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Local Disaster Vulnerability Analysis: An Approach to Identify Communities


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Extreme weather events, such as floods and rainstorms, can turn into serious threats due to their unpredictable nature and scale. Depending on their magnitude, vulnerable communities may experience substantial losses, especially those residing in riparian and deltaic ecosystems. Despite the significant progress in disaster risk governance over recent years, the implementation of effective resilience plans at the local level remains a challenge. This is often due to the uncertainties of addressing key variations between communities, such as their hydrogeomorphological surroundings, differences in community needs and capacities, and unpredictable local atmospheric conditions. Generalized weather forecasting systems and imported response plans for instance, cannot always be adopted or understood in depth by low-income communities. In contrast, high-income communities and their assets are typically better protected through the use of technology and flood prevention infrastructure. Focusing on local-scale action plans can help address this imbalance, especially when both community and site variations are taken into consideration. The question then becomes, is it possible to develop effective disaster vulnerability analysis tailored to local needs and capabilities? This study suggests a metric that focuses on community characteristics, capacity and needs criteria. These criteria highlight elements that should be improved in order to increase community resilience and capacity. Knowing the weaknesses and strengths of vulnerable populations allows appropriate modifications within the suggested disaster response plans. The research introduces a method for identifying community vulnerability being developed for the “Hydropower for Disaster Resilience Applications (HYDRA)” research project, a joint initiative of Humanitarian and Development Research Initiative (HADRI), Western Sydney University, Australia and UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems (Con-E-Ect), International Hellenic University, Greece.
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... There are cases where professional assistance takes weeks or months. Such periods of nonoperation undermine community engagement and WD resilience [2,8,9]. ...
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Water-based disasters can develop in different scales and durations. Short-term floods and torrents for instance, are frequent phenomena that occur worldwide and can threaten communities in remote, riparian locations. Such communities often lack sufficient resilience mechanisms and have limited disaster response knowledge. In addition, power blackouts due to such weather extremes affect early-warning systems and evacuation processes. As a result, vulnerable populations such as the elderly and people with mobility issues are not always able to respond in time. In order to increase the response capability of such groups, this study will examine the use of do-it-yourself (DIY) off-grid hydropower generators that are equipped with localized early-warning systems-sirens and emergency lights. Our team will investigate a prototype with such features in Aggitis, Greece-a small community that often faces floods and power blackouts, especially during the snow-melt period. Beyond the technical testing, the study will observe how Aggitis residents interact with the system (assembly and use in flood evacuation drills). To enhance integration and stakeholder feedback, emergency responders, including members of the Association of Officers and Sub-Officers with University Degrees of Hellenic Fire Corps and the Institute of Management of Manmade and Natural Disasters will participate. Positive findings can help us optimize the system and test it in other vulnerable communities that are exposed to water-based disasters; particularly low-income populations in Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Western Africa. This feasibility study will investigate how localized hydropower generators equipped with EWS can support community flood response. The Aggitis community is an ideal site for testing having both direct management needs for WD and reserach test facilities to support technical development. Positive findings could contribute to EWS programs and save lives during extreme weather events, especially among vulnerable groups. This research could also enhance community-based disaster preparedness, including collaboration between communities and other stakeholders (first responders, authorities, national agencies, NGOs).
Humanitarian engineering offers substantial benefits to interventions for socio-economic development and disaster risk resilience, particularly amongst vulnerable populations facing energy insufficiency and extreme weather events in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Localised hydropower and early-warning applications are reliable and can support such communities. This study presents important criteria and in-depth investigations for small-scale hydropower generators combined with flood-warning systems. According to our findings, 300 W of generated power can provide sufficient coverage for basic energy needs under both normal and extreme conditions. Outdoor warnings such as emergency lights and sirens could increase local response capabilities and save lives during extremes. Our project highlights the use of community-led hydropower as a vehicle for disaster resilience and sustainable development.
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The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (SFDRR) is the first global policy framework of the United Nations’ post-2015 agenda. It represents a step in the direction of global policy coherence with explicit reference to health, development, and climate change. To develop SFDRR, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) organized and facilitated several global, regional, national, and intergovernmental negotiations and technical meetings in the period preceding the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) 2015 where SFDRR was adopted. UNISDR also worked with representatives of governments, UN agencies, and scientists to develop targets and indicators for SFDRR and proposed them to member states for negotiation and adoption as measures of progress and achievement in protecting lives and livelihoods. The multiple efforts of the health community in the policy development process, including campaigning for safe schools and hospitals, helped to put people’s mental and physical health, resilience, and well-being higher up the disaster risk reduction (DRR) agenda compared with the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015. This article reviews the historical and contemporary policy development process that led to the SFDRR with particular reference to the development of the health theme.
Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Division for Sustainable Development Goals
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Nam, U. V. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Division for Sustainable Development Goals: New York, NY, USA.