SE06-DRR: Disaster Risk Reduction: the Elusiveness of Resilience
DAY 2 – Thursday 28 June – 14:20-15:50
Swiss Tech | Room 3A| Level Garden 
Session Leaders
Alejandra Stehr
Associate Professor; Director EULA CenterPhysics, Chile
Civil Engineer, Doctor in Environmental Sciences, currently position Director of Environmental Research center EULA, Associate Professor Dept. of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Concepción. Its field of action focuses on the study of the availability of water resources, with emphasis on the study of the water balance in the watershed using different methodologies depending on the problem to be address and the availability of data. She has participated in more than 10 national and international research projects, written 13 ISI publications and two book chapters, in addition to more than 30 publications in national and international conferences. She has participated in several technical assistance projects in different areas (supporting regulatory processes; hydroelectric projects; cellulose industry; watershed management and risk assessment).
Octavio Rojas
Universidad de Concepción, Chile
PhD in Environmental Sciences from the Universidad de Concepción (Chile). He is currently a Professor at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and EULA-Chile Environmental Sciences Centre (Universidad de Concepción). His research focuses on the field of Physical Geography, Flood Risk and Natural Risk Assessment. He is an active member of scientific societies: Latin American Society of Risk Analysis (SRA-Latin America), Chilean Society of Geographical Analysis and the Society of Landscape Ecology (IALE-Chile). Dr. Rojas has 17 publications related to issues of natural hazard assessment and disaster effects in Urban Planning. Since 2010 he has participated in over 30 national and international scientific conferences.
Natural disasters such as drought, landslides and floods will increase in the future. At the same time, interventions aimed at increasing resilience remain complex. We do not yet have a clear picture of what works where, under what conditions and how the best trade-offs can be determined. Resilience may increase due to concrete measures such as soil stabilization measures, but also due to more accurate vulnerability or impact assessments identifying the most effective interventions. Furthermore, social media (facebook, twitter) and crowdsourcing (data collection on hazard events through mobile phones) for gathering data on hazard events and building social networks are quickly becoming new interdisciplinary research tools worth further investigation. This session will focus on the following question: What are the positive and negative, intended and unintended, direct and indirect impacts that assessments and actual resilience measures can have on vulnerable communities?
Panelists and Abstracts
Impact Evaluation: Increasing Community Resilience through Community-Based Disaster Risk Management in Honduras
Silvia Hostettler1, Christina Aebischer2
1Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
2 Swiss Red Cross, Bern, Switzerland
Presenting author’s email address:
Biography of Presenting Author: Silvia Hostettler is an environmental scientist and international development scholar with 19 years of experience in researching sustainable development challenges in the global South. Silvia studied at the University of Geneva, the University of Aberdeen and at EPFL, conducted research in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mexico and was based in Bangalore as Executive Director of swissnex India. Currently, she is the Deputy Director of the Cooperation and Development Center at EPFL teaches Development Engineering at the Bachelor and Master level.
The objective of this impact evaluation is to bring evidence to the question, whether community-based disaster risk management contributes to strengthen community resilience in disaster-prone areas. The main question this research tries to answer is: Did the Swiss Red Cross disaster risk management program have an impact on the communities in Olancho, Honduras? The focus of this paper will be on the development of a methodological approach that is being tested on how to conduct empirical impact evaluation in the field of disaster risk reduction, thereby contributing to the growing knowledge base on evidence-based decision-making. The main method used is propensity score matching, as it provides the advantage of not requiring systematic baseline data. The challenges and insights into developing an appropriate method for conducting this innovative impact evaluation will be discussed.
Comprehensive Optimisation and Strategy Selection for Resilient Energy Systems in Post-Disaster Recovery: The Case of the 7 Steps Project
Giacomo Gallina1, Francesco Lombardi1, Emanuela Colombo1, Gerald Demeules2
1 Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
2 United Nations Development Programme, Copenhagen, Denmark
Presenting author’s email address:
Biography of Presenting Author: Giacomo Gallina owns a bachelor degree in Energy Engineering and a master degree in Energy Engineering for Development, both obtained at Politecnico di Milano. From July to December 2016 collaborated as Green Energy Specialist with the Green Energy team of the UNDP’s Country office Information and technology Advisory Service (CIAS) unit based in Copenhagen, participating to the realization of the 7 Steps Project, aimed at increasing the resilience of UNDP’s facilities through distributed micro energy systems.
The resilience of energy systems in emergency and disaster situations represents a critical challenge to ensure the correct operation of the needed facilities. However, the resilience aspect is often difficult to quantify and to take into account in the process of design and optimisation of energy systems. In this study, we propose an approach combining an Analytic Hierarchic Process with traditional techno-economic analyses for the evaluation of different energy system architecture scenarios based on multiple indicators related to economic, environmental, technical and social dimensions. Applying this methodology to three distributed micro energy systems installed to face the collapse of the energy supply chain during the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, it is possible to quantify the increased resilience ensured by those systems as well as to identify a possible best-resilient system configuration.
Mapping seismic vulnerability at urban scale for disaster risk reduction
Lorenzo Diana1, Yves Reuland1
1 Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland    
Presenting author’s email address:
Biography of Presenting Author: PhD Lorenzo Diana is researcher at EPFL, in the applied informatics and mechanics Lab (IMAC). Main fields of expertise are: seismic vulnerability assessment of towns, seismic vulnerability analysis of the historical buildings with particular regards to monuments and churches, dynamic of structures. He accomplished his doctorate at Sapienza University of Rome in 2015. 
Earthquakes do not kill people, buildings do. Transforming existing cities in earthquake resilient systems should be the main goal for researchers in the field of the seismic analysis of entire towns. Providing means for realistic disaster risk scenario can help decision makers in pre- and post-earthquake management and save lives and goods. Two main challenges regarding seismic resilience at urban scale are linked to determining seismic vulnerability before earthquakes and residual capacity following a seismic event.
In this way, ambient-vibration measurement is an interesting and non-destructive data source for the seismic vulnerability assessment of towns. It can help in the detection of the real seismic behavior of structure and in the introduction and definition of new construction types in regions with very limited construction data prior to an earthquake. A second measurement after the shock provide information about the possibility of occupancy of damaged buildings. 
Modelling groundwater dynamics and mitigation measures in the flooding prone coastal area of Nouakchott (Mauritania)
Oliver Perkins1, Laurent Vidal2, Ahmed Salem Mohamed3, Christian Leduc4, Paolo Perona1
1 School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2 IRD representative, Dakar, Sénégal
3 University of Nouakchott, Maurtiania
4 IRD, UMR HydroSciences Montpellier, France
Presenting author’s email address:
Biography of Presenting Author:Oliver is a final-year civil and environmental engineering student at The University of Edinburgh, UK. Since starting his degree, he has been fascinated by the risks and opportunities presented by water, and has studied a number of modules specific to this at McGill University, Canada. Oliver is also passionate about the human aspect of science and engineering, being a peer facilitator, science engagement assistant and writing a dissertation on an issue directly affecting people.
Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, suffers from flooding, disrupting the city’s economy and people’s lives. This flooding is due to a rising groundwater table following intense rainfalls, increased impervious land cover and destruction of the protective coastal dunes. Climate change is likely to exacerbate this, with rising sea levels coupled with less frequent and more intensive precipitation, while the population expands in number. The aim of the project is to investigate the effects of using vegetation as a natural pump to lower the groundwater table. This will be done by using the MODFLOW model package including all known and relevant fluxes in the area as well as taking into account predicted future climate change.
Performance of Drought Tolerant Maize Varieties under Rainfall Stress in Malawi
Samson P. Katengeza1, Stein T. Holden1, Menale Kassie2
1 Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Postboks 5003, 1432 Ås, Norway
2 International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, P.O. Box 30772-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Presenting author’s email address:
Biography of Presenting Author: Samson Pilanazo Katengeza is a PhD candidate in Development and Resource Economics with Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway and a Lecturer in Agricultural Marketing with Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Malawi. He is a qualified Agricultural and Applied Economist with a Master of Science Degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Makerere University, Uganda. Sam has vast experience in conducting social science research with key expertise in adoption and impact assessment of agricultural technologies.
Drought tolerant (DT) maize variety is a technology developed to boost maize productivity under rainfall stress. We examine the performance of this variety among female and male-headed households in Malawi using correlated random effects Tobit models with a control function approach. The results show higher maize yield on households that grew DT maize than those that grew other varieties. On average, maize yield is 70% higher on plots with DT relative to other improved maize varieties. The impact is greater on plots for female-headed households than those cultivated by male-headed households.