UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


IRDR 3rd Annual Conference, 14th June 2013

14 June 2013, 9:00 am–7:30 pm

Event Information

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Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre

After successful annual conferences in 2011 and 2012, we are hoping for our 2013 annual conference to be even bigger and better. As in previous years, this conference aims to draw together a varied and dynamic audience from across UCL and beyond to report on, explore and inform research in risk and disaster reduction through thought-provoking lectures and discussions.

Our keynote lecture  'Building National Resilience and Crisis Management Capabilities' will be delivered by Professor Sir David Omand, former Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator. 

Registration has now closed for this conference. If you want to tweet about this conference, use #IRDR3RD

Annual conference - Programme

09:00 Registration opens

Welcome and introduction

Peter Sammonds (Director, UCL IRDR)


Panel discussion on Disaster Preparedness v Disaster Recovery: How should I spend my dollar?

Expert panellists from a wide range of backgrounds will discuss the economics of disaster preparedness v disaster recovery. Does good disaster preparedness really save money in the aftermath of disasters? How much?

Chair Dr Joanna Faure Walker

Joanna Faure Walker is a Lecturer in Risk and Disaster Reduction at the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. She joined the IRDR in May 2012. After completing a PhD on "Mechanics of continental extension from Quaternary strain fields in the Italian Apennines" in 2009, Joanna worked for RMS for 2 years, where she became familiar with catastrophe models and how academic research is used by the insurance industry. Since returning to academia, she has begun teaching on and developing the IRDR post-graduate programs. In her research, she is integrating her knowledge gained from the city and her research interests in seismic hazard and continental extension.

Panelist Dr Robert Muir-Wood

Robert Muir-Wood is the Chief Research Officer of Risk Management Solutions. He co-founded the London office of RMS in 1996. He has degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Earth Sciences both from Cambridge University. He is the author of many scientific papers on the analysis of earthquakes, hurricanes and windstorms, more than 150 articles and six books. He has more than 20 years experience in developing probabilistic catastrophe models, and has led projects to build models for earthquake, tropical cyclone, windstorm and flood, in Europe, Japan, North America, Caribbean and Australia and has been the technical lead on a number of Catastrophe risk securitization transactions. He has also lectured widely on catastrophe risk and the business response to climate change. He was Lead Author on Insurance, Finance and Climate Change for the 2007 4th IPCC Assessment Report and is Vice Chair of the OECD High Level Advisory Board of the International Network on the Financial Management of Large Scale Catastrophes.

Panelist Tony Moore

A former senior police officer with the Metropolitan Police, Tony Moore moved into academia, eventually becoming Associate Director of the Resilience Centre at Cranfield University based within the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.   He retired from that post in April 2009.   He is currently the Deputy President of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and Temporary Editor of its Journal, Alert.

During his academic career, he taught on a number of Master's degree programmes and ran crisis/disaster/emergency management courses in Africa, Asia, the Middle-East, Central and Eastern Europe.   He specialises in leadership and decision-making in stressful situations.   He has spoken at a number of national and international conferences on emergency management and related issues.  

He was the co-editor for the 3 editions of Tolley's Handbook of Disaster and Emergency Management, published in 2002, 2004 and 2006, and is the author of Disaster and Emergency Management Systems, published by the British Standards Institution in November 2008.

Panelist Dr Kate Crowley

Kate is currently the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Advisor at Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD). She is an applied interdisciplinary Geoscientist specialising in the impacts of natural hazards on society and has been involved in projects that aim to reduce risk in hazard settings by using practical interdisciplinary DRR methods. Previously Kate completed a PhD at the University of Plymouth examining cultural vulnerability and resilience in Indonesia and went on to be a post-doctoral research associate at Oxford University working with UK local authorities on flood science knowledge exchange. Her role at CAFOD focuses on providing technical support for DRR and climate change adaptation mainstreaming and programming across the organisation. She is also currently co-chair of the BOND DRR working group.

11:00-11:30 Break and refreshments

Media, Society, and Disasters

 Local and international media can have a profound influence on the how the response to a disaster develops. Images on our TV screens can galvanise an international response such as following the 2004 Boxing Day Indian Ocean Tsunami and contribute to the analysis and understanding of how a disaster plays out, such as during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. But the media can also mislead the public, whether it is relatively benign, such as the dominance of reporting of the effect of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 on the USA compared with the minimal reporting on for the Caribbean, or more seriously, in the supposed hyping of the swine flu pandemic which never was. On the other hand social media played a significant role in tracking the spread of the cholera outbreak following the Haiti earthquake.

Convener Professor Peter Sammonds

Peter Sammonds is the Director of the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and is a Professor of Geophysics in the UCL Department of Earth Sciences. He is also the Strategic Advisor for the NERC Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards Programme. He has also made substantial media appearances (over 40 since 2004) on prestigious national and international news, current affairs and science programmes, including BBC News at 10, BBC Newsnight, ITN, US PSB and CNN, promoting public understanding of major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and climate change.

Panel Chair Linda O'Halloran

Linda O'Halloran is the founder and managing director of Thinking Development. She coordinates the diverse teams of professionals and academics who are working with Haiti's largest educator of women to deliver disaster-resilient, environmentally and socially sustainable facilities to a disaster-affected girls' school community in Port-au-Prince. Linda holds an MPhil in philosophy from UCL, sits on the executive board of the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, and works part time in UK Government communications.

Speaker Yumiko Horie, UNDP

 Yumiko Horie is a Programme Officer at the UNDP, who previously worked as a newspaper journalist.

More details soon.

Speaker Shigeyuki Koide

 Freelance science journalist, President of the Japanese Association of Science and Technology Journalists, Former visiting researcher at Imperial College London,

Former Senior Science Editor and Writer at The Yomiuri Shimbun, former Visiting Professor at Waseda University, and Adjunct Lecturer at Ochanomizu University

Mr. Koide was born in Tokyo, Japan and graduated from the Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University.

After joining the Yomiuri Shimbun in 1976, he served as a reporter in the city news, lifestyle news and science news departments and from June 2005 became Senior Editor. He reported on the global environment, health care, medicine, atomic energy and general science issues. In 1995, when the sodium leakage accident occurred on the fast breeder reactor "MONJU", he reported on how a false information disclosure could lead to loss of trust in science and technology. He teaches such themes as science and risk-communication issues at the Life World Watch Center at Ochanomizu University.

In the information technology area, he has interviewed Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft and other engineers and scientists who were the active players when personal computers were born and published the book "Dreams come true; The Life of Bill Gates" in June 2005. In the book he described the group of young people who had supported the development of personal computers.

His leading works are "The Document - MONJU Accident", "Environmental Hormone - What has been known", "Japanese Scientists at the Forefront", "Ten Japanese Nobel Prize Winners" and "Living with Planet Earth - Green Sustainable Chemistry", "Dreams come true; The Life of Bill Gates", "Study of Newspaper ".

He retired from The Yomiuri at the end of February 2011, just before the huge earthquake and Fukushima nuclear power plant accident occurred on 11th March.  He was called back to the editor's room and worked again as a senior science editor mainly covering the Fukushima nuclear accident's news until the end of June 2011.  After he moved to UK in July, he joined the Science Communication Group of Imperial College London as a visiting researcher.  In his one year stay, he reported and researched science communication, public engagement of science and science journalism in the UK.

Panelist Prof David Alexander, IRDR

David Alexander is a Professor of Risk and Disaster Reduction at the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. He joined the IRDR in October 2013. David Alexander teaches emergency planning and management and has research interests in this field, as well as earthquake disaster analysis. His books include "Natural Disasters", "Confronting Catastrophe" and "Principles of Emergency Planning and Management". He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Co-Editor of Disasters journal, and is a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. He has conducted several studies into media and disasters and is now beginning to conduct research into the role of new media in disaster management.

See more on David's IRDR staff profile page

Panelist Julian O'Halloran, BBC

Julian is a reporter who has worked with BBC current affairs and news programmes since the 1970s. In the first part of his career he concentrated mostly on international affairs, witnessing the Chinese crackdown at Tiananmen Square, the collapse of communism in Europe, and the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. He has reported for Newsnight, Panorama, Assignment, and Correspondent on television and for File on 4 and The World Tonight on Radio 4. He has travelled to more than 50 countries. In the last 20 years or so he has developed an increasing fascination with the environment, climate change, energy, and the world's dwindling resources. 

Panelist Tom Sheldon, Science Media Centre

Senior Press Officer

Tom joined the SMC in April 2008 and handles any issues in the fields of engineering, energy and the environment that hit the headlines.  He has degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Bioinformatics. He volunteered with the charity Sense About Science in summer 2007, contributing to their expose of pseudoscience and blogging for the Guardian along the way.

13:00-14:30 Lunch. Please note that lunch will not be provided, but there are many cafes on and near the UCL campus.

Keynote lecture on "Building National Resilience and Crisis Management Capabilities"

by Professor Sir David Omand, former Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator.

Professor Sir David Omand

Sir David Omand was the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, responsible to the Prime Minister for the professional health of the intelligence community, national counter-terrorism strategy and "homeland security". He served for seven years on the Joint Intelligence Committee. He was Permanent Secretary of the Home Office from 1997 to 2000, and before that Director of GCHQ (the UK Sigint Agency). Previously, in the Ministry of Defence as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Policy, he was particularly concerned with long term strategy, with the British military contribution in restoring peace in the former Yugoslavia and the recasting of British nuclear deterrence policy at the end of the Cold War. He was Principal Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary during the Falklands conflict, and served for three years in NATO Brussels as the UK Defence Counsellor. He has been a visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies since 2005-6. His book, Securing the State, was published in 2010.

15:30-16:00 Break and refreshments

In conversation

Julian O'Halloran (BBC) will interview and discuss with Prof Ian Davis, Visiting Professor in Disaster Risk Management in Copenhagen, Lund, Kyoto and Oxford Brookes Universities, on "Key variables in building resilience, and corruption as a key obstruction to building resilience"

Professor Ian Davis

Ian Davis, originally an architect, has worked in Disaster Risk and Recovery Management since 1972 , when he embarked on  PhD research in the Development Planning Unit (DPU) of UCL .  This was on  'Shelter following Disaster' . His work has been as an author, academic teacher and researcher, NGO director and international consultant. His experience covers pre-disaster planning and risk reduction, post-disaster recovery from the immediate response phase to long-term reconstruction and adaptation to climate change. Ian's  work has often related to shelter and settlement with a particular concern for low-income safe housing. He has alas advised on Governmental Emergency and Risk Reduction Planning, NGO policies, Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction etc.  In 1996 he was awarded the UN Sasakawa Award fro his contribution to Disaster Prevention.  

Currently he is lead consultant for an Asian Development Bank Institute project in Tokyo on 'Risk Reduction in the Asia/ Pacific Region' and as Technical Editor for 'Guidelines on Urban Risk, Integration of DRR into Government Sectors and Adaptation to Climate Change' for the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre in Bangkok.  The guidelines he edited in 1982 for the UN on 'Shelter after Disaster' are currently being refreshed by the IFRC with publication planned for the autumn of 2013.  At present Ian and David Alexander are writing a book for Routledge on Disaster Reconstruction

Ian is Visiting Professor in Copenhagen, Oxford Brookes, Lund and Kyoto Universities in Disaster Risk Management

Julian O'Halloran

Julian O'Halloran will interview Ian Davis in this "in conversation" section. He is a reporter who has worked with BBC current affairs and news programmes since the 1970s. In the first part of his career he concentrated mostly on international affairs, witnessing the Chinese crackdown at Tiananmen Square, the collapse of communism in Europe, and the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. He has reported for Newsnight, Panorama, Assignment, and Correspondent on television and for File on 4 and The World Tonight on Radio 4. He has travelled to more than 50 countries. In the last 20 years or so he has developed an increasing fascination with the environment, climate change, energy, and the world's dwindling resources. 


Posters on Building Resilience to Natural Disasters

Call for papers is now closed

This poster session will begin with short introductions to the posters, given in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre. We will then proceed to the South Cloisters, where the posters will be accompanied with a reception where drinks and snacks will be served, along with the launch of a book on, "Cities at Risk, Living with Perils in the 21st Century".

See a list of papers to be presented in this session and further details of the book below.

Book Launch

The IRDR Annual Conference evening reception will host the Launch of:

Cities at Risk, Living with Perils in the 21st Century
Series: Advances in Natural Hazards Research, Vol. 33.
Editors: Joffe, Helene; Rossetto, Tiziana; Adams, John

Published 2013, 186pp, £90.00, ISBN 978-94-007-6183-4

About this Book:

  • Presents state-of-the-art international research in the field of risk perception/representation of natural hazards
  • Illuminates the value of multi-disciplinary research in this field
  • Highlights studies from a range of cultures
  • Suggests alleys for infusing these ideas into risk management

With the major growth of the world's population over the past century, as well as rapid urbanisation, people increasingly live in crowded cities. This trend is often accompanied by proliferation of poorly built housing, uncontrolled use of land, occupation of unsafe environments and overstretched services.  When a natural hazard strikes such a city many people are vulnerable to loss of life and property.  This book explores what these people think and feel about the threats that they face. How do they live with perils ranging from earthquakes to monsoons, from floods to hurricanes, in the 21st century?

The authors are drawn from a large range of disciplines: Psychology, Engineering, Geography, Anthropology and Urban Planning. They also reflect on how perils are represented in multiple cultures: the United States, Japan, Turkey, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The book therefore not only brings to light the ways that different cultures represent natural hazards but also the different ways in which various disciplines write about living with perils in the 21st century.

The book is addressed both to researchers and to organizations involved with risk management and risk mitigation.

Poster List

1. Monitoring Groundwater Resilience to Climate Change and Human Development in the Bengal Basin

Mohammad Shamsudduha, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction.

2. Water risk and its management in the Lake Poopó Basin, Bolivian Altiplano

Megan French1, Stephen Edwards1,2, Natalie Alem3,HelgaCauthin3, Efrain Blanco Coariti4, Karen Hudson-Edwards5, Emma Lazcano3,Karen Luyckx6, Oscar Miranda Sanchez3, Jorge Quintanilla4, Oswaldo Ramos Ramos4, 1 UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, 2 Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre, 3 Centro de Comunicación y Desarrollo Andino, 4 Instituto de InvestigacionesQuímicas, Universidad Mayor de San Andres, 5 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, 6 CAFOD

3. Experimental studies of Arctic Engineering Risks

Ben Lishman and Peter Sammonds, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction.

4. Risk to Arctic Offshore Operation; Structure, formation and strength of freeze bonds in sea ice

Stanislav Pavlov and Peter Sammonds, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction.

5. High temperature pressurization, fracturing and permeability in volcanic systems

Amy Chadderton1, Peter Sammonds1, Phillip Meredith2, Rosanna Smith1, Hugh Tuffen3, 1 UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, 2 UCL Department of Earth Sciences, 3 Lancaster University

6. Earthquake hazard in central Italy from 700 years of historical records

Luke Wedmore1, Joanna Faure Walker1, Gerald Roberts2, Peter Sammonds1, Ken McCaffrey3, 1UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, 2 School of Earth Sciences, Birkbeck College, University of London, 3 Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University.

7. Dynamical evolution of the earthquake activity at the West Corinth rift (Greece).

Giorgos Michas1, Filippos Vallianatos1,2 and Peter Sammonds1, 1 UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, 2 Technological Educational Institute of Crete.

8. Temporal variations of the q magnitude nonextensive parameter along the Hellenic Subduction Zone.

Giorgos Papadakis1, Filippos Vallianatos1,2 and Peter Sammonds1, 1 UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, 2 Technological Educational Institute of Crete.

9. Statistical emulation of tsunami models for more efficient uncertainty and sensitivity analyses

Andria Sarri1, Serge Guillas2,1, Frederic Dias3, Simon Day1, 1 UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, 2 Department of Statistical Science, UCL, 3 School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Dublin

10. Compound Extremes and Bunched Black (or Grouped Grey) Swans.

N. W. Watkins, Centre for the Analysis of Time Series, LSE and Centre for Fusion Space and Astrophysics, University of Warwick, UK.

11. Quantifying local climate change at adaptation-relevant thresholds

Sandra Catherine Chapman1,3, David Stainforth2,1, Nicholas Wynn Watkin 2,1, 1 Physics, University of Warwick, 2 London School of Economics, 
3 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Tromso, Norway.

12. Information Sharing as a Strategy for Improved Preparedness in Disaster Relief:

An Opportunity for Increased Community Resilience

Jennifer Bealt and Afshin Mansouri, Brunel Business School, Brunel University Londo.n

13. Resilience: Investigating graphical representations.

Simon Day1 & Carina Fearnley2, 1 UCL Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction and Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre, 2 Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University.

14. Development of local level threshold terms for the risk analysis of "Region Hannover" (Germany) - WITHDRAWN

Sonja Krawczyk, University of Bonn

15. Increasing Resilience to Natural Disasters in Iran: Lessons from Commercial Supply Chains

Afshin Mansouri1 and Ali Torabi2, 1 Brunel Business School, Brunel University London, 2 College of Engineering, University of Tehran.

16. Rebuilding civic capital to post-earthquake reconstruction for intermediate cities of the Global South

Jorge Inzulza Contardo, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Chile.

17. Coastal resilience:
new perspectives of spatial and productive development for the chilean caletas exposed to tsunami risk.

Diego Marcucci1,
Pietromaria Davoli1 , Luis Álvarez2, 1 Università degli Studi Ferrara, Facoltà di Architettura, 2 Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, Valparaiso, Chile.

18. Exploring vulnerability to build resilience to natural disasters in Nepal

Komal Raj Aryal, Local Risk Response and Resilience Planning Unit, LEADERS Nepal

19. Media, Representation, Persistence, and Relief: the Role of the Internet in Understanding the Physical and Social Dynamics of Catastrophic Natural Hazards.

Kurtis J. Garbutt1. N.J. Rosser2, S. Reaney2, D.N. Petley2, UCL Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience, University of Durham.

20. Planning Urban Disaster Recovery

Mark Kammerbauer, Faculty of Architecture, Technical University Munich

 21. Investigating Spatio-Temporal Randomness of Large Earthquakes

Melodie Vanderpuye and Peter Sammonds, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

22. Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Offset late Pleistocene-Holocene Landforms and Sediments

Joanna Faure Walker1 and Gerald Roberts2, 1 UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, 2 Birkbeck College, University of London.


The conference registration desk will be located by the entrance to the Gustave Tuck lecture Theatre, which is on the second floor of the South Junction of the UCL Main Quadrangle. All talks and panel discussions will take place in the Gustave Tuck Lecture theatre. The reception, poster presentations, and coffee breaks will take place in the in the Wilkins Building South Cloisters, directly downstairs from the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre.