UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Recent Publications from the IRDR

14 September 2016

Three papers have recently been published by members of the IRDR covering a wide range of topics related to risk and hazards.

IRDR Logo Black The three papers are summarised below, and links to the full texts are included.

Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha- Research Fellow

The sustainability of groundwater-fed water supplies in the transboundary Indo-Gangetic Basin (IGB) is constrained by poor quality of water rather than depletion, according to a study (Groundwater quality and depletion in the Indo-Gangetic Basin mapped from in situ observations) published online on 29th August 2016 in Nature Geoscience, co-authored by Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha (UCL IRDR), Professor Richard Taylor (UCL Geography), and Dr. Willy Burgess (UCL Earth Sciences).

Groundwater resources in the transboundary IGB, comprising 25% of global groundwater withdrawals, currently support the livelihoods of more than 750 million people, and have long been sustaining agricultural productivity in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. In collaboration with UCL and local partners from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, a 3-year research project led by British Geological Survey (BGS), supported by the UK (Department for International Development (DFID), reveals that over 60% of accessible groundwater is not suitable for drinking or irrigation because of widespread contamination with high salinity and arsenic.

This research has also been covered by the UCL Media Center and UCL Geography.

Zoe Mildon- PhD student

In the central Apennines of Italy, there is an ongoing debate whether surface ruptures and fault scarps are formed during earthquakes or due to landslides and gravitational compaction. This debate is important because, if the scarps do represent active faults, then they could be used to improve estimates of seismic hazard. In this paper, published in the Journal of Structural Geology, structural measurements and the height of a pale unweathered stripe at the base (interpreted to be coseismic slip during an earthquake) were taken along a fault scarp in the region of Umbria that ruptured in 1997. A systematic relationship between the measured fault parameters was shown to be present and the direction of slip was shown to not be parallel to the downslope direction of the slopes above and below the fault plane; therefore it was demonstrated that the surface offsets must have a tectonic origin rather than a gravitational one. The study area of this research is located approximately 65km north-west of the town of Amatrice, recently damaged due to an earthquake.

Serena Tagliacozzo- PhD student

The paper draws on a study that investigates communication practices and social media usage during the long-term reconstruction phase after the Emilia Romagna earthquake, Italy, 2012. This study is the first to use a Communication with Communities (CwC) approach to explore communication and information needs and the habits of citizens affected and their ways of using social media during disaster recovery.  Results show that the most sought information concerns housing and infrastructure reconstruction, funds/refunds, business recovery and damage assessment and that city councils and regional council are considered as the main source of the information. Communication channels that were used to search for reconstruction-related information varied between online and offline respondents. Social media technology is used by citizens affected as a platform to read and share recovery information and post queries rather than as an engagement tool with recovery agencies. The full text can be downloaded from here.