Europe Disaster Databases

Source Document: Jose M Rodriguez-Llanes, Simone M’Bala, Regina Below, Debarati Guha-Sapir, Hugh Deeming 17-04-2015 Data challenges towards developing community disaster resilience indicator systems in Europe: a first assessment on disaster data needs within emBRACE consortium. Deliverable 3.4.

Resilience is a concept whose consideration is gaining momentum in public discourse. Despite prolonged discussions on terminologies, only a few examples exist in the literature that actually attempt to measure resilience. One area even more under-researched in the field of disaster risk research, is on what and who will provide the data to construct such a resilience index (i.e. as one way to measure disaster resilience) in the future, and specifically how the disaster community’s provision of impact data might contribute to it. Our study, based on a preliminary list of indicators gathered from 4 out of 5 case studies in emBRACE, shows that only a small percentage of these indicators will be required from disaster databases (5%) whereas most of the data likely is compiled by governmental agencies (44%). These findings are consistent with previous studies in the US in which governmental data has played a fundamental role. Overall, this exercise shows the complexity of the task, particularly in Europe, and the need for higher-resolution (community-level) data at European level. The need to integrate quantitative- and qualitatively-gathered indicators and context versus generalizable indicators is highlighted and discussed.

The construction of a disaster resilience index in Europe is in the present conditions quite elusive, at least Europe-wide, given that although most data required is compiled by governments, we currently lack systems to provide this data aggregated at those lower administrative levels that define spatially-confined communities. In addition, this early work suggests that resilience research might benefit from including mixed approaches, and that generalizable and contextual indicators need to be carefully identify and included. Effective policies that standardize and make accessible this data to the highest resolution possible are urgently required.

Maureen Fordham,
Sep 23, 2015, 5:05 AM