Managing disaster knowledge: identification of knowledge factors and challenges

Chaminda Pathirage, Krisanthi Seneviratne, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


– 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. Identification of key disaster knowledge factors will be an enabler to manage disasters successfully. The purpose of this paper is to present key knowledge factors relating to disaster management cycle, and explore a few challenges relating to identified disaster knowledge factors.

– 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 identified knowledge factors.

– 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. 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.

– 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 need to be addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-252
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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