Develop a Baseline Document to Capture and Analyse Existing Approaches and Methodologies for Hazard Risk & Vulnerabilty Assessment

31 Dec 2007


The document aims to develop a common understanding and shared knowledge about the various methods and technologies to conduct hazard risk and vulnerability assessments at different levels of governance.

India is a vast country that is extremely vulnerable to a large number of natural as well as man-made disasters1. The quantum of landmass prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity is 58.6 per cent of the total; the land prone to floods and river erosion amounts to over 40 million hectares (12 per cent of land); close to 5700 km of the 7516 km long coastline is prone to cyclones and tsunamis; the cultivable area vulnerable to drought forms 68 per cent of the total and the risk from landslides and avalanches makes the hilly areas prone to them.

Since the late 1990s, there has been increasing recognition of the need to ‘mainstream’ disaster risk reduction in order to plan for and address natural hazard risk in development planning at the national level. Hazard Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (HRVA) forms a critical part of the disaster risk reduction program and it has the potential to instruct the necessary authorities to prepare for emergencies. The primary objective of undertaking a HRVA is to anticipate the potential problems and possible solutions to help save lives, protect property, assets, reduce damage and facilitate a speedy recovery.

The use of HRVA helps the policy makers, administrators and the community to make risk based choices to address vulnerabilities, mitigate hazards, and prepare for response to and recovery from hazard events. Currently, there are a number of institutions engaged in conducting risk mapping and vulnerability assessment, as well as developing broad frameworks for conducting hazard and vulnerability assessment, along with the risk analysis.

The objective of this baseline document is to develop a common understanding and shared knowledge about the various methods and technologies to conduct HRVA at different levels of governance. The methodologies and approaches for undertaking HRVA are very diverse and technical in nature; whereby the use of some requires specific knowledge of the subject. The use of some of these methods requires sound knowledge of various kinds of software such as those for data entry, data analysis, GIS software, remote sensing, etc. as well as an understanding of the different analytical models. The choice for selection of a particular method / approach is primarily guided by the nature of the hazard, the risk to be assessed, time and resources available, etc. It is always beneficial to induct a HRVA advisory committee at the state level consisting of experts with substantial technical knowledge, elected representatives, officials from the engineering and planning department and also with representatives from the emergency services like (police, fire, and health departments), so as to determine the appropriate approach to be implied while deciding on the hazard risk and vulnerability assessment of a particular area, making use of a single or a combination of the various methodologies discussed in this document.

Although the baseline document has been developed taking care to provide an overview of the various methodologies for vulnerability and capacity assessment, hazard assessment and risk analysis, with particularly emphasis on including those methodologies that are relevant in the Indian context; however, there may be some more methodologies that may be applicable in particular regions with respect to some specific hazards that do not find a mention here. Therefore, a proper review of the area or region that is to undergo hazard risk and vulnerability assessment is proposed to be undertaken by the technical experts before any decision with regards to the selection of the methodology to be used for the same is taken.

The methodologies mentioned in this baseline document have been discussed briefly so as to provide a basic overview and understanding of the methodology to the users of this document. In case the details regarding any particular methodology are required, it can be sourced from the references provided for the same.

    Download this Document