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Victor Marchezini

Natural Hazards Center

Breakout Room 2.


interdisciplinarity; transdisciplinarity; disaster recovery; innovation

How can the human dimensions of disaster impacts be more accurately captured and represented in the analysis, modeling and simulation of disasters?

Since 2012; I have had daily interactions with meteorologists; data scientists etc. I worked at the monitoring room of a warning agency for two years; and then in a research department; in the same organization. People used to ask me: "What is a sociologist doing here?". The needs of these two departments were completely different in terms of data; information; analysis and modeling. They were focused on data about hazards; but did not identify the value of data about vulnerability and impacts. The monitoring room had daily interactions with local emergency managers; who did not understand the data; information; maps and language of alerts; as well as did not have sufficient institutional capacities and methods to work with communities at risk; and did not have sufficient capacity building to carry out loss and damage assessment after disasters. To face part of this challenge; in 2015 we initiated a citizen science project engaging high schools; communities close to these schools and local emergency managers. The idea was to promote science initiation in these schools; using qualitative and quantitative methods to promote their knowledge about disaster risks and impacts. We used oral history about past disasters and impacts; participatory mapping to identify flood and landslide prone areas; participatory monitoring; risk analysis of school building infrastructure etc. Students learnt how to collect and analyze data; the differences between data; information and knowledge. When thinking about "human dimensions' '; you need to identify the roles of people and how they influence data collection; analysis; circulation and use

What type of data and supporting research infrastructure would be necessary to enable novel, transdisciplinary approaches to answering these and other human-centered disaster questions?

I think there is a lack of data about vulnerabilities and capacities of people; considering mobility status and types of disabilities (impairments). We also should look at data about institutional capacities of local and state emergency management organizations; in terms of human; material and financial resources; capacity building and governance mechanisms (communication between organizations; communication with society; communication with media; disaster risk reduction plans; disaster recovery plans; protocols). It should be useful to cross data about the locations of high schools; health facilities and other critical infrastructure which receive people and/or provide essential services to them. Usually; there are also barriers to exchange of data and information between these organizations; before and after disasters. Sometimes their databases also have different patterns and formats. Strategies for improving data governance mechanisms would be useful; including how to collect; use and share citizen generated data. There is also a need to discuss how to collect; analyze and maintain what types of data about the long-term disaster recovery process. Training researchers and journalists on how to collect and share data before; during and after disasters would also be useful; strengthening ethical ways of doing it; according to different cultural contexts and phases of disaster. Capacity building of practitioners and researchers from different fields of knowledge would also be useful; especially because we can face new catastrophes such as the Covid-19 pandemic; which impacted everyone and drove research efforts to face the pandemic.

In what ways can US-Japan collaborations advance these questions in new and important ways?

The CONVERGE project; led by Natural Hazards Center/University of Colorado Boulder; offers interesting capacity building and training sessions which would be useful to prepare hazard and disaster scientists in these US-Japan collaborations; focused on a convergence approach. The training sessions cover critical aspects; such as cultural competences and ethical issues in disaster research; interdisciplinary research methods; quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods etc. It would be important to have a translation of these materials into Japanese; as well as the adaptation of some of them to take into account case studies from the Japanese context. This could nurture long-term collaboration and motivation for early career scientists in US and Japan; even between those young students who face challenges to learn and speak English. On the other hand; US students could also learn Japanese; and initiatives of student exchange could also be strengthened. Another important thing is to analyze if these US-Japan collaborations are concentrated on specific universities and fields of knowledge; and whether it is possible to expand the collaboration to include other fields of knowledge (social work and education; for instance) and from universities from other States/provinces/regions of both countries.

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