Published on 10/10/2023
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crisis management (flood)
  • The £300,000 research project will explore the link between government type and disaster impact in Southeast Asia
  • The Aston University-led project will run from 2024 to 2026
  • It aims to equip regions with vital data for improved disaster readiness, benefiting both local areas and entire nations in Southeast Asia.

Aston University has announced the launch of a pioneering research project that delves into the intricate relationship between disaster impact and regime type in Southeast Asia.

The £300,000 project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will run from 2024 to 2026 and led by Aston University’s Dr Laura Southgate, alongside co-investigators Dr Komal Aryal (Aston University) and Dr Thomas O’Brien (University of York).

It will study how the way a government is organised affects the impact of natural disasters like typhoons, floods or earthquakes. It will also find ways to make communities better prepared and safer in the future.

A key part of the project will be making a specialist set of information that shows how disasters affect different areas in Southeast Asia depending on the type of government they have. Researchers hope that information will be helpful in making plans to reduce the risks of disasters and respond to them better for both small local areas and entire countries.

Dr Laura Southgate, the principal investigator of the project and senior lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University, said:

“This research has the potential to revolutionise disaster governance strategies in Southeast Asia by comprehensively understanding the interplay between regime type and disaster impact so that we can formulate targeted and effective risk reduction measures, ultimately safeguarding communities and preserving lives.

“The project has garnered substantial support from various quarters, recognising its potential to bring about substantial positive change in disaster governance practices.

“The funding from the ESRC is a testament to the confidence placed in the research team's expertise and the project's overarching objectives.”

Dr Komal Aryal, co-investigator of the project and lecturer in Crisis and Disaster Management at Aston University, said:

“This initiative is a significant step towards building more resilient societies in Southeast Asia where communities are highly exposed to multiple hazards and risks.”

“Through meticulous data analysis and strategic planning, we aim to foster a safer and more prepared region in the face of disasters caused by natural phenomena.”

“This interdisciplinary effort brings together a diverse range of expertise, ensuring a holistic approach to understanding and mitigating disaster impacts in Southeast Asia.

“The potential benefits are immense.”

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.

Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7446 910063 or email:

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