Our approach to managing natural hazards
Natural Hazards Inc. can help at all stages of natural hazard preparedness, disaster response and rehabilitation. We deliver sustainable solutions that affected communities and countries can afford and implement, following the integrated approach of Reduction, Readiness, Response and Recovery.
Firstly, we can assess the type, frequency and size of hazards in your community. Using risk modelling and microzonation techniques (microzonation is the detailed mapping or modelling of a geographical area to estimate how each zone will respond to a hazard such as an earthquake) we can then assess the vulnerability of your community to these hazards; this includes the potential risk to your community's or region's economy, the likely number of human casualties and injuries, stock losses, infrastructure damage to roads and buildings etc.
Once the level of risk is well established, we can help reduce the effects of a natural hazard with integrated land use management; a review of building codes, with advice on improving your region's building standards; engineering solutions (such as bridge strengthening and retrofitting of base isolators to important buildings); and community-based training and education to improve your community's awareness, preparedness and resilience.
See below for links to some of our projects in hazard reduction:
- Community preparedness research
- Engineering solutions for hazard mitigation
- Improving building standards and review of building codes
- Land use management
- Micro-zonation and hazard vulnerability studies - modelling the risk
- Prevention and mitigation measures (structural and non-structural)
To help your region get ready for the "big one", Natural Hazards New Zealand can help formulate emergency management plans, including functional and hazard-specific contingency plans (such as crisis management, warning notification and evacuation). We can help develop plans for businesses and essential infrastructure to quickly return to operation following a natural disaster. For insurance and government businesses, we can offer advice on the establishment and management of natural disaster funds, as well as plan a catastrophe response programme. We can help you establish a Disaster Emergency Response Centre, including the planning, design, and construction phases.
We have experts in emergency communications and early warning systems who can help with assessing and evaluating your region.s existing communication and systems. If needs be, we can design an enhanced communication systems which link the principal disaster management centres and sub-centres so you can get information in and out. We can undertake modelling projects to assess your risk and analyse your vulnerability to create appropriate response plans or assess and improve the plans you do have. We can even help with the training of personnel.
Readiness relies on cooperation between all response agencies, scientists, the media and the community. We can develop engagement strategies to promote and sustain cooperation and mutual understanding.
See below for links to some of our projects in hazard readiness:
- Business continuity programmes and advice
- Contingency funding for reconstruction and recovery
- Early warning systems
- Establishment of emergency operations centres
- Information and communications technology for disaster management
- Institutional strengthening and capacity building
- Methodologies to assess damage and loss
- Research into previous extreme events (historical and pre-historical)
- Risk awareness and mitigation education and training
- Risk modelling and economic impact assessment
- Risk transfer and insurance
Your region's emergency management actions and your community's response during and immediately after a disaster can make the difference in saving lives and property, and mitigating the impact. We can help with disaster emergency response plans, emergency communications, and community engagement and resilience-building to ensure the greatest proportion of the public make the right decisions on the day. Or we can evaluate your existing response plans to make sure they are up to scratch, including designing effective exercises. If the worst happens, Natural Hazards New Zealand can help with the rapid identification of community needs (including social, physical, and financial). In addition, our members have taken part in disaster reconnaissance operations in many countries including Turkey, Gujarat in India, Aceh and Sumatra in Indonesia, Peru, PNG, the Solomon Islands and other parts of the Pacific, thus developing valuable comparative experience.
See below for links to some of our projects in hazard response:
- Community self-help leadership
- Disaster emergency response plans
- Disaster reconnaissance
- Emergency communication
- Emergency management assistance generally
- Establishment of disaster response centres
- Exercising organisational/community response plans
- Rapid identification of community needs (social, physical, financial)
Recovery will be fastest and most effective if it has been planned in detail prior to the event. We have experience in pre-event recovery planning. Recovering after a natural disaster can take weeks, months or even years depending on the extent of the damage, social disruption and the amount of aid available. Critical to recovery is reliable information to assist with damage assessment and community resurgence.
Natural Hazards New Zealand can help with methodologies to assess damage and loss, independent insurance assessments and management, identifying remedial measures, and project management for recovery reconstruction . see our project sheets on assisting rehabilitation efforts in Nias, Indonesia after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and March 2005 earthquake; and our project on rebuilding the schools of Western Samoa following Cyclone Val.
See below for links to some of our projects in hazard recovery:
- Economic impact assessment
- Emergency recovery and management generally
- Identifying required remedial measures
- Insurance assessments and management
- Methodologies to assess damage and loss
- Project management applications for reconstruction