sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Geography and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Meri Davlasheridze
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Marine Sciences, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77553, USA
Interests: Environmental and resource economics; disaster impacts; vulnerability and adaptation; applied econometrics; public policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent years have seen a steady rise in the frequency of high-consequence catastrophic events globally, with a staggering increase in the associated socioeconomic and human tolls. The costs are expected to further rise for certain climatic and weather-related catastrophes such as hurricanes, storm surges, and flooding, as well as fires, with the ongoing climate change. Understanding not only disaster consequences but also how to effectively manage them has become a pressing policy issue and a key topic of research inquiry among disaster scholars (https://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/sendai-framework).

Low probabilities associated with these events can easily lull private and societal interests in adopting risk management strategies and lead to suboptimal or mal-adaptation. Meanwhile, catastrophes can also motivate risk mitigation behavior as the risk ex post becomes more salient. Hence, there is an opportunity to use catastrophes to improve and enhance overall private and societal resilience to disasters.

This Special Issue of sustainability addresses consequences of catastrophic disasters (both man-made and natural) and the effective ways to manage them. Specifically, it has several aims. First, it aims to understand both the spatial and temporal consequences of catastrophes and their societal, economic, demographic, political, and environmental implications. Second, it is imperative to understand what private and public strategies there are to manage catastrophic disaster risk, and how we can improve disaster risk governance and the efficacy of resource allocation across multiple stakeholders (i.e., private, local, regional, national). Risk management options include both ex ante risk mitigation as well as ex post response and recovery, and the coordination of resources by private and public stakeholders. Finally, understanding various constraints (e.g., financial, political, beliefs) faced by effective disaster risk management are imperative in understanding disaster risk and will help to find solutions and further devise mitigation strategies that build on those constraints.

Overall, the Special Issue intends to provide a better understanding of the consequences of catastrophic disasters and to propose adaptation and mitigation solutions to reduce vulnerability and improve well-being of those directly impacted by them. We welcome both conceptual as well as empirical papers, along with historical perspectives and case studies aimed towards understanding these important topics.

Dr. Meri Davlasheridze
Guest Editor

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. Sustainability 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 1900 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

  • catastrophes
  • disasters
  • risk mitigation
  • adaptation
  • disaster resilience

Published Papers (12 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Other

Article
Risk Perceptions and Flood Insurance: Insights from Homeowners on the Georgia Coast
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10372; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410372 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 598
Abstract
Scholars highlight a wide array of factors that can influence individual decision-making under risk. Utilizing survey data, we explore many potential factors that affect risk perception and protective behaviors. Our focus is on coastal Georgia, which has lower historical risk relative to the [...] Read more.
Scholars highlight a wide array of factors that can influence individual decision-making under risk. Utilizing survey data, we explore many potential factors that affect risk perception and protective behaviors. Our focus is on coastal Georgia, which has lower historical risk relative to the rest of the Southeast U.S., and which many people perceive as relatively safe, but was recently adversely affected by two major storms. The results indicate a majority of coastal residents expect coastal storms and other hazards to be worse in the future. The regression results suggest perceived damages, risk tolerance, wealth exposure, and flood zone are robust determinants of flood insurance purchase. Other factors, like flood zone awareness and attitudes towards community risk management initiatives—like shoreline armoring, beach replenishment, and coastal retreat—are also indicated to have a high correlation with flood insurance purchase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Analyzing Coping Strategies and Adaptation after Resettlement—Case Study of Ekondo Kondo, Cameroon and Ekondo Kondo Model of Adaptation
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9615; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229615 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 463
Abstract
This article centrally deals with the resettlement of the Cameroonian village Ekondo Kondo. In the following paper, I present resettlements as catastrophic events for the relocated populations. Research was conducted in the resettled Cameroonian village of Ekondo Kondo. The objectives of the research [...] Read more.
This article centrally deals with the resettlement of the Cameroonian village Ekondo Kondo. In the following paper, I present resettlements as catastrophic events for the relocated populations. Research was conducted in the resettled Cameroonian village of Ekondo Kondo. The objectives of the research were to find out what kind of changes and challenges (positive and negative) people faced after relocation, whether these changes and challenges illustrated aspects of adaptation after resettlement which are lacking in the literature, and whether they could be included in the existing models of adaptation after resettlement to provide an enhanced framework for resettlement-linked projects. I demonstrate the consequences of the relocation for women and men. Whereas women developed coping strategies, adapted to the new village (site) 13 years after the relocation, and were able to emancipate themselves, men are still struggling with the relocation’s changes including threats to their former social role as hunters. These results support my argument that the existing adaptation models in the literature do not depict all key challenges the relocated populations have to go through. According to the fieldwork results, there are several adaptation processes in different key areas which do not follow one another or run homogenously but overlap and sometimes happen at the same time and on different levels. Additionally, there are significant gender specific differences which can be depicted in these key areas. Further predispositions of social groups, such as interests or experiences, can influence the processes of coping and adaptation as well. For this reason, I present and introduce the Ekondo Kondo Model of adaptation after relocation, which can be helpful both for difficult adaptation following disasters and adaptation processes when people develop fast coping strategies and get positive results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Entrepreneurial Strategies to Address Rural-Urban Climate-Induced Vulnerabilities: Assessing Adaptation and Innovation Measures in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9115; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219115 - 02 Nov 2020
Viewed by 981
Abstract
Climate change amplifies social, political, economic, infrastructural and environmental challenges in many Global South cities, and perhaps no city is more vulnerable than Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka. Climate-induced rural–urban migration is a profound concern, and Dhaka’s political leaders have embraced technology-based innovation as [...] Read more.
Climate change amplifies social, political, economic, infrastructural and environmental challenges in many Global South cities, and perhaps no city is more vulnerable than Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka. Climate-induced rural–urban migration is a profound concern, and Dhaka’s political leaders have embraced technology-based innovation as one solution pathway. This article explores the societal impact of Dhaka’s innovation environment strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Employing a case study qualitative methodology, our three findings expand knowledge about innovation for urban climate adaptation and mitigation as understood by Dhaka-based entrepreneurs. First, the most effective innovations were not the most technologically advanced, but those with the highest degree of participant ownership. Second, gaps between recipient, corporate and governmental understandings of effective mitigation and adaptation harmed projects were driven by different definitions of risk and competing understandings of vulnerability. Third, even the most technical climate adaptation measures were inherently political in their application. We discuss how to better position urban climate innovation infrastructures in Bangladesh and beyond, including developing a better recognition of innovation lifecycles for urban climate adaptation and widening our definitions of “innovation” to better incorporate more effective and inclusive climate adaptation solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Article
Regional Inequalities in Flood Insurance Affordability and Uptake under Climate Change
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8734; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208734 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1058
Abstract
Flood insurance coverage can enhance financial resilience of households to changing flood risk caused by climate change. However, income inequalities imply that not all households can afford flood insurance. The uptake of flood insurance in voluntary markets may decline when flood risk increases [...] Read more.
Flood insurance coverage can enhance financial resilience of households to changing flood risk caused by climate change. However, income inequalities imply that not all households can afford flood insurance. The uptake of flood insurance in voluntary markets may decline when flood risk increases as a result of climate change. This increase in flood risk may cause substantially higher risk-based insurance premiums, reduce the willingness to purchase flood insurance, and worsen problems with the unaffordability of coverage for low-income households. A socio-economic tipping-point can occur when the functioning of a formal flood insurance system is hampered by diminishing demand for coverage. In this study, we examine whether such a tipping-point can occur in Europe for current flood insurance systems under different trends in future flood risk caused by climate and socio-economic change. This analysis gives insights into regional inequalities concerning the ability to continue to use flood insurance as an instrument to adapt to changing flood risk. For this study, we adapt the “Dynamic Integrated Flood and Insurance” (DIFI) model by integrating new flood risk simulations in the model that enable examining impacts from various scenarios of climate and socio-economic change on flood insurance premiums and consumer demand. Our results show rising unaffordability and declining demand for flood insurance across scenarios towards 2080. Under a high climate change scenario, simulations show the occurrence of a socio-economic tipping-point in several regions, where insurance uptake almost disappears. A tipping-point and related inequalities in the ability to use flood insurance as an adaptation instrument can be mitigated by introducing reforms of flood insurance arrangements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Awareness Is Not Enough: Frequent Use of Water Pollution Information and Changes to Risky Behavior
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8695; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208695 - 20 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
Hazard information plays an important role in how risk perceptions are formed and what actions are taken in response to risk. While past studies have shown that information on water and air pollution is associated with changes to individual behavior, there is a [...] Read more.
Hazard information plays an important role in how risk perceptions are formed and what actions are taken in response to risk. While past studies have shown that information on water and air pollution is associated with changes to individual behavior, there is a need for examination of water quality information in the context of environmental disturbances. This study fills that gap by examining water pollution in an active industrial region of the United States—the Galveston Bay of Texas. Using original survey data collected in 2019 of 525 adults living in the Galveston Bay region, logistic regression was used to analyze the association of awareness and use of water pollution information on changes to outdoor activities and consumption of drinking water and/or seafood. Controls for chronic and acute exposure to environmental hazards, environmental knowledge and experience, and demographics were included in the model. The findings indicate frequent use of water quality information is significantly associated with action to reduce risk. On average, an individual who checks water pollution monitoring every day is 26% and 33% more likely to change their outdoor activities and consumption behavior, respectively, than someone who is not aware of this information. There is a need for improvement in pollution data collection and the development of a risk communication framework that facilitates the dissemination of this information in relevant, accessible, and credible ways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Recovery of the Island of Saint Martin after Hurricane Irma: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8585; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208585 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1113
Abstract
This study focuses on the ongoing recovery of the French part of the island of Saint Martin following Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The recovery of this semi-autonomous territory is a major challenge for local authorities and the French state. Based on the [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the ongoing recovery of the French part of the island of Saint Martin following Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The recovery of this semi-autonomous territory is a major challenge for local authorities and the French state. Based on the hypothesis that the consequences of natural disaster would be an opportunity for a territory to build back better, this study aims to understand the recovery trajectory that is underway on the island of Saint Martin 2 years after Hurricane Irma. Our analysis of Saint Martin’s recovery from natural hazards is based on three factors: (1) the historical context and the evolution of building construction over the past 70 years; (2) the organization of local and national authorities; (3) the perception of the situation by the population. This original interdisciplinary approach of the post-disaster recovery phase provides a better understanding of the complexity of this period. The results of this study and the cross-analysis of these three methods highlight the causal links between the governance of the reconstruction, the psycho-sociological recovery of the disaster victims, and the history of the urbanization of an island exposed to natural hazards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Adjustments of Socially Vulnerable Populations in Galveston County, Texas USA Following Hurricane Ike
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7097; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177097 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1112
Abstract
The role of socio-demographic vulnerability to hazards is an increasingly important aspect for consideration in disaster mitigation and adaptation. This paper examines the spatial adjustments of populations to the 2008 Hurricane Ike by estimating the effects of damage on the changes of socially [...] Read more.
The role of socio-demographic vulnerability to hazards is an increasingly important aspect for consideration in disaster mitigation and adaptation. This paper examines the spatial adjustments of populations to the 2008 Hurricane Ike by estimating the effects of damage on the changes of socially vulnerable populations pre- and post-Hurricane Ike. Multivariate regression models are used to understand household-level adjustments in different flood zones and inundation levels at the block-group level in Galveston county. In contrast to past literature that suggests that vulnerable populations remain or move into hazardous areas post-disaster, our results indicate that socially vulnerable populations have moved out of highly damaged areas. The tremendous investment opportunity post-disaster and the slow distribution of funds to recover public housing on Galveston Island provide potential explanation of the estimated adjustment patterns. Analyzing post disaster adjustments offers important insights into the “resilient” recovery of Galveston County post-Hurricane Ike. Our results also point to potential vulnerabilities that may arise in the future because of the change in community identity and the loss of social memory. Understanding disaster-driven changes in community make-up will help inform potential recovery trajectories from future catastrophes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Reconstructing the History of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, East Nepal: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5407; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135407 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3138
Abstract
An interdisciplinary field investigation of historic glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in the Kanchenjunga region of Nepal was conducted between April and May, 2019. Oral history and field measurements suggested that at least six major GLOFs have occurred in the region since 1921. [...] Read more.
An interdisciplinary field investigation of historic glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in the Kanchenjunga region of Nepal was conducted between April and May, 2019. Oral history and field measurements suggested that at least six major GLOFs have occurred in the region since 1921. A remote sensing analysis confirmed the occurrence of the six GLOFs mentioned by informants, including two smaller flood events not mentioned that had occurred at some point before 1962. A numerical simulation of the Nangama GLOF suggested that it was triggered by an ice/debris avalanche of some 800,000 m3 of material, causing a surge wave that breached the terminal moraine and released an estimated 11.2 × 106 m3 ± 1.4 × 106 m3 of water. Debris from the flood dammed the Pabuk Khola river 2 km below the lake to form what is today known as Chheche Pokhari lake. Some concern has been expressed for the possibility of a second GLOF from Nangama as the result of continued and growing landslide activity from its right lateral moraine. Regular monitoring of all lakes and glaciers is recommended to avoid and/or mitigate the occurrence of future GLOF events in the region. Collectively, the paper demonstrates the benefits and utility of interdisciplinary research approaches to achieving a better understanding of past and poorly documented GLOF events in remote, data-scarce high mountain environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Addressing the Social Vulnerability of Mississippi Gulf Coast Vietnamese Community through the Development of Community Health Advisors
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3892; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093892 - 10 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 996
Abstract
Background: Resiliency is the ability to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to stressors from adverse events. Social vulnerabilities (limited access to resources, political power, and representation; lack of social capital; aspects of the built environment; health inequities; and being in certain demographic [...] Read more.
Background: Resiliency is the ability to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to stressors from adverse events. Social vulnerabilities (limited access to resources, political power, and representation; lack of social capital; aspects of the built environment; health inequities; and being in certain demographic categories) can impact resiliency. The Vietnamese population living along the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a community that has unique social vulnerabilities that impact their ability to be resilient to adverse events. Objectives: The purpose of this project was to address social vulnerability by implementing and evaluating a volunteer Community Health Advisor (CHA) project to enhance community resiliency in this community. Methods: A program implemented over eight three-hour sessions was adapted from the Community Health Advisor Network curriculum that focused on healthy eating, preventing chronic conditions (hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and poor mental health). Topics also included leadership and capacity development skills. Results: Participants (n = 22) ranged from 35 to 84 years of age. Most were female (63.6%), married (45.5%), unemployed (63.6%), had annual incomes of <$10,000, and had high school diplomas (68.2%). Community concerns were crime (50.0%), volunteerism (40.0%), language barriers (35.0%), and food insecurity (30.0%). Approximately 75% had experienced war trauma and/or refugee camps, and 10% had experienced domestic violence. Scores on the Community Health Advisor Core Competency Assessment increased from pre-test to post-test (t = −5.962, df = 11, p < 0.0001), as did SF-8 scores (t = 5.759, df = 17, p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Strategies to reduce vulnerabilities in the Vietnamese community should include developing interventions that address health risks and strengths and focus on root causes of vulnerability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Article
Teleworking in the Context of the Covid-19 Crisis
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3662; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093662 - 01 May 2020
Cited by 140 | Viewed by 21479
Abstract
This article aims to analyze the implementation of teleworking as a security practice to face the crisis resulting from the Covid-19 disease. The present paper provides both theoretical and practical results. From a theoretical standpoint, the Baruch and Nicholson approach is extended with [...] Read more.
This article aims to analyze the implementation of teleworking as a security practice to face the crisis resulting from the Covid-19 disease. The present paper provides both theoretical and practical results. From a theoretical standpoint, the Baruch and Nicholson approach is extended with environmental, safety, and legal factors that explain telework. From a practical perspective, a database of companies that have introduced telework as a measure to face coronavirus in a crisis context has been obtained. In short, the Covid-19 crisis demonstrates how teleworking has been used by companies to ensure their employees’ safety and to provide continuity to economic activity. Consequently, safety factors are relevant in the study of teleworking and should be considered in further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Uncertainty in Flood Mitigation Practices: Assessing the Economic Benefits of Property Acquisition and Elevation in Flood-Prone Communities
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 2098; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12052098 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1170
Abstract
Adopting effective flood mitigation practices for repetitive flood events in the United States continues to play a prominent role in preventing future damage and fostering resilience to residential flooding. Two common mitigation practices for reducing residential flood risk consist of raising an existing [...] Read more.
Adopting effective flood mitigation practices for repetitive flood events in the United States continues to play a prominent role in preventing future damage and fostering resilience to residential flooding. Two common mitigation practices for reducing residential flood risk consist of raising an existing structure to or above base flood elevation (BFE) and acquiring chronically damaged properties in flood prone areas and restoring them back to serve their natural functions as green open spaces. However, due to data accuracy limitations, decision makers are faced with the challenge of identifying the financially optimal approach to implementing mitigation measures. We address this problem through the following research questions: What does the optimal allocation of flood mitigation resources look like under data uncertainty, and what are the optimal methods to combining mitigation measures with consideration for the best economic benefits? Using a robust decision making (RDM) approach, the effects of uncertainty in property values, construction and demolition costs, and policy implementation options such as structure selection and budget allocation were measured. Our results indicate that the amount budgeted for mitigation and how those funds are allocated directly influence the selection of the most economically viable mitigation practices. Our research also contributes to the growing need for evaluating specific flood mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Research

Opinion
Dark Clouds over the Silk Road: Challenges Facing Mountain Environments in Central Asia
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9467; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229467 - 13 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1025
Abstract
Central Asia is a vital link in the huge Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that follows much of the ancient Silk Road routes in this region. Other than the economic expansion and trade benefits associated with this complex infrastructure system, little is [...] Read more.
Central Asia is a vital link in the huge Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that follows much of the ancient Silk Road routes in this region. Other than the economic expansion and trade benefits associated with this complex infrastructure system, little is known about the many of the exogenous issues and direct environmental and socioeconomic impacts surrounding the BRI in Central Asia. This opinion paper takes a sharper look at some of these externalities and potential effects through a sustainability lens. Major environmental concerns focus on the proliferation of spur roads that will develop off upgraded or new Belt Roads to promote exploitation of natural resources. Steep, high-elevation landscapes in the Pamirs and Tien Shan pose problems for road location and construction, and the history of road building in less formidable terrain in Yunnan, China is unsustainable, leading to epic landslide and gully erosion, which degrade river systems. Furthermore, many socioeconomic issues may arise like debt dependencies of poor countries, spread of communicable diseases into remote communities, depletion of mineral resources, and implicit compliance with pro-China policies. While some of the poorer post-Soviet nations can reap short-term benefits from BRI plans, it is urged that they assess the long-term sustainability of BRI development and play an active role in determining the conditions for implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop