Disaster risk reduction


Title: Localized Disaster Management and Community Development in Western Africa: Challenges and Opportunities in Nigeria

Authors: Schismenos, S., Stevens, G., Georgeou, N., Emmanouloudis, D., Smith, A., and Wali, N.

Book Title: 2nd Special Edition: Disaster Risk Reduction: Moving Forward, Thinking Ahead

Publisher: United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth, Youth Science Policy Interface Publication

Pages: 12-16


Nigeria is the 6th largest crude oil exporter in the world; nevertheless, the socioeconomic status of the country is surprisingly low considering the wealth of its natural resources. Like most countries in Western Africa, Nigeria is highly vulnerable to water-based disasters (WDs), since only limited disaster resilience mechanisms have been successfully established nationwide. In addition, human-induced disasters along with a range of other factors undermine socioeconomic conditions and limit opportunities for development. 

Despite limited central government support to address such hazards, a lot can be achieved at the local level, particularly in the form of community-led development plans and integrated disaster risk adaptation. Low-cost, long-term solutions, such as do-it-yourself (DIY) and easy-to-deploy-and-operate (EDO) energy and hazard mitigation systems, adjusted to community needs and capacity could be highly efficient, and align with the strategic principles of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

While it is currently impossible to deploy a nationwide disaster resilience system in Nigeria, learning to adapt to WDs at the local level could improve the quality of life and increase survival rates during extreme weather events. This study highlights the major elements of our integrated research project entitled “Hydropower for Disaster Resilience Applications (HYDRA)” at Western Sydney University, Australia with the support of Humanitarian and Development Research Initiative (HADRI) and UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems (Con-E-Ect), International Hellenic University, Greece.

Title: Local Disaster Vulnerability Analysis: An Approach to Identify Communities

Authors: Schismenos, S., Stevens, G., Emmanouloudis, D., Georgeou, N., Chalaris, M., and Smith, A.

Book Title: 2nd Special Edition: Disaster Risk Reduction: Moving Forward, Thinking Ahead

Publisher: United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth, Youth Science Policy Interface Publication

Pages: 49-54


Extreme weather events, such as floods and rainstorms, can turn into serious threats due to their unpredictable nature and scale. Depending on their magnitude, vulnerable communities may experience substantial losses, especially those residing in riparian and deltaic ecosystems. Despite the significant progress in disaster risk governance over recent years, the implementation of effective resilience plans at the local level remains a challenge. This is often due to the uncertainties of addressing key variations between communities, such as their hydrogeomorphological surroundings, differences in community needs and capacities, and unpredictable local atmospheric conditions. Generalized weather forecasting systems and imported response plans for instance, cannot always be adopted or understood in depth by low-income communities. In contrast, high-income communities and their assets are typically better protected through the use of technology and flood prevention infrastructure. Focusing on local-scale action plans can help address this imbalance, especially when both community and site variations are taken into consideration. The question then becomes, is it possible to develop effective disaster vulnerability analysis tailored to local needs and capabilities?

This study suggests a metric that focuses on community characteristics, capacity and needs criteria. These criteria highlight elements that should be improved in order to increase community resilience and capacity. Knowing the weaknesses and strengths of vulnerable populations allows appropriate modifications within the suggested disaster response plans. The research introduces a method for identifying community vulnerability being developed for the “Hydropower for Disaster Resilience Applications (HYDRA)” research project, a joint initiative of Humanitarian and Development Research Initiative (HADRI), Western Sydney University, Australia and UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems (Con-E-Ect), International Hellenic University, Greece.

Title: Incubators as a Potential Tool for Employment Creation: A Focus on Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors: Bienz, T., Schismenos, S., Stevens, G., Tran, C., and Georgeou, N.

Book Title: The Next Generation of Work: Pathways to Sustainable Economies and Decent Jobs for All by 2030

Publisher: United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth

Pages: 100-104


Sub-Saharan Africa is confronted by a demographic structure that will see a large part of the population reach working age over the next few years. Providing decent work, especially to the youth, will be a challenge and governments are searching for solutions to tackle this problem. There is increasing evidence that start-up incubators boost employment creation. While the early stage incubation programs appear to be effective, there is still a gap when it comes to scaling and deal flow. This paper argues incubators are a potential tool for job creation but more importantly they also empower participants to take charge of their professional future. For countries with a high youth unemployment rate, providing a positive outlook on the future can be seen as a core argument in favour of incubators.


Title: Anthropocentric principles for effective early warning systems

Author: Schismenos, S.

Book Title: Special Edition: Disaster Risk Reduction: A Road of Opportunities

Publisher: United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth, Youth Science Policy Interface Publication

Pages: 8-12


While the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events are continuously rising, both humanity and the environment as we know it are in great danger. Although international frameworks and normative instruments have been strengthened globally under the United Nations oversight, the number of natural and geophysical disasters taking place each year is noticeably increasing. Over the last decades, enormous amounts of funds have supported governments to establish early warning systems; yet, the society seems unprepared and the lack of information remains, regardless of the technological improvements. This research presents major weaknesses of national or regional early warning strategies for extreme hazards from an anthropocentric perspective and it investigates their factors and causes. Moreover, it suggests comprehensive solutions in global actions for disaster risk reduction that focus on the society and the needs of the local populations.

Title: Identifying disaster risk: How science and technology shield populations against natural disasters in Taiwan

Authors: Wen, J.C., Huang S.Y., Hsu, C.C., Hsiao, M.C., Schismenos S., Hung, J.H., Chang, Y.W., Lin, K.W., Chen, Y.C., Chang, T.P. Shih, M.H., and Wang, P.S.

Book Title: Science and Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia: Potentials and Challenges

Journal: Academic Press

Publisher: Elsevier

ISBN: 978-0-12-812711-7

Pages: 111-133


Effective disaster management is essential for all the levels of disaster response in Taiwan, including topic, regional, and national. In order to increase the potential of the response phases for sensitive groups, new techniques and technologies have been applied over the last decades.

For that reason, innovative strategies and systems have been developed by both central and local governments that include disaster warning mechanisms, earthquake real-time report systems, resource applications, disaster information and intelligence networks, disaster educational and training programs, etc. In central-west Taiwan, the local governments of Chiayi City and the counties of Changhua and Yunlin have established programs in which their populations are informed about the possible impacts of disasters and adopt effective practice concepts for disaster management. These programs focus on areas with high disaster risk potential and vulnerable populations, aiming at providing necessary supplies to local populations for disaster awareness and response.