20. – 25. Januar 2013, Dagstuhl-Seminar 13041

Civilian Crisis Response Models


Ozlem Ergun (Georgia Institute of Technology, US)
Bernhard Katzy (Leiden University, NL)
Ulrike Lechner (Universität der Bundeswehr – München, DE)
Luk van Wassenhove (INSEAD – Fontainebleau, FR)

Auskunft zu diesem Dagstuhl-Seminar erteilt

Dagstuhl Service Team


Dagstuhl Report, Volume 3, Issue 1 Dagstuhl Report


The vulnerability of modern societies to the threats of man made and natural disaster increases and scale and number of disasters are expected to rise. The earthquakes of Haiti with its subsequent Cholera epidemics, the natural disasters in Pakistan as well as the ongoing situation in Japan illustrate the need for effective and efficient crisis and disaster response organizations as well as humanitarian aid organizations in developing and first world countries. Disaster preparedness is a key to effectiveness and efficiency in case of crisis or disaster - but we observe that natural and human disasters are too often beyond what is being planned for.

There is a need for new and better approaches in disaster and crises response and humanitarian aid. Think of IT-systems and how well designed systems can help or think of what science can contribute in terms of models, methods, instruments and tools for analysis and decision making. This Dagstuhl Seminar is motivated by the fact that computer science is an enabler for the changes and should contribute to the body of scientific knowledge and instruments and tools alike. This seminar on crisis response Models aims to make a contribution to the systematic development of a body of scientific knowledge for crisis and disaster response and Humanitarian Aid organizations. We invite researchers and practitioners in the field of humanitarian aid and crisis and disaster response as well as researchers in computer science and related disciplines to this Dagstuhl Seminar on Civilian Crisis Response Models.

We address with this seminar on crisis response models questions concerning the design of systems in crisis and disaster response and humanitarian aid. Currently, there is a window of opportunity for redesigning the crisis response system as the proliferation of mobile phones, smart phones and social software facilitate novel services and new C2 systems allows for new designs. Many examples demonstrate the increasing use of social media in emergencies: For human and man-made disasters websites and Internet services are created to support the inflicted population as well as the aid organizations. A popular and successful example is Ushahidi, a NGO developed platform in response to civil war in Kenya 2008 mapping incidents of violence. In the ongoing crisis in Japan, Twitter and Facebook messages were compiled to provide guidance of what kind of help is needed. Web services are used widespread to locate missing persons. "Google Crisis" provides its set of services to be deployed in case via the Google website.

These systems, many of which have been created ad-hoc by volunteers illustrate the feasibility of better information systems in crisis response management. In many cases, they turned out to be efficient, precise and easy to operate. From these services, evaluation towards a permanently information system is needed. These novel systems illustrate the need for good governance and the need to analyze and reconsider the whole disaster response system with its information flows. What is the impact of the use of such systems in case of a disaster on communication, logistics, the behavior of the population and the aid organizations? Again, scientific methods eventually might be useful to build new systems and develop new processes and strategies.

With this Dagstuhl Seminar on Civilian Crisis Response Models we go beyond the design of technology and aims at contributing to the scientific body of knowledge of crisis and disaster response and Humanitarian aid. Disaster preparedness is the area in the field of crisis and disaster management Civilian Crisis Response Models that requires well developed, evidence-based quantitative models and theories to feed and guide the simulations, optimizations, serious games, analytical methods, architectures and process models, creative techniques or case studies. Disaster preparedness requires its body of scientific knowledge to be used for exploring disaster preparedness, for building IT-systems, for assessing humanitarian aid and disaster response organizations and for guiding the necessary changes in the crisis response system to adopt it to new threats and new scenarios. Methods and models are crucial for making better decisions in tight financial situations.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013/ under REA grant agreement n°317382, NITIMesr.

Summary text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
  Bernhard Katzy and Ulrike Lechner


  • Modelling / Simulation
  • Society / Human-computer Interaction


  • Crisis Response
  • Humanitarian Aid


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