The number of disasters is growing as well as the number of people of affected by disasters, with accompanying societal and economic losses as vividly demonstrated by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricanes Katrina and Irene. The understanding of the dynamics of natural or man-made disasters is, hence, a problem of great importance globally. However, due to the inherent nature of disasters, there are complex challenges: the critical infrastructure, including the transportation, logistical and communication systems, may have been severely negatively impacted and their functionality compromised; there is a short time window in which to respond with the critical needs products, which must be delivered in order to prevent loss of life and human suffering, and there may be great uncertainty due to the disruptions, among other complications. Moreover, there may be different organizations competing for resources and the complex interactions may result in inadequate financing, inappropriate coordination and response, congestion, inadequate delivery of supplies, including of relief personnel, etc. This symposium focuses on the dynamics of disasters, through the prism of mathematical modeling and the science of networks, to address such issues as prediction, communications, response and recovery, and the resiliency of evacuation networks. This symposium is intended to be accessible to a general scientific audience and will communicate the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary approach for the investigation of critical real-world phenomena.
and Tina Wakolbinger, Vienna University of Economics and Business