Keynote speakers for the 7th International Conference on Building Resilience 2017




Professor Sujeeva Setunge

Deputy Dean, research and innovation, School of Engineering,
RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia

Enhancing disaster preparedness by building resilience of critical infrastructure

Critical infrastructure provides life line services to the community before, during and after a disaster. Well managed resilient critical infrastructure plays a vital role in reducing the impact of disasters on the community. The decision making process for ensuring resilience of infrastructure requires vulnerability modelling of the aging systems under variable hazard intensities and interfacing the outcomes with the level of service required by the infrastructure at a given point in time. The paper presents the vulnerability modelling of critical road structures under different hazard intensities and a prioritisation model that can be adopted by the authorities for strengthening and retrofitting. Hazards covered include flood, bush fire and earthquake loading. Prioritisation of structures is undertaken through an integrated approach combining social, environmental and economic aspects of the disaster impact. The methodology can be implemented for other types of critical infrastructure as well.




Professor Mo Hamza 

Professor of Risk Management and Societal Safety
Lund University, Sweden
Postal Address: PO Box 118, SE-221 00, Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: John Ericsson väg 1, 221 00, Lund, Sweden
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Environmentally Induced Migration - Making Sense of Multiple Complexities

The exact number of people affected by climate change to the extent that they would move or be displaced is unknown and the estimates vary greatly. In one reference it is one out of 19 persons in developing countries as opposed to one out of 1,500 in OECD countries (Leighton, 2012). The most quoted figure is Myers’ (2002) 200 million by 2050, then used by Stern (2007) in his review, and subsequently cited by IOM. The range goes from 25 million to 1 billion (Baird and Christian Aid, 2007). While there is more credibility in the estimates of people displaced by natural hazards-induced disasters, in IDMC and NRC (2012) annual reports for example, there is still a substantial gap in data on displacement due to slow-onset or extensive risk, which includes climate variability and climate change. If anything these wide ranging estimates show the complexity of the ‘environmental stress – human mobility nexus’ and to what extent this phenomena is under-researched.

Disagreement on numbers is matched by a disagreement on terminology, definitions typologies and categorization where a myriad of terms has been used, interchangeably and in un-differentiated ways (e.g. environmental refugee, environmental migrant, forced environmental migrant, environmentally motivated migrant, climate refugee, climate change refugee, environmentally displaced person (EDP), disaster refugee, environmental displacee, eco-refugee, ecological displaced person and environmental refugee-to-be (ERTB)). None of these labels has any standing in international law and a clear-cut separation of these categories is difficult, because it is impossible to determine to what extent the movement is only attributed to environmental stress, or more specifically to climate change (Black et al., 2011). The spectrum of ‘voluntary to forced’ is also problematic. Voluntariness in this context is not understood as a complete freedom of choice, but as the existence of realistic and viable alternatives (AGCCHM, 2014, Kälin, 2013).



Professor Virginia Murray

Public Health Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction,
Public Health England

Professor Virginia Murray is the Public Health Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction for Public Health England which has supported her role as co-chair of the recently developed WHO Thematic Platform Health and Disaster Risk Management Research Group, member of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) scientific committee, co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).and Co-Chair of IRDR’s Disaster Loss Data (DATA). She is also Co-Chair of CODATA’s Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research and a member the UNSDSN Data for Sustainable Development, and she has been a member and then vice-chair of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Scientific and Technical Advisory Group from 2008-2017.

Virginia qualified in medicine and in 1980 joined Guy and St Thomas’s Hospital Poisons Unit and was appointed consultant medical toxicologist. In 1989 she started the Chemical Incident Research Programme and was Director of the Chemical Incident Response Service from 1995 and developed evidence informed guidance for acute and chronic chemical incident preparedness and response and joined the Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England) in 2003 as Head of Centre for Radiation, Chemicals and Environmental Hazards, London. In 2011 she was appointed as Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection, Public Health England and developed evidence based information and advice on flooding, heat, cold, volcanic ash, and other extreme weather and natural hazards events. She is a Visiting/Honorary Professor at several universities including University College London (2013), MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College and King’s College, London (2004) and at the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (2017) and has published widely.




Dr. Harkunti P. Rahayu 

Chair of IABI, Association of Disaster Expert Indonesia 

City and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, Planning and Policy Development, Institute of Technology Bandung, and Research Center for Disaster Mitigation, Indonesia


From Science to Tsunami Early Warning Policy Improvement: Experience of Padang City Indonesia

Padang City is located in the west coast of Sumatra Island, Indonesia, and has high level of threat against tsunami. Based on previous research, the travel time of a potential tsunami from Mentawai Subduction Zone is around 35 minutes, until the first wave reach the coast of Padang City. Thus, an improvement of tsunami early warning chain in Padang City is highly urgent. In terms of national tsunami risk reduction, Indonesian Government has developed the Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (InaTEWS), and fully operationalized since 2012. However, the downstream side of tsunami early warning chain in the current InaTEWS only regulates transmission until city level, and not the general public. The city also has developed a Mayor Regulation 14/2010 on tsunami early warning system, however it requires assessment on its conformity with the InaTEWS guidelines and address experience of the March 2016 earthquake. Therefore, this research asks the following questions: 1) What is the tsunami early warning chain according to the existing legal documents? 2) What is the tsunami early warning chain according to the existing field data and condition? 3) Who are the potential actors to be involved in the early warning chain, in order to strengthen the downstream tsunami warning system and reach last mile population as many as possible?




Dr. Peeranan Towashiraporn

Director, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center

Bridging Science and Practical Disaster Resilience

Dr. Towashiraporn works as a Director at Asian Disaster Preparedness Center. His main area of focus is using science to address challenges related to disaster risk management, including scientific quantification and mapping of disaster risk, effective risk communication, linking geospatial technology to disaster preparedness and response, and disaster risk finance. In recent years, he has taken parts in projects to identify and map disaster risk in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. He is now leading a project SERVIR-Mekong, which is supported by USAID and NASA, promoting uses of geospatial information and analyses to address various challenges, including hydro-meteorological disasters, in the Lower Mekong region.