About PDC


Reduce disaster risk.
Step into a safer world.

  • Wildfire - NW of Mucusso, Caprivi - Angola

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    32 minutes ago INFORMATION

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  • Floods - Victoria, Australia

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    12 hours ago INFORMATION

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    20 hours ago WARNING

  • Extreme Heat - Israel

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Landslides - Valencia, Bukidnon, Philippines

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Floods - Valencia, Bukidnon, Philippines

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Storms - Central india

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  • Floods - Sambas Regency, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Storms - Brunei

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Storms - Brazil

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Earthquake - 5.6 - 148 km SSW of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

    21 hours ago WATCH

  • Storms - Costa Rica

    22 hours ago WARNING

  • Storms - Panama

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  • Extreme Heat - Southern France

    22 hours ago WARNING

  • Storms - Peninsular Malaysia

    22 hours ago WARNING

  • Storms - Hong Kong

    22 hours ago WARNING

  • Storms - Sri Lanka

    22 hours ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Sheveluch, Russia

    1 day ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Ibu, Indonesia

    1 day ago WATCH

  • Earthquake - 5.8 - 111 km E of Shikotan, Russia

    1 day ago WATCH

  • Wildfire - SW of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia - Spain

    1 day ago WARNING

  • Wildfire - SW of Kherson, Crimea - Ukraine

    1 day ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Krakatau, Indonesia

    2 days ago WARNING

  • Floods - Afghanistan

    3 days ago INFORMATION

  • Floods - Nepal

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  • Landslides - Japan

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  • Drought - Horn of Africa

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  • Drought - Northern Montana

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  • Drought - Puerto Rico

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  • Drought - US Virgin Islands

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  • Drought - Northwestern United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - High Plains United States

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  • Drought - Southern United States

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  • Drought - Southwestern United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Hawaii, United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Central Asia

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - South Sudan

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Marburg Virus - Ghana

    2 weeks ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Europe

    3 months ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Africa

    3 months ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Middle East

    3 months ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Latin America/Caribbean

    3 months ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - North America

    3 months ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Asia Pacific

    3 months ago WARNING

  • Monkeypox - United Kingdom

    2 weeks ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Hawaii

    3 months ago WARNING

Working together to create a Safer World

For more than 20 years, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has supported the most demanding government customers and nonprofits worldwide, sharing in the mission to save lives and reduce disaster risk. From the senior level to the operational practitioner—we support disaster management decision makers with advanced science, technology, tools, and information to reduce disaster risk and create a safer, more disaster resilient world.

 

As an applied research center managed by the University of Hawaii, we are continuously developing new technologies and best practices to help our many global partners effectively mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. We work side by side with government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and humanitarian relief organizations to conduct baseline risk and national disaster preparedness assessments, create mitigation strategies, support training and exercises, and to implement our powerful DisasterAWARE® technology

 

DisasterAWARE features a highly advanced all-hazards global exposure model that is unlike any hazard model available today. Developed by PDC to enable anticipatory action during large-scale hazard events, DisasterAWARE provides near real-time analytics about impacts to population, capital, and key infrastructure exposure for multiple hazards, as well as specific humanitarian needs down to a scale of 30 x 30 meters. The system also includes global early warning, hazard monitoring, and situational awareness for all types of natural and manmade hazards. DisasterAWARE is free to disaster management practitioners and the humanitarian assistance community at https://disasteraware.pdc.org.

 

Customized versions of DisasterAWARE have been deployed by PDC in locations around the world and are used operationally by national and regional disaster management agencies for all phases of disaster management.

 

PDC’s free mobile app, Disaster Alert, is used by the public as well as disaster managers on-the-go and offers customizable early warning alerts for any type of natural hazard in any location around the globe. The app has had more than 2 million downloads to date and is free for download on the Play Store and App Store. It can also be accessed online at https://disasteralert.pdc.org.

 

In addition to offering advanced decision support technology, PDC is pioneering the scientific application of artificial intelligence for disaster risk reduction through its AI for Humanity™ program. Learn more about these innovations at www.pdc.org/aiforhumanity.

 

The Center also provides specialized research on topics ranging from national fragility and disaster preparedness, to climate change, to women, peace and security. It partners with governments worldwide and others to deliver applications, provide disaster preparedness training, share best practices, and support exercises. For more, visit www.pdc.org.

A brief history of PDC

Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Iniki to the Hawaiian Islands in 1992, Pacific Disaster Center was conceived as a center to improve systems of communication and technology for disaster prevention at home and beyond. PDC now serves a global audience, helping to increase disaster management capacity and embolden more effective decisions, policies, and actions for a safer world.

Our Team

Executive Management

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Ray Shirkhodai is responsible for PDC’s strategic development, market and partnership expansion, and all aspects of the enterprise operation. In information management and senior leadership roles since 1991, Shirkhodai first joined PDC in 2002 as the Chief Information Officer (CIO), before his selection for executive director in 2007. During his tenure at PDC, Shirkhodai architected PDC’s flagship DisasterAWARE® risk intelligence platform and mobile apps, developed and oversaw strategies for PDC’s expansion into the global hazard and risk reduction markets, and increased the Center’s competitive project revenues by more than 9-folds, augmenting PDC’s base research and operating budgets. Shirkhodai has led the Center’s support of major international disaster relief operations, at home and abroad. He has served as a chief technology advisor to many regional and national Disaster Management Offices around the world. He has written for numerous United Nations (UN) publications on analytical software design for risk reduction. He has been an invited keynote speaker, lecturer, and participant at many international industry events focused on technologies for risk reduction and resilience. Shirkhodai is on the advisory board of the UH Maui College Applied Business and Information Technology (ABIT) program. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA) in 1990, followed by graduate studies in Artificial Intelligence (1993) at GMU.

Ray Shirkhodai

Executive Director

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Chris Chiesa has more than 30 years of experience developing and leading enterprise applications of geospatial information technologies and has been actively involved in disaster management activities for the past two decades. He directs international deployments of PDC’s disaster management decision support DisasterAWARE® platform. Chris has extensive programmatic and institutional experience in the Asia Pacific region. His work has also taken him to Europe, Central and South America, and Africa. In 2005, Chris received Esri’s prestigious Special Achievements in GIS Award in recognition of the Center’s support to the Indian Ocean tsunami response. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BSME, MSNR) and the University of Arizona (MBA).

Chris Chiesa

Deputy Executive Director

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Dr. Joseph Green is an expert in the practical application of risk information for humanitarian assistance and resilience-building initiatives worldwide. His analytical work spans more than two decades, with specialized focus on the examination of the intersection between social vulnerability, health outcomes, and disaster resilience. Joseph earned his PhD in epidemiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to earning his PhD, Joseph earned a Master’s degree in medical geography from the University of South Florida and worked as a research fellow at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Joseph Green

Director of Applied Science

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For over 20 years, Dr. Erin Hughey has dedicated her academic and professional life’s work to advancing evidence-based practices in the field of disaster management. Leading PDC global efforts, she has developed the foundation for the largest operationalized national and subnational risk and disaster preparedness assessment. The breadth of her career spans hand-on response operations at local, state, federal, and international levels, to the development of regional and global policy focused on disaster risk reduction. Erin received her PhD from the University of South Florida and currently serves on the Board of Directors at Georgetown University in the Disaster and Emergency Management program.

Erin Hughey

Director of Global Operations

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Cassie Stelow brings with her over 10 years of experience in the development and execution of enterprise-wide IT solutions and strategies. She oversees all of PDC’s data management solutions and was the key architect for transforming the organization’s data services into a single source. Stelow is responsible for the implementation of data governance, adherence to IT standards and the institutionalization of enterprise tools. Stelow holds a Masters of Science in Geospatial Information Science and Technology from North Carolina State University.

Cassie Stelow

Acting Director of Information Technology

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Scott Okada is responsible for PDC’s fiscal planning and management in all areas of budgeting, financial analysis, procurement, and business information technology applications. He has experience and training as a financial forecaster, auditor, tax-compliance officer, and report compiler for national and governmental organizations. His experience also includes high-level oversight of human resources management and loss prevention, as well as cash management and cost control functions.

Scott Okada

Director of Finance & Administration

Other Staff

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Bear (Bernd) McConnell

Senior Advisor

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Steve Recca has held several security policy positions with the State Department, Department of Defense, and in academia. He was Director of the University of Colorado Springs Center for Homeland Security where he managed research programs in civil security, defense-related topics, as well as institutional and government agency collaborative relationships. He is on the Editorial Review Board of four peer-reviewed journals and is a frequent guest lecturer on civil security topics for academic institutions across the United States. Steve holds a Master’s in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Steve Recca

Humanitarian Assistance Programs Senior Advisor

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