The 13th International Symposium on Geo-disaster Reduction took place in Central Europe, in Prague (Czech Republic) between the 9th and 12th of August. The organizers followed the usual session structure i.e. Earthquakes, Landslides and Volcanic Hazards; however, several other topics were included to enlarge the scope of the symposium (Social Resilience to Disasters, Hydrometeorological Extremes, Remote Sensing to Disaster Reduction and Historical Disasters). The main reason was to bring the scope of the annual symposium closer to the rather wide range of our new journal “Geoenvironmental Disasters”.
The participants (76) came from twenty-one countries. Most of them were from Europe (37) and from Asia (32). Seventeen scientists participated from the home country (Czech Republic) and fifteen were from China. The most engaged session was about landslides.
The invited speakers introduced the Czech Republic from the point of view of culture and history as well as natural hazards. The next two topics were dedicated directly to the most recent disaster, which was the Gorkha earthquake in Nepal. In addition to the ordinary technical sessions we also organized the annual ICGdR meeting and a meeting with the representative of the Springer publishing house to discuss the future publishing strategy of our open access journal Geoenvironmental Disasters. During the Round Table we discussed closer cooperation with remote sensing as well as the future strategy for collaboration between ICGdR and other NGOs worldwide (the so-called Prague initiative).
The one day post-conference field trip attracted more than 22 participants mostly from Asia. It was aimed at introducing the Czech Republic as a developed country where landslides are still causing considerable damage. The first stop was at the Prackovice quarry landslide which destroyed a railway and an almost completed highway to Germany. The second stop provided a beautiful view of the Labe River valley near Ústí nad Labem allowing participants time to appreciate the stunning morphology of this area, which is largely responsible for the occurrence of landslides and floods potentially damaging the inhabited areas. The last stop, which the participants liked the most, was in Hřensko with its beautiful landscape, which coupled with the enthusiastic and well informed guide Jakub Šafránek from the National Park of Bohemian Switzerland, made a perfect end to the field trip.