Topics for debates - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

Topics for debates

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- 1. Can disasters create a “window of opportunity” for risk mitigation and sustainability? Which requisitions and circumstances support this?

- 2. Are there winners and losers in a disaster and during reconstruction? In what respect and how can they be identified? How can disasters promote equity?

- 3. How can one balance the “new” with the “old” in reconstruction?

Continuity is a value in life. Individual lives need the past  as a safety net and as a making-sense reference point. Societies need their symbols, historical infrastructure and reference places for the construction of their identity and culture.  Production means, work patterns and economic relationships offer a known and solid basis for survival.

- 4. Should one respect all these after the disaster even at a cost or should target progress and development?

- 5. At what point and how it is decided what to keep / restore and what to reconstruct / modernize?

- 6. How are long-term considerations (such as development and sustainability) taken into account during the emergency phase? Is the most urgent the most significant in disaster management? Is it possible to deal with each phase of disaster management (prevention/preparedness, emergency and recovery/reconstruction) having in mind the whole circle? Are there any experiences and lessons learnt on that?

- 7. Should one explore if and how  reconstruction transfers risk from one person to the other, from one place to the other, from one society to the other, from one generation to the other? An example; After a disaster resources are used for reconstruction of infrastructure in the area and not for health care improvement in a neighboring area. Who makes the choice? How can risk be compared?

- 8. What kind of buildings structures were used up to 2008 in the affected region, e.g. unreinforced masonry, mixed masonry and concrete, reinforced concrete structures, and how did they fare during the earthquake? What are the preferred structural solutions in the reconstruction?

- 9. How did the Chinese authorities organize the immense task of assessing the severity of damage to the hundreds of thousands of buildings that have been affected by the earthquake? Have they been able to generate databases of damage in the various locations in relation to the type of building (structure, height, age, occupancy etc.) and the degree of damage severity they suffered? Have the data been mapped onto GIS and do they include details on the number of buildings as well as the number of housing and work units affected?

- 10. To what extent the lessons from the Wenchuan earthquake are now being used to assess the vulnerability of the existing building stock in other earthquake prone parts of China?

- 11. Similarly what has been done to record the human casualty aspects of the earthquake? We have seen detailed statistics about the extent of human casualties in the broader region (e.g. at county level) but we would like to understand more about these at a finer geographic resolution. Aspects like the cause of human casualties e.g. number of casualties due to building collapse, landslides, rock falls and other hazards as well as the distribution of the 375,000 injured persons by severity of injury would be useful to understand. It would be also interesting to see whether it has been possible to record casualties by the type of building (e.g. residential, industrial, educational etc.). The efficiency of the search and rescue efforts is also of interest, to what extent these efforts succeeded in limiting the extent of life loss and injury?

- 12. On the economic aspects of this disaster, the Chinese Government announced that it would invest 146 billion US$ in the reconstruction and recovery of the affected regions. How have these funds been allocated to the various tasks and to what extent has this programme been completed in the two years since the earthquake?

- 13. On the recovery process it would be nice to learn about the progress made so far, to learn about the relocation of some cities (e.g. Beichuan, Qingchuan) and the associated problems and how they were overcome. We read that the subsidies for re-housing may not be sufficient for the poor who need more assistance, has this been addressed sufficiently, or are many of the poor still in temporary housing?

- 14. How did industry fare during the earthquake? How many industrial establishments were severely, moderately and lightly damaged by the earthquake?

- 15. Have industry and small and medium businesses reconstructed taking into consideration the multi-hazards they are subject to?

- 16. Have zoning and/or urban planning controls been adopted after the earthquake to insure the protection of people living in the vicinity of industrial plants from accidental chemical releases during a future earthquake?

- 17. How has industrial risk management changed after the earthquake?

- 18. How have environmental issues been considered in reconstruction?

- 19. Has a multi-hazard approach been taken for the reconstruction of industrial facilities so that future disasters are minimized?

- 20. What were the direct and indirect economic losses to industry from the earthquake? How much has the reconstruction of industry cost? How much of the industrial loss was insured?