Multi-risk evaluation and mitigation strategies

Hochrainer-Stigler S (2012). Multi-risk evaluation and mitigation strategies. Deliverable 4.4, FP7 MATRIX Project - New Multi-Hazard and Multi-Risk Assessment Methods for Europe, Theme ENV.2010. (Delivered October 2012)

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Natural hazards create differential direct and indirect impacts for a wide range of people both in the community where they strike, and at larger scales. There is a large literature documenting how socially and economically marginalized groups suffer more. Likewise, it is well known that many policies can act to reduce social disruption and economic impacts, often not by addressing the hazard itself, but by improving people's capacity to cope with and adapt to the presence of the risk. In the case of multiple or repeated hazards that are causally or temporally linked additionally issues emerge.

First of all, different risk bearers can be affected over dissimilar events differently and this also will have important consequences for risk bearers which are directly or indirectly interlinked with them. One example for Europe is the EUSF which helps governments after natural disaster events and subsequently indirectly also influence the help of the government to private sector stakeholders. As the Iranian case study has shown, neglecting sub-groups within the society such help after disaster events will eventually cause negative feedback loops and will at the very end cause unwanted results. As it was found within the Iranian and Portugal case studies, interaction effects between sub-groups of the society as well as the community level are playing a important role. While in the case of single events people usually have enough coping capacity to deal with, they have insufficient resources to deal with linked hazards; hence, the occurrence of multiple risks would increase the population considered highly vulnerable. In the Iranian case study it was the very poor ones who suffered the most due to the interaction effects between different forms of capitals as well as the ex-post character of government help. In the Portugal case study the elderly people were much more vulnerable. Additionally long lasting negative effects, such as abandoning certain areas which would increase fire risk, can be expected in the future. Based on the conservation of resources theory we showed that in the presence of multiple risk (which may only related indirectly through the hazard, and directly through the decrease in available capital resources) particular groups and communities of people are more effected than others, compared to single cases.

As it was shown in all the three different case studies, interaction effects will play a dominant role if multiple events hit the people frequently over time. However, it can also be stated that the adaptation and mitigation capacities have to be determined on a case by case basis. In the Iranian situation the government, with its ex-post behaviour created higher vulnerabilities for some sub-groups of the society. In the Portugal case, due to reduced resources, many additional risk emerge. However, interaction effects play a less dominant role in Europe but if established market systems, such as insurance, will fail in the future, there is the possibility that interactions may indeed play a more dominant role then. If that would be the case i, a refocus from purely market based systems to more behavioural approaches should be taken, as social capital will than (again) play a dominant role from a multi-risk time-dependent perspective. One of the outcomes from the macro-study is here that especial education is a possible candidate to increase capital resources on different dimensions.

Furthermore, while on lower scales, resources would be potentially sufficient over repeated events, on larger scales this may be not the case. As in disaster situations financing and coping strategies are interrelated, also over time, higher risks can emerge and possibly overriding the resources. As in the Portugal case, communities as well as regional authorities play an important role here to divert help and to give assistance. As the Iranian case study has shown this help can be counterproductive in the long run. The macro level analysis additionally has shown that repeated events in the past will have consequences in the future, especially for less-wealthy countries. We therefore propose to use a systems perspective to capture these relationships and to use a process based approach to tackle the issue of time-dependency as well as scale-dependency.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: Time dependent vulnerability; Multi hazard; Multi risk; Household resilience; Coping strategies; Community level; Macro-economic vulnerability
Research Programs: Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV)
Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Bibliographic Reference: Deliverable 4.4, FP7 MATRIX Project - New Multi-Hazard and Multi-Risk Assessment Methods for Europe, Theme ENV.2010. (Delivered October 2012)
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Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:47
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2016 10:15

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