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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises TOOLS AND METHODS for Estimating Population at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises Committee on the Effective Use of Data, Methodologies, and Technologies to Estimate Subnational Populations at Risk Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies Committee on Population Division of Behavioral and Social Science and Education NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.napu.edu
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the Department of Commerce/U.S. Bureau of Census, Award No. YA1323-04-AE-0084, Department of Health and Human Services/ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Contract No. 200-2005-M-13677, Department of State, Award Nos. S-LMAQM-05-GR-097 and S-AQMPD-05-C-1176, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Award No. W24749, U.S. Agency for International Development, Award No. DOT-S-00-04-00039-00. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations contained in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10354-1 (Book) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10354-1 (Book) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-66672-5 (PDF) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-66672-4 (PDF) Library of Congress Control Number 200792664 Cover: Design by Michael Dudzik. Photo credits: IKONOS satellite image off the island of Java, Indonesia, courtesy of GeoEye; hand-held computer courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office (http://www.census.gov/pubinfo/www/broadcast/photos/img/101_1203-hi.jpg/); Ecuador street scene courtesy of Clara Natoli (Rome, Italy) (http://www.morguefile.com/archive/?display=33223&/). Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises COMMITTEE ON THE EFFECTIVE USE OF DATA, METHODOLOGIES, AND TECHNOLOGIES TO ESTIMATE SUBNATIONAL POPULATIONS AT RISK SUSAN L. CUTTER, Chair, University of South Carolina, Columbia MARGARET ARNOLD, The World Bank/ProVention Consortium, Washington, D.C./Geneva DEBORAH BALK, City University of New York, New York BELA HOVY, United Nations Population Division, New York MEI-PO KWAN, Ohio State University, Columbus JONATHAN D. MAYER, University of Washington, Seattle DAVID R. RAIN, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. HAVIDAN RODRIGUEZ, University of Delaware, Newark BARBARA BOYLE TORREY, Population Reference Bureau, Washington, D.C. BILLIE L. TURNER II, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts JOHN R. WEEKS, San Diego State University, California TUKUFU ZUBERI, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia National Research Council Staff ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Study Director (from January 2006) HEDY ROSSMEISSL, Study Director (until January 2006) CAETLIN M. OFIESH, Research Associate TONYA FONG YEE, Program Assistant (from March 2007) NICHOLAS ROGERS, Senior Project Assistant (from August 2006 until March 2007) AMANDA M. ROBERTS, Senior Project Assistant (until August 2006)
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES COMMITTEE ROGER M. DOWNS, Chair, Pennsylvania State University, University Park BRIAN J. L. BERRY, University of Texas, Dallas SUSAN L. CUTTER, University of South Carolina, Columbia RUTH S. DEFRIES, University of Maryland, College Park WILLIAM E. EASTERLING III, Pennsylvania State University, University Park PATRICIA GOBER, Arizona State University, Tempe MICHAEL F. GOODCHILD, University of California, Santa Barbara SUSAN HANSON, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts JONATHAN D. MAYER, University of Washington, Seattle EMILIO F. MORAN, Indiana University, Bloomington DAVID L. SKOLE, Michigan State University, East Lansing National Research Council Staff PAUL M. CUTLER, Senior Program Officer VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Associate
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises COMMITTEE ON POPULATION KENNETH W. WACHTER, Chair, University of California, Berkeley ANNE C. CASE, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey EILEEN M. CRIMMINS, University of Southern California, Los Angeles BARBARA ENTWISLE, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill JOSHUA R. GOLDSTEIN, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey BARTHÉLÉMY KUATE DEFO, University of Montreal, Canada CYNTHIA B. LLOYD, Population Council, New York THOMAS W. MERRICK, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. RUBÉN G. RUMBAUT, University of California, Irvine ROBERT J. WILLIS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor National Research Council Staff BARNEY COHEN, Director ANTHONY MANN, Senior Project Assistant
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville M. LEE ALLISON, Arizona Geological Survey, Tucson GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park STEVEN R. BOHLEN, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C. KEITH C. CLARKE, University of California, Santa Barbara DAVID J. COWEN, University of South Carolina, Columbia ROGER M. DOWNS, Pennsylvania State University, University Park JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara KATHERINE H. FREEMAN, Pennsylvania State University, University Park RHEA L. GRAHAM, Pueblo of Sandia, Bernalillo, New Mexico ROBYN HANNIGAN, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro MURRAY W. HITZMAN, Colorado School of Mines, Golden V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada BARBARA A. ROMANOWICZ, University of California, Berkeley JOAQUIN RUIZ, University of Arizona, Tucson MARK SCHAEFER, Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Arlington, Virginia RUSSELL STANDS-OVER-BULL, BP American Production Company, Houston, Texas BILLIE L. TURNER II, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts TERRY C. WALLACE, JR., Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico STEPHEN G. WELLS, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee National Research Council Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director PAUL M. CUTLER, Senior Program Officer ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer ANN G. FRAZIER, Program Officer SAMMANTHA L. MAGSINO, Program Officer RONALD F. ABLER, Senior Scholar
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises CAETLIN M. OFIESH, Research Associate JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Financial Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Financial and Administrative Associate JARED P. ENO, Senior Program Assistant NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Senior Program Assistant TONYA FONG YEE, Program Assistant
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises Preface We do not live in a risk-free society, and at any moment somewhere in the world, resident populations are exposed or are responding to natural or human-induced disasters that result in humanitarian crises. The number, demographic characteristics, and locations of the populations at risk during these crises are often imprecise or unknown, complicating or impeding humanitarian relief and disaster response efforts. Population data—and the tools and the persons trained to analyze and use them—are some of the basic components of humanitarian response efforts and of development and reconstruction programs. Resource-poor nations have the greatest difficulty in obtaining, maintaining, and making available their population databases for purposes of development and humanitarian response and are more likely to require external support in responding to natural or human-induced disasters. However, as events surrounding Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, the existence of adequate financial resources in the presence of good population databases does not always guarantee a completely effective response to assist a population in crisis. Effective use of existing population data in crisis or planning situations also requires coordinated responses by decision makers from national or international through local levels. Improved estimation of populations at risk in resource-poor countries and better use of population data in connection with planning and executing emergency and development aid programs has garnered international attention from a wide spectrum of professionals. Descriptions relayed by emergency workers regarding their planning for and execution of disaster and complex humanitarian emergency responses have emphasized the
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises underlying importance of data on the numbers of the affected populations, and their ages, gender, health characteristics and locations in order to execute an efficient and appropriate response level. In a world now oriented toward map applications popularized by the advent of GoogleEarth and personal global positioning systems for automobile and pedestrian navigation, developing a seamless link between digital geographic information systems and various types of population data for use in emergency and development programs has clear impetus. However, resource-poor countries with a paucity of adequate demographic data often also lack the tools and training to interpret and employ such data, thus placing them at further disadvantage to address disasters that affect their own populations. Without data, or the political and organizational will to employ them, geographic information systems-based approaches will not meet the basic needs of a country responding to a crisis within its borders. In May 2004, the Humanitarian Information Unit of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the National Academy of Sciences hosted a Workshop on Systematic Population Estimation, where continued U.S. government interest in improving estimates of populations at risk was demonstrated. This workshop followed publication of a number of National Research Council (NRC) reports, including Forced Migration and Mortality (2001), and Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa (2002), that addressed various aspects of the lack of demographic data in many countries and the impacts on the population when data were not available or were not used. In Down to Earth, a recommendation was made that “USAID [United States Agency for International Development] and the Bureau of the Census should provide financial and technical support to national census offices and bureaus [in Africa] to help them complete censuses, geographically reference the data, and make the data available in disaggregated form to decision makers.” The present study was conducted at the request of the U.S. Department of State, USAID, the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partial recognition of the information gathered at that 2004 workshop and builds on earlier and ongoing NRC work. As a response to the request from these agencies, the NRC established the Committee on the Effective Use of Data, Methodologies, and Technologies to Estimate Subnational Populations at Risk. The committee comprises individuals with professional backgrounds in demography, geography, sociology, statistics, disasters, humanitarian aid and development, forced migration, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and epidemiology and international health. Based on the interest expressed by U.S. government agencies in having population data available in humanitarian response situations, the committee made a basic assumption that U.S. government
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises agencies would like to see better subnational population data collection and estimation, and improvements in data accessibility in times of crisis. The committee thus established a link between the tools and methods used in making these data collections and population estimates, and the institutional requirements needed to maintain and employ the data effectively. In addition to information derived from their own expertise, committee members called upon population researchers, demographers, geographers, and policy makers from federal agencies, nonprofit and for-profit institutions, and the private sector, and representatives of national and international humanitarian aid and development organizations to present their perspectives at one public workshop and one public meeting. These individuals provided testimony on which population data were required, collected, and/or accessible and why they were or were not used in humanitarian aid or development situations. Approximately half of the panel group at the main study workshop had some or very extensive field experience in delivery of humanitarian or development aid. However, limited time at the public meetings and limited availability of some individuals who had specific field experience in two countries named in the study’s scope, Haiti and Mozambique, precluded complete discussion on some issues important to the study. The committee supplemented the information it gathered at these meetings through interviews and correspondence with individuals at humanitarian and development organizations, at government agencies, and health institutes, domestically and abroad. Relevant scientific literature and other published materials, particularly reports and framework documents from organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, Save the Children, and Oxfam, were also drawn into the committee’s deliberations. Chapters 1 and 5 give further background on the committee’s information-gathering efforts. This report and its recommendations were a result of the consensus of the committee. The recommendations specifically address the statement of task and apply primarily to the U.S. government sponsors of the study, but the needs of other international organizations, agencies, and governmental and nongovernmental groups involved in disaster response and development aid were also addressed in the course of the committee’s deliberations. Since effective international development and disaster relief aid represent coordinated efforts on the part of agencies, organizations and governments, the committee’s recommendations underscore the need for feedback between aid donors, disaster responders, and aid recipients in the United States and abroad. While not providing a solution to the world’s political and social crises or natural and technological disasters, geographically referenced population data are important components of the response to assist populations at risk in these situations; proper collection, analysis, and dissemination of such data can be a useful part of an integrated response
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises to these crises. Importantly, development and reconstruction programs can also use population data in effective planning of educational, health, and food security initiatives outside times of crises. Members of the committee provided key insights and took part in the drafting of the report. We were assisted in our efforts by Elizabeth Eide, study director, Caetlin Ofiesh, research associate, Nicholas Rogers and Amanda Roberts, senior program assistants, Tonya Fong Yee, project assistant, and Hedy Rossmeissl, study director until January 2006. Without the support of such a fine staff, the committee would have faltered in its task. We would especially like to dedicate this report to Dr. William Wood, former State Department Geographer and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Analysis and Information Management, Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Bill requested and helped to develop this study before he died at far too young an age in July 2005. Bill, a renowned applied geographer and a strong supporter of the work of the National Research Council Board on Earth Sciences and Resources’ Geographical Sciences Committee, was passionate about using geographic information to help the disadvantaged people of the earth—a passion that was galvanized by numerous field missions to countries where humanitarian crises were occurring or likely to occur. We hope the study does justice to his goal of having different government agencies more effectively work together in a collective effort to protect vulnerable populations. Susan L. Cutter, Chair March 2007 REFERENCES NRC (National Research Council), 2001. Forced Migration and Mortality. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 145 pp. NRC, 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 155 pp.
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises Acknowledgments This report was greatly enhanced by input from participants at the public committee workshop and one meeting held as part of this study: Vincent Bagiire, Richard Bilsborrow, Chuck Conley, Rhonda Davis-Stewart, Chris Elvidge, Shawn Messick, Livia Montana, Tammany Mulder, Eric Noji, Mark Pelling, Nate Smith, C.J. Terborgh, and Suha Ulgen. In addition to participation as panelists in the workshop, the following individuals provided much appreciated input through new technical papers they contributed to the study, and which are included in this report as Appendix E: Jerry Dobson, Shannon Doocy, John Kelmelis, Mamadou Kani Konaté, Loren Landau, Glen Lauber, Mark Pelling, and Abbiah Subramanian. The presentations, discussions, and written contributions of all these individuals helped set the stage for the committee’s deliberations. The committee and staff are also indebted to Iain Bray, Hernando Clavijo, Erdem Ergin, Glenn Ferri, Debarati Guha-Sapir, Kate Lance, and Daniel Smith for their help in providing useful information to the study through correspondence and discussion. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Patrick Ball, Benetech, Palo Alto, California Edward Bright, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee Gil Burnham, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland William Clark, University of California, Los Angeles Barbara Entwisle, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Karen Seto, Stanford University, Stanford, California Joseph Smith, University of Chicago, Illinois Max Stephenson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg Benjamin Wisner, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by John Adams, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Susan Hanson, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises Contents SUMMARY 1 1 POPULATIONS AT RISK: LOCAL TO GLOBAL CONCERNS 11 Nature of the Problem, 11 Charge to the Committee, 12 Complexity of the Situation, 12 Population Data and Vulnerability in the Disaster and Development Context, 14 Needs for Disaster Response and Prevention, 17 Committee Process and Report Structure, 24 References, 25 2 CURRENT STATUS OF AT-RISK SUBNATIONAL POPULATION ESTIMATION 28 Gaps in Spatial and Temporal Coverage, 30 Methods and Tools for Population Estimation, 45 Proxy Measures of Population Size and Distribution, 55 Summary, 64 Recommendations, 66 References, 67 3 DATA DISSONANCE IN DISASTERS 72 The Local Context, 73 Why Decision Makers Do Not Use Existing Demographic Data in Disasters, 84
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Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises Changes Needed to Make Existing Demographic Data Accessible to Decision Makers, 89 Broader Information Management, Training, and Technology Issues, 96 Summary, 104 Recommendations, 105 References, 106 4 THE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AND INSTITUTIONAL IMPEDIMENTS 109 Institutional Milieu, 110 Institutional Challenges, 114 The Ethos and Culture of the Operational Response Environment, 116 Summary, 122 Recommendations, 124 References, 124 5 POPULATION DATA AND CRISIS RESPONSE IN MALI, MOZAMBIQUE, AND HAITI 126 Country Examples, 127 Strengths and Limitations of Population Data Employed in Disaster Relief and Development, 141 Conclusions, 144 Recommendations, 146 References, 147 6 RECOMMENDATIONS 149 APPENDIXES A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 157 B Acronyms and Abbreviations 162 C Glossary 166 D Workshop and Meeting Agendas and Attendees 170 E Technical Papers 175