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Special Issue "The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2016).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Denise Blake

School of Psychology, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Website | E-Mail
Interests: human health and rights; child welfare; health and wellbeing of minority and marginalised population; gender; domestic violence; alchohol and drugs; emergency management
Guest Editor
Prof. David Johnston

Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University; GNS Science, Wellington, New Zealand
Website | E-Mail
Interests: human responses warnings; crisis decision-making and the role of public education and participation in building community resilience and recovery
Guest Editor
Dr. Carol MacDonald

Joint Center of Disaster Research, GNS Science/Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
E-Mail
Interests: emergency management; emergency planning and preparedness; psychosocial recovery; vulnerability and resilience

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is increased global concern about climate change, vulnerability to natural hazards, and the impacts of natural and human-caused disasters on the environment and public health. Recent disaster research has explicated the correlation between population health outcomes with disaster events, including storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods. Healthy, well-prepared and resourced communities demonstrate greater resilience, while vulnerable and impoverished communities suffer significant hardship with more sickness, mental health problems and infrastructure concerns.

Disaster risk reduction must include measures to reduce risks and build community resilience before disasters occur as well as response and recovery measures during and after disaster events. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, calls for greater emphasis on managing disaster risk, including preventing new risk, reducing existing risk, and strengthening societal and environmental resilience. The framework urges us to continue to invest in, research and plan to mitigate disaster risk using a multi-hazard and multi-sector platform.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to facilitate multi-disciplinary discussion in this area and submissions that extend the body of knowledge in the interface between environmental, public health and disaster research are welcomed. The listed keywords suggest just a few of the many possibilities.

Dr Denise Blake
Prof. Dr. David M. Johnston
Dr. Carol MacDonald
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • disaster risk reduction
  • disaster risk management
  • natural hazards
  • public health
  • community resilience
  • environmental impacts
  • DRR Policy

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Sleep in a Gymnasium: A Study to Examine the Psychophysiological and Environmental Conditions in Shelter-Analogue Settings
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121186
Received: 27 August 2016 / Revised: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 25 November 2016 / Published: 30 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1399 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We aimed to examine sleep in shelter-analogue settings to determine the sleep and environmental conditions in evacuation shelters. A summer social/educational event was conducted in an elementary school, wherein children and their parents (n = 109) spent one night in the school [...] Read more.
We aimed to examine sleep in shelter-analogue settings to determine the sleep and environmental conditions in evacuation shelters. A summer social/educational event was conducted in an elementary school, wherein children and their parents (n = 109) spent one night in the school gymnasium; a total of 15 children and 7 adults completed the study. Data were recording using wrist actigraphy and questionnaires, from two days before the event to two days after the event. During the night in the gymnasium, sleep initiation in the children was found to be significantly delayed, whereas adults did not show any significant change in actigraphic sleep parameters. Although 57% of adults complained of stiffness of the floor, only 7% of children had the same complaint. The nocturnal noise recorded at four locations in the gymnasium showed that the percentage of 1-min data epochs with a noise level >40 dB ranged from 53% to 74% during lights-out. The number of subjects that woke up during the night showed a similar pattern with the changes in the noise level. The changes in sleep might represent event-specific responses, such as to a noisy environment, and the different complaints between adults and children could be useful in shelter management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Behavioral Response in the Immediate Aftermath of Shaking: Earthquakes in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand, and Hitachi, Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13111137
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 6 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (823 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines people’s response actions in the first 30 min after shaking stopped following earthquakes in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand, and Hitachi, Japan. Data collected from 257 respondents in Christchurch, 332 respondents in Hitachi, and 204 respondents in Wellington revealed notable [...] Read more.
This study examines people’s response actions in the first 30 min after shaking stopped following earthquakes in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand, and Hitachi, Japan. Data collected from 257 respondents in Christchurch, 332 respondents in Hitachi, and 204 respondents in Wellington revealed notable similarities in some response actions immediately after the shaking stopped. In all four events, people were most likely to contact family members and seek additional information about the situation. However, there were notable differences among events in the frequency of resuming previous activities. Actions taken in the first 30 min were weakly related to: demographic variables, earthquake experience, contextual variables, and actions taken during the shaking, but were significantly related to perceived shaking intensity, risk perception and affective responses to the shaking, and damage/infrastructure disruption. These results have important implications for future research and practice because they identify promising avenues for emergency managers to communicate seismic risks and appropriate responses to risk area populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Opioid Substitution Treatment Planning in a Disaster Context: Perspectives from Emergency Management and Health Professionals in Aotearoa/New Zealand
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1122; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13111122
Received: 18 September 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 5 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
PDF Full-text (280 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) is a harm reduction strategy enabling opiate consumers to avoid withdrawal symptoms and maintain health and wellbeing. Some research shows that within a disaster context service disruptions and infrastructure damage affect OST services, including problems with accessibility, dosing, and [...] Read more.
Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) is a harm reduction strategy enabling opiate consumers to avoid withdrawal symptoms and maintain health and wellbeing. Some research shows that within a disaster context service disruptions and infrastructure damage affect OST services, including problems with accessibility, dosing, and scripts. Currently little is known about planning for OST in the reduction and response phases of a disaster. This study aimed to identify the views of three professional groups working in Aotearoa/New Zealand about OST provision following a disaster. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 service workers, health professionals, and emergency managers in OST and disaster planning fields. Thematic analysis of transcripts identified three key themes, namely “health and wellbeing”, “developing an emergency management plan”, and “stock, dose verification, and scripts” which led to an overarching concept of “service continuity in OST preparedness planning”. Participants viewed service continuity as essential for reducing physical and psychological distress for OST clients, their families, and wider communities. Alcohol and drug and OST health professionals understood the specific needs of clients, while emergency managers discussed the need for sufficient preparedness planning to minimise harm. It is concluded that OST preparedness planning must be multidisciplinary, flexible, and inclusive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
Open AccessArticle
Health Hazards Associated with Consumption of Roof-Collected Rainwater in Urban Areas in Emergency Situations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 1012; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13101012
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 29 September 2016 / Accepted: 30 September 2016 / Published: 15 October 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (7433 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The greater Wellington region, New Zealand, is highly vulnerable to large earthquakes because it is cut by active faults. Bulk water supply pipelines cross the Wellington Fault at several different locations, and there is considerable concern about severe disruption of the provision of [...] Read more.
The greater Wellington region, New Zealand, is highly vulnerable to large earthquakes because it is cut by active faults. Bulk water supply pipelines cross the Wellington Fault at several different locations, and there is considerable concern about severe disruption of the provision of reticulated water supplies to households and businesses in the aftermath of a large earthquake. A number of policy initiatives have been launched encouraging householders to install rainwater tanks to increase post-disaster resilience. However, little attention has been paid to potential health hazards associated with consumption of these supplies. To assess health hazards for householders in emergency situations, six 200-litre emergency water tanks were installed at properties across the Wellington region, with five tanks being allowed to fill with roof-collected rainwater and one tank being filled with municipal tapwater as a control. Such tanks are predominantly set aside for water storage and, once filled, feature limited drawdown and recharge. Sampling from these tanks was carried out fortnightly for one year, and samples were analysed for E. coli, pH, conductivity, a range of major and trace elements, and organic compounds, enabling an assessment of the evolution of water chemistry in water storage tanks over time. Key findings were that the overall rate of E. coli detections in the rain-fed tanks was 17.7%, which is low in relation to other studies. We propose that low incidences of may be due to biocidal effects of high zinc concentrations in tanks, originating from unpainted galvanised steel roof cladding. Lead concentrations were high compared to other studies, with 69% of rain-fed tank samples exceeding the World Health Organisation’s health-based guideline of 0.01 mg/L. Further work is required to determine risks of short-term consumption of this water in emergency situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of the Passage of Time from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake on the Public’s Anxiety about a Variety of Hazards
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 866; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13090866
Received: 2 June 2016 / Revised: 17 August 2016 / Accepted: 26 August 2016 / Published: 31 August 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (297 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research investigated whether the Japanese people’s anxiety about a variety of hazards, including earthquakes and nuclear accidents, has changed over time since the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. Data from three nationwide surveys conducted in 2008, 2012, and 2015 were compared to see [...] Read more.
This research investigated whether the Japanese people’s anxiety about a variety of hazards, including earthquakes and nuclear accidents, has changed over time since the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. Data from three nationwide surveys conducted in 2008, 2012, and 2015 were compared to see the change in societal levels of anxiety toward 51 types of hazards. The same two-phase stratified random sampling method was used to create the list of participants in each survey. The results showed that anxiety about earthquakes and nuclear accidents had increased for a time after the Tohoku Earthquake, and then decreased after a four-year time frame with no severe earthquakes and nuclear accidents. It was also revealed that the anxiety level for some hazards other than earthquakes and nuclear accidents had decreased at ten months after the Earthquake, and then remained unchanged after the four years. Therefore, ironically, a major disaster might decrease the public anxiety in general at least for several years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
Open AccessArticle
Confirming the Environmental Concerns of Community Members Utilizing Participatory-Based Research in the Houston Neighborhood of Manchester
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 839; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13090839
Received: 3 June 2016 / Revised: 1 August 2016 / Accepted: 12 August 2016 / Published: 23 August 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2030 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the last few decades, there has been an increase in community-based participatory research being conducted within the United States. Recent research has demonstrated that working with local community organizations, interest groups, and individuals can assist in the creation of, and sustainability in, [...] Read more.
In the last few decades, there has been an increase in community-based participatory research being conducted within the United States. Recent research has demonstrated that working with local community organizations, interest groups, and individuals can assist in the creation of, and sustainability in, health initiatives, adoption of emergency protocols, and potentially improve health outcomes for at-risk populations. However little research has assessed if communal concerns over environmental contaminants would be confirmed through environmental research. This cross-sectional study collected survey data and performed surface water analysis for heavy metals in a small neighborhood in Houston, TX, which is characterized by industrial sites, unimproved infrastructure, nuisance flooding, and poor air quality. Surveys were completed with 109 residents of the Manchester neighborhood. Water samples were taken from thirty zones within the neighborhood and assessed for arsenic (As), barium (Ba), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), selenium (Se), silver (Ag), and mercury (Hg). Survey results showed that the vast majority of all respondents were concerned over proximity to industry and waste facilities, as well as exposure to standing surface water. Barium was discovered in every sample and many of the zones showed alarming levels of certain metals. For example, one zone, two blocks from a public park, showed levels of arsenic at 180 (μg/L), barium at 3296 (μg/L), chromium at 363 (μg/L), lead at 1448 (μg/L), and mercury at 10 (μg/L). These findings support the hypothesis that neighborhood members are aware of the issues affecting their community and can offer researchers valuable assistance in every stage of study design and execution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper
Synergising Public Health Concepts with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: A Conceptual Glossary
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1241; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121241
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 5 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 December 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) is a global strategy for addressing disaster risk and resilience that has been ratified by member countries of the United Nations. Its guiding principles emphasise building resilience through inter-sectoral collaboration, as well as partnerships that [...] Read more.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) is a global strategy for addressing disaster risk and resilience that has been ratified by member countries of the United Nations. Its guiding principles emphasise building resilience through inter-sectoral collaboration, as well as partnerships that facilitate community empowerment and address underlying risk factors. Both public health and the emergency management sector face similar challenges related to developing and implementing strategies that involve structural change, facilitating community resilience and addressing individual risk factors. Familiarity with public health principles enables an understanding of the holistic approach to risk reduction that is outlined within the Sendai Framework. We present seven concepts that resonate with contemporary public health practice, namely: the social determinants of health; inequality and inequity; the inverse care law; community-based and community development approaches; hard to reach communities and services; the prevention paradox; and the inverse prevention law. These ideas from public health provide a useful conceptual base for the ”new” agenda in disaster risk management that underpins the 2015 Sendai Framework. The relevance of these ideas to disaster risk management and research is illustrated through drawing on the Sendai Framework, disaster literature and exemplars from the 2010–2011 earthquakes in Canterbury, New Zealand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
Open AccessEssay
Community Capitals as Community Resilience to Climate Change: Conceptual Connections
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1211; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121211
Received: 19 September 2016 / Revised: 21 November 2016 / Accepted: 25 November 2016 / Published: 6 December 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the last few decades, disaster risk reduction programs and climate initiatives across the globe have focused largely on the intimate connections between vulnerability, recovery, adaptation, and coping mechanisms. Recent focus, however, is increasingly paid to community resilience. Community, placed at the intersection [...] Read more.
In the last few decades, disaster risk reduction programs and climate initiatives across the globe have focused largely on the intimate connections between vulnerability, recovery, adaptation, and coping mechanisms. Recent focus, however, is increasingly paid to community resilience. Community, placed at the intersection between the household and national levels of social organization, is crucial in addressing economic, social, or environmental disturbances disrupting human security. Resilience measures a community’s capability of bouncing back—restoring the original pre-disaster state, as well as bouncing forward—the capacity to cope with emerging post-disaster situations and changes. Both the ‘bouncing back’ and ‘moving forward’ properties of a community are shaped and reshaped by internal and external shocks such as climate threats, the community’s resilience dimensions, and the intensity of economic, social, and other community capitals. This article reviews (1) the concept of resilience in relation to climate change and vulnerability; and (2) emerging perspectives on community-level impacts of climate change, resilience dimensions, and community capitals. It argues that overall resilience of a place-based community is located at the intersection of the community’s resilience dimensions, community capitals, and the level of climate disruptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
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Open AccessCommentary
Morbid Obesity in Disasters: Bringing the “Conspicuously Invisible” into Focus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 1029; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13101029
Received: 14 September 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 17 October 2016 / Published: 20 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (259 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is a frightening reality for some people to be caught up in the midst of a disaster, alone and vulnerable due to their relative size, shape or weight. A literature search failed to find any empirical reports of data specific to body [...] Read more.
It is a frightening reality for some people to be caught up in the midst of a disaster, alone and vulnerable due to their relative size, shape or weight. A literature search failed to find any empirical reports of data specific to body mass index (BMI) in disaster situations. A handful of largely anecdotal reports described situations in which people categorised as morbidly obese were negatively impacted in disasters because of their size and/or weight. While a small number of toolkits and training resources were found, there remains a paucity of research in relation to obesity and emergency planning or disaster risk reduction. This is somewhat surprising, considering the concern about increasing levels of obesity globally. Research is urgently needed to prioritise and address the specific considerations of people with morbid obesity and how communities plan, prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and public health emergencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
Open AccessCommentary
Integrating Health Research into Disaster Response: The New NIH Disaster Research Response Program
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070676
Received: 22 May 2016 / Revised: 20 June 2016 / Accepted: 24 June 2016 / Published: 4 July 2016
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (863 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The need for high quality and timely disaster research has been a topic of great discussion over the past several years. Recent high profile incidents have exposed gaps in knowledge about the health impacts of disasters or the benefits of specific interventions—such was [...] Read more.
The need for high quality and timely disaster research has been a topic of great discussion over the past several years. Recent high profile incidents have exposed gaps in knowledge about the health impacts of disasters or the benefits of specific interventions—such was the case with the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill and recent events associated with lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and the evolving health crisis related to Zika virus disease. Our inability to perform timely research to inform the community about health and safety risks or address specific concerns further heightens anxiety and distrust. Since nearly all disasters, whether natural or man-made, have an environmental health component, it is critical that specialized research tools and trained researchers be readily available to evaluate complex exposures and health effects, especially for vulnerable sub-populations such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with socioeconomic and environmental disparities. In response, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science has initiated a Disaster Research Response Program to create new tools, protocols, networks of researchers, training exercises, and outreach involving diverse groups of stakeholders to help overcome the challenges of disaster research and to improve our ability to collect vital information to reduce the adverse health impacts and improve future preparedness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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