Knowledgebase

Number of results: 22

E-Handbook on Societal Security Crises and Emergency Response in Europe

Document type: 
SOURCE publication
Publisher / Publication: 
Insitute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel for the SOURCE project
Abstract: 

The e-handbook is an innovative educational tool for first responders managing crises in the area of societal security.

It features six multi-media case-studies coming from different parts of Europe, namely: Austria, Sweden, Belgium, and Spain. The case-studies explore and re-construct strategies and actions of first response professionals involved in management of socio-political emergencies and natural disasters. In addition to texts, the interactive content includes educational assignments and video interviews, in which professionals, who took on key roles in the crisis management and emergency response, share their experiences.

Improving the Involvement of Digital Volunteers in Disaster Management

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
International Conference on Information Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction ITDRR 2016: Information Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction pp 214-224
Abstract: 

Volunteered geographic information (VGI) has been seen as useful information in times of disasters.

Several authors have shown that VGI is useful for coping with preparedness and response phases of disaster management. However, because it is still a young technology, the use of VGI remains uncertain, due to its lack of strong reliability and validity. It is our assumption that to improve reliability and validity the promotion of citizen engagement (CE) is needed. CE is not new topic, but in the digital humanitarian context, it involves important factors that are not yet considered by disaster managers, such as communication processes, motivation of volunteers, different media for production of information, etc. To fill this gap, we identified a set of preliminary factors which should be considered to promote the involvement of volunteers in disaster management. These factors were derived from critical review of CE literature and from an analysis of lessons learned from an experiment on interaction with citizens carried out in context of the EU-project “DRIVER – Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience”.

 

EU Emergency Response Policies and NGOs

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Springer
Abstract: 

This book analyses trends and changes in the European Union’s (EU) humanitarian aid policy, by focusing on the performance of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs).

NGOs have developed strong relationships with international institutions but have also maintained direct interaction with EU member states. The result is a multi-layered process in which national interests, common values, universal principles and global duties meet and interact. By combining a deepening of the theoretical debate with the use of empirical data on the funding of NGO projects by EU institutions and member states, the book significantly furthers our understanding of the complex relationship between these actors. It will appeal to students and scholars interested in EU politics, global security, and international aid, as well as practitioners in the humanitarian field. 

Identifying First Responders Information Needs: Supporting Search and Rescue Operations for Fire Emergency Response

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, 8 (1): 25-46
Abstract: 

At the onset of an indoor fire emergency, the availability of the information becomes critical due to the chaotic situation at the emergency site.

Moreover, if information is lacking, not shared, or responders are too overloaded to acknowledge it, lives can be lost and property can be harmed. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to identify information items that are needed for first responders during search and rescue operations. The authors use an educational building fire emergency as a case and show how first responders can be supported by getting access to information that are stored in different information systems. The research methodology used was a combination of literature review, fire drills participation, and semi-structured interviews with first responders from different emergency organizations. The results presented are identified information items and an information model.

Building Resilience Through Effective Disaster Management: An Information Ecology Perspective

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, 9 (1): 11-26
Abstract: 

Existing literature argues that taking a holistic approach to disaster management is important for organizations in building resilience.

Theoretical underpinnings to achieve a holistic understanding, however, is lacking. This article applies the notion of an ecosystem as a holistic lens to understand complex disaster management. The paper reports two case studies from Japan and Nepal to illustrate how an ecosystem works during a disaster. The theoretical framework of information ecology is used in analyzing the cases. Based on the findings, the study shows three interconnected mechanisms that can build resilience of an ecosystem in a disaster management context, namely (1) coevolution, (2) collaboration, and (3) embeddedness of local knowledge. The authors argue that coevolution is a key to respond to constantly changing situations during a disaster. To accomplish ecosystem coevolution, creating a collaboration system with governments and local communities and embedding local knowledge into the system are essential. Furthermore, digital tools can play a critical role in the coevolution process.

Investing in disaster management capabilities versus pre-positioning inventory: A new approach to disaster preparedness

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
International Journal of Production Economics, 157: 261-272
Abstract: 

Disaster preparedness has been recognized as a central element in reducing the impact of disasters worldwide.

The usual methods of preparedness, such as pre-positioning relief inventory in countries prone to disasters, are problematic because they require high investment in various locations, due to the uncertainty about the timing and location of the next disaster. Investing in disaster management capabilities, such as training staff, pre-negotiating customs agreements with countries prone to disasters, or harmonizing import procedures with local customs clearance procedures, has been recognized as a way to overcome this constraint. By means of system dynamics modeling, we model the delivery process of ready-to-use therapeutic food items during the immediate response phase of a disaster, and we analyze the performance of different preparedness scenarios. We find that pre-positioning inventory produces positive results for the beneficiaries, but at extremely high costs. Investing in disaster management capabilities is an interesting alternative, as it allows lead time reductions of up to 67% (18 days) compared to a scenario without preparedness, at significantly lower costs than pre-positioning inventory. We find that the best performance can be achieved when combining both preparedness strategies, allocating part of the available funding to disaster management capabilities and part to pre-positioning inventory. We analyze 2828 such combined scenarios to identify the best mix of preparedness strategies for different levels of available funding. On the basis of our findings, we provide recommendations for relief organizations on how to allocate their preparedness budget.

A geographic approach for combining social media and authoritative data towards identifying useful information for disaster management

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 29 (4): 667-689
Abstract: 

In recent years, social media emerged as a potential resource to improve the management of crisis situations such as disasters triggered by natural hazards.

Although there is a growing research body concerned with the analysis of the usage of social media during disasters, most previous work has concentrated on using social media as a stand-alone information source, whereas its combination with other information sources holds a still underexplored potential. This article presents an approach to enhance the identification of relevant messages from social media that relies upon the relations between georeferenced social media messages as Volunteered Geographic Information and geographic features of flood phenomena as derived from authoritative data (sensor data, hydrological data and digital elevation models). We apply this approach to examine the micro-blogging text messages of the Twitter platform (tweets) produced during the River Elbe Flood of June 2013 in Germany. This is performed by means of a statistical analysis aimed at identifying general spatial patterns in the occurrence of flood-related tweets that may be associated with proximity to and severity of flood events. The results show that messages near (up to 10 km) to severely flooded areas have a much higher probability of being related to floods. In this manner, we conclude that the geographic approach proposed here provides a reliable quantitative indicator of the usefulness of messages from social media by leveraging the existing knowledge about natural hazards such as floods, thus being valuable for disaster management in both crisis response and preventive monitoring.

A review of game theory applications in natural disaster management research

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Natural Hazards, 89 (3): 1461–1483
Abstract: 

Research for efficiently planning and responding to natural disasters is of vital interest due to the devastating effects and losses caused by their occurrence, including economic deficiency, casua

lties, and infrastructure damage. Following the large breadth of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, we observe a growing use of game theoretic models in the research concerning natural disaster management. In these models, government agencies and private companies interact as players in a disaster relief game. Notable research in these areas has studied multi-player games and multi-agency collaboration, among others, to provide insights into optimal decisions concerning defensive investment and private–public partnerships in the face of disaster occurrence. This paper aims to increase the comprehension of game theory-based research in disaster management and to provide directions for future research. We analyze and integrate 57 recent papers (2006–2016) to summarize game theory-based research in natural disaster and emergency management. We find that the response phase of disaster relief has been researched most extensively, and future research could be directed toward the other phases of disaster management such as mitigation, preparedness, and recovery. Attacker–defender games to be utilized relatively frequently to model both mitigation and response for a disaster. Defensive resource allocation and sequential/simultaneous games to model the interaction between agencies/individuals in light of a disaster are two other common ways to model disaster management. In addition to academia, the targeted audience of this research includes governments, private sectors, private citizens, and others who are concerned with or involved in disaster management.

Emergency response in natural disaster management: Allocation and scheduling of rescue units

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
European Journal of Operational Research, 235 (3): 697-708
Abstract: 

Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes, cause tremendous harm each year.

In order to reduce casualties and economic losses during the response phase, rescue units must be allocated and scheduled efficiently. As this problem is one of the key issues in emergency response and has been addressed only rarely in literature, this paper develops a corresponding decision support model that minimizes the sum of completion times of incidents weighted by their severity. The presented problem is a generalization of the parallel-machine scheduling problem with unrelated machines, non-batch sequence-dependent setup times and a weighted sum of completion times – thus, it is NP-hard. Using literature on scheduling and routing, we propose and computationally compare several heuristics, including a Monte Carlo-based heuristic, the joint application of 8 construction heuristics and 5 improvement heuristics, and GRASP metaheuristics. Our results show that problem instances (with up to 40 incidents and 40 rescue units) can be solved in less than a second, with results being at most 10.9% up to 33.9% higher than optimal values. Compared to current best practice solutions, the overall harm can be reduced by up to 81.8%.

Security and the performative politics of resilience: Critical infrastructure protection and humanitarian emergency preparedness

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Security Dialogue, 46 (1): 32-50
Abstract: 

This article critically examines the performative politics of resilience in the context of the current UK Civil Contingencies (UKCC) agenda.

It places resilience within a wider politics of (in)security that seeks to govern risk by folding uncertainty into everyday practices that plan for, pre-empt, and imagine extreme events. Moving beyond existing diagnoses of resilience based either on ecological adaptation or neoliberal governmentality, we develop a performative approach that highlights the instability, contingency, and ambiguity within attempts to govern uncertainties. This performative politics of resilience is investigated via two case studies that explore 1) critical national infrastructure protection and 2) humanitarian emergency preparedness. By drawing attention to the particularities of how resilient knowledge is performed and what it does in diverse contexts, we repoliticize resilience as an ongoing, incomplete, and potentially self-undermining discourse.

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