Home Framework New framework developed to understand recurrent acute disasters

New framework developed to understand recurrent acute disasters


COLUMBIA, MD., March 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As Acute Recurrent Disasters (RAD) – sequential disasters that affect a specific location over time – become more frequent and intense, affecting vulnerable populations, they pose a threat to the quality of the environment, economic activity and public health and safety.

Yet disaster research has largely focused on individual and isolated disasters, rather than ARDs, which severely limits the usefulness and predictive ability of emergency management and preparedness actions. A better understanding of ARD is essential to improve preparedness, disaster management, response and recovery and the resilience of communities.

To solve this problem, a group of scientists, Clemson UniversityUniversities Space Research Association and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies have worked together to build a new new frame to improve the scientific understanding of RAD and created a conceptual model of how RAD affects the human ecosystem. They demonstrate how valuable and important a new framework like this will be in the future. By analyzing post-disaster conditions defined as “legacy conditions”, this team applied the framework they created for Porto Rico, which provides a useful measure for understanding RADs. The results were published in the March 9 problem of Scientific advances.

“Improving our understanding of recurring disasters has the potential to advance disaster science, improve disaster response, build resilience to future disasters and save lives,” says Clemson University Professor Gary Machlisuniversity professor of environmental studies and lead author of the paper. »

The research is an important new step towards understanding the complex characteristics of inherited conditions created by one disaster that influence the effects of subsequent disasters. The study shows that RAD creates a cascade of consequences associated with previous disasters, as was the case with Hurricane Irma, followed by the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, then a subsequent drought, and the January 2020 Earthquake.

Researchers show that subsequent acute disasters are a function of:

  • The state of the human ecosystem at a given time
  • Conditions inherited from previous disasters
  • The Geospatial Union of Previous Disasters and Later Disasters
  • The time gap between previous and following disasters
  • The recovery and response preparedness actions taken during the time interval and
  • The type, intensity and rate of expansion of the subsequent disaster

Former USRA’s Earth from Space Institute (EfSI) director and study co-author Dr. Miguel Román said: “The situation in Porto Rico since 2017 has led to what we define as negative legacy conditions, including deteriorating energy infrastructure, loss of public trust in government institutions, and a healthcare system under immense strain. Because inherited conditions have different impacts on vulnerable communities, issues of equity and environmental justice (EEJ) can also be best addressed through ARD-sensitive disaster and recovery policies.”

“As recurring acute disasters become more frequent and intense, research into inherited conditions is increasingly important to improve disaster science and preparedness,” said Dr Steward Pickett of the Cary Institute, who also co-led the study.

Going forward, there will be a need for the disaster management community working with scientists engaged in RAD research to convert RAD-based predictions of inherited conditions into specific preparedness actions that reduce vulnerability to subsequent disasters. The research group is working on developing new visualization tools that could be used to accurately display RADs. Increasing our understanding of ARD has the potential to advance disaster science, improve disaster response, build resilience to future disasters and save lives.

About the USRA

Founded in 1969, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the United States government, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing science, technology, and engineering related to space. The USRA operates scientific institutes and facilities and conducts other major research and educational programs. USRA engages the academic community and employs in-house scientific leadership, innovative research and development, and project management expertise. More information about the USRA is available at www.usra.edu.

On Clemson University

One of the most productive public research universities in the country, Clemson University has 27,341 students and has an endowment of over $1 billion. Rated R1 – Very High Research University by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education – Clemson is dedicated to teaching, research and service. Its main campus, located in northern South Carolina, spans 1,400 acres at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the shores of Lake Hartwell. Thanks to the research, awareness and entrepreneurial projects carried out by our professors and students, Clemson University drives economic development and improves the quality of life in Caroline from the south and beyond. For more information, visit clemson.edu

About the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is an independent, nonprofit center for environmental research. Since 1983, its scientists have studied the complex interactions that govern the natural world and the impacts of climate change on these systems. The results of his research lead to more effective management and political action and to better knowledge of the environment. The staff is made up of world experts in city, disease, forest and freshwater ecology.”

Additional Resources:

The document will be available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/. after 2:00 p.m., March 9, 2022.

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SOURCE Space Research Association of Universities