however, on a strict definition of “recent” nor on the spatial scale at which data become “local”), whereas less agreement was evident about the kinds of population characteristics that data users routinely employ. Distributions of the population by age and gender were most often mentioned because women, children, and the elderly tend to have higher levels of vulnerability in almost any emergency situation. In some parts of the world, relief agencies are clearly aided by knowing the distribution of the population by characteristics such as income levels, housing, religion, race or ethnicity, and language. In culturally homogeneous areas, especially rural regions, some of these characteristics may be common knowledge and sophisticated data collection schemes are not necessary, but in urban areas and other places experiencing in-migration, it may be important to know the relative distribution of various cultural groups. In its discussion of the social scale of available data, the committee includes age, gender, and socioeconomic and cultural characteristics, with the caveat that not every emergency may demand these characteristics and not every relief agency may use them.
This input to the committee’s report is consistent in all respects with the Hyogo Framework of Action for 2005-2015, which was adopted by the international community at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction held in Hyogo, Japan, in January 2005, shortly before this committee began its work. Particularly noteworthy are the following elements, which the Hyogo Framework (UNISDR, 2005) suggests should be incorporated into all disaster reduction planning: (1) A gender perspective should be integrated into all disaster risk management policies, plans, and decision-making processes, including those related to risk assessment, warning, information management, and education and training. (2) Cultural diversity, age, and vulnerable groups should be taken into account when planning for disaster risk reduction, as appropriate. (3) Systems of indicators of disaster risk and vulnerability at national and subnational scales should be developed that will enable decision makers to assess the impact of disasters on social, economic, and environmental conditions and disseminate the results to decision makers, the public, and populations at risk.
Although tasked with evaluating both data and methods, the committee’s view is that methods themselves are likely less problematic than the data to which estimation techniques are applied, especially in those countries that are data-poor. The committee discusses the use of censuses, field and weighted population sample surveys, and remotely sensed imagery, as well as spatial modeling techniques designed to overcome deficiencies in the extant data sources. A key element in modeling and estimation techniques is the emphasis on spatially explicit demographic data—combining demographic characteristics of the population with the georeferenced location of people according to those characteristics. “Georeferenced” means a location in terms of an address or latitude-longitude, not just a place or