Safe and Resilient Societies

As one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world, frequent natural hazards – from tsunamis to floods to volcanic eruptions – threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the Pacific Rim and result in catastrophic destruction and damage.

The losses and impacts that characterize disasters have much to do with the exposure and vulnerability of people and places as they do with the severity of the hazard event. While natural hazards cannot be eliminated, by sharing best practice, knowledge, and research, we can better understand risks and minimize the threat to human life. Over the past decade, the APRU Multi-Hazards Program hosted by Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan has worked to harness the collective capabilities of APRU universities for cutting-edge research on the shared threat of natural hazards facing the region.

Of the top 100 institutions globally by scholarly output on natural disasters, APRU produces 23% of the publications and 28% of the citations.

APRU collaborates with its members and partners to understand how academics, policy leaders, government, and communities can work together to facilitate disaster risk reduction and recovery. Whether it is enhancing the reach of the Sendai Framework or sharing expertise to mitigate the danger in countries most vulnerable to disaster risks, together we can build a more resilient Asia Pacific.

Program Website at Tohoku University
Core Group
Osamu Murao, Program Chair
Tohoku University
Takako Izumi, Program Director
Tohoku University
Fumihiko Imamura
Tohoku University
Denise Konan
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Hung Chi Kuo
National Taiwan University
Benito M. Pacheco
University of the Philippines
Hugo Romero
University of Chile
John Rundle
UC Davis
Kuniyoshi Takeuchi
Yamanashi University
Supot Teachavorasinskun
Chulalongkorn University
Hui Zhang
Tsinghua University
Lalith Wijerathne
The University of Tokyo
Christina Schönleber
APRU International Secretariat
Science and Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia in 2018
Science and Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia 1st Edition: Potentials and Challenges This book collects cases and studies presented at the APRU multi-hazards research symposium at Kyoto University in 2016. Science and Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia: Potentials and Challenges provides both a local and global perspective on how to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Topics demonstrate the advancement of scientific research as it applies to early warning systems, including identifying risk and the strengthening of infrastructure for different types of hazards. Through different major disasters, it has become evident that there must be a balance between hard and soft technology and physical, process and social solutions. This book demonstrates how this has been successfully implemented in Asia, and how these applications can apply on a global basis. Key Features Covers new research on the role of science in Disaster Risk Reduction and lessons learned when research has been applied Utilizes case studies to outline the broader lessons learned Focuses on the Sendai Framework, which was adopted in the Third UN World Conference in 2015 Readership Professionals in disaster risk reduction across governmental agencies, intergovernmental agencies, and NGOs; researchers in the field of environment and climate change studies. About the Editor Rajib Shaw Rajib Shaw is Professor in the Graduate School of Media and Governance in Keio University, Japan. He has worked closely with the local communities, NGOs, governments and international organization, including United Nations, especially in Asian countries. His research interests are: community based disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, urban risk management, and disaster and environmental education. He is currently the member of UN ISDR Science Technology Advisory Group (STAG), and Co-chair of UN ISDR Science Technology Academia Stakeholder Group. Professor Shaw has extensive publications in different journals, books and edited volumes. Affiliations and Expertise Keio University, Fujisawa, Japan Expertise: disaster risk reduction Koichi Shiwaku Koichi Shiwaku is a Researcher in the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies of Kyoto University, Japan. He has been working with central and local governments, NGOs, school teachers and students, and local communities in Japan and overseas countries. His recent works are enhancing school disaster resilience and capacity development of officers of board of education in the area affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. His research interests are disaster education, community based disaster risk management, governance for disaster education, school safety, and capacity development of local government. Affiliations and Expertise OYO International Corporation, Tokyo, Japan Takako Izumi Takako Izumi is an Associate Professor in the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University in Japan. She also serves as Programme Coordinator of the Multi-Hazards Programme under the Association of Pacific Lim Universities (APRU) that consists of 45 universities and academic institutes in the Pacific Lim. Her research interests include international and regional framework of disaster risk reduction, disaster risk reduction at local level, and role of civil society in disaster management. Previously, she worked for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) for the disaster response coordination in Asia and for one of the international NGOs in Malaysia as General Manager to oversee the programs of disaster response and disaster risk reduction. Affiliations and Expertise International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, Japan Further details>>
Universities’ Preparedness and Response Towards Multi-Hazards: COVID-19, Natural, and Human-Induced Hazards
Preface The experience of the COVID 19 pandemic reminded us that hazard risks are not only natural, but also include different types of hazards such as biological, chemical, industrial etc. It is crucial to understand these various types of hazard risks and take proper preparedness measures to ensure effective response efforts. The scope of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015, emphasizes that “the present framework will apply to the risk of small-scale and large-scale, frequent and infrequent, sudden and slow-onset disasters caused by natural or manmade hazards as well as related environmental, technological, and biological hazards and risks. It aims to guide the multi-hazard management of disaster risk in development at all levels as well as within and across all sectors.” To support and implement the framework, we are required to incorporate both natural and anthropogenic hazards as well as other types of hazards such as pandemics in our disaster management strategy. Further, we must adopt a comprehensive approach which encompasses all hazards. Universities in particular need to consider adopting this approach as they keep explosive, chemical, and hazardous materials on campus and are responsible for numerous students, staff, and faculty. In addition, the impact on neighboring communities could also be tremendous if any incidents occurred on campus. The year 2020 was extremely challenging for universities, faculty, and students in education. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our regular classes, educational programs, field visits, etc. were tremendously restricted. Students, faculty, and administration staff were struggling to transition teaching and learning methodologies to an online format. The lack of internet access as well as stable connectivity were the fundamental obstacles in many countries. Nevertheless, many universities have overcome these challenges and minimized the damage with innovative and cooperative solutions in such difficult circumstances. It is crucial to learn from these innovative approaches and measures on how universities have been managing this crisis. The APRU Multi-Hazards (MH) program was jointly established in 2013 with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and Tohoku University in Japan. The campus safety program is a major activity of the MH program. The program includes conducting a survey to understand the status of universities’ disaster preparedness, organizing workshops to learn from each other, and compiling this case study to share the experience. At the workshop held early 2020, it was proposed to collect the case studies to learn how universities responded and prepare for the pandemic, and share them especially among university safety/crisis management offices, university staff, and faculty. The idea of this publication derives from the workshop. The case studies aim to collect the efforts made by universities in the response and preparedness toward the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other hazards such as earthquakes, fires, and anthropogenic hazards. Further, it aims to investigate how to prepare for future pandemics and disasters more effectively. This compilation includes 26 case studies from 13 countries and region. It is critical to keep a record of what happened and success and failures to learn from the experience and prepare for the next hazardous events. We hope that this publication will be useful for universities in strengthening their current strategy and plan to reduce multiple disaster risks and respond efficiently. Further, we believe that it will enable them to establish a resilient campus against various types of hazards to protect the lives of students, staff, and faculty as well as the assets on campus. Find out more detials about the Multi-Hazards Program here.
Managing and responding to pandemics in higher educational institutions: initial learning from COVID-19
Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the key challenges, approaches and lessons of the higher educational institutions (HEIs) in the context of COVID-19. Design/methodology/approach – A survey was conducted to understand the key challenges being faced by the HEIs around the world during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 150 responses were collected from 65 universities, located in 29 countries. Findings – The results show that 47% of respondents with defined universities believe their institutions lacked a permanent or dedicated emergency management office, and 41% said their HEIs lacked a general business continuity plan for an emergency. In universities with BCPs, 33%of the plans do not cover biological hazards and pandemic risk management, and 60% of the plans did not include conducting any advanced simulation exercises. More than 70% the responded said their instruction, information sharing and decisionmaking process were timely and open. The major challenges identified were a lack of adequate preparedness for pandemic and of pandemic-specific advanced simulation exercises. The next major challenges were the change in the mode of teaching to online lectures and working from home. Based on these challenges, a set of short- and long-term recommendations were proposed. Originality/value – This was the first survey in academic institutions in post COVID-19 context. The findings will be useful for preparing for biological and other related hazards.

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