In recent years, there has been an increase in natural disasters around the globe, the bushfires in California, the flooding in Japan, Volcano Eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala, and the double calamity of the recent earthquake and tsunami’s breaking across Indonesia. It is believed that these are consequences of the growing climate change and man-made global warming. However, with these problems occurring at an increasing and alarming rate, there is need now more than ever for the development of greater resilience.
Disasters are defined as societal disruption in the aftermath of critical events, and Resilience is our ability to adapt to lessen the effects of these phenomenon. DERN was created to bring together a community of scholars who study into the fields of Disasters and Emergencies. It is a place for researchers to communicate with like-minded colleagues and increase visibility of works that may change our reactions to catastrophes, and help communities to become better equipped in the face of rising global emergencies, and negate the negative impacts they can have on societies, infrastructures, economy and individual lives.
‘DERN aims to solidify the once diffuse community of scholars studying hazards and disasters. Prior to DERN, we lacked an organizing body capable of being everyone together for workshops, special issues, books, and other projects.’ – Robert Deleo, DERN Scholar.
In 2017, a conference took place in New Orleans on Disasters and Politics at the Southern Political Science Association, which was the inspiration for DERN. During the aforementioned event, the founder and her collaborators discussed the need for raising awareness in these studies. The result was the writing of two articles in scientific research journals, for the Local Government Studies – a collection of peer-reviewed articles initially presented in New Orleans at the CWC; some are already available online, and the print special issue is forthcoming in 2019; and the Social Science Quarterly – a collection of peer-reviewed articles initially presented in New Orleans at the CWC; in review process with likely publication in 2019.
Some of the organisations that have strengthened the research and capacities of DERN’s achievements in 2018 include Essex County Fire and Rescue who work on Accidental Dwelling Fires, who will be hosting an upcoming workshop at the Local Government Association Fire Evaluation Conference, and Suffolk County Council who produced an interregional bid to study ways to increase resilience and decrease isolation and loneliness in multiple countries.
Moving into 2019, DERN aims to carry the momentum and growing successes forwards. We are applying for grants and funding in order to further the extent of our reach into communities and their resilience plans, the study of impact metrics and how they can be used to predict future problems, and the capacity to bring scholars together from all over the globe, to share their knowledge and collaborate on projects that might change our perception of these events in the future.
‘It is very easy for disaster research to fall between the cracks of traditional disciplinary boundaries – particularly in political science. As attention to disaster and emergency research increases, more researchers need a space to connect with scholars with similar interests. DERN provides a wonderful venue for these connections. Researchers who may have felt isolated can find their home and the community in DERN. Together we can build a more robust and inclusive scholarship for disaster and emergency research.’ – Scott Robinson, DERN scholar.