Bringing experts together to better understand hazards and disasters
By Oli Usher, on 23 June 2015
How can we best deal with hazards and disasters?
Earthquakes aren’t just about geological processes. Hurricanes aren’t just about wind. Terrorist attacks aren’t just about gunmen and roadside bombs.
In all of these cases, complex underlying causes come together with society, culture and human behaviour. Studying risks and disasters requires interdisciplinary work. At UCL, the Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction (IRDR) coordinates research and teaching in this area, bringing together experts from across the university, as well as building links with government, NGOs and business.
This week is the highlight of IRDR’s academic calendar, with the IRDR Academic Summit on Wednesday, and its Annual Conference on Thursday.
The conference will cover the following topics:
- Future Arctic risks: As sea ice recedes thanks to climate change, we can expect substantial changes – for indigenous peoples, the environment, commercial activities and geopolitical relations. But how and when will these develop? And how can our current knowledge and understanding of the Arctic guide us?
- Visualisation of hazards and risks: Risks can be distilled down to numbers and statistics. But how can these best be presented to non-experts? Visualisations and maps of risks and hazards are a key tool for explaining complex information to the public and policymakers.
- Ebola: The West African Ebola epidemic is finally petering out, but it was an alarming reminder of how diseases can spread. The conference will explore how Save the Children set up and operated a treatment centre in Sierra Leone during the crisis.
There will also be a keynote speech from Sir Mark Walport, the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, on how to communicate risk and hazard to policymakers – a summary of which will be published on the UCL Events Blog next week.