In the past decades, great progresses have been made in tackling disaster risk around the world especially since the Hyogo Framework for Action in 2005. However, there are still many challenging issues to be solved, and the disasters over recent years have clearly demonstrated the inadequate resilience in our highly interconnected and interdependent systems, including well-known devastating disasters such as the 2008 Wenchuan, 2011 Tohoku and 2015 Nepal Earthquakes.
RESIST have identified the following weaknesses and knowledge gaps in the current disaster risk assessment and management that are in need of urgent research: 1) although our understanding in individual hazards has been greatly improved, there is a lack of sound knowledge about mechanism and processes of interacting multi-hazards (cascading, concurring and altering). Therefore, the resultant multi-hazard risk are often significantly underestimated with severe consequences (e.g., the cascading disasters of 2011 Tohoku Earthquake). It is also poorly understood about the spatial and temporal changes in hazards and vulnerability during successive hazards; 2) hazard monitoring, forecasting and early warning systems have not fully utilised the domain knowledge of physical processes and the statistical information of the observations; 3) uncertainties have not been well recognised in the current risk management practice, and ignorance of uncertainties could lead to major threat to the society and poor consideration with inefficient or unsustainable preferences of options; 4) the current hazard and risk assessments are fragmented with a weakness in holistically combining quantitative and qualitative information from a variety of sources; 5) there is an urgent need for the holistic (i.e., systems) thinking framework and decision support system (DSS) tools in adequate scenario assessment and resilience development from a harmonised and transdisciplinary perspective. It is our ambition for RESIST to deliver a research project that tackles the unsolved issues with a joint effort from a multidisciplinary team in social science, natural science, engineering and systems.