Symposium C. Systemic Approaches to Regional Disasters

Chairs: Gerhard Chroust, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Linz, Austria, and Nadine Sturm, Research Institute of the Red Cross Austria, Vienna, Austria.

Call for papers

Awareness of threats and the occurrence of actual disasters (many caused by nature but often triggered by human activities) have become more acute during the last decades, endangering a growing number of persons and areas in many different ways.

One has to

  • predict and anticipate potential disasters and to design adequate  avoidance strategies,
  • prepare appropriate emergency plans both for the general public and emergency personnel based on accumulated knowledge and empirical best-practices,
  • establish, organize, and train First Responder units (fire brigades, ambulances, police, technical aid teams, etc.)  to intervene in case of a disaster,
  • simulate interventions based on emergency plans and ad-hoc situations during training and interventions,
  • provide realistic, but still safe training environments,
  • provide fault-tolerant communication means for status information and logistics during an intervention,
  • plan and anticipate appropriate post-disaster recovery activities,
  • consider psychological and cultural differences and problems.

Today’s information and communication technologies (ICT)  can support and improve above activities, sometimes in ways not anticipated before. They allow for speedy aggregation and presentation of data and information in new ways, offering improved systemic interpretation, assessment and decisions.

This symposium intends to trigger an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas by including persons with different viewpoints and experience like practitioners, system scientists, IT-specialists, and human factor specialists.

We call for papers which take a systemic view on all types and origins of disasters and attempt to identifying similarities, analogies, and differences , giving raise to cross-disciplinary learning and application.

Some of the possible specific  subtopics are:

  • Classification of  disasters and their interactions and effects (e.g. earth quakes, floods,  air traffic breakdown due to volcanoes, chemical explosions,  …),
  • Analysis of typical emergency scenarios,
  • Training support  for First Responders using modern technology (e.g. Virtual and Augmented Reality, System Dynamics models, human evaluation models),
  • IT support for prediction, tactical and strategic planning, and interventions (victim detection, tracking first responders, logistic of transport vehicles, …)
  • analysis of deficiencies and  improvement of organizational structures (e.g. Viable system Models, ISO standards),
  • protection of emergency personnel (e.g. early danger detection and warnings),
  • identification of road maps for further studies and investigations.

The symposium will consist of paper presentations and plenary discussions.


Session 1: Regional Disasters – Case Studies

  • Gerhard Chroust (Austria): Reacting to Regional Disasters: Approaches and Challenges
  • Paola di Maio (UK): Systemic Analysis of the Costa Concordia
  • Francisco J. Aceves (Mexico): A Systemic Comparative Analysis of Japan 2011 and Chile 2010 Earthquakes-Tsunamis
  • Yoshihide Horiuchi (Japan): Systems Analysis of Stranded Commuters’ Decision-Making and Behavioral Patterns

Session 2: Organisation of Reactions

  • Rainer, K., Grubmueller, V., Pejic, I., Lankmayr, G. (Austria): Social Media Applications in Crisis Interaction
  • Merrelyn Emery (Australia): Strategies for Regional Disasters
  • Vilmary Cuevas (Venzuela): The South American integration and cooperation in natural disasters

Session 3: Models and Assessments

  • Tatsumasa Takaku (Japan): Zipf’s Law and Human Activity
  • Daniel M. Dubois, Viveca Asproth, Stig C. Holmberg, Ulrica Loefstedt, and Lena-Maria Oeberg (Belgium and Sweden): Anticipatory Modeling and Simulation for Inter-Regional Security
  • Richard Neal, Sarah Bell, Jennifer M. Wilby (UK): Emergent disaster response during the June 2007 floods in Kingston upon Hull, UK