By: Miguel Ángel Trejo (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nhlice Esquivel (email@example.com), Edin Jhony Dávila (firstname.lastname@example.org), Eduardo Hernández Samaniego (email@example.com) and Cristian Camilo Fernández (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Needs and motivations
Through the reflections derived from working days in Mexico (Pressure Cooker-Risk Communication event), Bogotá (Hack the Risk: Hackathon) and Geneva (Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction), the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) team of Water Youth Network (WYN), identified an important gap between knowledge related to risk, disasters and its management and local application, especially at the municipal level.
The main motivation that led the team to develop this workshop was the disconnection between the technical professionals who carry out consultation, analysis and dissemination of information, with the professionals in charge of generating public policies, managers and decision-makers.
This problem was evidenced through team reflections and discussions in different territorial contexts of countries in South America, North America and Europe. In the same way, it was shown that the disconnection between actors occurs both in the monitoring and analysis of hazards and vulnerability, leading to a disaggregated work that at the end cannot meet the needs of each group of professionals.
Consequently, the Latin American DRR team, encouraged by the needs described above, decided to come up with a workshop to create actions to help close the identified gap. For this, earth observation information, modelling, GIS and DRM were the main tools. Considering the great support that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Disasters Program has provided to young people through WYN, the DRR team decided to present (in May 2019) the idea to NASA during the Global Platform of DRR carried out in Geneva, Switzerland. The result was a space to carry the workshop during the AmeriGEO week, which would take place on August 2019 in Lima, Peru, on the campus of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.
After several meetings with the coordination of AmeriGEO of NASA, a joint proposal was reached about designing an activity that consisted of a three-day workshop lasting 8 hours a day, in which the participants were motivated to know the sources of spatial information, download information, analyze the risk conditions of a territory and select management measures to formulate a local disaster risk management plan. In this way, professionals related to decision-making would recognize the importance of the acquisition, work/applicability and dissemination of spatial information and technical professionals would take spatial information to decision-making. Thus, course participants would learn from each area, since only the similar understands the similar.
The workshop entitled “Disaster models and global information for local decisions for decision-makers” was facilitated by Eduardo Hernández, Camilo Fernández and Edín Dávlia and was attended by 30 professionals from public and private organizations from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador and the host country, Peru, where most of the participants were members of the Peruvian Air Force.
Day 1: On the first day, the objective was established to inform participants of general concepts that are relevant to risk management and particularly linked to flood events, mainly because participants with various professional profiles were convened. Participation teams were formed to generate an interactive work scheme, which allowed enriching the course content with the experiences of the participants themselves.
Day 2: On the second day we focused on the case study, starting with the presentation of the study area: Catacaos, department of Piura, Peru. Likewise, participants were presented with sources of information and tools analyzing earth observation data, and a risk model of the study area was built with a focus on their vital infrastructure (life chains).
Each team generated its flood risk criteria by characterizing the area exposed to the flood, its vulnerability and the threat. For the latter, a dynamic simulation of river flooding was carried out in the area with the use of the HEC-RAS program.
Day 3: During this last day of the workshop, we worked on planning strategies to reduce the risk of impacts that could interfere with life chains that are fundamental to the operation of an area. For that, a scenario was simulated in which each of the teams pretended to be a consulting company that presented the diagnosis and the most relevant points of the risk management strategy to the mayor of Catacaos, Peru in a maximum time of two minutes. An exercise that tested and at the same time strengthened the interaction between the communication skills and the technical knowledge of the participants.
In addition to the workshop, we were invited to represent the youth working in risk management during the opening ceremony where we had the opportunity to present the mission, structure of the organization and the WYN proposal for strengthening and collaborating closely with the AmeriGEO group.
In this event, we were able to meet with all the actors and representatives of the AmeriGEO risk reduction group to learn about each other’s initiatives and establish contact to generate work proposals and strengthen the group.
After the AmeriGEO week
After the event, WYN was proposed as a member of the AmeriGEO DRR team where we hope that WYN members can continue to participate actively to promote the resilience of different events that may occur in the Latin American region, giving continuity to our collaboration with different institutions of regional and global relevance. In addition, this means a great opportunity to apply the knowledge we have and enrich them with those of other stakeholders interested in risk reduction.
We thank the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for the support given to WYN members of the DRR group to attend the event in Lima, Peru.
The interdisciplinary team was formed from the beginning with members of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) group in Latin America:
Miguel Ángel Trejo (México): Advisory Board Member of Water Youth Network, a PhD candidate in Earth System Sciences at the Earth System Science Center of the National Institute for Space Research (CCST-INPE) and Collaborator in México Sostenible. M.TREJO@WATERYOUTHNETWORK.ORG
Nhilce Esquivel (México): Civil engineer with a Master’s Degree in Water Science and Engineering and specialization in Flood Risk Management. Coordinator of the Risk Reduction group at WYN. Youth Representative in the Americas of the Risk Reduction group of the United Nations Main Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY). N.ESQUIVEL@WATERYOUTHNETWORK.ORG
Edin Jhony Dávila (Perú): Civil Engineering student at the University of Piura. Currently working in the NGO Asociación para la Investigación y Desarrollo Integral – AIDER, as a field technician in the project “Adaptation of Water Resources Management to Climate Change: development of management tools and sustainable financing mechanisms in three representative ecoregions of Peru”, with execution in Piura, Peru. He participated in the workshop: “Researcher Links Workshop on Building Resilience in Flood Disaster Management” by Birminghanm City University and the Geophysical Institute of Peru. He has been awarded a 100K Strong in the Americas program for the internship “It Isn´t Being Green” developed in the USA in 2017. Member of the Risk Reduction team of the Water Youth Network organization. E.DAVILA@WATERYOUTHNETWORK.ORG
Eduardo Hernández Samaniego (México): Civil Engineer from the Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Mexico, with a Master’s Degree in Hydraulics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, member of the Disaster Risk Reduction Team of the Water Youth Network, former member of the National Association of Civil Engineering Students , Mexico AC. Topics of interest: floods in urban areas, comprehensive rainwater management, flood risk maps and risk management. E.HERNANDEZ@WATERYOUTHNETWORK.ORG
Cristian Camilo Fernández (Colombia): Environmental Engineer, Specialist in Crisis and Disaster Management, with a master’s degree in Social Dynamics, Natural and Technological Risks. PhD candidate in Territory, Risk and Public Policies from the University of Lisbon. Member of the Water Youth Network Disaster Risk Reduction team. Area of knowledge: Disaster Risk Management, public policies and urban planning. C.FERNANDEZ@WATERYOUTHNETWORK.ORG
Natural disasters do not exist, that the water affects or benefits us, depend on us.