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Geo-information for measuring vulnerability to earthquakes: a fitness for use approach

By V. Botero Fernandez

Abstract

Even though natural hazard threats are present in most parts of the world, according to the data collected in the International Disaster Database, most of them occur in developing countries, and remain a major obstacle to sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The trend during the last decades shows an increase in the number of natural hazard events and their consequences. Natural hazards cannot be avoided, but understanding and measuring the factors that make up vulnerability, the main factor in the risk equation that can be managed, is an important research task. In this endeavor, information is a key factor in vulnerability reduction. Most planning authorities rely on hazard maps to define risk management plans and projects, but these maps only depict the threat and not the whole picture of what and who can be affected by these hazards. Information, or rather the availability of useful information, is a critical element for effectively tackling vulnerability. Defining the fitness for use of municipal geo-information for earthquake vulnerability assessment is the main topic of this research. A methodology was developed to establish whether and to what extent the vulnerability indicators calculated using this municipal geo-information are suitable for decision making. This is done by understanding the different types of vulnerability, and re-defining it in terms of the three disaster stages: impact, relief and recovery. The main proposal of the general analysis model is the analysis of vulnerability of a region for the 3 stages of a disaster (1- Impact, 2- Relief, and 3- Recovery), that follow each other in time and require different municipal strategies to cope with them. Considering this, the availability of data for the analysis of vulnerability in each phase starts with the identification of the required information -indicators- and their specific attributes. A list of indicators exists for each phase (required information) that in turn will be rated in importance according to different attributes. Some indicators are common to different evaluation phases, but their application to the analysis and/or solution proposals or plans is different. The indicators are assessed in terms of five attributes: availability, completeness, integrity and reliability, scale, and shelf-life

Topics: International (English)
Publisher: Utrecht University
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.library.uu.nl:1874/32148
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