Pacific Rim Leaders Collaborate to Improve Disaster Risk Management
Original post on UH News. Disasters know no borders. That sentiment rang clearly among the national and international experts who gathered at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) 2023 Multi-Hazards Workshop. Held February 21–23, participants explored ways to improve disaster risk management capacity through localization in Asia and the Pacific. “This workshop underscores the significant role that local governments and communities play when dealing with disasters,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Involving these groups, particularly local emergency response practitioners, in the development of disaster risk reduction preparedness strategies and early response efforts for their regions will result in actionable plans that are better adapted and responsive to the needs of each area.” The workshop focused on the group’s experiences and research in four critical areas: emergency response, all-hazards approach, early warning risk communication and inclusive disaster risk reduction (DRR). Top outcomes from the meeting include these findings: Investment is critical: DRR is an investment. Exchanges that bring together all parties (local communities, first responders, military, academia and government) are important to developing relationships and trust that are critical to success during times of disaster. Comprehensive approaches are key: All-hazards approaches that integrate local and Indigenous knowledge provide highly beneficial frameworks to respond effectively as disasters become increasingly complex. Grassroots efforts are a critical component to risk reduction and mitigation: While technologies are highly valuable and provide early warnings in the event of a disaster, the “last mile” must rely on the preparedness of local communities, cultural practitioners and volunteerism. The most vulnerable suffer: The most vulnerable continue to suffer disproportionately in the event of a disaster. New methods are required to address the needs of women, children, elderly, disabled and low-income individuals. Data-sharing and new technologies improve effectiveness of response: Data-sharing and new technologies of AI may be able to assist people in responding more effectively in times of disaster. Case studies may provide the key to localization: Identifying case studies across communities within APRU’s region that highlight successful practices will go a long way in developing and modeling innovative solutions. The workshop hosted more than 35 attendees from Australia, The Bahamas, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Singapore and the United States. In addition to breakout sessions, participants engaged in an interactive mass-tsunami mock press conference at the UH Mānoa Digital Studios, where journalism students interviewed workshop participants as the simulation unfolded. They also visited the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM), NOAA and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. APRU is a network of leading universities linking the Americas, Asia and Australasia. It brings together thought leaders, researchers and policy-makers to exchange ideas and collaborate on practical solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. The APRU 2023 Multi-Hazards Workshop was made possible by support from lead sponsor Tokio Marine Group and CFE-DM. Since its establishment in 1879 as Japan’s first insurance company, Tokio Marine Group has expanded its business globally from the domestic non-life insurance business to the life insurance business and the international insurance business. It consists of Tokio Marine Holdings and its subsidiaries, and affiliates located worldwide, operating extensively in the non-life insurance business, life insurance business, and financial and general businesses. “Disaster resilience and climate action are priority issues for Tokio Marine Group,” said Mark Yoda, chairman and CEO of First Insurance Company of Hawaiʻi, a member of Tokio Marine North America’s group of companies. “Our goal is to work with the world’s leading experts to create a global sustainable society where future generations can live safely and securely. We are proud to be a part of APRU’s efforts through our sponsorship of this year’s Multi-Hazards Workshop.” CFE-DM builds crisis response capacity in U.S. and partner militaries, enhances coordination and collaboration with civilian and foreign partners, and strengthens those relationships to save lives and alleviate human suffering before, during and after humanitarian crises. Find out more information about the workshop here.
March 1, 2023more
17th Annual APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium Presents New Approaches and Tools to Tackle Future Risks
The 17th Annual APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium was hosted by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok in late-November, highlighting the importance of innovative approaches for numerous key topics ranging from infrastructure and community resilience to socio-economic and governance challenges. Held under the theme “Innovation toward sustainable growth and disaster risk reduction”, the real-life gathering brought over 120 featured scholars, practitioners, and participants from the APRU network and the United Nations ESCAP across four continents. Prof. Dr. Bundit Eua-arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University, pointed out that Chulalongkorn University is strongly committed to facilitate academic learning, public service, and professional excellence with innovations for multi-hazard management. “Education institutes have a lot of valuable academic resources and innovative research, and we need to work harder with collective efforts and well-planned strategies to mitigate potential risks and use new innovations with systematic management methods to prevent any hazards from happening,” Prof. Dr. Bundit said in his welcome speech. “By doing so, not only people’s life will be safer, but also damages on lives and properties will be reduced,” he added. The multidisciplinary nature of the 17th Annual APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium was illustrated by eleven prominent keynote speakers, such as Prof. Fumihiko Imamura, Director of the International Research Institute of Disaster Science at Tohoku University; Dr. Bhichit Rattakul, , Chairperson of the Thai Network for Disaster Resilience; Dr. Sanjay Srivastava, UNESCAP Chief for Disaster Risk Reduction; and Dr. Aaron Opdyke, Director of Research Training, School of Civil Engineering, Sydney University. Case studies ranged from Seismic Fragility of Selected Public High School Buildings in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, to Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Management in Sri Lankan Hospitals. Participants agreed that new approaches and tools based on innovation, science, and technology are indispensable to tackle future risks. “Nowadays, our world has been impacted by multiple hazards, including one of the most severe pandemics, COVID-19, and each time, the affected countries were facing losses based on lives,” said Prof. Supot Teachavorasinskun, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University. “As the world is developing, it is our goal to reduce the disaster losses by creating sustainable innovations from our multidisciplinary knowledge,” he added. The 17th Annual APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium featured several Best Presentation and Poster Awards. Students from Monash University and Universitas Indonesia won the prizes by sharing the lessons learned from COVID-19 management in Sri Lankan hospitals and integrating tsunami evacuation route planning in web applications for Disaster Risk Reduction. For more information about the Multi-Hazards Symposium, visit here.
December 8, 2022more
APRU Congratulates Tohoku University’s IRIDeS for 10 Years of Leading Disaster Risk Reduction Research
The International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) at Tohoku University marked its 10th anniversary recently, presenting APRU an opportunity to highlight its admiration for IRIDeS’s leading Disaster Risk Reduction research that has been paving the way for more public engagement to prepare for and respond to disasters. Tohoku University and APRU jointly launched the APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Program in 2013. The program has since gained wide recognition across the region, including by facilitating the development of highly effective collaborations with international organizations, such as the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), United Nations University (UNU), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Program’s key initiatives include the annual Summer School, the APRU Campus Safety Initiative, and Architecture and Urban Design for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (ArcDR3). The program also launched an open-access journal, Progress in Disaster Science, leveraging on the APRU Multi-Hazards experts for editing and contributing to research papers. During the pandemic the program has continued to offer opportunities for virtual education and research that has attracted thousands of participants. “Tohoku University and APRU share the same vision of addressing global concerns through partnerships, and we are looking forward to continuing to work closely with IRIDeS,” said Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU, in his greetings from Hong Kong on IRIDeS’ 10th anniversary. “This is a program that is more needed than ever, as extreme events threaten the whole world,” he added. Tremewan went on to thank President Hideo Ohno and Executive Vice President Toshiya Ueki for providing strong leadership to this important program. He also thanked Professor Fumihiko Imamura, Professor Osamu Murao, and Associate Professor Takako Izumi for chairing the APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Program.
October 28, 2022more
APRU Readies for Looming Book Launch with Springer on Safety and Resilience of Higher Educational Institutions
APRU is proud to announce that the APRU Multi-Hazards Program has facilitated the upcoming book Safety and Resilience of Higher Educational Institutions: Considerations for a Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Analysis, published by Springer. Higher educational institutions (HEIs) have had to undergo significant transformations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some countries had to cope with the pandemic and natural hazards simultaneously. However, the situation had a silver lining, as it has allowed HEIs to review their campus disaster preparedness, response, and recovery capacities. The upcoming book Safety and Resilience of Higher Educational Institutions: Considerations for a Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Analysis covers the experiences and lessons learned from HEIs in preparedness, response, and recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare for such calamities beyond natural disasters in the future. The book has been edited by Takako Izumi, Associate Professor of IRIDeS, Tohoku University, Japan, and Director of APRU Multi-Hazards (MH) Program; Indrajit Pal, Associate Professor, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand; and Rajib Shaw, Professor of Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan. Izumi’s chapter includes a checklist for university preparedness developed under the APRU MH campus safety program. A survey was conducted based on the checklist to assess the current preparedness capacities on campus and identify their challenges to minimize damage from future hazards. “The survey result showed that not many universities conducted even a general risk assessment on campus. It is strongly recommended that universities review their current disaster management plans with proper risk assessment and improve them to be applicable to a wider range of risks,” Izumi said. A chapter co-written by Dr. Mellissa Withers, Associate Professor at the University of Southern California and Director of the APRU Global Health Program, and Elly Vandegrift, Director of Global STEM Education Initiatives in the Global Studies Institute at the University of Oregon, contains fifteen case studies from universities in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., finding that faculty learned to create online community environments and meaningful assessment and assignment systems. At the same time, students responded to new offerings to participate in global cross-cultural and cross-country event programs. The authors described how the APRU Virtual Student Exchange Program facilitated immersive structural exchange connecting students with peers abroad in projects ranging from exploring the Galapagos islands to picturing Hong Kong through historical paintings and photos. “Although many of these innovations were born out of necessity, they have certainly set the stage for post-pandemic higher education in the future,” Withers said in a webinar held on May 24 in preparation for the launch. In the same webinar, Dr. Pan Tsung-Yi, Associate Research Fellow at the Center for Weather Climate and Disaster Research, National Taiwan University (NTU), presented an overview of the Taiwanese government’s epidemic prevention in the higher education system. Pan explained how NTU swiftly developed a digital learning platform for non-contact teaching while creating a low-cost automated temperature measuring device with a contract tracing system for face-to-face learning by describing the universities’ role. The system successfully handled 26,000 visits to the NTU campus daily, involving 80,000 daily ID card scans to avoid Covid-19 cluster-spreading between the different campus buildings. “Through the sharing of the Taiwan experience, we hope institutions can refer to it to enhance campus safety and resilience for the future,” Pan said. Dr. Ailsa Holloway, a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at Auckland University of Technology, explained that New Zealand’s Covid-19 responses were based on the national risk context of past measles outbreaks, volcanic eruptions, Australian bushfires, and earthquakes. “We learned that higher education governance systems that systematically incorporate disaster risk considerations are better placed for vigorous and coherent emergency response,” Holloway said. “Universities are vital in the frontline response to public health and other emergencies, while also being vulnerable, both externally with respect to exposures outside the institution and internally with respect to students, staff, and the operating system,” she added. Information about the book Safety and Resilience of Higher Educational Institutions: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-981-19-1193-4 More on APRU Multi-Hazards Program: http://aprumh.irides.tohoku.ac.jp/ https://apru.org/our-work/pacific-rim-challenges/multi-hazards/ About APRU As a network of 60 leading universities linking the Americas, Asia, and Australasia, APRU brings together thought leaders, researchers, and policy-makers to exchange ideas and collaborate on practical solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. They leverage their members’ collective education and research capabilities into the international public policy process. In the post-pandemic era, their strategic priorities focus on providing a neutral platform for high-level policy dialogue, taking actions on climate change, and supporting diversity, inclusion, and minorities. APRU’s primary activities support these strategic priorities with a focus on critical areas such as disaster risk reduction, women in leadership, indigenous knowledge, virtual student exchange, esports, population aging, global health, sustainable cities, artificial intelligence, waste management, and more. To learn more about APRU, please visit www.apru.org Contacts Media: Jack Ng Director, Communications, APRU Email: [email protected]
July 5, 2022more
APRU on Bloomberg: APRU Readies for Looming Book Launch with Springer on Safety and Resilience of Higher Educational Institutions
Congratulations to the sixteen APRU scholars across seven universities alongside external partners and experts contributing to this book, sharing interdisciplinary knowledge and experiences that higher educational institutions can lead in the midst of disaster risk management, natural and biological hazards, and COVID-19 pandemic. Original post on Bloomberg. APRU is proud to announce that the APRU Multi-Hazards Program has facilitated the upcoming book Safety and Resilience of Higher Educational Institutions: Considerations for a Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Analysis, published by Springer. Higher educational institutions (HEIs) have had to undergo significant transformations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some countries had to cope with the pandemic and natural hazards simultaneously. However, the situation had a silver lining, as it has allowed HEIs to review their campus disaster preparedness, response, and recovery capacities. The upcoming book Safety and Resilience of Higher Educational Institutions: Considerations for a Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Analysis covers the experiences and lessons learned from HEIs in preparedness, response, and recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare for such calamities beyond natural disasters in the future. The book has been edited by Takako Izumi, Associate Professor of IRIDeS, Tohoku University, Japan, and Director of APRU Multi-Hazards (MH) Program; Indrajit Pal, Associate Professor, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand; and Rajib Shaw, Professor of Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan. Izumi’s chapter includes a checklist for university preparedness developed under the APRU MH campus safety program. A survey was conducted based on the checklist to assess the current preparedness capacities on campus and identify their challenges to minimize damage from future hazards. “The survey result showed that not many universities conducted even a general risk assessment on campus. It is strongly recommended that universities review their current disaster management plans with proper risk assessment and improve them to be applicable to a wider range of risks,” Izumi said. A chapter co-written by Dr. Mellissa Withers, Associate Professor at the University of Southern California and Director of the APRU Global Health Program, and Elly Vandegrift, Director of Global STEM Education Initiatives in the Global Studies Institute at the University of Oregon, contains fifteen case studies from universities in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., finding that faculty learned to create online community environments and meaningful assessment and assignment systems. At the same time, students responded to new offerings to participate in global cross-cultural and cross-country event programs. The authors described how the APRU Virtual Student Exchange Program facilitated immersive structural exchange connecting students with peers abroad in projects ranging from exploring the Galapagos islands to picturing Hong Kong through historical paintings and photos. “Although many of these innovations were born out of necessity, they have certainly set the stage for post-pandemic higher education in the future,” Withers said in a webinar held on May 24 in preparation for the launch. In the same webinar, Dr. Pan Tsung-Yi, Associate Research Fellow at the Center for Weather Climate and Disaster Research, National Taiwan University (NTU), presented an overview of the Taiwanese government’s epidemic prevention in the higher education system. Pan explained how NTU swiftly developed a digital learning platform for non-contact teaching while creating a low-cost automated temperature measuring device with a contract tracing system for face-to-face learning by describing the universities’ role. The system successfully handled 26,000 visits to the NTU campus daily, involving 80,000 daily ID card scans to avoid Covid-19 cluster-spreading between the different campus buildings. “Through the sharing of the Taiwan experience, we hope institutions can refer to it to enhance campus safety and resilience for the future,” Pan said. Dr. Ailsa Holloway, a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at Auckland University of Technology, explained that New Zealand’s Covid-19 responses were based on the national risk context of past measles outbreaks, volcanic eruptions, Australian bushfires, and earthquakes. “We learned that higher education governance systems that systematically incorporate disaster risk considerations are better placed for vigorous and coherent emergency response,” Holloway said. “Universities are vital in the frontline response to public health and other emergencies, while also being vulnerable, both externally with respect to exposures outside the institution and internally with respect to students, staff, and the operating system,” she added. Information about the book Safety and Resilience of Higher Educational Institutions: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-981-19-1193-4 More on APRU Multi-Hazards Program: http://aprumh.irides.tohoku.ac.jp/ https://apru.org/our-work/pacific-rim-challenges/multi-hazards/ About APRU As a network of 60 leading universities linking the Americas, Asia, and Australasia, APRU brings together thought leaders, researchers, and policy-makers to exchange ideas and collaborate on practical solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. They leverage their members’ collective education and research capabilities into the international public policy process. In the post-pandemic era, their strategic priorities focus on providing a neutral platform for high-level policy dialogue, taking actions on climate change, and supporting diversity, inclusion, and minorities. APRU’s primary activities support these strategic priorities with a focus on critical areas such as disaster risk reduction, women in leadership, indigenous knowledge, virtual student exchange, esports, population aging, global health, sustainable cities, artificial intelligence, waste management, and more. To learn more about APRU, please visit www.apru.org Contacts Media: Jack Ng Director, Communications, APRU Email: [email protected]
June 28, 2022more
ArcDR3 Regenerates Urbanism Living with Disaster: Stories from Seven Reborn Cities
April 20, 2022more
APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium 2021 Strengthens Preparedness for Future Disaster Management
The APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium 2021 was held virtually November 24-25, hosted by the Disaster Risk Reduction Center of Universitas Indonesia (UI). The event, which took two years of preparation due to the pandemic, offered oral and poster presentations for researchers and students to exchange study outcomes. Southeast Asia, one of the world’s regions most at risks of natural disasters, has been striving to develop its resilience to disasters. The APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium 2021’s theme Building Partnerships for Sustainable Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for All Hazards highlighted the importance of an all-hazards approach, while underlining the focus on strengthening resilience and preparedness for future disaster management. This covers natural and biological hazards, such as the world is experiencing right now with COVID-19. “This event was the result of collaboration between multiple national and international parties that took extra care to ensure it goes smoothly and provided valuable experience for everyone involved,” said Symposium Chairperson Prof. dra. Fatma Lestari. “Within the call for abstracts, we have received and reviewed more than 350 abstracts and full papers from across the globe, and we were also able to collaborate with various national and international journals in helping scholars with their scientific publications,” she added. The multidisciplinary nature of the APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium 2021 was attested to by the subsidiary themes of crisis management, innovative infrastructure, and sustainability. Over 1,000 participants attended, with featured speakers including representatives from five APRU member universities, Indonesian government officials, as well as representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), United Nations University, and the Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). Nearly 250 participants provided presentations. Prize awards were given to presenters from Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, and the USA. The APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium 2022 will be hosted by Chulalongkorn University under the theme Innovation Towards Sustainable Growth and Disaster Risk Reduction. Find out more about the Multi-Hazards Symposium 2021 here.
December 15, 2021more
The 16TH APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium 2021: Transdisciplinary Collaboration for Disaster Resilience
“Building Partnerships for Sustainable Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for All Hazards” is the theme of The 16th APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium 2021 held by the Disaster Risk Reduction Center of Universitas Indonesia (DRRC UI) in collaboration with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) on November 24-25, 2021. APRU is a network of 61 leading research universities around the Pacific Ocean. APRU aims to connect Asia, North and South America, and Australia to work together to address challenges across the region. Through the APRU program, academics across sectors, international organizations, public and private sectors, and communities across borders can collaborate to address global challenges. The symposium was attended by more than 250 presenters who will contribute to strengthening research on disaster resilience. The symposium was held online via Zoom and live on UI Teve’s YouTube channel. UI Rector Prof. Ari Kuncoro, Ph.D., said in his welcoming speech that the symposium is an opportunity to connect various perspectives from across borders for disaster management. According to him, the symposium is a platform that facilitates APRU members, partners, academics, policymakers, government and communities to collaborate in disaster risk reduction and recovery. “This symposium aims to share skills and knowledge on disaster mitigation among some of the most vulnerable countries to build a more resilient region, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. I believe sharing challenges and opportunities related to disaster risk reduction and panel discussions can raise awareness of the current issue of disaster risk reduction,” said Ari Kuncoro. Regarding the theme of the symposium, APRU General Secretary Dr. Christopher Tremewan stated that it is important to take an all-hazards approach to disaster risk reduction. “The occurrence of the Covid-19 Pandemic reminds us that disasters are caused not only by natural factors, human carelessness, or a combination of the two can also be a driving factor in the occurrence of a disaster, so a cross-border approach is important,” he said. The symposium also focused on strengthening resilience and preparedness for future disaster management including natural and biological hazards as we are currently experiencing with Covid-19. “APRU’s multi-disaster program recognizes the importance of implementing an all-hazards approach. This is also what we want to emphasize through our programs,” said Tremewan. Furthermore, he appreciated UI’s commitment and hard work to organize this annual symposium. Prof. Takako Izumi, Program Director of APRU Multi-Hazards & Tohoku University, introduced APRU’s multi-disaster program. The program aims to leverage the collective capabilities of APRU universities for cutting-edge research on DRR and contribute to international and regional discussions to influence the representative council policy-making processes. This is then initiated through research, education, collaboration with practitioners, and contributions to international discussions. “The multi-hazard program continues with efforts to strengthen the research capacity of APRU member universities in disaster science, provide learning opportunities for students and lecturers, as well as work with other stakeholders such as practitioners, government, and the private sector to make the best use of research results in practice. ” said Izumi. The event continued with a panel discussion. Present as the first resource person, Deputy for System and Strategy of the National Disaster Management Agency, Dr. Raditya Jati, M.Sc., said that disaster management is the business of all parties. He explained that Indonesia’s geographical location makes Indonesia prone to disasters. In addition, the direction and description of global disasters tend to increase due to various factors such as increasing population, urbanization, environmental degradation, and the effects of global climate change that hinder sustainable development. The intensity and complexity of modern disasters have caused a lot of losses and casualties both in people’s lives and livelihoods. Therefore, all parties must participate in the disaster management process. “Pentingnya kita memahami resiko dan berbagi peran dan tanggung jawab bersama mulai dari pra-bencana, saat bencana, dan pasca bencana untuk melakukan kolaborasi aksi mengurangi resiko bencana. Melalui perencanaan, dan implementasi pengurangan risiko bencana, kerugian yang memiliki kecenderungan meningkat dapat dikurangi,” ujar Raditya. In line with Raditya, Prof. Dra. Fatma Lestari, M.Sc., Ph.D. as the Director of DRRC UI explained that it is important to build partnerships for sustainable disaster risk reduction with the aim of overcoming all disasters. For this reason, strong collaboration is needed between the government, the private sector, industry, society and the media to overcome disasters from various sectors. This is also what underlies the construction of DRRC UI. DRRC UI is a work unit engaged in service and community service in the field of disaster. To achieve its goals, DRRC UI has four strategies, namely online learning through Edurisk, collaboration, aiming to overcome all disasters, and the principle of “no one left behind”. This post is also available in: Indonesian Click here to find out more about the APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Symposium 2021.
December 2, 2021more
2nd APRU Multi-Hazards Webinar Series calls for new disaster risk management approaches after COVID-19
The APRU Multi-Hazards Program successfully completed its second webinar series held in three sessions on September 30 and October 14 and 30, involving a total of thirteen speakers and 784 viewers. On the theme ‘A New Approach for Disaster Risk Management after COVID-19’, experts shared their experiences, and perspectives on preparedness and responses, introduced innovative tools and ideas on a scale-up of disaster risk management and addressed the need for connecting researchers and practitioners to identify most effective planning and actions. Key international organizations, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), explained how they have been supporting governments and regional initiatives to raise awareness for the importance of strong regional networks. The webinars, were organized against the backdrop of the COVID-19 experience reminding us that disaster risks are not only natural but include a wide range of disaster types, such as biological, chemical, and industrial calamitous events as emphasized in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in 2015. “APRU comprises 56 member-universities in the disaster-prone Pacific Rim region, and campus safety is crucial as universities hold larger numbers of students, faculty, and staff than lower schools,” said Takako Izumi, the director of the APRU Multi-Hazards Program, at the webinar. “It is very important for universities to consider the risks of both natural and man-made hazards, as they usually keep dangerous substances, and any campus accident may threaten the surrounding community’s safety,” she added. The webinars concluded with the launch of the new collaborative platform CBRNe-Natech Asian Disaster Risk Initiative (CnADRI). Based on the APRU Multi-Hazards Campus Safety Program, CnADRI will provide a space to share and discuss common challenges and identify solutions for various stakeholders. To know more about the webinar series and the speakers, please visit the webpage. To view a journal paper on managing and responding to pandemics in higher education institutions, please click here.
November 24, 2020more
APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Virtual Summer School 2020
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the 8th edition of APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Summer School had to be held virtually. Through a zoom platform, three sessions were held on July 15, 22, and 29 (JST). The event aimed to share the experiences and lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (GEJET), learn from the experiences in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and risk management from various stakeholders, and understand the latest international disaster science research conducted by the researchers globally. Total 842 people worldwide have attended the sessions. View the program and report here. View the speakers’ information here. Read a blog from our students who joined the summer school from Nanyang Technological University.
August 3, 2020more
Disaster preparedness would improve HE pandemic response
Original post in University World News Universities can better prepare themselves for future pandemics and become more resilient with a planning approach that encompasses other natural disasters, says Hideo Ohno, president of Japan’s Tohoku University in Sendai, which was badly affected by the 2011 East Japan Earthquake. Many Pacific Rim universities that were best prepared for campus closures at very short notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic already had emergency disaster response procedures in place. These included university plans in the event of bushfires in Australia and California in the United States just before the pandemic and partly overlapping it; typhoons in the Philippines, earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan; and previous epidemics such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS in East Asia and MERS in South Korea. “Universities need to take a multi-hazard approach in their planning” to prepare for natural disasters and other hazards like the pandemic, Ohno told University World News. Sendai, where Tohoku University is situated, suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011 in which 20,000 people lost their lives, compared to 982 deaths from COVID-19 to date. Fumihiko Imamura, professor of tsunami engineering and director of the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), established at Tohoku University a year after the 2011 earthquake, devised a number of principles derived from disaster science for universities and societies to respond to such events. Ohno cites these, among them “that disasters have evolved together with our lifestyle, which was very true in the pandemic situation as well”. In the case of tsunamis, people are reluctant to move away from the coast, he notes. “Second, humans cannot do more than prepare. The third point is that crisis management and response planning should be based on the worst scenario, which is also true in the current case.” “Another point is that it is necessary to judge a response under uncertain conditions. So we do not have full information why we are in the pandemic and the disaster response.” “The final point is that to create new lifestyles is important. We call it ‘build back better’,” said Ohno. “These are the lessons that we learn from earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, heavy rain and landslides. But these principles are surprisingly apt for the COVID-19 situation and to counter future pandemics. “We had many unknowns [with COVID-19] but the only thing that we know is that we have to be prepared for [another] highly toxic influenza virus pandemic in the future,” Ohno emphasised. Emergency team Tohoku University’s own in-house emergency advisory team for COVID-19 was first set up as an informal group providing advice from late January and then regular input in the university administration’s emergency planning. The team included Hitoshi Oshitani, professor of virology at Tohoku’s Graduate School of Medicine who was also on the Japanese government’s expert advisory team on the pandemic, which was providing advice from late February. “We were very fortunate that this expertise that we tapped over that time overlapped partly with the national response team,” Ohno noted. “We locked down the entire university in April so there was plenty of lead time,” he says. During this time, the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama Bay turned out to be an important ‘laboratory’. In February the cruise ship was declared by the World Health Organization to have more than half the known cases of COVID-19 outside China at that time. Some 700 COVID-19 cases were on the ship which had 3,710 passengers, as well as crew. “The country and specialists learned quite a lot from this,” said Ohno, particularly about transmission. The experts “informed us very early, late March or early April, that 80% of people who contracted coronavirus do not transmit coronavirus to others. The 20% is important and they tend to be young and active and most likely asymptomatic,” Ohno said. “So we asked our students not to travel back to their homes.” He said the level of seriousness went up in March “when we had the first case within our student body and we didn’t want to spread it to other students and other city residents and the community”. This was in contrast with universities in many other countries which sent most students home when they began to lock down campuses. University preparedness Lessons for higher education was one of the topics at a 17 June webinar organised by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) multi-hazards programme hosted by Tohoku University’s IRIDeS. Takako Izumi, associate professor at IRIDeS and programme director for the APRU-Tohoku multi-hazard programme, said lack of preparedness by higher education institutions was clear from a recent survey conducted by Tohoku. Of 150 responses from 65 Pacific Rim universities in 29 countries, two-thirds of them in Asia, “almost 50% of the universities are not ready” for such emergencies, “especially for a pandemic”, Izumi said. According to the survey, 53% of Pacific Rim higher education institutions had an emergency management office. But 47% lacked a permanent or dedicated emergency management office, Izumi said. Some 41% of institutions lacked a general business continuity plan to prepare for an emergency. Even for institutions that had such plans, “33% of the plans do not cover biological hazards in pandemic risk management. Sixty per cent of the business continuity plans did not include conducting simulation exercises in advance based on the plans,” which meant the effectiveness of such plans could not be assessed, Izumi said. From the survey carried out in April, when many of the universities had shut down, the top two issues in preparing for emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic cited by respondents were “lack of organisational preparedness for a pandemic” and “lack of pandemic-specific advance simulation exercises”, she said. The shift from classroom learning to online learning and internet access, an issue highlighted by many university leaders around the world in recent months, was only the third most important concern, according to the survey results. “Governance issues are more strongly addressed than educational issues as key challenges. That implies that people in higher education institutions understand and already realise the importance of preparedness,” Izumi said. Adapting emergency plans to COVID-19 Tan Eng Chye, president of the National University of Singapore (NUS), told University World News: “In 2003, SARS hit us quite badly. Since that time we have had a business continuity plan. Part of that plan is to look at possible scenarios. A pandemic is one of them.” Others include building collapse, a major fire or terrorist attack. “For each scenario we have a rough plan,” he explained. But every crisis is different. NUS experts in public health and infectious disease “kept reminding us that COVID-19 is not SARS. That advice has been very useful because it helps us to recalibrate our plan which was based on SARS,” Tan said. “COVID-19 changes very quickly. So as things were developing, our colleagues were very quick to learn what was happening in China and apply it.” Cynthia Larive, chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz in the United States, noted: “We had an emergency management structure in place and that was very useful.” It includes an operations centre for the university and how to manage communications, including coordination with the city and county. “We do tabletop exercises to practise,” Larive told University World News. Even so, planning for COVID-19 was challenging. “With an earthquake or fire you get through it very rapidly. You do an assessment, then plan for how your recovery can begin. But this pandemic is a different kind of situation. We are in it for a much longer period. In some ways it is less devastating, but it is hard to anticipate all the impacts and understand when it will end.” Larive says the university’s planning included five phases, depending on changing threat levels during the pandemic, and involving different actions for each phase so the campus could move back to a higher alert level with a second COVID-19 phase, for example. Including the community Tohoku’s Ohno stressed that the wider community is as important as campus-based emergency planning. The “2011 [earthquake] impacted us, our local community and our minds as well. Our focus was sharper after 2011. We knew we had to work with society in order to solve social issues and we have to collaborate within the university; we can’t just have independent silos. And the pandemic has absolutely reinforced that,” Ohno said. “For example, from the outset we knew that we had to take swift action to support students during the pandemic. We were one of the earliest in the country in establishing student support – financial support as well as a peer support system among students. “We had to ask students not to engage in jobs like waitressing at restaurants and things like that because we were afraid it might spread the virus on campus. So we got together initial financial support of approximately US$4 million for students.” Disaster recovery on campus and in research work has to involve the community, to better prepare for future disasters and increase campus resilience. “Almost 20,000 people lost their lives during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami – 90% of people drowned. So there was this feeling of how can we as a university help society and how can we help the local community and this naturally evolved into projects and programmes,” Ohno explains, pointing out that it took three to four years for the university to recover fully, as some university buildings had to be rebuilt, though lectures were able to resume within half a year. “More than a hundred small projects spontaneously emerged from our university after 2011,” Ohno said. The projects ranged from support for disaster-affected children, mental healthcare for disaster-affected people, radiation monitoring in Fukushima around the nuclear power plant damaged by the earthquake, research into ecological and marine impacts of the Fukushima radiation leakage, rescue activities for affected museums, agricultural reconstruction projects, archaeological surveys for the resettlement of tsunami victims, rescue robot technology and disaster-resistant medical instruments, among many others. “Later in 2015 we launched 30 programmes addressing broader societal issues, not just recovering from the earthquake.” This coincided with planning for the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and also the Paris Agreement on climate change – “2015 was when these three international agendas were set,” he pointed out. “The university’s role is to come up with a more generic holistic picture and that is a big, big challenge because we have a collection of specialists but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can formulate a holistic view. That’s not just a challenge for our university but for the whole higher education system.” Just as it acted swiftly to set up IRIDeS for interdisciplinary and expert disaster research a year after the 2011 quake, the university is planning a new interdisciplinary pandemic research centre. Ohno said that when he recently asked the university’s 3,000 faculty members how they would use their expertise to counter the COVID-19 situation, he received some 200 proposals. The next stage is to secure the research funding for the new centre. “The centre will have two focuses, one will be interdisciplinary, broad, social, cultural response and understanding the history [of pandemics] to see the sort of societal response we can have. The other pillar is looking at what people are doing elsewhere as well using our expertise to directly counter the coronavirus pandemic,” Ohno said. The centre will be important for collaboration across disciplines within the university and internationally, and with the community. “We need to consolidate [research] efforts so that we can counter what’s happening in this corona world and the ‘new normal’. That includes medical and direct research on the virus itself. But we also have to come up with a social structure that is more resilient to new pandemics if they come.”
July 18, 2020more
APRU x IRIDeS Webinar: Multi-hazards Approach and COVID-19
originally published in Tohoku University Tohoku University’s International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Multi Hazards Program hosted a seminar online on June 17 to discuss strategies and early recovery lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderated by Professor Rajib Shaw of Keio University, the international panel of speakers represented perspectives from the United Nations, government, the private sector and academia. Shaw described the COVID-19 pandemic as “one of the longest live disasters” of our time, and warned of seasonal dangers, such as typhoons and heatwaves, that still await. “It will be a long journey so we need some strategies to learn to live with risk.” Kicking off the lectures was Yong-kyun Kim, Director General of South Korea’s National Disaster and Safety Control Center. He attributed his country’s success in “flattening the curve,” to decisive and transparent government policies and the extensive use of innovative technology. He cited regular government updates through text messaging and other forms of communication that helped authorities win the public’s trust and cooperation. ICT-based systems and mobile phone apps also gave the government some control in monitoring persons from high risk areas or those who are supposed to be in quarantine. But perhaps the most effective Korean response to the pandemic was the widespread testing, contact tracing and rigorous treatment, which Kim described as “the 3T strategy.” An innovative drive-through testing method allowed people to be tested from their cars, or to walk through a booth. Because the RT-PCR tests could return diagnostic results within six hours, positive cases were dealt with quickly, said Kim. Loretta Hieber Girardet, who heads the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction for Asia and the Pacific, explained how the UN has been working to prevent COVID-19 from derailing the work that had been going on around the world on achieving Sustainable Development Goals. “The world has been looking at COVID-19 as a health crisis, but it goes far beyond that,” she said, adding that the UN has been developing a framework to support countries on issues like urbanization, gender equality, human rights and green recovery. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, President of the Philippines National Resilience Council, spoke on how the private sector can build resilience, and had three recommendations: understand local risks and vulnerabilities, invest in early detection and warning systems, and have a pre-disaster recovery plan. She said companies should build their crisis management capabilities by learning from best practices across all sectors, adding that conventional corporate social responsibility is no longer enough. Disaster risk reduction, especially health security, should be embedded in the core values of all corporations going forward. Anchoring the panel was Associate Professor Takako Izumi from IRIDeS. She highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on universities and their level of preparedness to meet the challenges. Izumi, who is also the director of the APRU Multi-hazards Program, shared the results of an April survey of 65 universities in 29 countries, which revealed that nearly half of them did not have sufficient organisational preparedness when the pandemic struck.On the academic front, some institutions also struggled with the shift from traditional classroom learning to online-based learning. Izumi concluded that the following adjustments need to be made to ensure better preparedness in the future: – have adequate business continuity plans (BCP) and emergency management units – use a blended learning approach to education – raise awareness of not just natural disasters, but also biohazard and health risks – build a network with other stakeholders and be part of a wider DRR agenda – have designated funding to scale up preparedness “We see from this pandemic that an all-hazards approach to risk assessment is vital for academic institutions. This includes their emergency response mechanism, as well as information sharing and risk communication systems, such as early warning and evacuation plans,” said Izumi. “It’s also important to have drills and stress tests before the disaster, to make sure the plans work.” The 90-minute event wrapped up with the panelists reiterating the need to understand the interconnected nature of risks. “Certainly COVID-19 for us is a wake-up call around systemic risks,” said Girardet. “You cannot look at risks in isolation.” For more information, please visit APRU Plus website at APRU-IRIDeS MH Program: http://aprumh.irides.tohoku.ac.jp/
July 1, 2020more
Multi-Hazard Data Science Workshop Report
Recognizing that greatly improved data is necessary to support all facets of disaster research, the UC Davis scholars and experts placed the focus of the Multi-Hazard Data Science Workshop on improvements in data and decision science. This emphasis is congruent with the growing interest within the larger Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and APRU for the development of data science and data analytics expertise across the region. Please see a report generated from the workshop. For more information about the workshop please visit here.
September 18, 2019more
Campus Safety Workshop Report: Is your University ready for the next Natural Disaster?
The International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) at Tohoku University and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) held a “Building Disaster Resistant Universities ~Is Your University Ready for the next Natural Disaster?~” workshop February 2–4, 2016 at IRIDeS. Ms. Amy Aiken, Director of the Department of Emergency Management at Florida International University (FIU), was the invited trainer and facilitator, and more than 30 participants, including faculty, staff, and students from 16 universities in the United States, Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand attended. The workshop discussed lessons learned from other universities, common challenges and issues, and tools to develop an effective emergency plan that introduces necessary improvements and enhances overall university preparedness. See the Multi-Hazards web site for the full workshop report.
February 22, 2016more
APRU at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
The APRU Multi-Hazards Program (MHP) was actively involved in the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai in March 2015. Centered on the theme “Science and Practical Disaster Risk Reduction – The Role of Universities and Academia”, the APRU MHP organized three panel discussions at the public forum of the conference. Prof Fumihiko Imamura (Tohoku University), Dr Christopher Tremewan (Association of Pacific Rim Universities) and Dr Shuaib Lwasa (Integrated Research on Disaster Risk) welcomed the audience. All speakers highlighted the importance of the cooperation between higher education institutions, private sector, public administration and the civil society for successful disaster risk reduction in theory and practice. The first panel presented initiatives, ideas and solutions to “Bridging the Gap between Science and Practice”. Prof. Supot Teachavorasinskun (Chulalongkorn University) and Prof. Reid Basher (Victoria University of Wellington) were discussing with Rowan Douglas (Willis Research Network), Dr Yoshiko Abe (Kokusay Kogyo) and Masaaki Miyamoto (Pacific Consultants) and highlighting positive developments with the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action. The development of technology was highlighted in the second panel discussion. Prof John Rundle (University of California, Davis), Dr David Green, Dr Gerald Bowden (both National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Margaret Glasscoe (California Institute of Technology), Prof Shinji Toda (Tohoku University), Prof Yih-Chi Tan (National Taiwan University) and Prof Hui Zhang (Tsinghua University) introduced new developments in science that could help to strengthen emergency preparedness, disaster management and disaster recovery. Finally, DRR was reviewed from the social science perspective. Prof Hugo Romero, University of Chile, Prof Rajib Shaw, Kyoto University, Prof Karl Kim, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Prof. Takako Izumi, Tohoku University, Dr Manu Gupta, Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network and Dr Badaoui Rouhban were presenting on the positive development of the international disaster risk reduction community. They also highlighted the political and economic impact of disasters and climate change on local and indigenous communities. Dr Tremewan was also invited to speak at the panel discussion of the Asian University Network of Environment and Disaster Risk Management (AUEDM) and Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risk(Periperi-U) to share APRU’s vision of successful collaboration among higher education institutions on DRR strategies. His presentation attracted a lot of questions and interest in APRU. In addition, the MHP was able to strengthen the ties with other university networks and we were able to exchange experiences of research collaboration networks working on DRR.
April 15, 2015more
APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Summer School 2014 Report is out now
The Report of the APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Summer School 2014 is now available on our website. Have a look on what the very active and imaginative class of 2014 has discussed. Please download it from the link below. Download attachments: Report – Multi-Hazards Summer School 2014
August 22, 2014more
2nd Multi-Hazards Summer School 2014
APRU member universities are warmly invited to send a graduate/post-graduate student and/or faculty member to the second summer school for of the APRU-IRIDeS Multi-hazards Program: Multi-Hazards Summer School for Graduates, Post-Graduates and Researchers: Prepare for high-impact disasters: towards the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Tohoku University, Sendai/Japan, 22-25 July 2014 To mark the second anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, APRU and Tohoku University launched the APRU-IRIDeS Multi-hazards Program in April 2013. The Program builds upon the strengths of eight APRU Multi-hazards symposia over the past decade in countries spanning the Pacific Ring of Fire. The International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) of Tohoku University now provides secretariat services as the regional program hub harnessing the collective capabilities of APRU universities for cutting-edge research on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and recovery, shares strategies to cope with campus disaster risk management, and contributes to international policy making processes on DRR. The 2nd APRU – IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Summer School (July 22-25, 2014) is hosted and organized by IRIDeS, Tohoku University. The 2014 Multi-hazards Summer School objectives are to: Understand the mechanism of the international disaster risk reduction strategy; Learn from the experiences and recovery process of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami; Discuss the recommendations towards the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNWCDRR) in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan Develop an action plan for the preparedness capacity on campus. Program The Multi-Hazards Summer School consists of a 3-day seminar and a site visit to the affected area impacted by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The summer school topics will include: Hyogo Framework for Action ~ International framework for DRR ~ Lessons-learnt from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Good practices of DRR initiatives from overseas Campus safety Recommendation towards the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Travel Costs The usual practice for APRU events is for participants to fund their own travel and accommodation. Where university funding is limited or not available, some funds for students have been set-aside by the APRU Secretariat and Tohoku University to assist with travel costs subject to applicants meeting certain requirements (students only). Please submit all requests for travel support to [email protected] No registration fee is required for this summer school. Confirmation We hope your university will participate in this summer school. If so, please send the name, title, research interest/experience and contact information of your representatives by email to [email protected] with copy to [email protected] no later than May 16, 2014. We will accept the nomination/application only from the university, not from an individual student/faculty. Additional information More information on the 2nd APRU – IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Summer School 2014 and the report of the APRU – IRIDeS Summer School 2013 can be downloaded below. If you have any queries regarding the summer school, please contact Dr Takako Izumi (APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Program Coordinator) at IRIDeS, Tohoku University at [email protected] with copy to [email protected] Download attachments: APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Summer School 2014 – Leaflet APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Summer School 2013 – Report
June 22, 2014more
9th Multi-Hazards Symposium 2013
The APRU symposium series on Multi-Hazards around the Pacific Rim hosted its ninth symposium from 28 to 29 October 2013 at National Taiwan University in Chinese Taipei. The 9th APRU symposium was hosted by the Center for Weather Climate and Disaster Research (WCDR) at National Taiwan University. For general information, please refer to the website http://www.apru2013.com/ A video link to the symposium can be found here. Welcome The 9th APRU symposium aims to convene scholars and experts from countries around the Pacific Rim. The inter-disciplinary knowledge on multi-hazard researches can be exchanged and shared through APRU collaboration. The symposium will focus on related topics of multi-hazards induced by extreme weather, earthquake, volcanic activity and haze pollution. Other issues are also included such as advanced monitoring and forecasting techniques, risk assessment, disaster health and emergency management, as well as education on disaster reduction.All the participants are encouraged to join discussion and exchange experience throughout the symposium. Call for papers (closed) The abstract submission is now available at http://www.apru2013.com/ All papers will be peer reviewed by an international scientific committee. Themes & Topics Multi-hazards induced by extreme weather Multi-hazards induced by earthquake Multi-hazards induced by volcanic activity Air pollution and haze related issue Disaster risk assessment and impact analysis Advanced research on monitoring, sensing, nowcasting and forecasting Disaster management and education Post-disaster recovery and reconstruction Disaster health and emergency management Key dates (updated) 5 May, 2013 Abstract submission 31 August 2013 Deadline for abstract submission 7 September, 2013 Notification of review results / abstract acceptance 14 September, 2013 Deadline for early‐bird registration 30 September, 2013 Deadline for late online registration 5 October, 2013 Final Program to be released online 28-29 October, 2013 Symposium period 30-31 October, 2013 Field trip Download attachments: 2013-0709_APRU_Invitation_En_1.pdf 2013-0709_Flyer_En_1.pdf
August 29, 2013more
Partnering for a less hazardous planet: Interview with Professor John Rundle
John Rundle is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Davis, and a thought leader in earthquake sciences. He is also an External Professor at the Sante Fe Institute, New Mexico; Director of the California Institute for Hazard Research of the University of California; Executive Director of the APEC Cooperation for Earthquake Simulation (ACES); and Chairman of the Open Hazards Group, a team dedicated to reducing the impacts of natural disasters. Prof Rundle attended the APRU Multi-hazards Symposium at Tohoku University, Japan. Being situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, all APRU universities face the common threat of earthquakes and tsunamis. What do you think are the opportunities for APRU universities to partner to address this shared threat? The APRU universities are the world’s leading repositories of knowledge and expertise for strategies, technologies, and data for confronting these devastating natural hazards. In addition, these universities will train the great majority of the next generation of intellectual leaders in the required areas of science and technologies. That being said, no university by itself has all of the needed expertise. For that reason, collaboration is mandatory. Where one university is comparatively weaker, another may be stronger. What has been missing is the scientific and technological framework, together with the institutional structure to allow this collaboration to develop and succeed. This is where the APRU contribution will be critically important. What do you think is the potential utility to APRU universities if projects like www.openhazards.com website was expanded around the Pacific Rim as a collaborative APRU project? The openhazards.com site is an open-access web site offering apps (applications) for personal seismic hazard forecasting, residential risk assessment, and other types of information and personal risk management utilities for the global public. Recently we have introduced social networking on the site, so that site visitors can define their own groups, upload photos, and originate discussion threads among groups of people. While intended as a disaster reduction resource for the general public, it is also highly useful as a means for collaboration among professional groups such as the APRU multihazards initiative. Unlike sites such as Facebook, which is not available in some APEC economies including China, and which has other aims, openhazards is meant to be a site primarily for those interested in disaster mitigation and reduction, providing apps in the form of tools and information to a global audience. While initially built as a site with disaster related apps, openhazards is now evolving into a social networking platform that is hosting and will host an increasing number of disaster-related apps for information and mitigation. We believe that a site such as openhazards can significantly and positively impact the problem of collaboration among these far-flung groups, and lead to modes of remote cooperation and collaboration not previously possible. Given the global trends in severity and frequency of natural disasters over the past decade – from the Aceh tsunami, to the Haiti earthquake to the Japan tsunami – do you think we are at an academic crossroads where knowledge generation in natural hazards should become an integral part of higher education strategies, rather than an option related to specific disciplinary backgrounds? Natural hazards affect all of us. As human populations increasingly move into at-risk areas, due to population growth and economic factors, human society is increasingly vulnerable to catastrophes. An example of these is global warming, which will put coastal areas at risk due to rising sea levels. Another example is tsunamis, such as the events of March 11, 2011 and of December 26, 2004. And since more than 30% of the worlds’ populations will live within seismically active zones within a few decades, it is clear that knowledge about natural disasters needs to be far more widely disseminated and understood than it has been to date. Who would have thought that New York city would be devastated by hurricane Sandy? It is clear that everyone needs to be aware of the destructive potential of natural events. And who would have thought that the Tohoku earthquake would make a measurable (negative) impact on the global economy? So yes, knowledge of natural hazards is no longer optional, but rather needs to be a strong component of higher education strategies. Can you share with us your experiences working with the APEC Cooperation for Earthquake Simulation (ACES) and how such collaborations are influencing regional earthquake/hazard policy with APEC? ACES (http://quakes.earth.uq.edu.au/) was proposed by Peter Mora at the University of Queensland in 1997, and was approved at the APEC ISTWG meeting in Singapore that year, having been sponsored by the Australian economy. The original partner economies, along with Australia, were China, Japan, and the United States. Since then, the economies of Canada, Chinese Taipei, and New Zealand have joined and regularly participate. Officially sanctioned meetings have been organized by the various economies since 1998, the most recent being in Maui, HI, Oct 23-26, 2012, hosted by the United States. In the years ACES group has been meeting, we have found that we have a great number of common interests and there have been exchanges of codes, scientists, and students. However, one of the modes that needs some further consideration and development is the mechanisms of collaboration , inasmuch as the research groups are separated by many thousands of miles around the Pacific Rim. Travel among these locations has been and will always be a significant detriment to collaboration among these far-flung groups. This has led our group to develop a new approach, utilizing new social networking ideas, as described below. Another requirement that has become apparent is the need for a more permanent, overarching structure or umbrella organization under which to operate. This requirement motivates the ACES interest collaborating with the APRU muiltihazards initiative to move both research organizations forward. We know that climate change already poses unprecedented threats to the global population and environment. On top of this, what impacts can earthquakes have on the broader adaptation/mitigation debate, based on your studies of earthquake behavior? It has been said that because climate change is gradual, it may be possible to adapt in certain ways. However, great disasters such as the Tohoku earthquake have often been unanticipated, making disaster response extremely challenging. While humans may be able to adapt to climate change, they can only respond to sudden great disasters, and must therefore rely on mitigation strategies. Within the next decades, more than a third of the world’s populations will live in seismically active zones. As the great Tohoku earthquake indicated, these great disasters will have an increasingly measureable impact on the global economy, not to mention the considerable loss of life and property. Many of these seismically active regions lie along global coastlines, and are thus economically critical to the continuation of international trade and economic development. Coastlines cannot be abandoned, so new types of strategies must be developed that allow economies to grow and respond to great coastal and earthquake disasters. Only the APRU universities have the intellectual capability to develop and formulate strategies to implement these approaches. Can you tell us a bit about new approaches that you and your research group are taking in forecasting or managing hazard and risk? Our forecasting approaches are explained in a series of publications in the peer-reviewed literature over the past decade, the most recent of which has been published in the prestigious journal Physical Review E* . Basically we use small earthquakes to forecast the probability of large earthquakes. In addition, a more general and probably more accessible description can be found at http://www.openhazards.com/topics-forecasts. *J.B. Rundle, J.R. Holliday, W.R. Graves, D.L. Turcotte, K.F. Tiampo and W. Klein, Probabilities for large events in driven threshold systems, Phys. Rev. E, 86, 021106 (2012)
January 16, 2013more