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Insula project

Insula project
Towards a humanitarian help and living platform in the seas

Many natural phenomena cause human disasters. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones, floods, droughts: they are sometimes difficult to list and quantify, but they can be measured and modelled. Although their causes and impacts are better and better understood, the intensification of losses due to these events indicates that the means implemented to reduce and manage the risks they entail are still insufficient and current societies are not still ready to face these risks.

There are two types of risk, extensive risk and intensive risk. The first type includes phenomena that occur throughout the territory of a country. These are recurring phenomena, landslides, fires, floods and storms, which occur in a given place. These types of disasters cause extensive damage to homes, crops, livestock and local infrastructure, and have a particular impact on low-income households and communities. We speak of intensive risks when extensive risks accumulate in areas prone to major hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones or floods in large river basins, they open the way to intensive disasters with little frequent but extremely destructive.

Humanitarian platform climate risk

In addition to these two categories, there are other types of disasters that can be described as emerging risks. These are the consequences of disasters that cause collateral damage to the populations of the affected areas. New risk factors appear following a specific event. These are not always of natural origin and we speak of emerging risks when there is, for example, a famine following a natural disaster, or after the explosion of the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan, which was the epicenter of a second tragedy following the tsunami.

It is possible to react in areas hit by extensive risks by adapting the way of life of its inhabitants in the face of more or less predictable climatic events, but the variation in the severity of disasters leads to other types of disasters that are often uncontrollable. This is why famines and droughts are treated as risks in their own right.

Risk management

Insula project
Risk management, the UN faces the crisis

Risk management UN GAR

Earthquake map of the 2010 Haiti earthquake (GAR 2011)

Comparative table of natural catastrophe losses (KIT)

Increased risk exposure by income group. (GAR 2011)

Risk governance capacity by revenue grouping. (GAR 2011)

Increase in the number of reports provided and decrease in the number of homes destroyed. (GAR 2011)

The earthquake in Haiti in 2010 saw the death of 222,517 people and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in the United States would be the cause of 125 billion (USD) in damage. Japan also experienced a series of catastrophic events caused by an earthquake, which triggered a Tsunami responsible for the explosion of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima. The total damage caused is estimated between 57 and 70 billion dollars. However, if we compare the human losses with the disaster in Haiti, it is only about 20,000 people, ten times less.

 

A UN organization called the GAR is currently working to reveal the impact of natural disasters on people in countries around the world, and stresses the importance of measuring risks in order to limit their consequences. We talk about risk governance because the UN invites the countries concerned to collaborate with the specialists of the GAR, by providing the necessary information in order to prevent the impacts of climatic events responsible for human and economic disasters.

 

“Sharp increases in exposure and risk are driving up the costs of disasters and, at the same time, countries and communities are struggling to reduce their vulnerability.” (GAR)

 

The UN envisages a fight against the impact of natural disasters through economic development and prevention. The detailed analysis contained in the 2011 GAR is very complex and involves a large number of socio-economic parameters that are difficult to develop. It is clear that since the number of reports on risk situations has increased from low and middle income countries, risk management in these regions has improved and economic and human losses have greatly decreased.
 

global asessment report UN

Planisphere of coastal risk: “Those whom the sea threatens”

Evolution of the number of inhabitants in the coastal environment as a function of time (according to INSEE, 2007 and Gevrey, 1870)Evolution of the number of inhabitants in the coastal environment as a function of time (according to INSEE, 2007 and Gevrey, 1870)

Research shows that 634 million people, or one-tenth of the world's population, live in coastal areas 10 meters or less above sea level. Although the frequency of large-scale natural disasters is very low (an event like the Tohoku earthquake in Japan occurs approximately every 800 years), there are two worrying factors for the inhabitants of the affected areas. Knowing that the intensive risks generally occur in the same geographical areas, the increase in population and the escalation of the magnitude of the events represent a real problem for the governments responsible for these dangerous zones.Research shows that 634 million people, i.e. one tenth of the world's population, live in coastal areas at 10 meters or less above sea level. Although the frequency of large-scale natural disasters is very low (an event like the Tohoku earthquake in Japan occurs approximately every 800 years), there are two worrying factors for the inhabitants of the affected areas. Knowing that the intensive risks generally occur in the same geographical areas, the increase in population and the intensification of the magnitude of the events represent a real problem for the governments responsible for these dangerous zones.

A resilient strategy

Insula project
A resilient strategy

The ambition of the Insula project is to be able to help entire regions to face cataclysm scenarios. When governments are paralyzed by the violence of a climatic event, when infrastructures and communication networks are destroyed, relief efforts are difficult to put in place. The extreme and unpredictable climatic conditions sometimes make the emergency services unable to come to the aid of the victims. When it comes to international aid, organizations are most of the time taken by surprise and their intervention time is also much too long, leaving situations to escalate and take on even more serious proportions.

Despite the efforts of non-governmental organizations such as Christian Aid or the Red Cross, and the active participation of the UN in the development of underdeveloped countries, much progress remains to be made in the field of risk management. Proper management of risk factors and adaptive urban and regional planning are key elements towards sustainable development for Third World governments located in areas of extensive and intensive disasters. One of the major concerns of the project is therefore to bring together an administrative headquarters made up of different organizations necessary for the listing of the risk and the planning of the reconstruction. This administrative headquarters under the supervision and protection of the major international powers would guarantee local management of aid from the international community, thus avoiding losses linked to corruption and disorganization.

Emergency manifests itself in many forms, and disaster scenarios often take on the appearance of a battlefield, where help is needed in several places at the same time. The project plans to respond to emergency situations, deploying teams and equipment that can meet the needs of victims in the first phase of a destructive disaster, aid.

The study of crisis scenarios following a destructive climatic event shows that the concerns following the immediate emergency intervention must focus on the restoration of the good logistical and political functioning of an affected region. The destruction of infrastructure and the enlysis of a region open the way to new risk factors, which is why the project must be able to respond to the second phase of a natural disaster: support.

The third stage of a disaster is the reconstruction phase. This is the longest phase and it generally requires economic and material aid from international organizations. Reconstruction involves effective planning and meticulous management of resources, in order to avoid wasting the efforts and resources made available. It goes through the recovery of the infrastructure of a destroyed region, and its repopulation. The principles of sustainability of post-disaster reconstruction have been established and must be incorporated into the project.The division into sectors of intervention of a management body, which is the unifying principle of the project, must therefore be included in the concerns related to  rebuilding.