Reading Report – Management of Disasters #1

Book Name:
Systems Approach to Management of Disasters Methods and Applications

By: Slobodan P. Simonovic

Reported by: Tarinee Thongcharoen (M1)

Part 1 / Management of Disasters: Chapter 1 / Introduction


According to the statistic data, disaster risk and impacts have been increasing during a period of global economic growth. The terms hazard, vulnerability, disaster, and risk are interpreted and understood by different people in different ways.
– Hazard is a potentially damaging physical event, which may cause loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption, or environmental degradation.
– Vulnerability is susceptibility to suffer loss or a set of conditions and processes resulting from factors, which increase the susceptibility of a community, an individual, an economy, or a structure to the impact of hazard.
– Disaster results from the combination of hazards, conditions of vulnerability, and insufficient capacity or measures to reduce the potential negative consequences of risk. Disaster was intensified by human action or a lack of it. The term disaster in this book will be used in its broadest sense
– Risk is the combination of notions of hazard and vulnerability.
The author illustrated the level of complexity that one natural disaster can bring and the need for a new approach to natural disasters management by telling the story from his experience with the Red River Flood in Manitoba , Canada in 1997. The Red River originates in Minesota and covers 116,500 km2. More than 10,000 homes were flooded in Winnipeg and 100,000 people evacuated. The troublesome conditions are the heavy precipitation in the fall, the hard and deep frost prior to snowfall, the substantial snowfall, the late and sudden spring thaw, and wet snow or rain during spring breakup of ice. At the end of this disaster, a total of 3,747 private homes had claims for flood damage approved and 633 flood damage claims from full-time farms according to the province’s Emergency Management Organization. Also, claims for 383 full-time businesses were approved. The Disaster Financial Assistance payments for those claims reached $257 million and the number does not include business losses.
In this book any empirical, analytical, or numeric procedure used in the process of disaster preparedness, emergency management, disaster recovery, and disaster mitigation and prevention is referred to as a tool to decrease the loss. The author suggested two new paradigms. The first focuses on the complexity of the disaster management domain and the complexity of the modeling tools in an environment characterized by continuous, rapid technological development or known as the complexity paradigm. The complexity paradigm consist of three components
1. Disaster management problems in the future will be more complex. Domain complexity is increasing
2. The rapid increase in the processing power of computers.
3. The reduction in the complexity of contemporary systems tools
The most important advance made in the field of management in the last century was the introduction of systems analysis which is define as an approach for representing complex management problems using a set of mathematical planning and design techniques. The theoretical solutions to the problems can be found using a computer. The second paradigm deals with disaster-related data availability and the natural variability of domain variables in time and space that affect the uncertainty of disaster management process. The uncertainty paradigm also consist of three components.
1. The increase in all elements of uncertainty in time and space
2. The decrease in disaster data availability.
3. The increase in natural variability of disaster-related factors of the earth’s physical systems.
The author wish that the tools discussed in this book will empower people to make wise decisions on how to make best use of limited resources and minimize disaster losses.

Reporter’s Own Thoughts

According to my opinion, the introduction of this book is quite interesting the author did not introduce us to all the data he will introduce but he rather tell us more about his own experience with natural disaster in the diary style which make a people created an easier image about how troublesome one can feel during the disaster.