordinated “multi-hazard (including tsunami) risk management action plan for tsunami-affected villages in Tamil Nadu”: Overview of ongoing/projected initiatives

June 2009


35 Reads

Purpose The purpose of this paper in respect of tsunami‐affected villages in Tamil Nadu undertaken in a field trip in June 2005, and updated through online research is to first provide an overview of discrete, ongoing initiatives by different stakeholders – NGOs; Government and UNDP; Government's announcement to have a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean in place by mid‐2007, paralleled by a partnership of different stakeholders to launch a pan‐India village‐info‐kiosk movement in July 2005. Design/methodology/approach The first step was to identify existing reports/programmes on disaster preparedess and mitigation, and then track the progress of the implementation of initiatives by different stakeholders. While highlighting the need for coordinated action, the author also proposed initiating a pilot project in two‐three pre‐selected village‐sites, which in turn could be upgraded to make them “Multi hazard‐ready”. Findings While the initiatives by different stakeholders were aimed at covering the targeted villages, as per their respective plans – there was as yet little visible attempt to privilege the tsunami‐affected villages, as was being done with their recovery efforts. Significantly, there was no mention of the proposed post tsunami Central Recovery Resource Center (CRRC) at Chennai “to meet the need for a coordinated action by all stakeholders” in the course of the discussions of early June, nor a reference to the potential for such a forum to deliberate on a coordinated Multi hazard, early warning action plan along the lines highlighted through vertical and horizontal linkages. Practical implications While the above activities were not part of a grand design – conceptualized, implemented and overseen by an over arching coordinating agency, nevertheless, together they add up to a broad based comprehensive DM resource base/infrastructure upon which hopefully an agency like the INCOIS in coordination with different stakeholders – possibly under the aegis of the Chennai CRRC – could build up its mandated tsunami – multi hazard – early warning system and its dissemination to the village‐level in TN. Originality/value The paper serves as a “one window resource guide” to provide at least the contours of a road map pointing to one of the few possible ways on how to go about a risk management plan in a coordinated and focused mode.

Decision support system in oil spill cases (literature review)

August 2003


119 Reads

Oil pollution is one of the most important issues affecting the marine coastal environments all over the world. There are a large number of organizations to propose plans for managing the problems that coastal areas face, including various methods to combat the oil spills. This project proposes to achieve a decision support system (DSS) to assist the users/managers to choose the most suitable method for combating oil spills, according to the coastal area sensitivity. In this regard and in order to build an appropriate DSS model, some relevant documents regarding oil spills and spills management strategies, GIS-based modeling, and DSS planning were reviewed, some of which are referred to here.

Knowledge Transfer between Preparedness and Emergency Response: A Case Study

April 2009


274 Reads

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study the transfer of knowledge between preparedness activities and emergency response at the municipal level to improve emergency response. Design/methodology/approach A case study was carried out in the municipality of Ljungby using prewritten questions to analyse the collected empirical material. This material consisted of both municipality documents and interviews. The investigation involved municipal units that participate in emergency preparedness activities and those involved in the emergency response to a violent storm Gudrun that took place in 2005. Findings The findings show that the people in charge of the immediate response to the storm did not effectively use the analytic preparations created by those responsible for planning and preparations. Indeed to a great extent they used general response patterns and functions discovered from their own earlier experiences. These findings led to the development of a preliminary draft of requirements for a well‐functioning knowledge transfer from emergency preparedness work to response. Research limitations/implications The paper demonstrates a need for municipalities to develop methods to increase transfer of knowledge of preparedness plans and analyses to improve response. Originality/value The paper shows that there is a potential to improve the preparedness process to reduce the gap between preparedness planning and its use in emergency response. The paper suggests a preliminary proposal for developing preparedness activities (in particular risk and vulnerability analyses) more suitable for emergency response.

Social capital in disaster risk management; a case study of social capital mobilization following the 1934 Kathmandu Valley earthquake in Nepal

July 2014


2,414 Reads

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how social capital operated in the lives of 15 respondents from Lalitpur following the massive 1934 Kathmandu Valley earthquake. Based on experiences of the survivors, it attempts to understand how individuals and families utilized their social capital in the aftermath of the earthquake, and rebuild their lives and communities. Design/methodology/approach – This is a qualitative study based on non-structured interviews and discussions with disaster victims on their own locality. Following Padgett's (2008) grounded theory approach, flexible method of data collection is adopted through interactions with respondents and following up on important cues or patterns as additional data emerged. Findings – Participants described a process through which they relied on bonding, bridging and linking social capital in different stages of earthquake response and recovery. Close ties or bonding social capital were important for immediate support, but bridging and linking social capital offered pathways to longer term survival and wider neighbourhood and community revitalization. This paper also discusses how social capital inclusion in pre-disaster communities might be helpful to strengthen their response capacity. Research limitations/implications – As the study participants were less than ten years old when the earthquake happened, they might have omitted or overlooked some important details about the event. The findings are based not only on participant's own memories, but they also shared stories told by their parents which were the indirect experiences. Practical implications – This study indicates the potential value and need for including bonding, bridging and linking social capital and traditional social networks in disaster planning. A key outcome related to disaster policy would be what institutional condition or combinations of different dimensions of social capital may serve the public for better disaster response and recovery. Originality/value – This study has paid attention to how social capital might be useful in disaster risk reduction both in post-disaster phase and in pre-disaster condition which may be rare in disaster studies. It also provides an insight into how community-based disaster management can take into account pre-existing social systems and traditional social networks to build local capacities.

The Implementation of Environmental Management Systems and BS 7750: A TQM Approach

August 1993


10 Reads

Argues that a company-based environmental management system is no longer an option. Its stance is that much can be learned from the experiences of the development of total quality management and that central to any system has to be the notion of a continuous cycle of improvement. Lays out a possible organizational structure of an environmental management system and discusses the stages to the development of that structure and the important characteristics of the system. Discusses links to quality systems and in particular to BS 5750, along with an overview of BS 7750. Identifies critical success factors in the operation of the environmental management system.

Risk Management and Damage Mitigation at IAT ’94

December 1994


15 Reads

Describes the emergency management structure created for the International Air Tattoo ’94 at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. Describes the table-top discussion and live exercise which preceded the event, to ensure that adequate procedures were in place should a major incident occur. Discusses lessons learned from the live exercise.

Figure 1. Diagram showing decadal reduction in the human death toll the world over as also in India due to disasters (both natural and man made). Data source EM-DAT of CRED  
Redefining disaster: Need for managing accidents as disasters

October 2006


229 Reads

Purpose The cumulative impact of accidents not considered as disasters far surpasses the impact of disasters. Accidents taking toll of human lives and economy are often underreported and go unnoticed and the victims of these incidences are also ill compensated. It is therefore necessary to pay adequate attention to accidents and formulate appropriate policies for giving equal treatment to the victims of these events and also to make efforts for mitigating these. This paper aims to discuss this. Design/methodology/approach The paper discusses the impact of accidents and attempts to assert that these are a cause of major concern. The database of the disasters (EM‐DAT) of Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), Belgium has been utilised for ascertaining the toll of disasters, while for assessing the cumulative toll of the accidents and disasters database available at departmental web sites (Department of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Government of India ( www.morth.nic.in ) and Railway Ministry, Government of India ( www.indianrailways.gov.in ) together with some other web sites have been used. The two databases have been correlated to establish that the cumulative toll is far more than what is generally perceived to be the toll of the disasters. Findings Based on the correlation of one event each under the category of natural and man made disasters (landslides, transport accidents) it is concluded that these correlations establish that the toll of accidents is many times more than the disaster events and there exists a pressing need to pay adequate attention towards managing accidents that take heavy toll of the global resources. Research limitations/implications At present there exists no formal and comprehensive database recording the toll of accidents and the study is based on the database compiled from different sources. The paper establishes beyond doubt that the magnitude of the toll of accidents is far more than that of disasters and there exists pressing need for managing accidents. Practical implications This paper would bring forth the importance of managing accidents before the policy makers and initiate advocacy for putting in more resources for managing these events. In the long run the victims would not be differentiated on the basis of the magnitude of the incidents they have faced. Originality/value The paper shows the importance of managing major accidents and provides guidance for appropriate changes to be made.

Observation on National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India report on emergency medical services (EMS) with special reference to road accidents in Uttaranchal (India)

March 2006


74 Reads

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present observations on the National Human Rights Commission report on the emergency medical services (EMS) with special reference to Uttaranchal, India. Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents observations of road accidents in Uttaranchal between 2002 and 2003. Findings – Some of the major causes of medical emergencies are road accidents, fall, burns, poisoning, drowning, suicides and attempted suicides and violence of various types. Along with this, natural disasters are a major medical emergency care. According to an estimate there is one accident in every two minutes in India. For every trauma related death, there are many injured and disabled persons. The male age group of 15‐40 years is the most affected by trauma. The cost of trauma is terms of direct costs and loss in terms of productive life is astronomical. The sudden increase in the length, breadth and kinds of roads and an exponential growth in the number and quality of transports and commuters is going to need an extremely well co‐ordinated response system. This by the very complexity of the task involved will have to be a multidisciplinary agency under a unified command. As Uttaranchal enters the fifth year of its existence the various components which would tend to aggravate the existing situation are only too apparent. Connectivity of habitats through road construction, already a top priority activity, is going to be intensified further. Exponential growth in several services sector, all leading to tremendous pressure on the existing roads and infrastructure, resulting in accidents. Originality/value – The paper presents a road map for the establishment of EMS.

Qualitative research can improve understandings about disaster preparedness for independent older adults in the community

May 2014


1,440 Reads

Purpose – Improving older adults’ preparedness for and response to natural disasters has become an important issue. Population ageing, together with concerns about increasing extreme weather-related events, has added further impetus to the need to reduce older adults’ vulnerability to disasters. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the above issues. Design/methodology/approach – Social and environmental influences on community dwelling independent older adults have not been accounted for in models of hazard adjustment, which have invariably used quantitative research methods. Findings – To date much of the preparedness and response research has focused on organisational responses to preparedness, while perspectives from older adults have received less attention. Furthermore social and environmental influences on community dwelling independent older adults have not been accounted for in models of hazard adjustment. Originality/value – Extending research to include qualitative methodologies, which recognises older adults as active participants in research about themselves, would contribute to increasing understandings about influences on disaster preparedness and response; and inform social policies and prevention programmes.

Towards rehabilitation: Building trust in Afghanistan

March 1995


6 Reads

Based on the experience of five years of work in the midst of the ongoing civil war in Afghanistan, outlines a number of ideas about involving communities in measures to provide emergency relief or support rehabilitation, in order to encourage and assist an indigenous process of social and physical recovery.

Figure 5. Average vs maximum response time according to the weighting of objectives
Optimal allocation of emergency response services for managing disasters

July 2014


341 Reads

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present and apply a methodology that optimally assigns emergency response services (ERS) stations in Peloponnesus, Greece that was severely hit by wildfires in 2007, in an effort to describe the actual emergency response in this disaster and identify disaster management possibilities that can arise from the optimal allocation of the existing fire stations. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology concerns the development of an objective function that aims to minimize maximum and average response times of ERS stations and the evaluation of developed scenarios. Simulated annealing is used for the minimization of the objective function, providing near-optimal solutions with low computation times for medium-scale networks. Findings – The findings concern the comparison of average and maximum response times of ERS stations to hearths of fire, based on their actual and optimal allocation. They reveal an overall reduction in the average and maximum response time by 20 and 30 percent, respectively, for the entire region, while there is a reduction of 15 and 35 percent in the average and maximum response time for the locations affected by the 2007 wildfires. Research limitations/implications – The methodology is formulated as a facility location problem with unitary demand and unlimited capacity in the stations, which means that the allocation does not take into account simultaneous events. Originality/value – The paper fulfills an identified need to apply innovative research solutions to actual case studies in order to identify existing gaps and future disaster management possibilities.

Patterns Of Sheltering And Housing In American Disasters

January 1993


39 Reads

There is a somewhat exotic field of study called the history and sociology of science. It basically try to describe and explain the factors that are involved in the initiation and growth of any area of organized study. Among other findings, it has been discovered that there are some predictable stages in the development of concepts used in any scientific area. Typically and particularly in a relatively new field of research, the earlier workers in the area, almost inevitably start out using everyday terms and labels to describe and explain whatever they are studying. Then as the scientific field develops, certain distinctions begin to be made. Certain phenomena which are put together by everyday labels are analytically pulled apart and given different labels, whereas other phenomena which are not treated under the same name by ordinary discourse are conversely put together in the scientific conceptualizations. Eventually, as the field matures, new and different from everyday terminology terms and labels are often created and used as major concepts in the area. In this last stage, both the names for the concepts and the phenomena being conceptualized are frequently rather different from the original everyday usages.

Figure 2. Matrix of decision-making paradigms with stakeholders' attributes
Stakeholders' approaches to disaster risk reduction in built environment

July 2014


4,104 Reads

Purpose – In disaster risk reduction (DRR), it is important to realise stakeholders’ approaches against disasters in the built environment. The purpose of this paper is to explore why stakeholders take proactive and/or reactive approaches in DRR. Design/methodology/approach – Using a review of existent literature, this work scrutinises disaster theories and their applications in the built environment to develop a theoretical framework for perceiving stakeholders’ proactive and/or reactive approaches in DRR. Findings – Stakeholders’ organisational attributes – power, legitimacy and urgency – and decision-making paradigms – value maximisation and intuitive reasoning – are fundamental factors affecting stakeholders’ approaches against disasters. Power and legitimacy of stakeholders result in a proactive approach if stakeholders consider value maximisation paradigm in their decision-making process. Powerful and legitimate stakeholders may take reactive approaches because of intuitive reasoning paradigm. Stakeholders may shift from a reactive to proactive approach and vice versa based on the combination of urgency attribute and decision-making paradigms. Research limitations/implications – It is essential to consider the classification of respective stakeholders in applying the idea of this paper. Furthermore, this paper does not attempt to validate the proposed theoretical framework empirically, but it combines stakeholder and decision-making theories by which this could be undertaken. Originality/value – Little attention has been paid to systematic theorising in managing stakeholders’ approaches against disasters. Furthermore, many researchers have focused on similar underlying theories and heuristics in the context of DRR. Thus, this paper introduces a theoretical framework to examine stakeholders’ proactive and/or reactive approaches in the built environment, by synthesising stakeholder and decision-making theories.

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