About PDC


Reduce disaster risk.
Step into a safer world.

About PDC

Reduce disaster risk. Step into a safer world.

  • Earthquake - 5.4 - 78 km SW of Acajutla, El Salvador

    10 hours ago ADVISORY

  • Volcano - Fuego, Guatemala

    1 hour ago WARNING

  • Volcano - La Palma, Spain

    1 hour ago WARNING

  • Wildfire - NE of Outjo, Kunene - Namibia

    1 hour ago ADVISORY

  • Wildfire - S of Am Timan, Salamat - Chad

    1 hour ago INFORMATION

  • Wildfire - SW of Ongwediva, Oshana - Namibia

    1 hour ago ADVISORY

  • Tropical Cyclone - Paddy

    2 hours ago INFORMATION

  • Volcano - Suwanosejima, Japan

    2 hours ago ADVISORY

  • Wildfire - NE of Coroata, Maranho - Brazil

    2 hours ago INFORMATION

  • Volcano - Reventador, Ecuador

    3 hours ago WARNING

  • Earthquake - 5.2 - near the north coast of Greenland

    4 hours ago ADVISORY

  • Volcano - Sangay, Ecuador

    4 hours ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Nevados de Chillán, Chile

    5 hours ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia

    5 hours ago WARNING

  • Floods - Southern India

    5 hours ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Sabancaya, Peru

    5 hours ago WARNING

  • Wildfire - NW of Montpelier, Idaho - United States

    6 hours ago WARNING

  • Floods - Asahan Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia

    6 hours ago INFORMATION

  • Storms - Singapore

    12 hours ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Semeru, Indonesia

    14 hours ago WARNING

  • Wildfire - W of Riverside, California - United States

    18 hours ago WARNING

  • Earthquake - 5.5 - 163 km S of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

    18 hours ago WATCH

  • Earthquake - 5.1 - 229 km S of Sinabang, Indonesia

    19 hours ago ADVISORY

  • Ebola - North Kivu Province, DRC

    2 weeks ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Africa

    1 year ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Hawaii

    1 year ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Vulcano, Italy

    19 hours ago WARNING

  • Winter Storms - British Columbia, Canada

    20 hours ago WARNING

  • Winter Storms - Nunavut, Canada

    20 hours ago WARNING

  • Flood - Colombia

    20 hours ago WARNING

  • Floods - Panama

    20 hours ago WARNING

  • Winter Storms - Yukon, Canada

    20 hours ago WARNING

  • Storms - Mexico

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Extreme Cold - Central Mexico

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Landslide - Valle del Cauca Department, Colombia

    21 hours ago WARNING

  • Floods - East Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia

    1 day ago INFORMATION

  • Floods - Ende Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia

    1 day ago INFORMATION

  • Floods - Tebing Tinggi City, North Sumatra, Indonesia

    1 day ago WARNING

  • Storms - India

    1 day ago WARNING

  • Storms - Cambodia

    1 day ago WARNING

  • Floods - Banyuwangi Regency, East Java, Indonesia

    1 day ago INFORMATION

  • Storms - Vietnam

    1 day ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Santa Maria, Guatemala

    1 day ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Lewotolo, Indonesia

    2 days ago WATCH

  • Volcano - Popocatepetl, Mexico

    2 days ago ADVISORY

  • Volcano - Karymsky, Russia

    3 days ago ADVISORY

  • Drought - Eastern Africa

    5 days ago WARNING

  • Volcano - Aira, Japan

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Micronesia

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Hawaii, United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Southwestern United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Northeastern United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Northwestern United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - High Plains United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Southern United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Midwestern United States

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - US Virgin Islands

    4 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Central America

    5 days ago WARNING

  • Drought - Hispaniola

    5 days ago WARNING

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

    1 year ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Middle East

    1 year ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Asia Pacific

    1 year ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Europe

    1 year ago WARNING

  • Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - North America

    1 year 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. 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 provides global risk intelligence, early warning, and largest collection of global, scientifically verified geospatial data and modeling tools for assessing risk and hazard impacts. 

Our organization and approach

PDC is an applied research center managed by the University of Hawaii that provides the most reliable information, ground-breaking research, applied scientific practices, and its powerful disaster risk intelligence platform, DisasterAWARE to empower disaster management decision makers and the public. We support disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery worldwide—using strategies that are consistent with the United Nations’ approach to disaster risk reduction.

Mission: Reduce disaster risk. Vision: Safer world.

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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Keone Kali is a transformational leader and Chief Information Officer (CIO), and possesses over 27 years of experience in information technology, business development, and senior management in both the public and private sector. Mr. Kali has served as the Director of Information Technology for the Maui Medical Group and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the State of Hawaii. Mr. Kali served in a key role as the Region IX Lead for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).  In that role, he routinely interfaced with U.S. States and Territories in Western CONUS and OCONUS and liaised with State CIO’s across the nation. Mr. Kali possesses an MBA in IT Management from WGU, and a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA.

Keone Kali

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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