Accepted Paper:

Disaster Research and Indigenous Knowledge: Modeling and simulation for population evacuation in the event of natural disaster  

Author:

Tomoko Connolly (College of William and Mary)

Paper short abstract:

Disaster research deals with conducting field and survey research on group, organizational and community preparation for, response to, and recovery from natural and technological disasters and other community-wide crises. Disaster is deeply embedded in society’s political, economic, and cultural structures as well as people’s collective psyche about safety and security. This paper discusses an interdisciplinary project in disaster research that aims at creating viable modeling and simulation (ModSim) scenarios of population evacuation within the Northern Virginia portion of the Capital Region of the United States. ModSim provides reports in multiple data formats, detailing the evolution of possible evacuation scenarios, that include assessments of shortages of fuel, shelter, water, minor and major medical care, or other critical factors related to natural disasters. Disaster reveals much about society. At the time of disaster, underlying social problems tend to get magnified and exercises, recent cases of disaster have been examined in details in order to identify key categories of sociological and behavioral variables.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses an interdisciplinary project in disaster research that aims at creating viable modeling and simulation (ModSim) scenarios of population evacuation within the Northern Virginia portion of the Capital Region of the United States. ModSim provides reports in multiple data formats, detailing the evolution of possible evacuation scenarios, that include assessments of shortages of fuel, shelter, water, minor and major medical care, or other critical factors related to natural disasters. Disaster reveals much about society. At the time of disaster, underlying social problems tend to get magnified and exercises, recent cases of disaster have been examined in details in order to identify key categories of sociological and behavioral variables. These variables may include: the population's awareness and memory of past critical disasters/incidents; the indigenous concepts of threat, danger, and safety; their relationship with authority and civic governance; information-sharing networks (that include rumor-grapevines and social media); geo-political demography and vulnerability of specific sectors; and physical as well as socio-cultural barriers embedded in the existing infrastructure. ModSim explores contingency-based logistics and redundancy/alternative methods of crisis management, with an idea that any proposed plans can fail. The objective of this work is to identify minimum key requirements concerning indigenous knowledge and possible behavioral patterns of the population, not only for formal administration and implementation, but also for predicting activities played out by others such as global media, rescue teams, international organizations, NGOs, citizen volunteers, and, most importantly, the community people themselves.

Panel BH04
Indigenous knowledge and sustainable development (IUAES Commission on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development)