"Teaching Disaster Risk Management"
Application of ‘Characteristics of a Disaster-Resilient Community’ Case Study – UK, November 2007-January 2008 Use of Characteristics in teaching (MSc and MA students) Draft, February 2008. Author: John Twigg, Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre Introduction This case study shows how the Characteristics have been used as a device for teaching students about disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster risk management. It discusses student group exercises in teaching sessions on several MSc and MA courses at University College London and Oxford Brookes University between November 2007 and January 2008. The courses were on a variety of subjects, but contained modules or components of modules that addressed disasters and vulnerability. Classes ranged in size between 15 and 30 students, many of whom had little or no previous knowledge of disaster reduction before starting the module or session. Method The Characteristics exercise, which had two components, formed part of a longer teaching session. These longer sessions varied in length and format, depending on the nature of the course and the content of preceding sessions, but in each case, the students had already heard an introductory lecture or lectures about disasters, vulnerability and disaster management and taken part in some discussion of these. The immediate preparation for the exercise consisted of a short lecture on definitions and principles of DRR, the difficulty of ‘capturing’ such a wide-ranging approach in conceptual or analytical frameworks, and the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015. The Characteristics were then presented, with an explanation of the basic approach and the main elements of the tables (thematic areas, components of resilience, characteristics, enabling environment). This part of the session usually took about 20 minutes. The first component of the group work was a ‘brainstorming’, intended to make the students think as widely and imaginatively as possible about the range and diversity of DRR and resilience. The exercise took 30-45 minutes, depending on the liveliness of the group and quality of the discussion. First, the five thematic areas (governance, risk assessment, knowledge and education, risk management and vulnerability reduction, disaster preparedness and response) were displayed as headings on an overhead or a whiteboard. The lecturer then went round the room asking each student in turn to identify, or where they were not sure, to suggest, individual components of DRR and resilience and characteristics of a disaster-resilient community, and to assign them to one or more of the thematic areas. (The distinction between DRR and resilience was left vague to in order to keep the subject as simple as possible and encourage students to contribute). The lecturer wrote the responses up on the whiteboard under the relevant headings, using the students’ own words but seeking clarification or further explanation where necessary (see Table 1). Once every student had responded, the lecturer invited further contributions from anyone in the room. When the responses ‘dried up’, the lecturer led a short discussion about the challenges of identifying DRR/resilience components and placing Application of ‘Characteristics of a Disaster-Resilient Community’ Case Study: Use of Characteristics in Teaching (MSc and MA students) them within the framework. Finally, the components of resilience identified in the Characteristics document itself were displayed on an overhead. The second component of the group work – usually after a break – involved use of the Characteristics in disaster planning. The class was divided into groups of 4-8 students and set the question: ‘What DRR interventions should be undertaken to reduce the vulnerability of people with disabilities to natural disasters?’ (The subject of disability was chosen because it is neglected in disaster planning. This made it unlikely that any student would have analysed it before, and it was also an opportunity to raise their awareness of the issue.) Each group was allowed 15-20 minutes to identify a maximum of 5 priorities for action and was told to write each action point on a separate piece of paper or post-it note. When they had finished, the groups read their action points out to the class and placed each card or post-it on a board or table, under one of the five thematic areas of the Characteristics framework (see Table 2). The lecturer then led a 15-20 minute discussion about the nature and range of activities the groups had identified, gaps in their coverage, and the overall balance of interventions across the whole resilience framework. Results and lessons learned The classes engaged enthusiastically with the two group exercises, both of which stimulated considerable debate. The brainstorming showed that, collectively, the students were able to identify a wide range of DRR/resilience components although they found the thematic areas harder to comprehend and sometimes struggled to fit individual components and characteristics to specific thematic areas. Table 1, which shows their outputs, provides several examples of what experts would consider misplaced components within the framework. This may be because most of the students were new to this subject and the introduction to DRR preceding the exercise was relatively rapid, giving them little time to reflect. In the disability exercise, groups tended to focus on emergency preparedness, response and technical interventions rather than underlying problems of vulnerability, exclusion, participation and accountability, although this issue could then be brought out in the discussions. The value of the Characteristics in more thorough and systematic teaching about DRR and disaster risk management has still to be explored. The session and the two group exercises were only an introduction to DRR and aimed to raise students’ awareness and stimulate their interest rather than to impart a great amount of learning. There was only a limited amount of time available in each case, which restricted the opportunities for learning and discussion. An alternative structure to the session would be to take out the disability exercise and continue the exploration of DRR and resilience as a whole. This could also take the form of group work, in which individual groups identify and discuss more specific individual characteristics of resilience within some of the more general components generated by the initial brainstorming. Draft, February 2008. Author: John Twigg, Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre Application of ‘Characteristics of a Disaster-Resilient Community’ Case Study: Use of Characteristics in Teaching (MSc and MA students) Table 1: Results of ‘brainstorming’ exercise on resilience/DRR characteristics (from 2 classes) Class A Class B Governance Regulations (national) planning Levels Urban planning Participation Zoning and implementation Accountability: structure to criticise & Emergency planning responsibilities New laws regulating behaviour International system/external actors Building standards Legal frameworks Rules for development Capacity Sensitisation – attitude change Alternative strategies (research) Global campaigns Conflict reduction/peacebuilding Decisions/policies Community action and defining priorities Provision of disaster insurance Risk assessment Data Hazard monitoring Standard approaches Specialist institutions Hazard/environmental assessment Technology Women’s vulnerability Vulnerability: who, where, how, why, when Knowledge and education Awareness-raising Research Construction education Training (for everyone) Education Emergency planning Capacity Sensitisation Testing Attitude change Learning from other communities Behaviour change Swimming and other life skills Decisions, policies Global campaigns Experience sharing Schools Risk management and Buildings EIA vulnerability reduction Livelihoods Food stocks Planning Behaviour change Structures Community action and defining Building standards priorities Migration/population movement Disaster insurance Social safety nets Access to resources Poverty Livelihood protection Health services and infrastructure Construction: secure, adequate for needs Draft, February 2008. Author: John Twigg, Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre Application of ‘Characteristics of a Disaster-Resilient Community’ Case Study: Use of Characteristics in Teaching (MSc and MA students) Safe locations Disaster preparedness and Training in DP/emergency response Early warning systems response M&E Emergency planning Resources Rescue system (health) services Restoration of infrastructure EWS and testing Relief: food, shelter, etc. Technology Evacuation routes Table 2: results of group exercise on DRR planning for people with disabilities Class A Class B Governance Government policy and regulations; Community based implementation at local level – organisations: co-operation, designation of disaster preparedness support, relief, inclusion. team Laws and policies and their Regulations: building regulations in adequate implementation relation to disabled access; policy and (design standards, rights) socio-cultural change in relation to the views about marginalisation of disabled Building regulations: various forms of alert, escape facilities Legislation for design of built environment Risk assessment Needs assessment: data collection, Mapping out of location of identification; risk assessment + disabled people in the city, to creation of contingency plans based in allow emergency services to local needs: transportation locate where the most Risk assessment and information vulnerable are. gathering: identify who and where is Getting disabled involved to disabled and level of disability identify what they feel most Registration of disability: identification vulnerable about. Reduce risk of vulnerability and registration of that happening to lowest (voluntary!) possible level (e.g. scared of Continual integrated assessment (risk fire – higher fire standards assessment) with existing structures of for buildings). disability Knowledge and education Training and awareness for carers and Prevention training (the emergency response and for disabled evacuation procedures) [for] people the disabled, medical Awareness raising of disabled needs: personnel, firemen, disabled and discrimination act volunteers (governance); education of resources Training and awareness available to disabled people/who to programs for disabled contact; education of others/children people, caretakers and of different needs community Education and awareness raising Special training team to help disabled people (e.g. fireman, family members, colleagues, caretakers) Draft, February 2008. Author: John Twigg, Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre Application of ‘Characteristics of a Disaster-Resilient Community’ Case Study: Use of Characteristics in Teaching (MSc and MA students) Risk management and Assistive devices to reduce Supporting programs to: vulnerability reduction vulnerability – wheelchairs, hearing cover their needs; protect aids, glasses, etc. their rights and ensure the Accompaniment and assistance enforcement of policies and strategy laws; financial support; to incorporate them into society. Disaster preparedness and Early warning systems Increase access to equipment response Training: community education, and care for disabled. healthcare, women’s training, general In-house extinguisher, mask. awareness, monitoring and testing of Accessibility of the design: contingency plans buildings and urban space. Post-disaster response: enabling social Escape contingency plan; safety nets focused on the disabled; training disabled people. providing immediate alternatives – Emergency evacuation plan: relief; learning from mistakes to design and rehearsed for all reformulate plans for future public buildings Early warning systems: informed early response and notifications for disabled ensure building is designed to people; detailed evacuation plans for be evacuable for disabled i.e. those who need pre-emptive access, siren, flashing light; movement; planning/preparedness inform through drills Early warning systems: different meeting point; special shelter approaches appropriate to disability facility set up prior to Train emergency workers disaster; could act as failsafe facility special emergency alerts Draft, February 2008. Author: John Twigg, Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre