Averted Disaster Award 2022
GeoHazards International, Landslide and Earthquake Risk Reduction, Aizawl India
We are proud to honor GeoHazards International and their efforts in landslide and earthquake risk reduction in Aizawl, India as a 2022 Averted Disaster Award Honorable Mention.
Since 2011 GeoHazards International (GHI) has served as a technical partner and advisor to the city of Aizawl, India in order to assist as they make progress in disaster resilience. Aizawl is a city in northeast India, located in its highest seismic hazard zone V where earthquakes of intensities above IX are expected. In addition to the high risk of earthquakes, annual monsoon rains in the area also trigger frequent and sometimes deadly landslides. With a population of 300,000 (per 2011 census), that is expected to double by 2030, the GHI team recognized the significant risk to life and livelihoods and the importance of implementing development practices to increase the city’s resilience in the face of a disaster.
In order influence the community to proactively implement interventions, GHI developed a scenario to demonstrate the consequences of a moderate, not worst-case, but hypothetical magnitude 7 earthquake and shaking triggered landslides. They presented their findings to policymakers and the public to help them visualize the specific impacts of the risk they face. This painted a stark picture of the collapse of 14,000 buildings (nearly 30% of all buildings), over 1,000 landslides and 25,000 fatalities (over 8% of the population at the time) as well as major damage to utilities and infrastructure. The estimates were even worse during monsoon season when wet conditions make slopes more prone to sliding.
GHI team members assisted the city as it launched the Landslide Policy Committee for Aizawl Municipal Corporation (AMC) with municipal, state, and technical participants. The Committee created a landslide safety Action Plan to prevent or remediate landslides based on the findings from the scenario, many of which have been or are in the process of being implemented. Examples of actions taken include:
· New site development regulations, which include controls on excavations that can destabilize slopes.
- High risk areas identified, mapped and used to create landslide hazard maps. These maps make it possible to enforce the site development regulations.
- Local professionals were trained on the new regulations.
- Hiring of geologists to implement the site development regulations.
- AMC empaneled 95 geologists, 142 engineers, 7 geotechnical engineers, and 9 firms to cater to the increased demands for regulatory approvals following the slope modification regulations.
Aizawl has become a model city for other fast-growing hill cities in the region. It’s the only city in India with municipal geologists that guide the city towards safer development. It’s also the only Indian city with slope modification regulations and detailed landslide hazard maps to enforce the regulations. India’s National Disaster Management Agency recognized Aizawl as an example for hill cities across the country.
GeoHazards International attributes persistence, sustained efforts and genuine local engagement as the keys to making a lasting difference.
Congratulations to GeoHazards International!
For more information about GeoHazards International visit GeoHazards International | Menlo Park | Disaster Preparedness
Averted Disaster Award 2022
Project NOAH, Philippines
We are proud to honor the works of Project NOAH as an Honorable Mention for the 2022 Averted Disaster Award.
The Philippine government created Project NOAH as the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) integrated disaster prevention and mitigation program in 2012. It was designed to employ science and technology to generate accurate data and address the conditions needed to make informed decisions for disaster risk reduction activities, through national government agencies, partners in the private sector and the academic community. Project NOAH seeks to fulfill its vision of disaster-free and empowered communities by providing open access to accurate, reliable, and timely hazard and risk information that has been updated and enhanced using advanced technology. It also undertakes research projects to develop technologies and tools that further build the capacity of the government and the public in disaster preparedness and response.
The Philippines is constantly under threat from natural hazards from typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. This is further compounded by the extreme weather conditions created by climate change, as well as ongoing infrastructure development and population growth. As a result, disasters continually inflict greater costs on the country, both in terms of damage to property and loss of life. This situation will persist, and even worsen, unless specific measures are immediately undertaken to specifically address the ability to provide enough lead time for vulnerable communities to prepare and withstand disasters.
To address these issues Project NOAH mapped the country’s flood, landslide and storm surge hazards and significantly improved the resolution of hydrometeorological hazard maps. The NOAH program also introduced the use of Web Geographic Information Systems in communicating hazards and developed a People-Centered Early Warning System in their disaster risk reduction efforts. Additionally Project NOAH has deployed more than 1,000 automated weather stations, rain gauges and flood sensors that stream near real-time data over the NOAH website. They have also institutionalized a strategic communications project that allowed the agency to provide hazard specific, area=focused and time-bound warnings to the public.
The compounded impact of investment in these disaster mitigation areas has resulted in significant lives, property and livelihoods saved. Through Project NOAH the Philippines government is creating a culture of safety and resilience in communities and changing the way we perceive and experience disaster events.
Congratulations Project NOAH!
For more information about Project NOAH visit Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) – NOAH Center (up.edu.ph)
Averted Disaster Award 2022
Runner Up/Intervention of Distinction
Resilient Housing, Philippines
We are proud to honor Build Change and their efforts in resilient housing in the Philippines as a 2022 Runner Up/Intervention of Distinction.
Since 2014 Build Change has implemented resilient housing solutions in the Philippines and provided engineering, technology, and lending solutions to design, build and finance over 3,000 safer buildings. This represents 40,000 people living and learning in safer houses and schools. They facilitated behavioral change in homeowners and builders by training over 5,000 people in safe construction practices creating 600 jobs.
The Philippines ranks as the eighth most disaster-prone country in the world based on the World Risk Index. The country is particularly exposed to typhoons, flooding, earthquakes, and landslides. In 2019 Build Change estimated there were over 15 million vulnerable housing units in the Philippines urgently needing improvements with the vast majority belonging to poor and low-income families. In 2020 alone, over 5 million Filipinos and more than 425,000 homes were negatively impacted by typhoon and earthquake events.
The experience of Eusi and Helen Raloso is one example of disaster averted through resilient housing efforts. On November 8, 2013 the Raloso’s first home was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda. They hid under a table for protection while their house collapsed around them. Their son was injured. They thought they would die.
The family received emergency food, water, and clothing. Then, with engineering, construction, and financial assistance from Build Change and its partners, Eusi and Helen built back better. They constructed a stronger, disaster-resilient home. Helen managed the money and Eusi managed the builders.
The strength and safety of the Raloso’s new home has been tested since it was built in 2014, withstanding the increasing frequency and intensity of climate change induced weather for nearly eight years. After Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), some of the most devastating typhoons have followed a similar path through their community. Further, the Raloso’s home has served as an evacuation center for family members and neighbors.
Build Change recognizes that a home is the ultimate protection for families. Resilient housing not only mitigates risk of damage or collapse, but enhances the wealth, health and well-being of occupants. Resilient housing helps save lives, protect assets, create jobs and spur local economies. They prevent the loss of livelihoods, prevent relocation and irregular migration after a disaster and help provide a cost effective and long-term solution to the qualitative housing deficit.
Elizabeth Hausler, the founder and CEO of Build Change says “It is completely possible to build and strengthen houses to better withstand earthquakes, windstorms and other hazards and prevent such a disaster. It’s not the earthquake or typhoon that kills people, it’s the collapse of a poorly built structure…it just takes the right combination of people, political will, financing and technology to solve it’.
Congratulations to Build Change!
For more information about Build Change visit Build Change | Build Disaster Resistant Buildings and Change Construction Practices Permanently
Averted Disaster Award 2022 – Winner
Bangladesh Red Crescent Society
Forecast-based Financing, Bangladesh
We are proud to honor the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society as the winner of the 2022 Averted Disaster Award for their efforts in Forecast-based financing in Bangladesh!
The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society won the Averted Disaster Award for their work providing forecast-based financing to vulnerable communities during successive extreme events in Bangladesh May-July 2020. On May 20, 2020 Super Cyclone Amphan made landfall in Bangladesh. A few weeks later monsoon flooding affected Bangladesh for several weeks reaching their highest levels since 1988. 37% of Bangladesh’s landmass was flooded and affected 5.4 million people in the north, northeast and center of the country.
Forecast-based financing, an anticipatory approach implemented by the Red Crescent Society proved highly effective at averting the impacts of floods and cyclones in Bangladesh. In this approach, weather and climate forecasts are combined with risk analysis to predict when and where a hazard will strike. Once a certain trigger level (i.e. the water level in a river) is reached, a pre-agreed amount of humanitarian funding is released for a series of predefined early actions. These actions aim to save lives and minimize the hazard’s impacts.
Prior to forecast based financing, disasters such as cyclones and flooding would destroy livelihoods, forcing people to sell their livestock at low prices or take burdensome loans, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Recipients of the funds were able to secure their homes and assets before the storm, allowing them to evacuate to shelters, reducing the number of injuries and fatalities. They were also able to buy livestock or replace fishing or farming equipment, allowing them to recover their livelihoods more quickly than those who did not receive the funds. The work of BDRCS has saved lives and increased the resiliency of communities throughout Bangladesh.
The work of BDRCS was highlighted in a short documentary film where the personal experiences of three families who have benefitted from the awarded program are narrated. Directed by award winning director, Doel Trivedy and titled “Rivers of Hope” the film aims to bring to light the life-saving benefits of anticipatory action and forecast-based financing and serve as inspiration to other communities disaster mitigation efforts.
Congratulations Bangladesh Red Crescent Society!
For more information about the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society visit BDRCS | Bangladesh Red Crescent Society
DEFENDING THE CAPITAL FROM DISASTER
The Thames Barrier is an icon of engineering design, which plays a critical role in protecting London from tidal flooding.