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Vulnerability & Risk

As part of the GEM Social Vulnerability and Integrated Risk Project, four use-cases are under development to demonstrate the context in which the methods, metrics, and software that will be developed for holistic risk assessments in OpenQuake may be used for decision-making. The use-cases are utilized to better understand what factors drive the social and economic vulnerability of places, and ultimately the seismic risk in a number of countries, regions, cities, etc. The use-cases are also essential to suggest the best potential ways for index development in terms of variable selection, weighting, and aggregation. 

 

Proof of Concept: Integrated Risk Assessment for Portugal

Use-case 1: Social Vulnerability Model for Shelter Needs

Use-case 2: Indirect Economic Loss Vulnerability

Use-case 3: Urban Growth Planning for Kathmandu

Use-case 4: Building a Disaster Resilient Quezon City 

 

Proof of Concept: Integrated Risk Assessment for Portugal

A test case/proof of concept was constructed in an effort to assess the total (earthquake) risk of a country. The latter combines physical risk calculations using GEM tools with a socio-economic vulnerability index. The socio-economic vulnerability index was constructed using the intended workflow of the Integrated Risk Toolkit, and accounts for an indicator selection using the database structure and taxonomy developed by GEM and CEDIM for socio-economic index construction within OpenQuake. In addition to testing the applicability of the GEM database structure and taxonomy through the development of an index, the test-case allows for experimentation with different index types, weighting, and aggregation schemes. These will be available to users of the Integrated Risk Toolkit, and will allow to explore issues of sensitivity and uncertainty inherent with the index construction process. All tests and findings will be utilized to inform the Integrated Risk Toolkit’s development.  

 

 

Use-case 1: Social Vulnerability Model for Shelter Needs

Social vulnerability is a complex and multidimensional concept that transcends all stages of the disaster cycle and may be applied to specific areas of opportunity such as shelter demand.  The first use-case will be established at the national level for the world and will propose a framework of social vulnerability indicators to better articulate the potential of being displaced while needing to seek public shelter after a damaging earthquake. Given the varying contexts of social vulnerability at the national scale for the globe, it is important to focus on a single dimension of social vulnerability. The major emphasis of this use-case is to investigate causal linkages and the strength of relationships among factors leading to variations in displacement and shelter seeking beyond building damage, which is currently used as the primary driver in state-of-the-art Earthquake Loss Estimation (ELE) models. Thus, the focus will be on validating the structure and weights of the selected indicators through both literature studies and logistical regression using the global inventory of post-earthquake displacement and shelter data available in CATDAT (Daniell, 2003-2012) which will be used for benchmarking the displaced population and shelter seeking model.

This use-case will inform the development of a shelter demand model which can be directly linked with physical damage outputs of OpenQuake to articulate the need for shelter demand as well as shelter placement opportunities that may be utilized by governments and NGO’s prior to and following an earthquake event.

 

Use-case 2: Indirect Economic Loss Vulnerability

A second use-case is being developed considering the private sector such as the insurance and reinsurance industries. Here, the focus is on the development of vulnerability indices to assess the potential for indirect economic loss at the sub-national level of geography for Japan. The major emphasis of this use-case is to identify the causal linkages and processes influencing indirect earthquake losses in economic production systems. In order to operationalize these processes by indicators, quantifiable factors and weights describing their influences have been identified. The structure and weights of the selected indicators will be validated using indirect loss data after earthquakes in Japan available in CATDAT (Daniell, 2003-2012).

This use-case will inform the development of an indirect loss model which can be directly linked with hazard intensity and physical damage outputs of OpenQuake and may be utilized by the insurance and reinsurance industry to better understand susceptibility to indirect economic loss from earthquake events.

 

 

Use-case 3: Urban Growth Planning for Kathmandu

The third use-case is being developed as part of a collaborative effort between the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, CEDIM at KIT, and the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) in Kathmandu. Kathmandu has experienced unimpeded and unplanned growth for the last couple of decades. Combined with economic expansion, this urban process has induced dynamics that have increased vulnerability to earthquakes up until today. This use-case focuses on the effect of rapid urban growth and land-use change on social vulnerability of Kathmandu at the sub-municipal level of geography. Thus, a system of indicators for operationalizing and quantifying socio-economic vulnerability in the context of rapid urban growth is under development.

Building on the GEM Regional Workshop held in Kathmandu in March 2013 and the recent stakeholder-based work, the indicator framework developed in Kathmandu will serve as a pilot for the development of the indicator toolkit and as such will be directly linked to OpenQuake earthquake loss estimates. The main stakeholders who will make use of the tool are urban planners and policy makers who will be able to incorporate social vulnerability and coping capacities to develop potential urban growth scenarios in risk-sensitive land use planning of Kathmandu.

 

Use-case 4: Building a Disaster Resilient Quezon City

The Quezon City use-case is based on a collaborative effort between CEDIM at KIT, the Earthquake and Megacities Initiative (EMI), and the Quezon City Government with participation of local and national stakeholders. The use-case is structured around efforts to establish a disaster risk reduction and management system within the city and to institutionalize DRRM protocols, policies, procedures, and functions within the Quezon City government. The goal of the indicators is to identify concentrations of the highest impact areas at the sub-municipal level of geography in Quezon City with a focus on decision-making needs of local government authorities in Quezon City. The selection of social vulnerability and coping capacity indicators and their respective weights in Quezon City is a fully participatory process and implemented through workshops with 40 stakeholders from 21 city offices and organizations in Quezon City.

 

This use-case informs the development of an integrated risk index and the indicator toolkit for use in an interactive and participatory setting with stakeholders. While the use-case will employ the existing Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS, 2004) for earthquake damage parameters, it provides a pilot for how OpenQuake outputs can be integrated with social vulnerability and coping capacity indicators relevant for emergency planning, preparedness and policy making in the context of developing country megacities.