The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck a large coastal area of the northern part of the main island of Japan, including the coast of the Iwate prefecture, on Friday 11 March 2011. From our experiences in helping part of the affected area by using IT for crisis response and disaster management, we established a Domain Committee on Information Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction (ITDRR) within IFIP in 2016. ITDRR was transformed into a working group within Technical Committee 5, WG5.15, in 2020.  

When we introduced the research domain at the IFIP General Assembly in 2014 in Vienna, the idea was highly applauded by Academic Blago-vest Hristov Sendov, who was IFIP President from 1989 to 1992 and an Honorary Member. The concept of using IT for disaster management was new to him, since the traditional research topics for IT and disaster were limited to technical aspects of networking, simulation and risk evaluation and management. 

Due to the recent global climate changes, we have observed an increasing number of natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes in different parts of the world. Given current trends, we can unfortunately expect more in the future. Natural disasters will also spark other types of disasters, such as the one that occurred in Fukushima. Moreover, victims will again suffer from the lack of social support systems after such an event. The working group’s research domain includes multidisciplinary issues to solve some of these problems.

WG 5.15 currently has 28 members from 14 countries. Since our mission includes promoting the ITDRR research domain to the IFIP community, we have held annual ITDRR conferences since 2016.  We held the 8th annual conference, ITDRR 2023 in Tokyo, Japan from 4-6 December 2023 in the hybrid format. We had 34 participants with three keynotes, 18 paper presentations as well as the poster session for the first time.

Incidentally, this latest conference took place during the centenary of the Great Kanto Earthquake, which hit Tokyo in September 1923, causing widespread devastation.

Our 9th conference, ITDRR 2024, will take place from 14-16 October in Krems, Austria and ITDRR 2025 will be held in October 2025 in Kyoto, Japan. You are welcome to join us at the conferences.

Yuko Murayama, WG 5.15 Chair

ITDRR 2023 Attendees (Photo Credit: Osamu Uchida)