Knowledge Factors and Associated Challenges for Successful Disaster Knowledge Sharing: Global Assessment Report input paper (GAR 2015)

Chaminda Pathirage, Krisanthi Seneviratne, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

Frequency and extent of natural disasters are increasing on a global scale. Natural disasters claim many human lives and damage a great deal of property. The urgent need to reduce disaster risk and develop a resilient community capable of recovering from disasters is of increasing concern in many countries. Knowledge management can play a vital role through ensuring the availability and accessibility of accurate and reliable disaster risk information when required and through
effective lesson learning. ‘ISLAND-II’ (Inspiring Sri- LankAn reNewal and Development – Phase II) research project set out to identify key disaster knowledge factors pertaining to disaster management and incorporate appropriate knowledge and good practices relating to different types of disasters. A list of disaster knowledge factors was first identified through a comprehensive literature review and later semi-structured interviews were conducted among few disaster management practitioners to explore the influence and challenges relating to knowledge factors. Disaster knowledge factors are classified into several categories based on their characteristics: Technological, Social, Environmental, Legal, Economical, Operational/Managerial, Institutional and Political. These factors are common for all types of disasters and across three phases of disaster cycle; mitigation/ preparedness, relief/ recovery and reconstruction/ rehabilitation. Social factors have a very high influence level in managing disasters successfully. Technological, operational/ managerial, economic, social, legal and environmental factors seem to have direct influence over the disaster management cycle, while the influence of institutional and political factors seemed indirect and it is through other factors identified. The mitigation/preparedness phase seemed influenced by almost all the disaster knowledge factors. Among key challenges, the lack of detection and warning systems, the need for effective education, training and awareness raising programmes, the need for regular updating of disaster related laws, lack of funds for economic planning measures, poor planning, poor communication, poor leadership, and poor institutional arrangement were highlighted. Peoples’ attitudes and perceptions hinder their involvement in disaster management; hence, in order to manage disasters successfully it is important to overcome these attitudes and perceptions. Owing to paucity of literature and inadequate empirical research done, this paper provides the basis for more empirical research on disaster knowledge factors and sharing of lessons learned. In order to enhance the management of disasters in future, challenges identified needs to be addressed.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUNISDR
Commissioning bodyUnited Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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