[SE17-DRR] People-Centered Early Warning Systems for Natural Hazards

DAY 3 – Friday 29 June – 14:00-15:30
Swiss Tech | Room 1C | Level Garden 
Session Leader
Michele Calvello
University of Salerno, ITALY
Michele Calvello is Associate Professor in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Salerno (Italy), where he teaches Soil Mechanics and Landslide Risk. He graduated with honours in Civil Engineering at Università della Basilicata (Italy); he earned his PhD at Northwestern University (USA). Main conference-related research interest: inter-disciplinary topics related to landslide risk assessment and mitigation, i.e. early warning systems for rainfall-induced landslides, landslide zoning, risk perception, risk education and community resilience.
Maneesha Vinodini Ramesh
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India
Maneesha Vinodini Rameshis the Director of Amrita Center for Wireless Networks & Applications and is the Director of Amrita Center for International Programs in the Amritapuri Campus of Amrita University, India. She received her PhD in Computer Science from Amrita University on “Wireless Sensor Networks to detect rainfall induced landslides”. Research interest are, IoT systems for real-time monitoring of environment applications and natural Disasters, Wearable Wireless Sensors for Health Care Applications, Wireless Network Design for Rural Health, Remote Triggered Laboratory for Wireless Networks, Wireless Networks for Water Quality Monitoring, Mobile Computing, Collaborative Context Aware Disaster Response & Recovery


Many recent international initiatives have been highlighting the importance of early warning systems (EWS) for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and community resilience. To be effective, EWSs for natural hazards need to have not only a sound scientific and technical basis, but also a strong focus on the people exposed to risk (Basher 2006). The seventh global target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) is to “substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030”. Current shortcomings in the conception and applications of EWS often undermine risk reduction at the local level (Baudoin et al., 2016). This session focuses on people-centered warning systems for different natural hazards by using an interactive and interdisciplinary round-table format and by encouraging the participation of practitioners and researchers with experience in warning systems for e.g. floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. The discussion will be stimulated by the presentation of strengths, weaknesses and lessons learned from a series of case studies in different geographical, geo-environmental and cultural settings. Particularly encouraged are case studies for EWSs deployed in areas of the Global South.
Panelists and Abstracts
Community Based Early Warning System for Climate Change Induced Natural Risk Reduction in Himalaya
Prakash C. Tiwari1, Bhagwati Joshi2
1Kumaun University, Uttarakhand, India
2Government Post Graduate College, Uttarakhand, India
Presenting author’s email address:pctiwari@yahoo.com
Biography of Presenting Author: Dr. Prakash C. Tiwari is Professor of Geography at Kumaun University, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India. He is mountain climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction specialist. Professor Tiwari is involved in several international multi-institutional collaborative projects on climate change adaptation funded by NASA, USA; British Council, UK; Royal Academy of UK; International Water Management Institute; and Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research. He is one of the Lead Authors of Hindu Kush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP) of ICIMOD.
 The work aims to develop Community based flood early warning system which provides vulnerable downstream communities with sufficient lead time to save lives, assets and livelihoods; and involve and empower local communities, particularly rural women and grass-root institutions in the observation and monitoring of climatic information and development of early warning system, in Middle Himalayan watershed. low-cost community based weather monitoring stations were installed in 5 villages situated in the up-stream area of the watershed, community representatives including women have been educated and trained in making observations and generating flood risk information, and communicating this to downstream villages using mobile phones. This helped in reducing loss of 955 human lives and 5795 livestock from disasters during the last 10 years. It was observed that it can make the difference between survival and disaster if implemented jointly by local disaster management authorities and village based community institutions across the Himalayan Mountains.
Holistic Early Warning System and Community-based Climate Change Observatory – A Case Study from El Salvador
Grégoire Labhardt1, Anton Joehr1
1Swiss Red Cross, Bern, Switzerland
Presenting author’s email address: gregoire.labhardt@redcross.ch
Biography of Presenting Author: Grégoire Labhardt is an international cooperation worker with more than 13 years of experience in various positions at donor, headquarter and field levels. He is currently working as program coordinator for Central America at the Swiss Red Cross in Bern. Grégoire holds a Master in Economic and Social History with a minor in Environmental Science from the University of Geneva. He then completed an Executive Master in Business Administration in Management of Technologies at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
 In the multi-disaster-prone estuary of the Lempa River in El Salvador the Salvadoran and Swiss Red Cross set-up a holistic people-based Early Warning System (EWS) that covers the levels from individual inhabitants to the national authorities. Community Emergency Committees are the cornerstone of the system and local authorities are strongly involved. Few alerts and evacuation exercises showed the robustness of the approach. As natural hazards are evolving quickly in the region, an innovative community-based climate change observatory based on bio-indicators was developed to respond to drought as an emerging slow-onset hazard. While first results are promising, the initiative is not yet at a stage to provide evidence on its effectiveness. In this context, more research is needed to provide ways on how to ensure that people-based EWS are ready to adapt to more recurrent, more extreme and fast evolving risks.
A participatory process to develop a people-centred warning system in Gmunden, Upper Austria
Anna Scolobig1, Philipp Preuner2, Monika Riegler2, JoAnne Linnerooth Bayer2, David Ottowitz3, Stefan Hoyer3, Birgit Jochum3
1Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Zurich, Switzerland;
2International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
3Geological Survey of Austria (GSA), Vienna, Austria;
Presenting author’s email address:anna.scolobig@usys.ethz.ch
Biography of Presenting Author: Dr. Anna Scolobig is senior researcher in the Climate Policy group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. She is working on policy instruments and decision processes for effective disaster risk reduction. She has a background in social sciences and held researcher positions in Italy, Germany and Austria, working in interdisciplinary and problem-oriented teams.  
The development of people centred early warning systems always requires not only quantitative evidence and appropriate technical measures but also accounting for a plurality of stakeholders’ perspectives, perceptions, concerns, needs and interests. During a participatory process in Gmunden, Upper Austria, participants deliberated on landslide warning-system options that were based on local stakeholder perspectives. These perspectives differ on issues such as responsibility allocation in decisions regarding warnings, technologies used for monitoring and forecasting, costs and financial aspects, open data policies and the role of the residents. Drawing on the theory of plural rationality and based on a desk study and interviews, stakeholder perspectives on the warning system problem and its solution were elicited. The perspectives formed the basis for the specification of three technical policy options for a warning system in the landslide prone area of Gschliefgraben: a minimal-cost and cost-effective system; a technical-expert system; and a resident-centered system. During the stakeholder engagement process, the organizational and responsibility-sharing arrangements for a landslide warning system proved to be contested issues. While questions on the warning system technology and the distribution of information, including the alarm for evacuation, could be resolved with the support of experts, controversies arose on the financial and legal responsibilities that ensure long-term and effective monitoring for the protection of the landslide-prone community. Notwithstanding the divergencies over responsibility allocation, the results of the process show that reaching a compromise solution on a local warning system is possible: the stakeholder engagement proved effective as a platform for information and for shared ownership in the warning system.
Technological Evolution of Flood Early Warning System in Nepal
Gopal Prasad Ghimire1, Gehendra Bahadur Gurung1, Dinanath Bhandari1
1Practical Action, Kathmandu Nepal
Presenting author’s email address:gopal.ghimire@practicalaction.org.np
Biography of Presenting Author: Mr. Gopal Prasad Ghimire is a development professional working as a Project Manager at Practical Action South Asia Office Kathmandu, Nepal. He is Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change related Practiconers with more than 15 years of experiences in research, program implementation, knowledge management and policy advocacy work related to climate change, resource management and resilience building disciplines. As a practioner, he is involving to capacitate flood vulnerable communities as well as government/non-government actors to increase their flood resilience.  
 Nepal has advanced in people centered flood early warning system through application of efficient technologies in weather forecasting, rainfall and flood monitoring and communication along with improving community capacity to take action on available flood alerts and warning. This paper developed based on participatory analysis highlights how technologies gradually improved based on the need, availability in the market, the capacity of the communities and stakeholder to manage them, and the resources available to the government to offer for technologies. It also covers the effectiveness of the technological advancements along with its social acceptability in different mega flood events in the country. It analyzes the reliability and effectiveness of adopted technologies to promote flood early warning system in the country and how it benefits government to take necessary actions. Based on the study findings, recommendations have been made to use similar technologies for flash floods to accelerate the flood preparedness endeavors.   
A participatory approach to Disaster Risk Management
C. Rossi1, A. Frisiello1, Q. N. Nguyen1
1Istituto Superiore Mario Beolla, Torino, Italy
Presenting author’s email address: rossi@ismb.it
Biography of Presenting Author: Claudio Rossi is a senior researcher and project manager at Istituto Superiore Mario Boella: a private ICT oriented research center located in Turin, Italy. His is the project manager and technical lead of the H2020 I-REACT project, which aims at exploiting advanced cyber technologies in order to increase resilience to disasters caused by climate induced natural hazards. His research interests include crowdsourcing approaches for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), social media analysis, and predictive applications based on Artificial Intelligence.
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is a complex subject, which requires a huge amount of data to be collected and processed in real-time, especially in the early warning phase, in order to get prepared to natural disasters and effectively respond when they strike. This work focuses on the definition of a co-design methodology aimed at the design of a crowdsourcing solution for DRR. Such participatory design approach can help in designing a solution that experts are willing to integrate into existing systems and procedures. We define the proposed methodology, and implement it involving operators and experts in the DRR domain (crisis managers, technical services, first responders).
Web based access to hydrological risk data and model simulations in Denmark – how can participatory EWMS support new groundwater and nature based solutions?
Peter van der Keur1, Jacob B. Kidmose1, Hans Jørgen Henriksen1
1Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS
Presenting author’s email address: pke@geus.dk
Biography of Presenting Author: The presenting author has a background in both unsaturated and saturated zone hydrological modelling and has earlier been involved in research on adaptive water management and uncertainty aspects in data and conceptual models and more recently in capacity building for disaster risk reduction and adaptation. Currently he is active in the field of climate adaptation and resilience to natural disasters in both urban and rural context, including citizen observatories and the role of nature based solutions as a means to mitigate flooding.
 Web-based access to flood risk data and model simulations is required to enable adaptive and integrated management and learning about flood, drought and water security risks at catchment scale and for identifying cost efficient solutions with synergy to other policy goals. The study shows how digitalization initiatives and social media in Denmark can support web-based access to historical data, real time forecasts, and climate projections. For participatory Early Warning Monitoring Systems (pEWMS), a timely and meaningful (near) real-time-access to the state of the hydrological cycle (in terms of groundwater level and flow, soil moisture and river discharge), is useful for stakeholders and citizens to continuously update their information on the state of river flow, groundwater levels, and visualize hydrological risks. If properly enhanced with network-based participation, this can improve risk alertness and provide novel opportunities for risk management and disaster risk reduction.