Despite the proven effectiveness of early warning early action in reducing disaster impacts and saving lives, around one-third of the global population is still not covered by early warning systems. Furthermore, research indicates that even when information reaches at-risk communities, it is often not properly perceived or acted upon to mitigate risks.
Communication barriers, social and cultural stigma, lack of accessibility of infrastructure, and the absence of effective social safety nets continue to prevent communities from accessing timely early warning and risk information. These obstacles disproportionately affect marginalized and minority groups, making it even more difficult for them to access and act on early warning information. These groups are often referred to as "last mile communities," as they are the farthest away, most difficult to reach, and/or the last to benefit from programs or services.
To help address these gaps, the Global Disaster Preparedness Center, in collaboration with of the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP), launched a research grant program which aims to enhance literature on early warning early action and contribute to the expansion of the evidence base for more inclusive and people-centered approaches. Explore this page to learn more about the program.
The grantees were selected from a pool of almost 280 applications from over 60 countries. Read more about the selected researchers and their projects.
Meet the researchers
Olumuyiwa Adegun, Nigeria
Institution: Federal University of Technology, Akure
Research Project: Slum Dwellers’ Utilization of Heat Early Warning Resources in Nigeria
Olumuyiwa Adegun is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture at Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. His scholarly interests focus on environmental sustainability and climate adaptation in urban areas of Nigeria and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, especially with respect to low-income housing, slums and informal settlements.
Tell us more about your research project: Our study will evaluate utilization of current early warning resources and identify access barriers by slum residents in Akure and Lagos, Nigeria. We will co-design, trial, and assess a Community Heat Early Warning System tailored to slum communities. It seeks to ensure inclusion, local sensitivity and extended usefulness of heat warning information to last mile communities in cities.
Introduce your research team: My co-investigators on this research are Dr Tobi Morakinyo, Assistant Professor (Urban Climatology), University College Dublin, Ireland and Dr Peter Elias, Associate Professor (Urban Geography), University of Lagos, Nigeria.
How do you anticipate your study will impact its field or the broader community? The research seeks to empower vulnerable urban settlements by enhancing their preparedness for extreme heat events, strengthening their resilience, and fostering the adoption of community-based early warning systems.
Institution: Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
Research Project Title: Community-led EAs on rapid-onset FF events in North-Eastern Bangladesh
Shampa is an Assistant Professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology's Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM). Her research interests include computational fluid dynamics, sediment transport, and remote sensing. Her most recent focus has been on developing impact-based Early Warning Systems to facilitate Early action.
Tell us more about your research project: Early action (EA) based on warning can save more lives and minimize impacts on communities during emergencies and recovery stages. However, the availability of early warning does not guarantee EA. This study aims to investigate community-led EAs on rapid-onset Flash Flood events in North-Eastern Bangladesh, with specific objectives to examine how community-developed solutions can enhance accessibility, actionability and inclusivity of Early Warning Messages, and how that can be improved through policies and interventions by authorities.
Introduce your research team:
- Dr. Sonia Binte Murshed. Sonia is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Water and Flood Management of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Her research focuses on the hydromorphological changes due to human interventions, allocation of freshwater resources among competing users and adaptation strategies to natural hazards. Recently she has been trying to study and understand these issues from transboundary perspectives.
- Prof. Mashfiqus Salehin. Salehin is a professor of hydrology and interdisciplinary water resources management at IWFM, BUET. During his 27-year academic career at BUET, Salehin’s research activities have focused on hydrologic modeling at regional (Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins) scale and national/catchment levels, hydrogeologic analysis and modeling of groundwater and saltwater intrusion, mechanisms of flood disasters, flood vulnerability and risk analysis, post-flood recovery and resilience, and transboundary water management. His research also includes application of interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing different uses of water resources, biophysical vulnerability and implications to water and food security, and integrated assessment for coupling natural (biophysical) and human (socio-economic processes and livelihood/ well-being outcomes) systems.
- Dr. Erin Coughlan de Perez. Erin joined Tufts University as an Associate Professor in March of 2021, after working almost 10 years with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. Her PhD was focused on Anticipatory Action; analyzing the skill of weather and climate forecasts to predict disasters, and setting thresholds for early action. She is an author of the upcoming IPCC report on climate change; she also studies extreme weather events around the world.
How do you anticipate your study will impact its field or the broader community? Globally the lead time of FF is short therefore any EWEA must rely on community action. We anticipate that this research will identify and map existing local solutions for inclusivity and accessibility of EWM, as well as how we should provide external support to improve them. As the NE region of Bangladesh has long experience of FF, their solution would be beneficial for other regions of the world to learn about, as the world is experiencing more FF due to climate change.
Abdul Rohman, Vietnam
Institution: RMIT University Vietnam
Research Project Title: Toward a more inclusive EWEA messaging for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) in Vietnam
Abdul Rohman is a senior lecturer in the School of Communication and Design at RMIT University Vietnam. He is the author of ‘Conflict, Continuity, and Change in Social Movements in Southeast Asia’ (Routledge, 2022). His research interest revolves around the impact of digital and social media platforms on social change in Indonesia and Vietnam. His latest projects intersect social media and disability movements in the two countries, and civil society groups’ resilience during COVID-19 pandemic in Southeast Asia.
Tell us more about your research project: This research project aims to assess the inclusivity of the existing early warning early action (EWEA) messaging strategies and formats for those who identify themselves as Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) in Vietnam. In tandem, the intent is to document the extent to which the DHH community is able to exercise their agency and grow while organically generating EWEA content catered to the community and maximizing existing EWEA systems.
Introduce your research team:
- Phương Nguyễn, Independent Living Center, Hanoi
- Nang Moi, Ho Chi Minh City
How do you anticipate your study will impact its field or the broader community? The research findings hold the potential to strengthen the effort to make EWEA messaging more inclusive, primarily to the DHH community. In addition, the findings are promising for providing DHH communities in other Southeast Asian countries (e.g., Indonesia and Philippines) with insights as to how to develop and disseminate their community-based solutions in response to the persistent exclusionary approaches to disaster risk reduction, response, and recovery plans. Furthermore, it has the potential to strengthen the regional network among DHH communities.
Max Martin, India
Institution: University of Sussex
Research Project: Fishers on the first mile: early warning early action on the Arabian Sea coast of south India
Max Martin is a geographer affiliated with the University of Sussex and is a member of a research team that looks at forecasts at different timescales streamlined with the metrics of early warnings and early action. Their research primarily focuses on studying climate and extreme weather and how people act on forecasts and early warnings. Notably, Max's recent research tested localized weather information co-produced with fishers and forecasters on the southwest Indian coast of the storm-prone Arabian Sea.
Tell us more about your research project: Changes and uncertainties in weather make artisan fishing risk-prone. The research tests the actionability of early warning messages for fishers and factors that influence their effective use within local socio-economic and cultural contexts. The methods will include an ethnographic study in Thiruvananthapuram district of south India. Informed by forecasts and observations, the study will probe fishers’ exposure to weather extremes, their impacts, and the action taken based on early warning.
Introduce your research team:
- Dominic Kniveton is Professor of Climate Change and Society at Sussex. His research spans issues of development, climate change, disaster risk, migration and health. He is the advisor to this project.
- Aaditeshwar Seth is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. He works on natural resource management for community-based development, and information-sharing systems in low-literacy environments. His startup Gram Vaani supports early warning dissemination for this project through the local community narrowcast Radio Monsoon.
- R Harikumar is Scientist-E at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services. His research areas include ocean state forecasts, observing the ocean, ocean modelling and process studies, and rain and cloud physics.
How do you anticipate your study will impact its field or the broader community? Fishers of southwestern India operate at 0–50 nautical miles from the shore, often exposed to extreme weather and accidents. The research will probe whether they can take preventative action based on early warning. It will contribute to better early warning information and different components of early action.
Pradytia Putri Pertiwi, Indonesia
Institution: Universitas Gadjah Mada
Research Project Title: POP IDEAS (Perspectives of Persons with Disabilities on Inclusivity and Actionability of Disaster Early Warning Systems)
Pradytia Putri Pertiwi has focused on disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction (DIDRR) for nearly 15 years, specializing in working with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations (OPDs). Combining her roles as an academic and a practitioner, she conducted an assessment of the progress made in including persons with disabilities in DRR to inform co-creation of knowledge and evidence-based innovations in this area. Pradytia has authored scholarly articles and contributed to various global and regional studies on DIDRR and humanitarian action, including the 2023 UNDRR's Global Survey on Disability and Disasters.
Tell us more about your research project: Persons with disabilities are up to four times more likely to be victimised in disaster situations. Access to early warning systems was repeatedly reported to increase the likelihood of persons with disabilities' capacity to cope with disasters. Nevertheless, how have persons with disabilities been able to access and act on early warning messages, and what would be the resource implications of this action are rarely investigated. Using case studies of 2 local communities at-risk of volcanic eruption in Indonesia, this study aims to understand inclusivity and factors influencing actionability of early warnings from the perspectives of persons with disabilities. Specifically, the study will estimate resource implication of persons with disabilities' early action to early warning messages. Utilizing a participatory design, this study will involve persons with disabilities in accessibility review, data collection and analysis, exploration of inclusive early-action and its resource mobilization assessment, and dissemination of findings to stakeholders and decision makers.
Introduce your research team: In this study, I will partner with Dr Mizan Bisri, Assistant Professor of Kobe University and principal of Cerdas Antisipasi Risiko-bencana Indonesia(CARI!), specialising in hazard and vulnerability analysis, to support estimation of resource consequences of persons with disabilities acting on early warning messages. Difagana, an entity led by persons with disabilities disaster volunteers, will also involve as co-researchers and advocate to ensure inclusion process of this study and wider influence of the study findings.
How do you anticipate your study will impact its field or the broader community? The study aims to understand inclusivity and factors influencing actionability of early warnings from the perspective of persons with disabilities. Specifically, the study will attempt to estimate potential resource implications of early action by persons with disabilities responding to early warning messages. Expected outputs of this study are:
- Comprehensive review of the inclusivity of EWS and recommendations for improvement.
- Detailed account of feedback on inclusivity and actionability of current EWS from the perspectives from persons with disabilities including calculation of resource implications of early action by persons with disabilities responding to early warning messages.
As such, the study will contribute to ensuring enabling environment for persons with disabilities to behave safely in disasters, particularly establishing accessible early warnings and adequate supports for persons with disabilities to take early action in disaster situations.
Charles Chunga, Malawi
Institution: Mzuzu University
Research Project Title: Assessing the impact of Financial Support on Early Action in Last Mile Communities: The case of T/A Makhwira, Chikwawa
Charles Chunga is a Geo Informatics (GIS) expert, specializing in urban planning, environmental conservation and disaster preparedness. Passionate researcher, skilled in geospatial analysis, dedicated to helping marginalized communities through effective disaster management
Tell us more about your research project: This research project investigates how financial support impacts the ability of vulnerable communities in Chikwawa, Malawi, to respond to recurrent floods. It aims to understand if the financial aid provided by the government and organizations helps these communities take early actions to protect themselves from disasters. The study will use surveys and group discussions to collect data and analyze how financial assistance relates to early actions. By doing this research, we hope to provide valuable information to policymakers and help these communities become better prepared for disasters.
Introduce your research team:
- Tayamika Mchuchu (Team Member): An experienced Agri-Business Manager with a proven track record of advising both farmers and organizations on business risk management, and profitability. Specializes in disaster-resilient agricultural projects, benefiting both private and public sectors.
- Cynthia Anna Phiri (Team Member): Experienced Land Surveying and GIS professional, specializing in data collection, analysis, and disaster management. Certified UAV/Drone pilot with advanced data processing skills. Proficient in GIS and Database Management.
How do you anticipate your study will impact its field or the broader community? The study will improve disaster preparedness and response strategies, leading to reduced loss of life and property during disasters. It will also help in developing more targeted interventions to support vulnerable communities, ultimately enhancing their resilience during disasters.
Rhomir Yanquiling, Philippines
Institution: University of Melbourne
Research Project: Enhancing Accessibility and Actionability of Early Warning Messages among Last Mile Mountain and Coastal Communities in the Philippines
Rhomir Yanquiling is a policy researcher working on the interface of environmental justice, climate change, water governance and sustainable development. He has been a Climate Adaptation Finance Fellow (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management/Thailand Development Research Institute/IDRC) and a Keizo-Obuchi Research Fellow (UNESCO-Japan). He was also chosen to participate in the 2019 SWITCH-ASIA Circular Economy Leadership program jointly administered by the UNEP and Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) and the 2019 Accountable Resource Governance in Asia-Pacific by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NGRI) and Gadja Mada University (Jakarta, Indonesia).
Tell us more about your research project: This study adopts a comparative approach to identify barriers and factors affecting early warning message accessibility and actionability among last mile mountainous and coastal communities in the Philippines. The study explores how these communities have evolved over time and space in adjusting to the barriers in accessing early warning messages, the preventative actions (or inactions) taken, and factors influencing their actionability. Data collection involves surveys, interviews, digital ethnography, and participatory action research with community members and stakeholders. Findings will inform disaster risk reduction policies, fostering inclusive and action-oriented strategies for vulnerable populations during extreme weather events.
How do you anticipate your study will impact its field or the broader community? The Philippines faces a significant risk of disasters, ranking first among countries worldwide, according to the 2022 World Risk Report. The study helps address the critical issue of vulnerability among the poorest segments of population in mountain and coastal villages, as these communities often suffer the most severe consequences of disasters and have limited access to essential resources and services. By understanding the barriers to accessibility and inclusivity of early warning messages, I aim to bridge the gap and ensure that these marginalized groups are not left behind in disaster preparedness and response effort.
Deolfa Jose Moises, Namibia
Institution: University of the Free State
Research Project: Towards Participatory Flood Early Warning for Early Action: A Situational Analysis of the Zambezi and Kavango Regions - Namibia
Deolfa Jose Moises, a PhD candidate at the University of the Free State, specializes in Disaster Management and possesses a diverse academic background in Integrated Water Resource Management, Microbiology, and Biochemistry. Her extensive research experience provides a deep understanding of the socio-economic, environmental, and political aspects of African nations in the context of sustainable development and global standards.
Deolfa excels at synthesizing scientifically sound reports, offering technical expertise, and devising system dynamic approaches to address developmental challenges. Deolfa is well-equipped to support the strategic review and development of inclusive, multi-faceted and sustainable development program activities from design through implementation.
Tell us more about your research project: This study explores rural communities’ socio-economic and environmental conditions for capacities that can be exploited for improved flood risk reduction. The social, economic and environmental construct of communities formulates the core of the resilience capacity paradigm, which requires great consideration when developing, implementing and strengthening flood early warning systems.
Considering all these factors the study seeks to develop a strategy for impact-based early warning communication by consolidating and leveraging existing knowledge systems, skills, tools and resources from the current technocratic system and ongoing local efforts to better align with and respond to community needs. The study seeks to develop system whereby warnings generate effective early response and early action by ensuring that they reach the relevant individuals timeously and with directives for right action, essentially bridging the last mile within rural, remote and often poorly developed African communities.
Introduce your research team:
- Dr Yong Nyam - Consultant at the World Bank Group: Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice
- Mr Obankeng Selelo - MSc. Agricultural Econonomics
- Mr Valks Mayamba - Disaster Risk Officer (IFRC Namibia)
- Mr Joachim Komeheke - MSc. Environmental Management
How do you anticipate your study will impact its field or the broader community? The study highlights the significance of systems thinking approaches in developing and implementing multi-faceted DRR approaches like early warning systems. By providing an approach to asses unique local contexts and providing practical pathways for community engagement, the study benefits both policymakers, DRR practitioners and communities by ensuring the means of implementation are clearly defined and positively benefit target communities from the planning stages of the early warning process.
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