The Regional Office of Latin America and the Caribbean of the International Council of Science, in joint efforts with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador recently launched a book named “The Forensic Investigation of Disasters” (FORIN). The launch took place at the auditorium of the Faculty of Agronomic Science at the Universidad de El Salvador (UES) this past January 25th, 2018.
The launch was presided by the Ministry of the Interior and Territorial Development, Aristides Valencia, the regional director of ICSU-ROLAC, Dr. Manuel Limonta, the dean of the faculty of agronomy of UES, Juan Rosa Quintanilla, and experts in the subject, Dr. Allan Lavell (co-author of FORIN) and DRR Expert David Smith.
During the launch, Minister Valencia made emphasis on the important contributions of this book on the topic of Disaster Risk Management, especially on high-risk countries like El Salvador. Dr. Limonta also made emphasis on the proven fact that “disasters have increased in frequency and intensity”, which is a reality that needs an effective and quick response in which all parts of society need to contribute. The book was written by four experts of the highest level when it comes to disaster risk management. FORIN is 103 pages long, and mainly “provides a conceptual map and guide for forensic disaster investigations, which focuses on the investigation of the causes of disasters and their occurrence. To achieve said objective, the book tackles topics such as disasters & risks around the world; disasters & risks comprehension and the establishment of priorities for an investigation; understanding the construction of risk as a process, among other topics.
During the launch, Allan Lavell was able to talk to the members of the National Commission for Civil Protection Prevention and Mitigation of Disasters, and other participants about the conceptual and theoretic map upon which FORIN was conceived. One of the main arguments was the fact that disasters are not unexpected and unpredictable, and that there is a series of causes that are part of the social construction of the risk of disasters. After Dr. Lavell’s participation, Dr. David Smith proceeded with a presentation in which he addressed aspects such as the pertinence, the applicability, the investigators, and the relation between four variables: resources, risks, development, and disasters. Dr.Smith also presented a series of questions such as “what should we understand when we say development? What is its relation to the generating of risks and disasters? Is there such a thing as non-development? among other questions. Finally, the panel answered several questions and comments made by the audience.
This launch had a very positive reception. It is also important for the country since Minister Valencia confirmed that his ministry has plans this year to develop two issues of huge relevance for the country: The law of territory management and development, and the risk management policy.
This way, the ROLAC (El Salvador, C.A) and its Disaster & Risk Reduction working group reaffirm their compromise and disposition to work on topics of big importance and relevance for the region. In this sense, there have been talks to launch this plan in other parts of the region, with the mission that other countries can also take a step to a better conception, understanding, and preparation against disasters.