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Open AccessArticle

Current and Emerging Disaster Risks Perceptions in Oceania: Key Stakeholders Recommendations for Disaster Management and Resilience Building

1
Disaster Resilience Initiative, Accident Research Centre, Clayton, Monash University, Melbourne 3800, Australia
2
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), 21027 Ispra, Italy
3
Western Australia Department of Health, East Perth, WA 6004, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030460
Received: 21 November 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 23 January 2019 / Published: 5 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
Identification and profiling of current and emerging disaster risks is essential to inform effective disaster risk management practice. Without clear evidence, readiness to accept future threats is low, resulting in decreased ability to detect and anticipate these new threats. A consequential decreased strategic planning for mitigation, adaptation or response results in a lowered resilience capacity. This study aimed to investigate threats to the health and well-being of societies associated with disaster impact in Oceania. The study used a mixed methods approach to profile current and emerging disaster risks in selected countries of Oceania, including small and larger islands. Quantitative analysis of the International Disaster Database (EM-DAT) provided historical background on disaster impact in Oceania from 2000 to 2018. The profile of recorded events was analyzed to describe the current burden of disasters in the Oceania region. A total of 30 key informant interviews with practitioners, policy managers or academics in disaster management in the Oceania region provided first-hand insights into their perceptions of current and emerging threats, and identified opportunities to enhance disaster risk management practice and resilience in Oceania. Qualitative methods were used to analyze these key informant interviews. Using thematic analysis, we identified emerging disaster risk evidence from the data and explored new pathways to support decision-making on resilience building and disaster management. We characterized perceptions of the nature and type of contemporary and emerging disaster risk with potential impacts in Oceania. The study findings captured not only traditional and contemporary risks, such as climate change, but also less obvious ones, such as plastic pollution, rising inequality, uncontrolled urbanization, and food and water insecurity, which were perceived as contributors to current and/or future crises, or as crises themselves. The findings provided insights into how to improve disaster management more effectively, mainly through bottom-up approaches and education to increase risk-ownership and community action, enhanced political will, good governance practices and support of a people-centric approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: disaster risk; Oceania; emerging risk; health threat; resilience; non-traditional disaster risk; Oceania; emerging risk; health threat; resilience; non-traditional
MDPI and ACS Style

Cuthbertson, J.; Rodriguez-Llanes, J.M.; Robertson, A.; Archer, F. Current and Emerging Disaster Risks Perceptions in Oceania: Key Stakeholders Recommendations for Disaster Management and Resilience Building. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 460.

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